E3 2016: ‘Dishonored 2’ Reveals New World With Familiar Gameplay Style

The first Dishonored game released in 2012, and it introduced the world to the character Corvo Attano, the former protector of the queen who becomes an assassin with supernatural powers to clear his name, rescue the princess (and his daughter) Emily, and perhaps exact some revenge against a list of villainous characters. The game ended up winning over 100 Game of the Year awards and left a deep impression among fans, and the enthusiasm could be felt when the sequel was announced at E3 last year.

Harvey Smith, co-creative director at Arkane Studios took to the stage at Bethesda Softworks’ pre-E3 press conference to explain how Dishonored 2 not only lives up to the celebrated legacy of the first game, but goes far beyond by treating viewers to a first-look at its gameplay. Like the previous game, players will be taken to a steampunk city, and gameplay will blend combat, stealth and mobility to create a variety of different approaches for competing missions. However, the game takes place 15-years after the events of the first game, and players can choose between going through the adventure as Corvo or a grown-up Emily Caldwin, who has her own set of unique abilities. Both characters are fully voiced and offer a unique experience through the game.

The bulk of the game will take place in a city called Karnaca, The Jewel of the South, which has its distinct culture, architecture and feel. The developers made it a point of creating a layered world with an apparent history, like water marks where past floods reached, and old posters peeling from the walls. Smith presented a video showcasing the streets and citizens of Karnaca, and the world is described as a “painting in motion.” The video not only showcased the city streets and buildings, but the capabilities of the Void Engine, built specifically for to bring the world of Dishonored 2 to life.

Dishonored 2 also focuses heavily on the fate of Emily Caldwin, now the queen of Dunwall, and how the events from the previous game shaped her in becoming an adult. A short video established the relationship between the father—Corvo, who is now protector again—and daughter. Unfortunately, Emily’s rule is somewhat short-lived, as a usurper steals the throne from her. Players select a character and use their skills to unravel a conspiracy, embark on a number of unscripted missions, and take back their land.

There are many ways to eliminate targets, and Smith played another video that demonstrated many of Emily’s powers and tools needed to assassinate Vice Overseer Burn to gain favor with a local gang. Actions have consequences, and players are free to do whatever they choose, so they may side with either faction in a gang war, or neither. The gameplay demonstration showed off changing weather effects, like a sudden dust storm that limits the sight of both players and enemies. It also showed open-ended combat, which included sword fighting, guns, powers, and explosives to collapse the elements of the environment onto enemies. Smith noted that all of Emily and Corvo’s abilities could be fully upgraded with an all-new skill tree, which allows for deep customization.


Smith noted that the Dishonored experience is all about options and exploration. The player’s actions will shape Karnaca’s future, and they can complete missions however they want, at their own pace. Players can choose stealth or combat, lethal or non-lethal, methods to get the job done.

The gameplay demonstration finished with a mission called “A Crack in the Slab,” which demonstrates how missions are “built around big interesting themes.” In this case, players explore a ruined manor that has been sealed off for several years. It was wrecked by an occultist event, and the character’s supernatural powers won’t work within its walls. Even time behaves strangely, as players use a device to slip back-and-forth through time from the ruined present, to the past when the manor was lavish and inhabited.

Dishonored 2‘s presentation finished with a world premiere of a new trailer. Bethesda’s VP of PR & marketing concluded the pre-E3 event by announcing the Dishonored 2 Collector’s Edition, which will feature a replica of Corvo’s mask and Emily’s ring. Hines encouraged fans to act quickly, because if the Fallout 4 should be any kind of indication, these collector’s editions tend to sell out quickly. Furthermore, those that pre-order the game both at retail stores or digitally will receive a free copy of Dishonored Definitive Edition, which includes the original game and all its add-ons remastered for current consoles.

Dishonored 2 releases on November 11 for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC.

Bethesda To Release ‘Fallout 4’ In VR

If you’ve ever wanted to visit The Wastelands on a more immersive level, we have good news. During its E3 press conference, Bethesda Softworks marketing chief, Pete Hines announced that Fallout 4 will debut on the HTC Vive virtual reality headset in 2017.

“Let’s not make a short version of Fallout 4—the promise is the whole game,” game director, Todd Howard said.

This will make Fallout 4 the first big open-world game to get an official, studio-released virtual reality mode. (With some work, players can already play Fallout 4 on Oculus Rift with VorpX.) As this game is being specifically ported for virtual reality, however, time will tell how the work-around compares with Bethesda’s official product.

In Fallout 4, players must wander the Wastelands with their trusty canine companion, Dogmeat. An interactive wrist device called the Pip Boy allows players to access their in-game menus, notes, etc. “If you thought that survival mode was an intense way to experience Fallout“, Bethesda marketing chief Pete Hines said at the company’s E3 press conference, “you ain’t seen nothing yet.”

Doom in VR was also announced, although it appears to be a virtual tour of the hellish landscape rather than a complete game. Bethesda is showing demos of both Doom and Fallout 4 in VR at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) this week. Marketing extends beyond the show floor with discounts on Fallout items on Bethesda’s online store during E3.


E3 2016: Bethesda Offers First Level Of ‘Doom’ For Free

During this evening’s E3 press conference, Bethesda announced that a free demo will be available for those who’d like to try Doom. Beginning tonight, the first level of Doom will be available for free on Steam, Xbox One and PS4 this week only. The Doom open beta took place on April 15-17 for the Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC, giving players everywhere a chance to jump in and get a taste of the multiplayer action. This new demo allows players to try the bloody campaign, as well.

Bethesda said this offering was meant to be in the spirit of shareware demos that were so popular on the PC when the first Doom was popular.

Bethesda Doom

Doom launched last month at number two on the charts, but Bethesda hopes to attract even more players with this clever, if not brief, promotion. “Doom ranked second for May 2016 sales on a unit basis and had the best first month of sales for any game in the franchise when combining sales across platforms—exceeding sales of Doom 3’s launch on the PC in August 2004,” said NPD analyst, Liam Callahan in her latest report.

For those already playing Doom, new content is on the way. Bethesda also said that more DLC was coming soon, including new maps and multiplayer modes.

Doom’s user-generated content and level-creator Snapmap is going to receive free updates, including new construction models, props, weapons, and items. New options will allow users to create their own single-player experiences. Two new modes will also arrive next month, including Exodus and Sector, as well as a free-for-all mode. These updates will be available to all players on all existing maps.

The studio also announced a new multiplayer DLC, Unto the Evil will feature three new maps—Offering, Cataclysm, and Ritual. A brand-new demonic enemy called the Harvester will also be introduced with the update.

‘Quake: Champions’ Blasts Into Next-Gen ESports

Quake: Champions kicked off the Bethesda E3 press conference this year—an unexpected announcement that thrusts the classic, competitive shooter into the modern world of eSports. Id software’s creative director, Tim Willits took the stage to announce a new arena shooter under the iconic franchise. “Yes, Quake is back,” he said.

It has been nine years since the launch of Enemy Territory: Quake Wars, making the trailer a surprise for some fans and “about time” for others.

The reveal trailer for Quake: Champions did not show any actual gameplay, but showcased a number of CG characters and weapons battling across a multi-tiered environment. A PC exclusive title, Quake: Champions runs at 120hz with unlocked frame rates. More information about the game will be unveiled at Quakecon 2016 this August, which is expected to attract over 10,000 fans, according to Willits.

In commemoration of the game’s 20th anniversary, Quakecon will host tournaments for the original Quake title in all its retro, shooter glory.

Quake was first launched in 1996 and has been a major player in the history of eSports ever since. iD Software, since its conception, was at the forefront of the first-person shooter (FPS) genre with games like Quake and Doom. Bethesda Softworks has taken an aggressive marketing strategy for their Doom reboot this year, so it will be interesting to see how the publisher markets Quake: Champions in the coming months, especially to celebrate the franchise’s 20th anniversary.


Sci-Fi Psychological Thriller, ‘Prey’ Announced

Raphael Calantonio, global VP of PR and marketing, took the stage at the Bethesda Softworks pre-E3 press conference on behalf of Arkane Studios and began with speaking about the studio’s vision for creating games. Arkane specializes in first-person immersive games that makes sure each experience is different and that every choice has its consequences.

He then discussed the critical success of 2012’s Dishonored, but instead of transitioning to talking about Dishonored 2 as many expected, Calantonio announced an all-new game that’s based on those values, but with a psychological thrill tossed in. The trailer was the world’s first introduction to the protagonist, Morgan Yu, who is perpetually waking up on Monday March 15, 2032. Although he goes through the same routine, his physical state appears to be degrading. After a few iterations, Morgan is seen in a ruined laboratory, fighting off creatures. It isn’t the end that viewers are made aware that the trailer is for Prey.

Calantonio then returned to provide some additional background on the game. It will take place in the year 2032 on a space station called Talos One, where experiments are being conducted on Morgan to alter the human race. Of course, things go wrong, and the space station becomes overrun with an alien threat. Players will need to rely on all the tools at their disposal in order to survive and uncover the secrets of Talos One, including “wits, weapons and mind-bending abilities.”

More details about Prey will be revealed later this summer at Quakecon, and the game is expected to release next year on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC. Prey does not appear to have any connection to the 2006 game of the same name developed by Human Head Studios.

EA Caters To Fans With New ‘Star Wars’ Line-Up

Star Wars is a massive franchise with a catalog of lore that grows daily through film, books, comics and video games. While it’s no surprise that EA has several Star Wars games in the works, the publisher is working with a number of developers to create something for everyone.

In a new video shown at the EA Play Press Conference today, the publisher put emphasis on catering to the fans, regardless of where their loyalties lie in regard to game platform, play style or favorite era in the franchise.

“What we’re really trying to do at EA,” says Justin McCully, general manager of EA Star Wars. “Is to cater to different parts of the Star Wars universe and create different game experiences that are tailor-made for those fans.”

Star Wars: Battlefront is expected to receive free content and three more digital expansion packs by the end of 2016. DICE is also working with Criterion on an exclusive Battlefront VR mission for PlayStation VR this year. For mobile title, Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes, Capital Games has added new features like guilds, raids and chat with more updates planned for this year. This December, BioWare will celebrate the 5th anniversary of the MMO game, Star Wars: The Old Republic. 

No new games were announced during the E3 EA Play Press Conference this year, aside from mentioning an unknown project by Visceral Games and a third-person adventure title led by Respawn Entertainment. The Visceral project is overseen by industry veteran, Amy Hennig, who says they are working on an “authentic Star Wars experience” for the fans.

“EA has some really exciting plans in the works for the Star Wars portfolio,” says Jade Raymond, vice president and general manager of Motive Studios and Visceral Games. “What we’re doing is bringing in talent from across the industry and letting them loose. We have completely different games on the horizon and I hope that every fan walks away going, ‘wow, I never thought they were going to bring my Star Wars fantasy to life.”


‘Fe’ Premieres As EA Originals’ First Indie Title

Fe, a colorful story of discovery, communication and conflict, developed by Zoink, a small 20-person game development studio in Gothenburg, Sweden, is the first indie title to be part of EA Originals. Players take control of a little creature who must traverse the 3D-platformer world by learning the songs of creatures and plants living there. An official release date has yet to be announced.

Following the successful partnership between EA and Coldwood Interactive for Unravel, Electronic Arts is on the look-out for new (and potentially profitable) game ideas to make a reality. Announced during its E3 EA Play Press Conference today, Patrick Söderlund, executive vice president of EA Studios explained that the new initiative will discover, partner with and fund original games. 

“EA Originals is about three things,” Patrick Söderlund, executive vice president of EA Studios announced in an official blog post. “First, it is about taking first-time experiences that are unique, gorgeous, innovative and memorable, and bringing them to the world. Second, it is about supporting small developers and helping them make the most of their games. We’ll seek a few projects each year for EA Originals, and partner with them throughout the process of development to marketing to publishing.”

“Lastly, it is about funding, and offering small studios a level of security with an EA Originals game. Making games is hard. It’s a hard business. These developers have taken on the risk of developing a new IP, and great games deserve to be played. So with EA Originals, we want the profits from these games to go into the hands of the studios making them. We want them to be recognized for their work, so they can keep innovating and creating, and so the players get to play more and more amazing games.”

In addition to supporting independent game developers, EA announced Play To Give, a series of video game challenges that allow players to earn donations to charitable donations. For example, players can assist each other in Battlefield 4—when completed, the challenge will chip in towards a charitable donation. Beneficiaries of the Play To Give initiative include those supporting STEM education and gender equality.

‘Battlefield 1’ Emphasizes Epic, Dynamic Gameplay

Patrick Söderlund, EVP of EA Studios, appeared on the EA Play stage to introduce the final game showcased at the EA Play press event: Battlefield 1. He started by telling audiences about how the Battlefield franchise currently has more than 60 million players around the world. That means that the developers at DICE have a responsibility something bold and epic with each game, which means that the studio has to take creative risks and pioneer the military first-person shooter field. In short, “Battlefield 1 can be no ordinary game.”

The audience was then shown a short trailer using in-game footage to showcase its heart-thumping scenes. Patrick Bach, general manager at DICE, then took to the stage and explained that the trailer was just a small piece of a longer trailer that would be shown later. Bach then explained the vision for Battlefield 1, how DICE had huge ambitions for the game, and that it would be an “Epic and unforgettable experience for our players.”

Bach outlined the three pillars of the Battlefield 1 experience, which would guarantee “a dynamic experience where no battle is ever the same.” They are:

  • Destruction. Destruction is a hallmark of the Battlefield The destructible world will feel more intuitive and natural than ever, creating unlimited gameplay possibilities as players impact the world.
  • Dynamic Weather. The weather will change unpredictably in Battlefield 1, and players will need to adjust their tactics accordingly.
  • A Variety of Weapons and Vehicles. Vehicles and weapons add to the range of experience players have on the battlefield. Most notably, World War I (aka The Great War) gave birth to some of the largest vehicles ever made, and players will be able to take control of massive beasts such as the Behemoths—giant war zeppelins. Battlefield 1 will feature airships, armored trains, and battleships so that players can take the fight across land, air and sea.

The Battlefield 1 presentation concluded with the full-length trailer teased earlier, and the EA Play press event finished out with a 64-player livestream of the game featuring celebrities Jamie Foxx and Zack Efron facing off against each other on opposing teams. Attendees joined in the action using kiosk stations. Whether they were watching online or attending the event live, audiences everywhere got their first in-depth look at Battlefield 1‘s gameplay before the game releases worldwide on October 21.

E3 2016: ‘Mass Effect: Andromeda’ Focuses On Story, Player Freedom

“At the heart of ‘Mass Effect: Andromeda’ is a question,” said Bioware general manager, Aaryn Flynn. “‘How far will we go?'”

In the latest installment of the Mass Effect franchise, players take the role of a pioneer travelling to a new galaxy in search of humanity’s new home. Bioware also emphasized the idea of pushing limits, and compared exploring the game as a character and as a developer in a behind-the-scenes video.

The Mass Effect franchise is known for its storytelling, and Andromeda will be no different, according to the E3 EA Play Press Conference today. There are three major features players can look forward to, according to Flynn:

  • More Freedom: Flynn announced that Mass Effect Andromeda will give players more freedom than any other Bioware game to date.
  • New Uncharted WorldsOur story, as the title suggests, takes place in the Andromeda galaxy, where humans are alien. This fact will open up opportunities for new environments, characters, enemies and challenges.
  • The Next Great Mass Effect Experience: Created using EA’s Frostbite Engine, in-game footage of Mass Effect Andromeda looks sharp and colorful, allowing players to fully immerse themselves into a vast world spanning galaxies, planets and terrains. This is the first time a game in this franchise has been built using the Frostbite Engine.

Mass Effect Andromeda planet

Mass Effect Andromeda was originally scheduled to launch in March of this year, but has been pushed back to early 2017, according to the developer. “As we’ve been playing the game at the studio recently,” Flynn writes on the Mass Effect blog, “It’s showing us that we’re taking the game in the right direction. But we also know we need the right amount of time to make sure we deliver everything the game can be and should be–that’s our commitment from all of us to all of you.”

E3 2016: ‘Titanfall 2’ Adds Single-Player, Extends To PS4

Titanfall 2 hopes to introduce more players to the bond between man and machine, as Electronic Arts announced today. During its E3 EA Play press conference, Respawn Entertainment’s CEO, Vince Zampella took the stage and introduced the world to an all-new way to “stand by for Titanfall”—singleplayer campaign. While the first title was multiplayer-only and exclusive to Microsoft devices, this new take on the world of pilots and their protective, mech partners will allow for immersion into the story behind the action.

In the world of Titanfall, the mechs are programmed to aid and protect their pilots in the line of duty. As seen in the official single-player trailer, a Titan named B27274 has lost his original pilot and even seems to mourn as the bond is broken in death. Stranded behind enemy lines, the veteran, Vanguard-class Titan teams up with a militia rifleman named Jack Cooper to finish his mission. This dynamic adds a sense of humanity and purpose to both B27274 and Cooper, who wants to be a pilot and is suddenly thrust into the world we wanted in a way he didn’t expect.

Titanfall 2

In addition to the all-new campaign mode, Electronic Arts will publish Titanfall 2 on PlayStation 4 alongside Xbox One and PC, extending the franchise from a Microsoft-exclusive to a more accessible brand.

Multiplayer will feature six all-new Titans, new Pilot abilities, an expanded customization system, progression system, new maps and more, according to the official website. EA has already unveiled a new Titan called Scorch and three special, pilot abilities. The site also hints at new ways to team up via online networks, with “more details coming soon.”

Titanfall 2 is scheduled for launch on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC on October 28, 2016.