E3 Show Daily
Bethesda Rocks E3 2016
Opening its E3 2016 press conference to thunderous applause, Bethesda Softworks announced the return of its beloved franchise Quake, in the form of Quake Champions. Currently in development for the PC, Quake Champions is a fast-paced, arena-style multiplayer FPS, with an emphasis on competitive gameplay at all levels of player skill. Quake Champions will feature an unlocked frame rate, meaning that players will be able to maximize the graphics and performance according to their preferences—with no restrictions from the developer.
Further, Quake Champions will define itself with its unique characters, each of which features distinctive attributes and abilities, offering various play styles and approaches to the game’s many challenges. With an eye squarely aimed at the electronic sports (e-sports) crowd, Quake Champions is designed to be enjoyed by players at the highest competitive level and newcomers, with Bethesda expanding its offering of Quake-related tournaments in 2016.
Following the announcement of Quake Champions, Pete Hines, Bethesda’s global vice president of public relations, recapped successful Bethesda titles that continue to perform in 2016, including The Elder Scrolls Online for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC, which won massively multiplayer online game (MMO) of the year. In addition, Bethesda’s flagship role-playing game Fallout 4 (for those same platforms) won numerous game of the year awards. Todd Howard, lead designer of Fallout 4, joined the conference via video to discuss additional content plans for Fallout 4, and affirm Bethesda's commitment to growing the game’s fanbase in 2016. Beginning next week, the Fallout 4: Contraptions expansion will offer new gizmos and construction objects for players to sink their teeth into, while in July, a further expansion will allow players to build and maintain their own in-game vaults. Finally, the audience was given a glimpse of the Nuka World expansion, giving players a taste of a theme park experience done with Fallout 4’s post-apocalyptic flair.
Howard also mentioned that Bethesda’s wildly successful mobile game Fallout Shelter will receive significant content expansions, and will be coming to PC, in addition to its current home on mobile tablets. He went on to confirm that Bethesda is hard at work on a remastered version of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim for Xbox One and PS4, and it will feature greatly updated graphics, expanded content, and the option to apply third-party modifications (or “mods”) to the game on console for the first time. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Remastered is set to debut on October 28.
In further news for the Elder Scrolls franchise, Hines teased more information about Bethesda’s upcoming collectible card game (CCG), titled The Elder Scrolls Legends. Currently available for PC, Legends will soon be available in a multiplayer beta for iPhone, Mac, and Android platforms, and players will be able to join the beta by visiting Bethesda.net. Hines showed off snippets of gameplay, as well as a cinematic sequence detailing some of Legends’ backstory. The game will feature a complete single-player campaign, as well as several multiplayer modes.
Hines then introduced Raphaël Colantonio, president of developer Arkane Studios—known for its popular stealth-action title Dishonored. Colantonio surprised the audience by announcing an entirely new game from Arkane: Prey. Set on a space station in 2033, Prey follows the subject of an experiment in time manipulation, who must overcome both the effects of the experimentation and an unexpected invasion of the station by a hostile alien force, using their wits, weapons, and myriad special abilities. Coming in 2017 for PS4, Xbox One, and PC, Prey is a first-person shooter that will emphasize story and atmosphere as much as action.
The next announcement came from Marty Stratton, head of id Software, makers of the critically acclaimed first-person shooter Doom. Stratton confirmed that the just-released game will receive a great deal of new content this year. Doom’s in-game level creation tool, SnapMap, is set to get new items, new structures, and new logic options, offering players even more tools to create their own full, single-player campaign expansions. Additionally, Doom will get some new free-for-all modes for its multiplayer, along with a new downloadable content (DLC) pack titled Unto the Evil, which features three new multiplayer maps, all coming later this year. And for the remainder of this week, anyone can download and play the first level of Doom completely free, for Xbox One, PS4, or PC.
Next up was Bethesda's fan-favorite free-to-play MMO, The Elder Scrolls Online, which boasts more than seven million players, and will launch in Japan this week. The game is also receiving new content on consoles this Wednesday, in the form of the Dark Brotherhood expansion. This expansion focuses on the shadowy assassins’ guild of the Elder Scrolls universe, and offers repeatable quests and a twisty new storyline. Bethesda also announced an all-new “One Tamriel” policy for The Elder Scrolls Online, which removes all level and content restrictions in its world of Tamriel, effectively allowing players of all levels to take on any type of quest, join any party they wish, and visit any area of the world—with no barriers. This change will happen this fall, for Elder Scrolls Online players on consoles and PC.
In a surprise announcement, Hines also gave audiences a peek at Bethesda’s upcoming forays into the burgeoning virtual reality (VR) market, in which Bethesda was an early player with its Doom 3 VR adaptation. Currently, Bethesda is offering two titles in VR, both playable at E3: Doom, which allows players to take a virtual “tour of hell,” and Fallout 4, which will be available in its full version for the HTC Vive VR system in 2017.
Finally, Harvey Smith, creative director for Arkane Studios, gave the world its first real look at the upcoming first-person, stealth-action adventure sequel Dishonored 2. This installment allows players to choose between playing as Corvo Attano, hero of the first game, or as his daughter, Empress Emily Caldwin. The look and feel of the game is modeled on the idea of a painting brought to life; the game world is vibrant, and imbued with a deep sense of history. According to Smith, Dishonored 2 will place a much greater emphasis on “big, interesting” themes, in both its gameplay—which allows for a wide variety of approaches to overcoming its many challenges—and its dramatic storyline. Coming for PC, PS4, and Xbox One on November 11 of this year, Dishonored 2 will be available in both a standard and a limited-run Collector’s Edition.