If they didn’t remind you a few times, you’d have likely not known last year was Bethesda’s first E3 conference. The publisher pulled out all the stops and put on a great show that had people talking for weeks after it was all said and done. This year Bethesda is back and expectations are high, but can they make lightning strike twice? Well, losing the punch of a Fallout 4 announcement can do a lot to the oomph your conference packs, and this year’s event didn’t resonate quite as well as last years.
They sure know how to start a show though. Last year it was the DOOM reveal, the same DOOM that released last month to great critical and fan reception. This year it was Quake, Quake Champions to be exact, a PC arena shooter. Bethesda was quick to point out that while there would be some modern ideas, Quake had to feel like Quake. We were promised the best visuals at the best framerate (unlocked). No gameplay was shown, but we were told to look to Quakecon (because what is Quakecon without Quake?) for more.
From there, Bethesda got The Elder Scrolls: Legends out of the way. Though I am not a huge fan of the Online TCGs that are becoming the biggest thing since MOBAs, Legends certainly looks interesting enough to warrant some attention from enthusiasts. Tactics seems to play a bigger role with positioning apparently an important mechanic. Not much was said during the stage event of how all the mechanics work, but the game was playable for attendees. It was good that Bethesda talked about Legends early to not disrupt the momentum of later announcements of bigger titles, something a lot of other publishers can learn from.
Now onto Bethesda Game Studios who are hard at work on more Fallout 4 content. Aside from adding new items for building up your settlement, Bethesda is adding the ability to build your own vault ala Fallout Shelter (also coming to PC). This isn’t just Fallout Shelter in 3D though as it uses all the settlement mechanics found in vanilla Fallout 4. There is also a new content expansion for Nuka World, the vacation destination for all wastelanders. To close his segment, Todd Howard teased fans by saying “yes, we’ve been working on it,” only to reveal a Skyrim remaster rather than the new Elder Scrolls game we all hope is in production. That being said, the remaster will be available on both current gen consoles and PC and includes many graphical improvements without the need for mods. Speaking of mods, Skyrim Remastered will follow in Fallout 4’s footsteps by bringing mods to consoles. It is set to release on October 28th.
Rumors of Prey 2 would soon be unfounded, there is no Prey 2, it is a reboot. Prey will follow an experiment subject who is apparently reliving the same day over and over until an alien infestation forces him to take action. The trailer was all CG and the game is likely still a ways away, but it is being developed, as expected, by Arkane Studios. I imagine we’re looking at an early 2018 release considering they are still hard at work on Dishonored 2 and the obvious post release content. They say 2017, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see a delay given the shaky history of Prey.
Though The Elder Scrolls Online wouldn’t give us the new TES game we were looking for, the folks at Zenimax Online did give fans something to be excited about. They will be removing level and faction requirement from zones, making ESO truly open and making it easier than even to connect with friends. One Tamriel will scale players to the zone’s level and I imagine it will be similar to how Guild Wars 2 does it. Furthermore, fans were treated to a trailer for the Dark Brotherhood DLC coming to consoles this month.
Now with VR being the latest and greatest tech in gaming, Bethesda wanted to remind everyone that they have been a leader in VR development since its inception. They are putting their money where their mouth is too by having VR support for DOOM and Fallout 4 at their show, and confirming that Fallout 4 would be released for the HTC Vive in 2017. As someone who understands just how cool VR can be, but can’t quite justify the cost, this makes a compelling case to pinch pennies until 2017.
Finally, Bethesda brought out Dishonored 2 in a lengthy segment showing off improvements over the first game and several gameplay sequences. It makes sense so much time would be dedicated to the biggest game in their 2016 release schedule. The game, much like its predecessor, looks great and is sure to be another hit. There are more ways to play your way, be it stealth or brute force, and with two different playable characters and multiple mission outcomes, each player will get a different side of the story. It was a fine conclusion to the show and one of the more in-depth looks at a game I’ve ever seen at a stage event.
In all, Bethesda did a fine job on their second outing. It was near impossible that they would be able to outdo themselves from last year, but they still put on a better showing than most others at E3. It would have been nice to see a new TES, but it is forgivable given Fallout 4 is still fairly new. It also would have been nice to have a new Wolfenstein announcement, especially since there were hints to a new entry in their opening. Still, Bethesda has once again set the standard for everyone to match this year.