The biggest video game event of the year has now begun. Annual trade fair E3 is taking place in Los Angeles this week, bringing with it a flurry of announcements and reveals as major game studios announce upcoming releases and debut trailers for their biggest games.
This year Bethesda Softworks, the publisher behind the Elder Scrolls and Fallout franchises, presented its first ever E3 showcase. Bethesda has a big year coming up with the planned release of highly anticipated open-world RPG adventure Fallout 4, which was the centerpiece of the presentation, and other highlights including stealth action game Dishonored 2 and a reboot of the Doom franchise.
Other noteworthy reveals during the presentation included a tease of what's to come in massive multiplayer online role-playing game The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited, a tie-in card game called The Elder Scrolls: Legends, and new gameplay footage from multiplayer combat title Battlecry.
Here are the major announcements in detail.
Classic first-person shooter 1993 Doom, developed by id Software, is getting a revamp that's set to hit shelves in 2016, and for the first time Bethesda showcased some gameplay footage from the title showing a space marine stomping through a facility on Mars that's overrun with demons from Hell. Doom retains the title of the original game, but is the fourth release in the Doom franchise. The video showed off various weapons (including, naturally, a chainsaw) as well as a diverse range of finishing moves.
The original Doom is one of the most influential games ever made, and it's hard to imagine what the FPS genre would look like if Doom had never been released. After twenty years of other developers riffing off the gameplay elements pioneered by id Software, however, the challenge for the new Doom will be to once again offer something new rather than simply looking like all the other shooters out there.
In addition to the story campaign, Doom will also include a multiplayer mode and a new addition called Doom SnapMap - a level editor that allows players to easily build their own map to play in. The presentation was capped off with a vision of Hell, which actually looks nicer than Mars. It's hard to see why the demons are so eager to relocate.
Featuring stealth and action gameplay in a narrative-driven world that blends sci-fi, fantasy, and a Victorian aesthetic, Arkane Studios' 2012 game Dishonored was widely praised by critics upon its release and has since sold millions of copies. The first game focused on a bodyguard called Corvo Attano, who becomes an assassin with supernatural powers after witnessing - and being framed for - the murder of the Empress he was supposed to protect.
The second major reveal during Bethesda's presentation was Dishonored 2, a sequel in which the Empress' daughter, Emily Caldwin, is now an adult and facing the threat of a usurper from another world. Players can choose to play as either Corvo or Emily, both of whom have their own unique abilities and weapons. The trailer was narrated the Outsider, a powerful being who is neither entirely good nor entirely evil, and who gifts Corvo and Emily with their abilities in order to achieve their goals in whatever way they please.
Although the trailer shows off some creative kills, it will also be possible to play through Dishonored 2 without killing a single person. Moral choice was a cornerstone of the first game, with the player's gameplay approach having a significant impact on the outcome of the story, so it's safe to assume that Dishonored 2 will have a similar model. While Dishonored fans eagerly await the sequel, a Definitive Edition of Dishonored featuring all of the additional content and improved graphics will be made available in fall 2015.
In the world of the Fallout games, human beings are like cockroaches. No matter how many nuclear bombs you drop on them, they'll find some hole underground to scuttle into and soon enough they'll emerge and start building up tiny pockets of civilization again within the husk of the old one.
Bethesda Game Studios' upcoming title Fallout 4 is set in a future where America has been ravaged by nuclear warfare and transformed into a ruined wasteland filled with bandits, monsters, and small communities struggling to survive. A trailer was released earlier this month, but Bethesda's E3 presentation offered a better idea of the game's story, as well as a look at gameplay elements like character creation and a crafting system that allows players to build entire settlements.
Other announcements included the Pip-Boy Edition of Fallout 4, which will come with a working version of the series' trademark wearable menu system that handles everything from the player's inventory to their choice of radio station. Bethesda also revealed an iOS game called Fallout Shelter, in which the player takes on the role of Overseer in a Vault-Tec vault and must help its residents survive, which is available to download for free right now.
Fallout 4 will release on November 10, 2015 for PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Doom and Dishonored 2 will arrive on the same platforms in Spring 2016
Watch Bethesda's presentation in full below.