Gaming: E3 2016 Part One - EA and Bethesda

Justin drops his first bit of E3 coverage on The Movie Sleuth. Check it. 

EA Play Conference

EA has come a long way in the recent past and made a lot of progress towards community goodwill after years of negativity from the gaming masses. They had a good showing at their new EA Play conference, and despite a lot of leaks of their content earlier than expected, and I think fans will be pleased with what they had to offer.

More titans, more players, more guns, more action.

The sliced bread Titanfall 2 and Battlefield 1 surrounded a mix of new AAA titles and even some indie titles in the EA preview sandwich. They started off strong with the new gameplay footage and announcements about Titanfall 2, complete with a fully-featured single player campaign and new titans to pilot. The footage was exciting, and as a fan of the first game that wanted to see more, this preview hit basically every note that I was hoping. The mobility is continuing to be a priority for the team at Respawn, and in addition to the wall running and jumping gameplay, a grappling hook and more equipment has been granted to players outside of the mech for fast and intense gameplay. More guns, more mechs, and a really interesting twist on the story left me excited in a way I didn't expect about the second in what may becoming a long running shooter franchise.

Considering it is supposed to be out within the next year, there was surprisingly little actual gameplay footage of Mass Effect Andromeda, though it had its moment in the spotlight. Not much more was revealed about the newest entry in the series outside of bold claims about the scope and open nature of the game. Seeing more was exciting, but I wanted to see more characters or gameplay considering the game is supposed to be in player’s hands in just a number of months. EA also announced a new indie platform called EA Originals, which wasn’t explained in detail, but is purported to be a new project to help fund and publish indie games. Their first and only announcement so far from Originals was a newly revealed game called Fe (pronounced ‘Fee’) as a dialog-less exploration game about communing with nature. I will not pass judgement seeing as very little concrete was revealed, but I am happy to see Unraveled was a success and EA is supporting the little guy in a way that they have not in the past.

The Only footage out of Visceral of the new Star Wars game

Star Wars also made some appearances from EA, though not in any focused capacity. More work is being done on the recently rebooted Battlefront franchise, though there were no official announcements about the scantily revealed ‘2017 Battlefront title’. An update from Visceral Games and Amy Hennig about their still unnamed action RPG in the Star Wars universe came in the form of some behind the scenes footage and an in-game teaser, but there are still a lot of questions left to be answered about it. Other Star Wars news was announced surrounding their mobile and MMO games, but nothing really concrete and it seemed more like a public forum to point out their successes in these markets, and with the Star Wars license as a whole.

Finishing out the show was Battlefield 1 and an extensive multiplayer stream. There has been a considerable amount of hype surrounding this game since its first announcement, especially considering its uncommon choice of time period. It was good to see extensive amounts of real gameplay showing off the weapons and vehicles of the period, and the visuals are gorgeous. Coming off of the amazing presentation of Battlefront last year, Battlefield 1 is stunning considering the speed and scope of the action. To be honest, I am a little disappointed with it as a whole, despite the good looks and neat setting the game just looks like more Battlefield without that many mechanical changes outside of the vehicles. I hope there is more to it that we can see before the fall release, but I am not keeping my hopes up for much more than a new Battlefield game along the same lines as 3 and 4.

New dynamic weather effects and vehicles enhance the Battlefield experience

Strong showing overall, and more indie focus from something as monolithic as EA is a good sign for the industry. I am most excited about Titanfall 2, but there are several games on this list I am looking forward to playing. Excited to see more of what's in store in 2017 and beyond from Electronic Arts.

Bethesda E3 Showcase

Bethesda came to the table with a serious offering of both new content and continued support for their tent pole franchises. An Impressive quantity of new releases were announced considering DOOM, Fallout 4, and multiple DLCs were all released within the last 9 months. With the wide variety of games all under the umbrella of Bethesda and ZeniMax games, it’s easy to find something to get excited about.

Heroes and villains of Quake’s history do battle in Quake Champions.

The show opened with the relatively unexpected announcement of Quake Champions. A logical progression considering the recent success of DOOM from Id Software, Champions is a new PC first-person arena shooter coming from Id Software. No gameplay was shown (promised to be available at Quakecon in August) but from the description and pre-rendered footage it seemed most akin to Blizzard’s new multiplayer phenomenon Overwatch. For the Elder Scrolls fans, I have good news. Skyrim is returning in remastered fashion on Oct. 28th. It’s unclear the entire extent of the remake, but at the very least the graphics are completely overhauled, and its impressive. In other Elder Scrolls news, the Bethesda franchise’s answer to Hearthstone, Elder Scrolls Legends, is a mobile-focused fantasy card game. No gameplay was shown but it looked similar to other card games with creatures and a resource system. Arkane studios revealed a new game as well, and after a lengthy preview of a near future story of fractured time, it was revealed to be called Prey, and is an apparent reboot of the 2006 game of the same name. Rounding out the new games comes Dishonored 2, as announced this time last year. Dishonored 2 was given a substantial amount of screen time considering the length of the press conference. I think Arkane needed to show more of the new systems and gameplay to get fans who lost interest in the first game, and to show intense spectacle to potential new players with its awe-factor.

Choose between Corvo or Emily in the new Dishonored title, taking the franchise to a new city.

The next year will also bring additional content to Fallout 4, DOOM, and Elder Scrolls Online, showing a concerted effort to support their after release. The DOOM dlc pack is disappointingly for the lackluster multiplayer, but the SnapMap creation system will be receiving its own free content updates for all owners. Elder Scrolls Online has been having success this year and its dedicated fan base will be rewarded with new content that finally adds the beloved Dark Brotherhood, a secret guild of assassins with mysterious origins, to the online world. Announced alongside the new content was a revamp of the games systems that allows players of any level to explore the entire game, adding even more approachability to a traditionally inscrutable genre. Fallout 4 has been keeping up its DLC schedule, and even more has been revealed including Workshop Contraptions, a new set of Workshop DLC that allows for moving parts and Rube Goldberg machines, and another story-based DLC featuring a Nuka Cola themed theme park called Nuka World. And in a final surprising note, Bethesda announced its first foray into Virtual Reality with VR versions of both DOOM and Fallout 4 to be playable on the showfloor at E3 this week.

All in all I am pleased with how the press conference, and while I would like to hear more about the new franchises Bethesda is supposedly working on and I am excited about the concept of a Elder Scrolls 6, I think they are bringing a lot to the table for the coming months.

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-Justin Wicker