Highlights from the E3 2016 Gaming Conference
This year’s edition of the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3 2016) at the Los Angeles Conference Center, kicked off officially with presentations from various game development houses on the 12th of June. This annual event has quickly become known as the place to be in order to get first class access to the hottest video games of the year with leading names, such as Sony, Electronic Arts, Microsoft, Bethesda and many more, using this platform to showcase their latest games and merchandise. So what did this year’s E3 Conference have to offer?
Attendees were treated to a pleasant surprise at the beginning of the Expo with the announcement of the release of Quake Champions. Quite a few people feared that the name meant that it would be a multiplayer online battle arena version of the game, but iD Software’s studio director, Tim Willits, eased these fears after presenting a brief cinematic trailer as a teaser.
Quake Champions is designed exclusively for PC as a first person shooter game, with the gameplay described as ‘arena style’ and playable by people of any skill level. Willits would go on to describe the PC-exclusive advantages that are standard for any game of this kind, including breathtaking graphics and unlocked frame rates.
The studio described the game as an eSports title, however it is designed to be played competitively by players of any skill level, unlike most other eSports games. Although few details were offered at the event, it is clear that every champion would have distinctive abilities, bringing the game conceptually in line with recent shooter hero games like Overwatch from Blizzard Entertainment.
The Elder Scrolls: Legends
Pete Hines, the Vice President of Bethesda Softworks, gave an overview of the rave reviews that Doom, a science fiction horror first-person shooter video game, continues to receive worldwide. He then gave more information on The Elder Scrolls: Legends, which is a digital card game that was announced at last year’s Expo. Hines showed a cinematic intro for the game told from the point of view of a Moth Priest. He then talked of a two-lane battlefield gameplay, strategic decision making within the game and the game’s full-featured single player mode. It is expected that there will be iPhone and Mac versions of the title released later in the year.
Bethesda Game Studios’ Todd Howard then came next with a video that talked about the famous game studio’s upcoming releases. Fans of Fallout 4 should expect elevators, weapons racks, armor, sorting machines, track kits and a whole host of other contraptions, to be released in an upcoming update. Players will also eventually be able to build their own shelters within the game as well as visit Nuka World, which is a kind of post-apocalyptic arcade or theme park. Fallout Shelter also has an upcoming update to be released soon, featuring a range of new enemies, locations and characters, dweller quests, and a brand new combat system for the PC version of the game.
Raphael Colantonio, who is the co-creative director of Arkane Studios came to the stage next with most of those in attendance expecting him to make a presentation of Dishonored 2, but he instead presented a trailer for an unnamed new game. As it turns out, the new game is named Prey. It confirmed the rumors that the studio has been developing a Prey game but it is, unfortunately not the sequel to Prey 2 from Head Studios, that was a big hit with press and attendees of E3 in 2011. Although the game looks highly impressive, the recycling of the name for what is ultimately an entirely new game is most likely going to destroy the hopes of many gamers.
Doom fans were highly excited by the announcement of a number of free updates to the game that were announced by the studio’s executive director. The announcement made by Marty Stratton from iD Software indicated that players should expect brand new weapons, objects, construction modules, props and new functionality and logic options. This was made even sweeter by the fact that the game updates would be offered for free for the rest of the year.
In addition, there are two multiplayer updates that will be offered to fans: Exodus is a Doom version of a single-flag ‘Capture the Flag’ (CTF) while Sector is the game’s capture-and-hold update. With Unto the Evil, Doom now has a new premium downloadable content pack. It offers players three exclusive maps for multiplayer mode: Ritual, Offering and Cataclysm. There is also a new demon that has been added known as the Harvester.
While it is difficult to judge the mood of Doom fans on the newly released version of this popular multiplayer game, the campaign has attracted an overwhelmingly positive response.
Elder Scrolls Online
The game director of The Elder Scrolls online game, Matt Firor from ZeniMax Online Studios, was up next on stage taking about the large number of people who have played the game from its launch, as well as to introduce a trailer for the title. A Dark Brotherhood downloadable content pack has been released, and the game is scheduled to make its debut in Japan by the end of the year. The launch trailer for the DLC that was showcased at the event promises lots of dark poetry and a lack of safety for the people of Tamriel.
An update that is scheduled for release in the spring will have characters automatically leveling to the content within their world, which allows various players to team up from across the various levels, and it also enables gamers to walk straight from the tutorial into any level of the game. This gives an excellent incentive to new players to get into the game at the same level of their friends who may have already attained a higher rank.
While the announcement and presentation of the new Dishonored 2 game was a definite highlight, most attendees were pleasantly surprised to find that the Quake franchise had been rebooted. Meanwhile, Prey also offered a bittersweet feeling to fans of the popular but different game of the same name. Most of the other games announced were spectacular but predictable. Despite this, hard core gamers definitely have some exciting new games in store for them.