Bethesda’s press conference at E3 2016 went at whole lot smoother than its first attempt at one last year in 2015. Granted, 2015 is best remembered for the reveal of Fallout 4 and DOOM, but in between, can you recall anything else Bethesa showed off? That’s right, a whole lot of nothing. Two luscious pieces of bread sandwiching nothing but fresh air. A teaser trailer, a demonstration for an ugly game, just… blegh.
The studio is lucky it has so many fans because, otherwise, nobody would have liked that show no matter how popular Fallout 4 turned out to be.
This year was different. The studio showed a lot more confidence in its line-up and planned accordingly to keep gamers entertained throughout most of the show. And what a better way to get started off than with Quake Champion?
As the iconic series hits 20 years old, this newest game comes to us at a time when cartoony faces are starting to replace the hard sci-fi, modern war, and horror aesthetics that have dominated the genre for as long as all can remember. Overwatch needs a solid source of competition to stretch out its appeal, so perhaps this old school ode to violence and gore will be enough to get it done.
Now, if only the new Unreal Tournament came out this year, then we’d really be living in a throwback.
As for Quake, I was especially pleased with all of the familiar faces that id Software is reviving from back in the day. Nice touch.
After some ho-hum Fallout 4 DLC, Bethesda jumped right back into “crowd-pleaser” mode by revealing two more big announcements. First up, last year’s surprise hit Fallout Shelter obviously proved successful enough to have a second go on the market, and it will be getting a PC port before the end of July. As I said before, this will be my first chance to go hands on with the game because of mobile region-locking in Japan, and I really want to see what all the hubbub is about.
With the looming awkwardness of announcing a mobile game without the full-blown console game, Fallout Shelter got the respect it deserved from the audience though.
And then there was the big fan-pleasing moment in which Bethesda revealed an upgraded remaster of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim for modern day consoles and for the PC. This new version will include all of the DLC for the original and access to mods on consoles for the first time. So, in reality, nobody will need the upgrades this game brings to the table because the mods already did so two or three years ago.
But, still, Skyrim on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One is a prospect that few will refuse.
And how about the exciting announcement of Prey? We were wondering what Bethesda was showing during the first airing of the mysterious trailer, and all of us here were convinced it was an original IP. However, when it turned out to be Prey, I couldn’t help but wonder how many fanboys either leaped with joy or chucked their PC screen from a balcony. Prey 2 is one of the vaporware sequels to a cult-favorite game, and messing with the image those fans had in mind is easily the quickest way to make enemies.
At the same time, at least the franchise is being carried on in some capacity, just with a lot less Native American references.
As for DOOM, DLC was an unavoidable situation when it comes to this game, and yup, it’s real and it’s coming. The best move regarding DOOM, though, was Bethesda’s decision to put the first level out there for free, convincing a much larger audience to try and give it a go. Not only is this a crowd pleasing move which is bound to boost sales, it also comes with the nostalgia of the original DOOM, which id reminded us all was distributed through “shareware.”
Thank you id. I needed that reference like I need a time machine to go back and punch myself for playing that free disc so many times.
The Elder Scrolls Online showed up to please one woman in the audience and left everyone else quiet. I haven’t played it, but if I jumped back into any MMORPG at this point in time, it would be Final Fantasy XIV.
Much like last year, Bethesda used its air-time to build up to the biggest game of the show, which was no doubt Dishonored 2. Granted, Dishonored 2 is no Fallout 4 in any regard, especially in popularity, so maybe that accommodates for why the entire press conference was so much more tolerable… because the finish line was that much smaller.
But Dishonored 2 seemed okay. The first game was a nice little summertime waster that I never went back to, and I think the fact that it was an original IP back when we were up to our necks in sequels helped it out a lot. I never considered following up on the sequel and, now that it’s out, I see it taking a similar path to popularity. That small time insurgency is gone, but the sequel has production value and polish that the original lacked, meaning it will either be the best sequel in the world or the worst depending on who you ask.
It was the sequel to Dishonored 2, and that’s all that could really be said about it.
And much like last year, Bethesda dragged it out for just a little to long. Fallout 4, for better or worse, has a lot of elements going on under the hood with weapon creation, base construction, and combat. There is no “dragging it out” in a sense for Fallout 4 because it has so much content to cover. Here, in Dishonored 2, we have a very linear game that forces players to make choices. A few key examples are all we needed, but no… we got so much more than that.
Overall, Bethesda had a really solid show and proved to be much better at pacing itself than last year. I would be excited as a Bethesda fan who watched this, and the fact that it actually had games, footage, descriptions, and context for each segment was nice. Nearly revolutionary, in fact!
Maybe some other publisher should be taking notes.