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Bethesda E3 2018

Bethesda made its E3 press conference debut back in 2015 by debuting Fallout 4 and while none of their conferences since then have had reveals of that magnitude, they have consistently delivered solid E3 showings that make them a pleasure to watch. This year was no different: a solid, entertaining conference, albeit with a couple of big surprises this time around.

The conference opened with an announcement and footage of Rage 2 by Avalanche Software. Amusingly, the announcement was introduced via a musical performance from Andrew WK that didn’t appear to go over too well with the audience in the hall but was actually really entertaining. The original Rage was one of those games that was massively hyped but seemed to disappear on release. Rage 2 looks to be a pretty decent open world FPS with more than a touch of Mad Max about it.

A few announcements for Bethesda’s Elder Scrolls spin off games followed. A graphical overhaul was announced for The Elder Scrolls Legends as well as new of an upcoming release on Switch, XBone and Ps4. Legends is actually a pretty great card game currently available on PC and mobile that I would recommend giving a shot if you’re burnt out on Hearthstone. I’m really looking forward to playing this on console.

The Elder Scrolls Online got its regular E3 hype of upcoming DLC and expansions. Not really a lot to say about this other than the promo video they showed did slightly tempt me to finally get around to playing this.

Next up was a sequel to 2016’s Doom reboot called Doom Eternal. No gameplay shown for this but I loved the reveal video for this. Doom was an awesome reboot so even more of the same would be great. There was also some news related to Quake Champions, a title I had completely forgotten existed, despite being an old school Quake player. The game is now open as a free-to-play trial ahead of release, but even with the footage shown I found it a little hard to get excited by this.

A free update was announced for Prey as well as DLC titled Mooncrash that offers an “infinitely replayable experience”. This appeared to be a Groundhog Day-esque simulation of an escape from a moonbase overrun with aliens. I went from disinterested to totally excited to play this in about five seconds because the gameplay trailer looked amazing.

Machine Games announced Wolfenstein: The New Colossus for Nintendo Switch, releasing on June 29th. Doom turned out really well on Switch so this should be a sure thing. Wolfenstein Youngblood was also announced, a follow up to The New Colossus. Set in the 80s with a co-op focus, this looked to have a really cool 80s sci-fi movie vibe.

Pete Hines took to the stage again to quickly rattle off a new Wolfenstein VR game, Wolfenstein Cyberpilot as well some VR options in the upcoming Prey DLC. And then he finally introduced Bethesda’s VP of development, Todd Howard to talk us through the good stuff. Howard took his time, first showing a very amusing parody video about Skyrim coming to Amazon Alexa and Etch-a-sketch amongst other things before moving onto what we’d all been waiting for: Fallout 76.

Fallout 76 will be a prequel to all other Fallout games and set in West Virginia. In quite a big departure from Bethesda’s main Fallout games, this will actually be an online multiplayer survival gam. You’re still able to play the game solo, however the game has been mostly designed around multiplayer, with the concept being a huge open world where the other characters in the world being real people. The world will have a fairly small population size of dozens of players as opposed to hundreds. The game features base building and your progression stays with you no matter how many times you die or if you move to other servers. It looks absolutely stunning and I can’t wait to play it. The collector’s edition also comes with a glow in the dark map and a power amour helmet with voice modulation. Fallout 76 is out on 14th November 2018. As a quick aside, Fallout Shelter was also announced for PS4 and Nintendo Switch.

Next up was The Elder Scrolls Blades on mobile. A fully fledged Elder Scrolls game built entirely for mobile. The game features both procedurally generated and hand-crafted dungeons, as well as the ability to build and customize the town that serves as the game’s hubworld. The combat and movement is very touch screen orientated with swiping movements and it looks really good for a mobile game.

Bethesda closed out the show with their two biggest announcements, but also their least detailed, simply because they both seem to be quite a few years away yet. First up was a wholly original Sci-Fi game called Starfield. Not much was given away here but given its pedigree, I’m really looking forward to finding out more.

Finally, The Elder Scrolls VI. This was something I didn’t expect to be announced for a long, long time but as a hardcore Elder scrolls fan from way back, it made me very happy to see it there on screen. Of course, there was nothing more to the trailer than the title and a landscape that will no doubt have people on the internet speculating for a long time to come. The Elder Scrolls VI is still quite a few years away but it’s great to know that it’s at least being worked on.

All up, a great conference from the ever reliable Bethesda Softworks. Some huge games coming this year, in particular Fallout 76, and a taste of some great things coming in the years ahead.

Recap by Matt Russell

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