E3 Game Replay: Bethesda, Microsoft press conference highlights

Gaming news summary for June 13, 2016

Welcome to the Game Replay, usually the thrice-weekly look back at the wider world of gaming by the staff of MacNN. Due to E3 taking place this week, there are going to be a higher number of Game Replay posts than usual, covering the major announcements to come out of the major games industry event. Today's post will cover announcements coming out of press conferences from Bethesda and Microsoft.

Bethesda: Fallout 4 add-ons, Quake Champions, Prey remade, Skyrim remastered

Fans of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim will be able to play the game again, but at a higher quality level than before. Confirmed at E3, Bethesda is bringing out a remastered version of the game to PC, Xbox One and the PlayStation 4 from October 28. While all versions will feature improvements to the graphical quality of the game, the console versions will include support for mods, curated by the company itself. PC players will also get an extra benefit, with anyone who owns the original game and all downloadable content, or the Legendary Edition on Steam, getting a free upgrade to the Special Edition.

Continuing the theme, Bethesda revealed the introduction to the campaign mode of The Elder Scrolls: Legends, a strategic card game. Arriving on PC, Mac, iOS, and Android, it is currently undergoing a closed beta, with the company regularly adding more players to the testing group.

The recently-released Doom remake now has a demo available for players who don't already own the game to try out, for a limited time. Owners will soon get free updates to the SnapMap creation tool, adding more visual options and map elements, while multiplayer itself will soon gain a one-flag capture-the-flag mode and the multi-zone capture-and-hold mode "Sector." The first premium DLC for the game will be coming out next month, with Unto the Evil offering three new multiplayer maps, a player-controlled demon, a new weapon, and new customization options.

FPS stablemate Quake is also making a resurgence, in the form of Quake Champions. An arena-style multiplayer shooter, it is being pitched as a potential title for eSports, though this time it is differing by allowing players to select from a roster of champions with distinctive abilities, rather than keeping players equal in terms of attributes and capabilities. More details about the game will be offered during QuakeCon in August.

Sci-fi FPS game Prey is being reimagined by Arkane Studios, adding a "psychological twist" to proceedings. Playing as Morgan Yu, a character subjected to experiments to try and improve the human race, players must explore the Talos 1 space station and fend off an alien force using available tools and special abilities. The reworked Prey will be coming out next year on current-generation consoles and PC.

Lastly, the Fallout franchise. Fallout 4 will be gaining three more add-ons, listed as the Contraptions Workshop, Vault-Tec Workshop, and Nuka-World, with the first arriving next week. Fallout Shelter, the mobile title, will be updated to 1.6 and introduce quests, a new combat system, more characters, and extra locations to explore.

Microsoft: Two new Xbox One consoles, Gwent, Halo Wars 2, Forza Horizon 3

While the games typically take up the bulk of press conferences, probably the biggest thing to come out of Microsoft's E3 event is the confirmation that it is producing not one, but two new Xbox One consoles. The first, the Xbox One S, is a smaller version of the existing model that can be stood vertically, adds in 4K video support and HDR for gaming and video, and loses the dedicated Kinect sensor port. Arriving in early August with a 2TB hard drive for $400, it will soon be joined by two other capacities, with the 1TB and 500GB versions priced at $350 and $300 respectively.

The second console, dubbed Project Scorpio, is an attempt to make 4K gaming on a console a reality. Similar to Sony's confirmed upcoming console, Project Scorpio will be a high-powered console with eight CPU cores, over 320GB/s of memory bandwidth, 6 teraflops of GPU power, be able to render games at 4K, and handle virtual reality content, though Microsoft did not explain how that would work. Expected late next year, the console will play its own games, and will also be compatible with all Xbox One titles and peripherals.

For all generations of the Xbox One console, there are some new features on the way. PC games will be making their way to Xbox Live, Cortana is heading to the Xbox One to provide new voice-based capabilities, cross-play between players on Xbox One and Windows 10 can now play together, and Minecraft players on iOS and Android devices can play with those on Windows 10 phone and PC. Other changes include the addition of clubs, advertising for players in "Looking for Group" notifications, the Arena online tournament platform, and language region independence.

Amongst the gaming announcements, the Witcher card game Gwent has been confirmed. Recently rumored, the game will be arriving on Xbox One and PC in a closed beta this September, but will also ship on the PlayStation 4. While it will be a free-to-play game with in-game purchases, similar to other digital collectible card games, it is unclear if it will be taking the extra step of shipping on tablets in the future.

Halo Wars 2 received a new trailer, along with a release date of February 21. The real-time strategy game from 343 Industries and The Creative Assembly is also being made available to play right now, but as a beta on the Xbox One, with up to six players able to take each other on in the Halo universe.

Initially revealed last year before entering a long period of radio silence, ReCore will be arriving on September 13 on PC and the Xbox One. Starring an assortment of robots with unique abilities, the puzzle and third-person shooter requires players to navigate the map and get past hazards, while destroying enemy robots.

During the event, Microsoft offered a brief look at Gears of War 4's gameplay. Starring JD Fenix, Marcus Fenix's son, the video showed a few minutes of the single-player campaign, which players will be able to experience more of on October 11.

Forza also made an appearance, with Playground Games showing off Forza Horizon 3. A slight departure from the urban-heavy earlier games, the third is set in Australia, and will require players to control off-road vehicles. Arriving on September 27, the game will ship for the Xbox One and PC, notably making it the first in the franchise to have a full release on Windows.


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