E3 2016 - EA, Bethesda and TellTale Games

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Jacob Heard rounds up the news from Los Angeles.


E3 is here once again, and Sunday saw the conferences of two giants of the industry, EA and Bethesda, taking to the stage to deliver their press conferences. Alongside the monoliths, however, TellTale Games were on hand to give their fanbase plenty to sink their teeth into with screenshots for their latest IP, Batman, and a trailer for the much anticipated Walking Dead season 3.

EA's press conference was one that I did not expect a great deal out of going in. Perhaps one of the most money grabbing game companies out there, with the exception of the devil incarnate that is Konami, EA has made a lot of poor decisions that have rubbed people the wrong way in the past. It's safe to say, their press conference didn't really leave a lasting impression on me, though there were a few positives to be taken away alongside the oh-so-boring Fifa footage.

Titanfall 2 and Mass Effect: Andromeda were the largest positive points from my perspective. With a nice gameplay and story trailer, it's hard not to get at least a bit pumped up for the latest entry into the Titanfall franchise. FPS games are far too frequently seen on the market, usually churned out once a year in an attempt to make a quick buck, but it's been a couple of years since the first Titanfall hit our consoles and it's a welcome change to the genre. There's something about stomping around inside of a huge robot that it immensely satisfying, and, even though I don't have a particularly vested interest in the series, the trailer did do a lot for me.



I adore Mass Effect, and like most people I was just a tad furious at the ending for Mass Effect 3. That said, however, I've been waiting with anticipation for the announcement of a new entry into the series, and we got it this year. Mass Effect: Andromeda's teaser trailer was, in my opinion, pretty good. There's a lot of stuff that needs to be answered; where is this game set in the timeline, does it connect into the story of the other games, etc. But it's announcement was something I'd been looking forward to for a long time and, needless to say, the fanboy in me cheered a bit when it happened. Now the long wait for March begins.

The announcement of Fe, alongside the announcement of EA originals, was another strong point in the conference for me. Fe looks cute and enjoyable, centring on that Ori and the Blind Forest colour palette of blues and purples, and has a lot of potential to be a pleasant experience for players. The goals of EA Originals, seeking out smaller teams and games, and supporting them through development, is particularly interesting and hopeful for the indie games community, and I look forward to seeing how it develops.

That said, it wasn't all good for EA. Fifa, Madden and yet more Star Wars took up a great amount of screen time and I wasn't all too blown away by it. After getting about an hour's worth of play out of the ludicrously underwhelming Star Wars Battlefront, I'd much rather EA just handed the license over to one of those EA Originals indie devs and watched them run with it; I'm sure they'd produce something with a lot more soul and passion than anything EA could hope to churn out.

Bethesda's press-conference was... alright? It wasn't as stupendous as last year's showing but, as last year was Bethesda's first time at E3, that's to be expected. A lot of time was spent stroking the ego of Fallout 4, which I can understand: it won a lot of prizes and was another entry into the frankly brilliant series. With that said, the game didn't do that much for me as an individual and the announcement for the Workshops DLC didn't work miracles either. However, the announcement for a VR Fallout is something I was blown away by. I'm apprehensive about how it's going to turn out given the way in which the Vive works, but the concept of roaming around the Wasteland, gunning down radroaches and all the other hostile wildlife is mind-blowing. Here's hoping Betheda haven't bitten off more than they can chew.



In a similar line to Fallout, Doom had it's ego-stroked to no end. I haven't actually gotten around to playing Doom yet, it's on my list however, but with a crapload of DLC announced it's looking like the game's on the up and up. Plus, the first level is free to download on PS4, Xbox One and PC all through this week, so that's something worth commending Bethesda on.

A cinematic trailer for Prey was released which boggled a lot of minds due to the way this IP has been bandied around over recent years. It looks like a psychological thriller now, a far cry from the bounty-hunter centric Prey 2 we saw last year. That said, it looks... interesting? As is often the case, there will be more information in the coming months leading up to release, but I'm curious to see the direction this game goes in. Quake Champions is a game I have little interest in, but a teaser trailer was shown, so if you're interested, go and check that out.

The Elder Scrolls side of the conference was a tad lacklustre as far as I'm concerned. Hearthstone clone, Elder Scrolls: Legends, was shown off but I think I'm just going to stick to playing Hearthstone unless something amazing happens to fully distinguish one from the other. Bethesda seem to be trying to capitalise on the growing virtual card game market and, whilst I certainly can't blame them for doing so, I'm apprehensive about how successful their latest venture is going to be. Knowing Bethesda, however, they'll likely knock it out of the park.

Elder Scrolls Online never really did much for me at launch; a frankly empty MMO with not a lot of heart or flavour that wasn't the experience Elder Scrolls fans were looking for. I haven't ventured back to Tamriel of ESO since it's poor release, though I've heard a lot of improvements have been made. Bethesda seem to be opening up the world, allowing players to venture to wherever they please now, in a similar suit to the other Elder Scrolls games, rather than the strict moving from lower level zone to higher as is seen in many MMOs. Whilst this sounds cool in concepts, how well it will work in an MMO format remains to be seen. Also, there's a Skyrim remaster coming out for PS4 and Xbox One but, as I already own Skyrim on PC, I don't care all that much. That said, it looks prettier and there's mods on console Skyrim now, something people have been clamouring for for ages.

Dishonoured 2 looks great, though this section of the conference went LONG, perhaps too long. I'm a massive fan of Dishonoured, and even I found this section to be a bit long-winded in places. That aside, Emily's playstyle looks very different to Corvo's with new spells and abilities, and I'm looking forward to seeing how that plays out. The option to pick which protagonist you play as is cool, the fact that the player character will be VOICED instead of silent is a huge plus, and it looks absolutely gorgeous. Roll on it's release day; I'll be picking this one up for sure.



TellTale Games did well, as far as I'm concerned. In an interview with IGN, they showed off their Batman screenshots as well as giving us an idea as to how the game's going to play out. It seems as though you'll be viewing how Bruce Wayne's power and decisions effect the city of Gotham and, therefore, the Gotham he sees when he dons the cowl as Batman. The cast, including Troy Baker, Laura Bailey, and the underrated Erin Yvette is excellent too, and I'm excited to see how the game works.

Walking Dead, however, left a bad taste in my mouth. TellTale Games were key to point Clementine (returning as one of two player characters, the other being the newly introduced Javier) has lost a finger in the trailer, stating that "she's been through some stuff since the last game." Which, to me, reeks of TellTale realising the corner they painted themselves into with the split ending of season 3 and taking giant leaps forward in time to erase any possible impact the choices of season 2 could have. I love TellTale Games, and I love the Walking Dead, and I want to love this game. But right now, I'm not hyped or excited. I'm just apprehensive and a bit sad.

That said, I enjoyed Sunday's conferences, and I'm positive for what comes next for E3. If I haven't passed out from exhaustion or exam stress, I'll be back with more news from E3 soon.

Jacob is a long-time Walking Dead enthusiast with a bizarre idea of what constitutes a 'good character'. He tends to spend most of his time crying into his pillow over Beth Greene's death that happened two years ago.

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