Setting the World on Fire: Bethesda's E3 2015 Showcase

E3 Bethesda Fallout 4 Horizon

It’s that time of year again, kids. All the marketing money the game publishers of the world can muster is thrown at Los Angeles, California for the Electronic Entertainment Expo. But this year, a few new additions have been added to the usual press conference line-up, starting with Bethesda. The show from the Dolby Theatre was full of the bombast you expect from an E3 presser, but the focus on their upcoming games made for a unique show.

First was Doom, re-imagined for the new age with updated graphics. The demon slaying remains intact, with all the classic weapons and gore that made Doom the household name it has become. Melee takedowns are now part of your arsenal as you pilot the familiar Space Marine protagonist through different UAC facilities — and even Hell. Multiplayer was featured as well, and Bethesda unveiled Doom SnapMap, a modular level creator that allows players to make their own maps and modes for others to play. Honestly, the game looks fine, even if the ‘realistic’ graphics take some of the slapstick out of the gore, but I’m hoping the Id Software pedigree inspires some Quake-inspired craziness, even if I have to create it myself in SnapMap.

E32015 Bethesda Doom

Next was Battlecry, Bethesda’s foray into online multiplayer third person combat. The game itself looks similar to what we’ve seen in the past, with the addition of a new army and class, but basically appeared to announce its open beta, which until now had been an ANZ exclusive.

Things quickly moved onto Dishonored 2, the sequel to one of the hidden gems of the last few years of gaming. Set in the same ‘steampunk’ world, players can take the role of Corvo Attano from the first game, or new protagonist Emily Caulfield, allowing you to experience the game utilising two different skill sets and characters. No word on release date, but Bethesda did announce a new special edition of Dishonored, which will include the two DLC packs, for release later this year.

We also got a glimpse at Elder Scrolls Legends, a card game based on the lore of the Elder Scrolls series, with more to come later, as well as a reminder of the recent release of TES: Online for consoles.

E32015 Bethesda Dishonored 2

Let’s face it though: You’re reading this for the Fallout news, and boy was it a doozy. The character creation options have been greatly expanded, and allow you to again play as either a male or female protagonist. Starting before the bombs drop in downtown Boston, you run to the nearest Vault upon seeing the news reports of mushroom clouds across America, then “stuff happens” and 200 years later, you emerge from Vault 111 to begin anew on the wasteland.

You have the dog shown in the trailers as a companion, who can be ordered to execute commands, and we see the combat versatility remains: First person, third person and VATS are all still options available to the player, and there are many new enemies, including giant Mirelurk Queens and a new race called simply “Synth.” The Pip-Boy has a few new tricks as well, allowing the layering of armour and redesigned menus, and we even see the protagonist call in air support and Power Armour sporting jetpacks. So far, so good.

Then we have the crafting system, which has been massively ramped up. Not only can you break down common items found across the wasteland to craft your particular item, but the ability to customise weaponry allows for huge changes to the 50 base weapons, affecting range, spread, accuracy, power and so on, as well as cosmetically altering the weapon itself. This will also extend to the Power Armour, with the ability to mix and match parts from the various Power Armour you discover in game.

Fallout 4 will also allow you to build and maintain a settlement of your own, right down to building construction, power grid, facilities and, perhaps most importantly, defences; your settlement will face attack from enemies throughout the game. You can even set up multiple settlements and start trade caravans between them. Time will tell whether this is mandatory, however it represents a very cool new element to the series. The biggest surprise was the release date, with the game set to release on the 10th of November this year. Maybe that’s enough time for my beloved “Hardcore” mode to make the cut…

E3 2015 Bethesda Fallout 4 Wasteland

If you need your Fallout fix right away, however, Bethesda has you covered. Fallout Shelter is an iOS and Android game that allows you to make your own Vault. In a system reminiscent of XCOM, you decide the layout of your facilities and rooms, as well the occupation and skills of your Vault Dwellers. You’ll face food shortages, raider attacks and even pregnancy as you attempt to keep your Vault alive, and can send your inhabitants on missions into the Wasteland for supplies. It’s available right now on the App Store, so it should help pass the time until the wait is all over.