It’s that time of year again folks – E3! The trailers, the reveals, the snafus and on-stage slip-ups! Developers and publishers are stepping into the view of millions to deliver news that could either make or break the next year for them. It’s a pretty exciting time for gamers, and I’m the most excited of all, kicking off this year’s Gamecloud coverage for E3 2015 with Bethesda’s first ever stand-alone E3 press conference. While I’m not particularly a fan of Bethesda, I am somewhat obsessed with (bordering on addicted to) Fallout. So when Bethesda announced their conference, and with the recent teaser reveal of Fallout 4, I was naturally all over that shit. I’m pleased to say that, as far as E3 presentations go, Bethesda absolutely nailed it, launching the Hype Train from the station at terminal velocity while snapping off the brakes.
Of course, Bethesda weren’t about to drop everything they had all at once; they needed to build momentum first. The ever lovable Pete Hines made some quick hello’s and cleared the stage for the first major announcement of the night. For fans of the series, id Software‘s Marty Stratton unveiled the long-awaited Doom 4 (now just “DOOM”) and it’s shaping up to be something pretty great. As Stratton explained, and as shown in the gameplay demo during the conference, there’s going to be a much heavier emphasis on combat over narrative in this iteration. That isn’t just a fancy way of saying that they’ve dropped any and all story in favor of a beefed out, unimaginative shooter either. Everything in that gameplay demo showed a bloody, ultraviolent reverence for the source material, from taking players back to hell to bringing back fan-favorite weapons.
The game taking this kind of direction meant that they were able to show off a decent chunk of what appeared to be in-game footage highlights of the upcoming title. Combat is fast, switching weapons is smooth and unobtrusive to gameplay, and enemies are all over the damn place. It looks like id have dropped Doom 3’s gray, drab look and gone back to its roots of using bright colours to achieve that same “dark” atmosphere. Also unveiled was “SnapMap,” an in-built level editor that allows players to create custom scenarios or maps and then share them online. Doom 4 wasn’t the greatest announcement of the conference though using a beloved franchise like Doom was an especially strong note for Bethesda to start out on – it certainly got me hyped.
This guy looks incredibly stoked.
The middle of the show unfortunately only served to highlight that the conference was being held together by the pillars of Doom and Fallout 4. Everything else was just a way to string these two titans together in as short a time as possible. This was especially true of Battlecry, a new 3PS MOBA from Bethesda’s newly formed Battlecry Studios. I had a chance to get some hands-on time with the game at last years PAXAus and was looking forward to seeing some new information about how it was progressing. Aside from the announcement of a new faction, the Han Republic, its presence in the conference was disappointingly little more than an extended teaser trailer. Dishonored 2’s CGI teaser also received a similarly short appearance, likely losing a lot of its punch due to the unintentional leak the day before.
Pete Hines then stepped out again to get the audience hyped up for Elder Scrolls Online and the poor man just couldn’t do it; ESO Tamriel Unlimited going to console just isn’t a big deal. The game itself, by many accounts, is flat out awful regardless of the platform it’s on, and I really do wish they’d stop talking about it. Thankfully, it was as equally brief as Battlecry and Dishonored though the same treatment again was sadly given to Elder Scrolls Legends, the new OCCG based on the Elder Scrolls series. I like to dabble in CCG’s now and again, so it would have been great to hear some further information about this one. These announcements didn’t drag, which is why they’re only the weakest part of the conference instead of being terminally boring. It’s time that could have been better spent talking about what their Bethesda.net service might actually entail.
Highly anticipated, but not as much as Fallout so MAKE WAY!
Just like the conference itself, however, I’ve saved the best for last; Bethesda’s final reveal of Fallout 4 couldn’t have been more perfect. Todd Howard is a man who knows how to handle an audience and when he speaks it feels as though you’re being spoken to by just another gamer. His casual, conversational style was rather disarming for what was coming, which I can only describe as the greatest Fallout game to date and I haven’t even played it yet. Roughly the last 30 minutes of the conference was dedicated entirely to a huge walkthrough of the game, with major details being dropped to huge applause throughout. If Bethesda had only presented Fallout 4 this year, it still would have been the best conference of the show as this was one of the best reveals I’ve ever watched in E3 history.
One of the smartest moves by Bethesda in the lead up to this conference was their teaser of Fallout 4 in the week before as they were clearly paying attention to fan reactions in preparation. Almost every major question about the game that I’ve seen crop up across various online communities got answered in that last segment of the conference. Instead of just standing on stage and blandly addressing each question, however, a carefully curated gameplay video was splashed up on-screen that showed off the new world of Fallout 4. To get to see that much in-game footage, and so soon after the teaser reveal, felt like Christmas morning. Everything you might want to know about the game going in was laid out before you in one slick presentation.
I look forward this dude’s opening dialogue becoming the hot new meme of 2016.
From the top: Narrative starting off in the pre-war era? Check. Players able to choose a female or male protagonist (as shown in the character creation demo that still maintains the hilarious, real-time facial contortion)? Check. Improved graphics and artist style? Check. Every single item you can pick up can be broken down into crafting components? My God. Outposts you can build and populate and run like your own mad little dystopia? You got it. Dog companion that tears out the throats of your enemies and scouts supplies for you? DOGMEAT! Ron Perlman? Never changes. Special Edition that comes with a wearable pip-boy and a companion app that allows you to use it like an actual pip-boy, while you’re playing the game? Goodbye old life, hello Fallout 4! There’s just too much to list in this one article and it rocks my socks off!
That last part, to me, is just so damn cool, and you can bet your sweet biddy that I’ve already got mine secured. Call it a dumb gimmick if you will, but as Todd Howard himself put it during the conference: “As far as stupid gimmicks go, this is the best fucking one I’ve ever seen.” There was so much to take in withing that last half hour and at a pace that just kept escalating; even going back and re-watching it gets me pumped for how epic Fallout 4 will be. Just when it couldn’t get better than that, he announces Fallout Shelter: A mobile base-management sim that casts you as the Overseer of your very own Vault. It’s silly, but it’s also free and, most importantly, it was released during the conference as Howard was announcing it. (And yes, I will be reviewing it soon.)
When trying to get your fans on the Hype Train, nothing works better than the words, “right now.”
As though all of this weren’t enough, Todd Howard dropped the biggest bombshell (snrk) of the whole damn show. “We really appreciate everybody’s patience,” he says, as a black background with an overlaid white “Vault 111” vault door appears behind him. The audience falls to a hush in anticipation.
*deep inhalation of breath*
“You know, we didn’t say anything for years about this game while everybody waited, and we don’t want you to wait too much longer,” the audience gasps as the vault door begins to spin. “So we’re happy to say,” the vault door disappearing and the numbers “111” separate from one another, forming into a date. “Fallout 4 is coming out November tenth this year.” He may as well have dropped his mic right then and there because that, ladies and gentlemen, is how you announce a fucking game! Grade: A-
AAAAHHH! AAAAAAAAHHHHHHH! AAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!!
“Todd H, no more of this Elder Scrolls Online nonsense. Now, see me in the parking lot after class – Paddy-senpai has noticed you…<3"