The Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) doesn’t open until Tuesday at the Los Angeles Convention Center, but it unofficially began Sunday night with a news conference at Hollywood’s Dolby Theatre hosted by Bethesda Softworks.
The company brought out the gore, showcasing extended sequences from violent games “Doom” and “Fallout 4” and confirmed the production of a sequel to 2012’s “Dishonored.” Bethesda executive Pete Hines set the tone at the outset, jokingly alluding to the fact that the Dolby is home to the Academy Awards.
“We aren’t here to hand out statues, but we are here to have a celebration of our own, complete with blood and guts and a bunch of stuff blowing up,” Hines said.
He wasn’t kidding, as moments later scenes from 2016’s re-imagining of “Doom” focused on demons being sliced in half. The enthusiastic and friendly crowd roared when a demonic character ripped off the arms of the player’s avatar and then used the limbs as weapons.
For the Bethesda faithful, the night wasn’t without a few surprises.
The company unveiled that a mobile game inspired by the postapocalyptic series “Fallout” would be released for free for iPhones on Sunday evening. Dubbed “Fallout Shelter,” the game takes a far more cutesy approach than this November’s “Fallout 4,” as players will manage the tiny inhabitants of a nuclear shelter.
Early in the night Bethesda confirmed “Dishonored 2” would be released in the spring of 2016. Set 15 years after the events of the first game on a once ornate coastal town, “Dishonored 2” will be the rare mainstream video game to star a female character in a leading role. Players will have the option of inhabiting either Empress Emily Kaldwin or Corvo Attano, both returning characters for the first game.
Kaldwin, a child in the first title, has been dethroned and is seeking a return to power. Arkane Studios, the game makers, promised that the supernatural thriller would allow the game to be played without killing a soul. A trailer highlighted Kaldwin’s powers, including the ability to freeze time and shape-shift.
The night’s main event, however, was clearly “Fallout 4.”
Game director Todd Howard walked the audience through a host of the game’s features, including the ability to craft and personalize a main character – male or female – by simply clicking on facial features. Few plot details were offered – “We're not going to be spoiling or talking about the game's story,” Howard said – but the game will begin in a retro-futuristic world that hasn’t yet been wrecked by a nuclear attack.
“Events transpire,” Howard said, and the core of the game will take place 200 years after the attack and be set in a dystopian take on Boston. The game will allow those to play from a first- or third-person perspective, and “Fallout’s” version of a smartwatch – the “Pip Boy” – will come loaded with mini games-within-a-game inspired by vintage arcade titles.
A collector’s edition of the game will even include a wearable Pip Boy that will act as a forearm case for mobile phones. No prices were given at the conference.
Extended sequence from “Fallout 4,” some set to the tune of the Five Stars’ “Atom Bomb Baby,” detailed the game’s extensive crafting system, which will allow players to create their own settlements from the ground up, as well as the title’s distinctive take on video game violence. One scene, for instance, showed a Teddy Bear-equipped rocket that destroyed a man’s face.
E3 will begin early Tuesday, but expect a host of game announcements Monday. Microsoft and Sony will each stage their own news conferences for upcoming games on their respective platforms, and studios such as Ubisoft and Electronic Arts will also host press events.