Looking to follow up on a very strong 2016 showing, Bethesda took the stage with the element of surprise in their back pockets. With Dishonored 2 as the only game confirmed to be appearing at the conference, it left them a lot of leeway to surprise and excite fans of the publisher. Here’s how they delivered!
Quake Champions – Longtime Quake fans have been hoping for a new release for a long time. With this competitive first person shooter coming to the PC, Bethesda hopes to appeal to fans old and new. Trying to recapture that arena shooter feel that classic Quake games did bigger and better than anyone else will be the greatest challenge, and Bethesda also seems to want to capitalize on the series’ esports potential. An encouraging factor for consideration is the success that the studio has had in previous years rebooting older titles like Wolfenstein and Doom, so there is reason to hope that this is the Quake game fans have been dreaming of. Look for more information about the game at the upcoming QuakeCon in August.
Elder Scrolls Legends CCG – This virtual collectible card game based on the Elder Scrolls universe will feature a full single player campaign and story mode when it hits on PC, Apple, and Android devices. Whether or not it has the quality to match insanely popular CCGs like Hearthstone remains to be seen, but it will pique the interest of fans of this fantasy universe.
Fallout 4 – The studio continues to support and expand upon its marquee release of last year, with the Contraption Workshop DLC giving players new items and machines to craft when it releases next week. A second piece of revealed DLC will allow player to create their own in game vault, and appears to be an almost carbon copy of the Fallout Shelter mobile game that has now been built in to the main release. This expansion is slated to launch in July. Finally, a story DLC was revealed. The Wasteland Vacation will come to the game this August, and appears to take place at some sort of Nuka Cola branded amusement park. A last bit of Fallout related news was a major update to the mobile game, which will bring new locations, enemies, combat, character, and weapons into the fray. The game will also see a PC release along with these changes that are scheduled for this July.
Skyrim Special Edition – This edition of the game will come to modern consoles on October 28th of this year, and will feature remastered art and effects, as well as support for in game mods on console. The biggest question will be whether or not those players who have been modding on PC for years will see this version of the game as a worthwhile investment.
Prey – A complete reboot of the franchise in all but name, this installment in the series seems to cater more towards psychological horror themes, as the player is put in the position of a character who is the subject of an experiment gone wrong, and is now stranded on a space station overrun by alien life forms. This survival horror title will be coming to Xbox One, Playstation 4, and the PC.
Doom – Perhaps Bethesda’s biggest surprise success in recent memory, the popularity of the newest Doom game continues to increase, and the studio is more than happy to continue their support for it. A bevy of free updates to the game were revealed, including free Snapmap updates that contain new modules and themes, as well as now allowing players to create single player experiences. Also announced was a new multiplayer mode coming next month, with hints at three new modes total, all free to play. To round out the free to play goodness, the first level of the game is available this week only at no cost.
Elder Scrolls Online – The MMORPG based in the Elder Scrolls universe is going strong at over 7 million players, and will launch in Japan on June 23rd. This Tuesday, players can check out the Dark Brotherhood DLC pack, which follows one of the most popular questlines from the main game series. The most interesting announcement was the One Tamriel system, which integrates level scaling to allow players of all levels to party up for questing and raiding regardless of in game level.
Bethesda VR – The first of what should be many mentions of VR at this year’s E3, Bethesda got the ball rolling by announcing the Doom VR experience, which allows players to take a virtual tour of Hell. This was followed up a similar announcement for a Wasteland tour of Fallout 4, and was capped off by the reveal of the full Fallout 4 game experience launching in 2017 as an HTC Vive exclusive.
Dishonored 2 – The best game of the conference was certainly saved until the last, and many doubter’s questions may have been put to bed as the gameplay demonstration of Dishonored 2 wowed. The steampunk art theme of the first game has aged incredibly, and is a nice change of pace from the hyper realism that is the aim of many modern games. Also intriguing is that narrative sequences and audio are fully interruptible, allowing the player to truly play however they want. Set 15 years after the first game, Emily now rules, watched over closely by her father Corvo, the protagonist of the first game. After her throne is taken from her, the player is able to choose whether to play as Corvo or Emily, both of whom have their own fully upgradeable ability trees. The missions that were showcased at the conference demonstrated numerous innovations and improvements over the first game, and has me admittedly excited for its launch on the Playstation 4, Xbox 1, and PC on November 11th of this year.
A second consecutive strong showing by Bethesda. The conference was well paced, and didn’t seem to be lacking for content, all of which was diverse and interesting. Whether you are a fan of old games, looking for continued support on your current favorite, or excited about the future, this conference had you covered. It was important that Dishonored 2 hit hard, and it did; ending the show with a bang. Even the less impressive announcements didn’t feel like filler; they were delivered in a way that showed there was as much attention payed to them as to the AAA releases. This was a great way to close out Day 1, and has me excited for Bethesda’s upcoming slate of games. On to Day 2!