E3 2018 Recap – Microsoft and Bethesda – By FIR35TORM

Editors note: This article took much longer than I initially anticipated, E3 2018 is quite a big event and honestly, I may have bit more than I’ve chewed. We’re all volunteers for Flaktest Gaming and we want to make the most comprehensive articles in our own spare time. So, I apologise for the late article but anyway, let’s start!

Day two of E3 2018 featured conferences from Microsoft and Bethesda. Microsoft showed off a range of new console exclusives, premieres and some big surprises. Meanwhile, Bethesda went full ahead with a range of huge announcements from all their studios. This was a huge day considering that it’s officially the first of EA. So, let’s begin with Microsoft’s conference.

Microsoft’s bulk of trailers

Microsoft started off their conference with a teaser trailer of what it eventually became ‘Halo Infinite’. The trailer showed a range of natural wildlife and ancient glyphs, which eventually led to members of the UNSC and Master Chief, albeit a cleaner suit and from the earlier titles, exploring a new ring planet.

Following from that, we were introduced by Phil Spencer, who briefed us the amount they are showing in their conference. That amount is 50 games, including 18 exclusives and 15 world premieres.  Let’s start off with the biggest announcements.

Forza Horizon goes into 4th gear

The announcement trailer has shown us a McLaren hooning around of a green countryside. During its course, we see a change of seasons, going from summer, autumn, to a snowy winter. Also, in the trailer, we see a range of vehicles including Group A Rally Cars, Off-Road vehicles and exotics supercars, all cruising racing around the vast environment.

Back on the stage, we were given a live demo with a group of players all cruising around of Ralph Fulton described as a shared world. For the first time in a Forza Horizon title, players won’t be driving around with drivatars, but with actual players in the same server. During the demo, they can send quick messages to nearby players and form together to beat periodical special events. Forza Horizon 4 will be out on October 2nd for Xbox One and PC

Microsoft acquires a bunch of studios

Part of rebuilding its portfolio and a plan to introduce more exclusives, Phil Spencer announced Microsoft’s acquisitions to 5 gaming studios. Ninja Theory, Undead Labs, Compulsion Games and Playground Games will be joining under the helm of Microsoft Studios, along with a brand-new studio, The Initiative.

Ninja Theory is well known for its award-winning AAA indie title, ‘Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice’ and a huge step for Microsoft. We’ll expect to see a greater number of exclusives on their platform in the future.

It’s Gears madness!

Not only we’ve seen a new trailer of ‘Gears of War 5’ but also a couple of spin-offs in the franchise. Microsoft-owned studio, The Coalition will be working on ‘Gears Pop!’, a mobile game and ‘Gears Tactics’. The former is inspired by the well-known Pop Vinyls from Funko but what we’ve seen with ‘Gear Tactics’, it’ll be set before the events of ‘Gears of Wars 1’ and will be a turn-based strategy, like the recent XCOM titles.

‘Gears of War 5’ will have a new female lead with Kait Diaz as she goes on a personal journey after the events of ‘Gear of War 4’. With the departure of JD Fenix and the second entry under The Coalition, we believe we’ll see a have a change of pace of the franchise.

And one last thing

Before we saw the end of Microsoft’s conference, Phil Spencer’s closing speech was abruptly cut off with a series of glitches of the lights and then an error screen. We then saw a command prompt in red, entering a set of commands that started a program, which leads to the following words.

What we saw was ‘Cyberpunk 2077’

Based on the pen-and-paper RPG game, ‘Cyberpunk 2077’ will be set on a dystopian fictional city, Night City in the USA. The trailer shows an overall look of the futuristic world featuring mega-corporations, gang battles and cybernetic assassinations (like igniting a person’s brain, literally).

It’s been 5 years since the initial teaser was announced and CDProjekt Red had been silent on it ever since. Just from the new trailer, it looks like ‘Cyberpunk 2077’ could come out anytime soon, but with CDProjekt Red’s attention of detail, they’ve yet to announce a release date. Regardless if ‘Cyberpunk 2077’ is ready next year or much later, we’re all very hyped to see more of this.

What’s the verdict for Microsoft’s conference?

It’s certainly a big conference with game trailers and announcements going back to back, however, I feel that we were given is more of quantity than quality. Thus, just like Microsoft’s last year’s conference, it’s a good showcase but rarely any of the games shown stood out which is a shame. What we can do instead, here’s a list of games that are worth looking into the Xbox One:

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice – From Software
Metro Exodus – 4A games
Kingdom Hearts 3 – Square Enix
We Happy Few – Compulsion Games
The Division 2 – Ubisoft
Shadow of the Tomb Raider – Crystal Dynamics
Devil May Cry 5 – Capcom
Jump Force – Bandi Namco
Dying Light 2 – Techland
Battletoads – Rare

Now it’s time for Bethesda’s Conference

Bethesda’s started their conference with ‘Rage 2’, featuring a live performance of the song from their debut trailer. I must admit, it was a corny way to start a presentation, but I enjoyed it, as for half the audience…well…

Otherwise, the gameplay footage looks very pretty, the gun mechanics look smooth and fluid, closely like DOOM and the guns sound very satisfying. The biggest inclusions of ‘Rage 2’ is the Nanotrite abilities which appear to give the player some superpower-like attacks. Vehicle combat makes a return and will be crucial to a more open-area world, which brings to our next question.

How will ‘Rage 2’ gun combat performs in more open areas? I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

DOOM makes a return!

It’s no surprise that DOOM will be getting a sequel after its wide praise, especially on the single-player component. ‘DOOM Eternal’ will be set on Earth and it’ll continue on the path of the Doom Slayer killing more demon but in a destroyed city that is overwhelmed by evil.

While we were only given a teaser, id Software will be showing more of ‘DOOM Eternal’ and its gameplay at Quakecon.

And some small announcements

‘Prey’ will be receiving some interesting DLCs and modes, first of is ‘Mooncrash’ which will be set on the moon. Judging from the trailer, players will be taking on a simulation, but each run will be slightly different. On top of that, it’ll have a rouge like gameplay element where the player will have to do the entire simulation again.

‘Prey’ will also be receiving a multiplayer mode called Typhon Hunter. It’s basically a 5v1 hide-and-seek mode where one player will fight against 5 players, who are playing as mimics and can disguise just like the in-game enemies.

Meanwhile, ‘Wolfenstein: Youngblood’ is the latest title under the Wolfenstein franchise. It’ll be set in the 1980’s and will be centred around B.J. Blazkowicz daughters, continuing their father’s fight against Nazis. Since you’re able to play both twins, ‘Wolfenstein: Youngblood’ will be a co-op game and slated to release in 2019.

Now for the biggest announcement – Fallout 76

After it’s parody trailer of ‘Skyrim: A Very Special Edition’, seriously, check it out Here, it’s a blast to watch. Bethesda showed off an in-depth look at ‘Fallout 76’ and there’s a lot to discuss. For the first time, ‘Fallout 76’ will be an online-only game and can be played either in single-player or in co-op, up to 4 players.

Set in West Virginia, players will be playing as one of the vault-dwellers of vault 76, one of the very few control vaults that opens 25 years after the nuclear fallout. It’ll be similar of a survival game but compared to games like ‘Rust’ and ‘The Forrest’, it won’t be as unforgiving as you still retain your progress and items.

In the range of gameplay videos, we saw a wide range of new creatures and fauna that suits the folklore within West Virginia. Players will be able to form small settlements that allow them to craft new weapons but will have to defend from exotic creatures, time after time.

Since PvP will be allowed, players will have an opportunity to find launch-codes for nukes around the game map and use them to destroy other settlements. The nuked area will become a high-level zone that allows players to obtain rare objects and loot.

So that’s the gist of ‘Fallout 76’ and many of us from Flaktest are looking forward trying it out. ‘Fallout 76’ will be having a BETA later in the year, cleverly named the Break-it Early Test Application.
Otherwise, ‘Fallout 76’ will be out on November 14th.

But wait, there’s more!

We’ll also be getting a full Elder Scrolls experience on mobile called ‘The Elder Scrolls: Blades’. According to Todd Howard, it’ll be fully playable either on landscape or portrait mode and be free on iOS and Android devices, with more platforms, including VR, in the future.

We also saw a teaser of Bethesda’s newest IP ‘Starfield’ and we think it will be an ambitious space game. And lastly, we’ve got a 15 sec trailer of ‘The Elder Scrolls VI’.

So, what did we think?

Bethesda’s conference hands down is one of the most enjoyable E3 conferences this year. We may not have seen a vast of games like the Microsoft conference, but what was more important, they delivered what we want to see. With games like ‘DOOM Eternal’ ‘Wolfenstien: Youngblood’ and ‘Fallout 76’, I’m confident to say that there’s a game for everyone to enjoy.

This concludes the coverage of the conferences from Microsoft and Bethesda and we still have a lot more to cover. With Square Enix, Ubisoft, Sony and Nintendo conferences to note, we still want to be able to cover them all. So, stay tuned for more E3 coverage.

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