E3 2018: Bethesda Press Conference Round Up

After Microsoft’s pretty impressive performance a few hours before (which included a cameo appearance from Bethesda Game Studio exec-producer, Todd Howard premiering the first FULL Fallout 76 trailer), it was the turn of Bethesda to swing their big dicks around the LA Convention Centre. And what big juicy dicks they have…

With most of the attention and anticipation centring around Fallout 76, that seems like a good place to start this round-up…

Fallout 76 (Bethesda Game Studios)

Okay. So now we know what it is. Sort of.

After last week’s teaser trailer, alerting us to a brand new addition to the Fallout franchise, the usual game of wild speculation, conspiracy theories, meltdowns (and whatever the opposite of ‘meltdowns’ is), is mostly over… mostly. Here’s what we (mostly) know after Todd Howard’s presentation:

  • It’s a prequel to all other Fallout games.
  • It will be set in West Virginia (thanks John Denver) – a place Howard describes as a mix of towns, outstanding natural beauty, and a load of government secrets.
  • It’ll start the ‘morning after’ Vault 76’s ‘Reclamation Day’ party – with you playing a vault dweller (with a broken alarm clock) who, along with Vault 76’s other inhabitants, will be ‘one of the first to emerge into an untamed and very different wasteland’.
  • It is FOUR times bigger than Fallout 4.
  • IT IS ENTIRELY ONLINE! (AGGGGHHHHH!!!!)
  • … but you can play it solo too (*stops wielding Fallout Anthology: Mini Nuke*).
  • Although not completely a Survival Game (as was assumed), Todd Howard describes it as ‘softcore survival’.
  • There’s new creatures, including: A giant mutated Sloth (!) and a fuck-off massive bat called a ‘Scorchbeast’.
  • You can ‘build whatever you want, wherever you want’.
  • There will be a BETA (or as Vault-Tech call it; Break-It Early Test Application).
  • The Special Edition will include a glow-in-the-dark poster map and a wearable T-51 Power Armer Helmet (with working light).
  • It will be out on November 14th 2018.

It appears that the main game will be quest orientated, with missions set by Vault 76’s Overseer, which you can complete with your online buddies or by yourself.

A significant time was also spent explaining about the existence of ‘still active’ atomic missile sites dotted around the map – which can be activated and used to nuke a chosen in-game location. This, as Howard explains, will demonstrate Fallout 76’s dynamic and changeable environments – which, in terms of graphics and textures, will have 16 times more detail in the landscape compared to Fallout 4.

In addition, a full game trailer was shown (after getting an outing a few hours before at Microsoft’s press-conference), and in-game footage, showing what happens when you encounter other players in the wasteland.

The ‘survival’ appears to be centred around building. Those of you who played Fallout 4 will be used to the building mechanics, but this time you can build anywhere. And just like in Fallout 4, expect raiding parties, and the aforementioned falling nukes to keep you occupied.

It was a (mostly) informative presentation from Howard, but a few questions remain;

  • It looks like it’s mostly real-time combat, so will the V.A.T.S combat system be absent this time around?
  • Dialogue between players; will it be restricted to just a few ‘option wheel’ icons?
  • NPC’s; will there be any familiar faces?
  • And, most importantly, what the hell am I meant to do when my Vodafone broadband inevitably decides to have a weekend off during launch week?

There was also an announcement that mobile game, Fallout Shelter, would now also be available on PS4 and Nintendo Switch.

Next Gen Projects: Elder Scrolls VI / Starfield (Bethesda Game Studios) & assorted, multi-platform Elder Scrolls games AND Skyrim: Very Special Edition.

Quite a bit of Elder Scrolls news actually. First off; Skyrim: Very Special Edition.

No one can accuse Bethesda of not being able to laugh at itself; “I read on the internet that our games have a few bugs”, says Howard during the big Fallout 76 reveal. And to prove just how ‘self-aware’ they are, Howard introduced a ‘joke’ trailer for Skyrim: Very Special Edition. Except it’s now apparent that it’s not completely a joke, despite the ‘spoof’ trailer starring former Planet’s Funniest Animals host Keegan Michael Key…

However, the main headline came during the closing moments of Howard’s keynote speech, as he introduced two teaser trailers; one for a brand new franchise called Starfield, and another for the long-awaited Elder Scrolls VI, which amounted to nothing more than some pretty looking title screens – but what pretty looking title screens they were…

In other Elder Scrolls related news, it was announced that mobile card game Elder Scrolls: Legends would be coming to Nintendo Switch, X-box, and PS4, and two new DLC’s for Elder Scrolls Online coming later this year; the dungeon-based Wolfhunter, and Murkmire. Plus a brand new mobile game, Elder Scrolls: Blades; a pure First Person RPG with ‘console graphics’, which will be free to play this Autumn.

Rage 2 (id/Avalance)

Who would you prefer to have announced your new game; Walmart Canada or Andrew W.K? Bethesda’s VP, Paul Hines would clearly choose the party-rock icon every single time, but alas, Walmart Canada already stole that thunder last month when it ‘accidentally’ listed Rage 2 for pre-order on its site. Never mind. There were still a few surprises anyway during the official reveal, the first being a full-song performance by Andrew W.K to kick-start proceedings; “Are you ready to rage?” Yes, I guess we are.

It’s described by id Software’s Tim Willitts as, “The most insane open-world shooter you’ve ever seen,” which is a bold statement considering the absolute chaos Farcry 5 has served up since its release earlier this year. Still, the follow up to the 2011 original looks impressive. Landscapes are vast and the gameplay footage showed both ground and vehicle combat; “If you can see it, you can drive it”.

The footage also revealed details of the big special edition goodie on offer; a Big Mouth Billy Bass for the post-apocalyptic age, modelled on Mr W.K himself. It’s a thing of nightmares…

Expect it at some point in 2019.

Doom: Eternal / Quake Champions (id Software)

With twice as many ‘bad-ass demons’, Doom: Eternal will be bringing Hell to Earth at some point soon. Full details of the sequel to the 2016 reboot will come later in the year at Quakefest. Alongside this, Quake, the grandaddy of multiplayer first person shooters, is getting a new lease of life as Quake: Champions. There’s a free-to-play trial on Steam, and players who sign up during the trial period will have free access to the game FOREVER, once it launches.

Prey (Arkane Studios) – New DLC & Game Modes

Details of two new DLC’s for 2017’s spiritual sequel to System Shock, were revealed. First up, Mooncrash; described as an endlessly re-playable add-on, with each run through throwing up different enemies and loot, and Typhon Hunter; a multi-player hide-and-seek mode that allows players to play as the shape-shifting Mimics (I’ve ALWAYS wanted to morph into a bottle of Windolene). Not only that, Typhon Hunter will also be VR playable, allowing cross-method multi-player. Both DLC’s are expected over the coming months.

In addition, three new game modes are available RIGHT NOW, including; Story Mode, New Game+, and Survival Mode.

Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus (Machine Games) – New co-op DLC

Edging out Prey as Bethesda’s best game of last year, Wolfenstein II: the New Colossus, also made an appearance at E3, with the announcement of a brand-new DLC. Youngblood is a standalone game set in 1980’s Paris, 19 years after the events of TNC, and puts BJ’s twin daughters at the centre of the action (the action mostly being about kicking the shit out of Nazis). Also, twins = co-op – much to the delight of the press-conference crowd. But lone-wolves needn’t worry, it can also be played as a single player too.

There was also a little bit said about another upcoming DLC; Cyber Pilot, which, like the future Prey DLC, will be VR compatible.

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Check out the rest of VH’s E3 2018 coverage with our round-ups of EA and Microsoft, here.