Bethesda E3 Press Conference Recap and Reactions

Screenshot 2015-06-15 01.14.07

Holy shit! Now that is how you do an E3 press conference! Bethesda came out swinging for the fences with their first ever E3 press conference and boy did they deliver. Despite some leaks they even managed to surprise me a few times! From Doom, to Dishonored 2, to Fallout, Bethesda had it all.

Now I won’t claim to be a Doom fan as I’ve never played a Doom game before and I’ll be honest, that kind of over-the-top action-y and gore-y FPS doesn’t appeal to me, so forgive me for skimming over that one. However, despite my lack of interest in it, from a conference standpoint they did it right. This was the official reveal of the game, and when that happens most games just show a CG trailer, but not id. They showed so much gameplay it was ridiculous (in a good way).When many companies have engendered mistrust with flashy trailers that don’t represent the game I applaud id Software for being brave enough and having enough faith in their game to show almost nothing but gameplay.

I wish I could say the same for The Elder Scrolls: Legends, the card game that was announced. Unfortunately, they did the opposite by only showing a CG trailer. There wasn’t a single moment of gameplay. The trailer wasn’t even indicative of what the game is going to be like. You could argue that it’s a card game, we know what it will be like. However, considering the success of Hearthstone, that trailer just left me wondering if they were trying to copy Blizzard and hope for the same success. I have faith in Bethesda, but that trailer didn’t instill a sense of originality that Bethesda usually goes for.

On the surface you may expect me to bash Dishonored 2 for only showing a CG trailer, but they went about it in a very different manner. That trailer actually was rather indicative of gameplay. You are an assassin and you have magical powers and you will be chasing your targets through this steampunk world: it got the message across clearly. And damn, it was an awesome looking trailer. I haven’t played the first Dishonored, but that trailer and everything they said about the game makes me really want to pick up the re-release for PS4 when it comes out in a few weeks. But without a doubt the best part of that trailer for me was the reveal of the character, specifically, the fact that she was female. The trailer made her seem like an incredible assassin without sexualizing her in any way. I am so happy that Arkane are giving the option to play as a female character in Dishonored 2. In his post-conference interview, Raphael Colantonio (co-creative director) said that it is very important to be able to play both genders in games. It’s great that one of the creative directors of a major studio is acknowledging the importance of representation. The other co-creative director, Harvey Smith, went on to say “All along, honestly, our energy was behind Emily [the female protagonist].” With that kind of leadership at Arkane Studios, I am very excited for Dishonored 2.

Now for star of the show: Fallout 4. I am going to try and restrain myself but OH MY GOD IT LOOKS AMAZING! Bethesda nailed this reveal. They knew what they had was great and they intentionally took their time. They allowed Fallout 4 the buildup that it deserved by starting out with the concept art and slowly showing everything. For the first time they are letting us experience what the world was like before the bombs fell and I like it. I think that with this game they want us to care deeply about the world, and showing what it was like before everything went to hell is a great creative decision that I think will do just that. What I was first surprised by, hinted at in the reveal trailer, are the fully voiced protagonists. The first thought that came to mind was Mass Effect. Todd Howard and everyone at Bethesda Softworks seems committed to telling a great story and knows that this to do so they need fully-voiced protagonists and I’m so glad they’re going in this direction. I love that the camera pulls away during dialogue (a la Mass Effect) and that there are dialogue trees. I believe that this will drastically improve the dramatic pacing of Fallout 4, which Fallout 3 struggled with at times as a result of that zoomed-in, first-person camera during dialogue. Despite only showing a male MC in the demo, Todd Howard said that there is a playable female MC with just as much dialogue. Another good mark for female representation from Bethesda.

Until Fallout 4 releases, I will be playing Fallout Shelter. Bethesda really impressed me by completely finishing Fallout Shelter without it ever leaking. Another thing that other game companies could learn from. It looks like a charming little mobile game. And thank you Todd Howard for being so upfront about it being F2P, for not charging for things that shouldn’t be charged for, and for not making you wait (x) minutes after doing something to keep playing. And this entire game is just a footnote to Fallout 4!

Back to Fallout 4, all the crafting and customization looks incredibly intricate and thought-out. They have had four years to work exclusively on this game and they are out to prove that they have used that time well. They could have completely left out the settlement construction and I doubt anyone would have felt anything was lacking from the game, but they decided to add it because they want to do everything possible to bring us into this world and let us live there. I know I’m going to spend so much time working on crafting my settlements. The gun customization also looks insanely detailed. There are so many options I couldn’t even keep up. Bethesda also knew that there was no reason to prolong the release of this game and wisely decided to announce a release date of November 10th(my birthday!!!). Fallout 4 does not need a year and a half of hype (no game does, but that’s a conversation unto itself). I cannot wait to lose myself in this world. I want to live in post-apocalyptic Boston. Goodbye friends. Goodbye grades. Goodbye sleep. Fallout, I will be yours. And with that, I am officially going dark on Fallout 4. I don’t want to know anymore. I want to save as many surprises as possible for when I play it, so I will not be watching any more videos of it or reading any articles of it.

Bethesda didn’t overstay their welcome either. It was a great length, if you wanted more you could watch the pre and post shows, but the conference itself was to the point (something Sony could probably learn from). My one gripe is that the onstage presence was lacking in any diversity. Hopefully the rest of E3 doesn’t make a repeat of last year where we had more on-screen decapitations than women onstage.

Bethesda has set the bar high for the week, and I am worried no one else is going to be able to quite reach it. It’s almost 1am here and I’m still reeling from that press conference. Sounds really nerdy when I say it like that, but I think that just goes to show that Bethesda had an incredibly successful showing.

What did you think of Bethesda’s E3 conference? Comment below! And if you enjoyed this piece stay tuned here, GamesWithFriendsWrites.WordPress.com, for more coverage of E3. You can also check out my YouTube channel, Games With Friends (link at top of page), for my Let’s Plays and commentary on great games, both recent and old. Enjoy!

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