Grading the Bethesda Press Conference

E3 2017 was a quiet year for Bethesda, yeah they gave us a new Wolfenstein and Prey, but things were quiet from the flagship studio Bethesda Game Studios.  Leaving many people disappointed and wondering why Bethesda bothered to have a showcase and instead just show their new games at another conference.  This year needed to be a big year for them and they started it off in a big way.

After Pete Hines took a shot at the Walmart leak they cut to Rage 2, opening the segment with a live performance of Good Day to Die by Andrew WK.  Being co-developed by both iD and Avanlanche, Rage 2 looks like it will be the energetic shot in the arm that the sequel needs.  Though multiple editions are up for pre-order the game currently has spring 2019 listed as the release date.

Next up we got the reveal of Doom Eternal, the follow up to excellent 2016 Doom.  Though all that was revealed was a brief teaser and the promise to dial an already energetic game up to 11.  More information for Doom Eternal is expected at Quake Con, and while Amazon has a placeholder date of December 28th, its probably best to expect this one in late 2019 or early 2020.

Next, there were segments on Elder Scrolls Legends, Elder Scrolls Online and Quake Champions.  They announced that Legends would be coming to consoles later this year.  They also talked about the Valenwood expansion which had dropped recently.  These segments were kept brief as there wasn’t much to discuss.  On the Quake front, they announced that there would be an open beta for Quake throughout E3, and that anyone that downloaded the game to play would be able to keep it forever.

There were also expansion announcements for Wolfenstein 2 and Prey.  For Wolfenstein, we will be receiving the Youngblood DLC.  This content is set in the 1980s with players taking on the role of BJ’s twin daughters.  The unique thing here is that this experience can be played in co-op, a first for the series.  The Youngblood DLC is expected to land in summer of 2019.  As for Prey there are two big pieces of content coming, the first is called Mooncrash.  Mooncrash will be a rogue-like run adventure which is procedurally generated.  Mooncrash is available today, finally, they announced Typhon Hunter.  Typhon Hunter is a 1 v 5 mode in which one human player is hunting mimics that are hiding, essentially a Prey version of GMod’s Prop Hunt.  This mode will be available later this summer.

Todd Howard closed the show detailing Fallout 76 and other BGS projects.  First up he did confirm that Fallout 76 will be an online only game.  Up to 32 players will be on a server, with there being no permanent base destruction to prevent griefing.  There will also the ability to gain launch codes and nuke locations, creating highly radioactive zones that are dangerous but also rewarding.  Fallout 76 will be available on November 14th, 2018 and that there will be a pre-launch beta available to those that pre-order the game.

Finally, Todd Howard talked about other projects that studios under the BGS umbrella were working on.  Starting with a very on the nose reference to the Skyrim on the fridge jokes, they revealed the Skyrim Very Special Edition for the Amazon Alexa.  A barebones text adventure set in Skyrim which is available for play.  They also jokingly announced Skyrim for the pager and for the smart fridge.  Then started showing real announcements, first of which was Elder Scrolls Blades, a fully functional Elder Scrolls experience for mobile devices, but will later be ported to consoles and PC.  Next up was a reveal teaser for Starfield, the first new IP from BGS is over 20 years.  This game is in full production but there wasn’t much to show of it.  The teaser for Elder Scrolls 6 closed the show for Bethesda.

Bethesda hit every note that needed to be hit to keep their fans happy.  Realistically last years was kind of the quiet year for them, and generally, when people think of Bethesda they think of Elder Scrolls and Fallout.  They think of Bethesda the studio, not Bethesda the publisher of games like Quake, Doom or Dishonored.  The jokes and commentary clearly show that their team does read our feedback or at least the people that wrote the words on the teleprompter do.  They referenced the Walmart leak, too many Skyrim ports and the notoriety of bugs in BGS titles.  Ultimately though I feel the Bethesda press event earned a solid B.  They showed what they needed to in order to keep fans happy, but some leaks kind of took the wind out of their sails in terms of generating buzz.



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