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About Tony "OUberLord" Mitera

I've been entrenched in the world of game reviews for almost a decade, and I've been playing them for even longer. I'm primarily a PC gamer, though I own and play pretty much all modern platforms. When I'm not shooting up the place in the online arena, I can be found working in the IT field, which has just as many computers but far less shooting. Usually.

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Bethesda Pre-E3 2015 Media Briefing Summary

by Tony "OUberLord" Mitera on June 16, 2015 @ 12:00 a.m. PDT

During Bethesda's Pre-E3 2015 Media Briefing, it presented new coverage for Battlecry, Dishonored 2, Dishonored: Definitive Edition, Doom, Elder Scrolls Legends, The Elder Scrolls Online, Fallout 4, Fallout Shelter, Bethesda.net, and the Snapmap editing tool.

June 14, 2015, 6:30 PM
Dolby Theater, Hollywood

This may have been Bethesda's first press conference, but it was certainly an incredibly strong start to the E3 press conference lineup.  From long-running franchises such as Doom to fan favorites such as Fallout 4, the company had some strong stuff to showcase.  It makes a lot more sense about why Bethesda chose to have its own press conference this year and to have it take place in the same venue as the one that hosts the Oscars.  The crowd's energy and enthusiasm was insane, and as a video kicked things off by showcasing Bethesda's recent and upcoming works, it whipped them into something approaching a frenzy.

The first showcased game was the new Doom, which has certainly seen its share of changes.  Running on the iDTech 6 engine, the game's a visual treat.  More impressive is the title's fearlessness in tinkering with the standard Doom formula.  The gameplay demonstration showed a much more open environment, and the player traded fire with demons inside a massive foundry complex.  The player also has the ability to double-jump and to clamber up onto ledges, giving things a much more vertical flair than in previous games.

As its heart, it still looks like a franchise game.  The demonstration showed the player running and gunning down enemies with a shotgun and progressively upgrading his arsenal with pulse rifles and chainsaws.  However, staggered enemies lit up with different holographic colors, signifying that they could be taken down with special melee attacks.  These attacks were varied but always visceral, such as ripping out their hearts or breaking a leg to flatten them on the ground before punching their head to pieces.  It's an interesting and violent dynamic, but it also seems to yield more health and ammo pick-ups.  The demonstration showed more of the facility before the player's character was pinned down by a skeletal demon that ripped off both of the player's arms and then punched through the helmet visor for the killing blow.

On the multiplayer side, the game will take place in a variety of locations, from UAC facilities on Mars to the depths of hell.  The gameplay looked appropriately fast-paced and also included power-ups that, among other likely effects, turned you into a skeleton demon that lets you further harass other players.  It was when the Snapmap functionality was announced that the multiplayer possibilities bumped up a few notches.

Snapmap is an editing tool that lets players create their own maps for use in the game.  More interesting is the facet of Snapmap that also lets players edit the game logic to come up with mods.  One such mod restored classic-style, four-man deathmatch, which basically made the game Killing Floor with players working together to kill demons.  It seemed a lot like Halo's Forge functionality, but with the ability to create maps from scratch via map parts that snap together and then populate them with objects and enemies.  From a different perspective, it's Disney's Infinity for psychopaths.

The presentation then switched back to show off some more of the single-player, this time taking place in hell.  Bone arches and skulls on spikes accentuated the jagged, hellish landscape.  The player mowed through a number of demons, including large new ones with dangerous plasma cannons on their arms and cloaked demons that can get the drop on you.  It ended with the player finally getting his hands on the BFG, only to be in a standoff with a massive demon at the only exit.  The game will be released on the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and the PC in Spring 2016.

Bethesda then announced that Bethesda.net will become the new hub for all of its games going forward.  Snapmap, forums, videos, articles, and other content will all be centralized into the new site.  There was no mention of whether game mods will feature on the new site as well, so it's hard to tell if the Nexus sites are about to become a thing of the past.

A short video of Battlecry was shown next, which is Bethesda's take on team-based deathmatch.  Not a whole lot of new information was shown, except for the game's classes and a mention that the game is entering worldwide sign-ups for the beta.  Players who apply before June 18 will get priority access, and we will likely have more information on the game over the coming weeks.

Next up was a presentation that confirmed everyone's suspicions over the previous day's leak.  Dishonored 2 will be coming out this fall for the PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4.  A CG video showed off one of the two new protagonists, Emily Caldin, as she infiltrated the mansion of her target.  As she breaks in, the target fights back with clockwork automatons and then by collapsing the walls and floors of the mansion with hydraulic pistons.  As Emily deftly deals with the threats using her powers, she finally reaches her target before the scene cuts away.  In the game, you can play as either the male or female characters, each with specific abilities. In a game world, you can choose to engage in combat or use stealth to achieve your goals.  Dishonored: Definitive Edition was also announced, which is a remake of the original game complete with all DLC and enhanced for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4.

The Elder Scrolls Online didn't factor too heavily into the presentation, save for the mention that the console versions will be getting new features this year.  The Imperial City was showcased, and so was Orsinium, the realm of the orcs.  Elder Scrolls Legends was also announced, which will be a free-to-play strategy card game to be released on the PC and iPad later this year.  No further details were given, but I suspect that more will follow soon enough.

At this point, Bethesda teased that it was the end of the conference, but the crowd's roar clearly meant they knew otherwise.  It was the big debut of Fallout 4, to which we've devoted a separate preview article so you can check learn more.  Fallout Shelter, which is a side-view base-building game in which you serve as the Overseer of your own vault, was also unveiled and announced that it is immediately available on the iOS App Store.  Building rooms, maintaining your vault's precious resources, sending out scouting parties, and fending off raider attacks are all part of the job of a successful Overseer.

Bethesda may not have as deep of a catalog as the other companies giving press conferences this year, but it managed to have something that the others do not.  Despite the obviously ravenous fans in attendance, Bethesda had a refreshing sense of humility throughout Sunday's conference.  It's impressive to think this company, which used to be responsible for somewhat lesser-known games, would become such a powerhouse and manage to do so while not taking its fan base for granted.  Between that sense of humility and the overall quality of the showcase, Bethesda made a statement with its first press conference.  They also became a hell of a hard act to follow for the rest of the E3 2015 press conferences.

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