As we do every year, today we're here with our thoughts on the E3 Press Conferences. Today we're grading the E3 press conference for Bethesda. In a year where Bethesda didn't announce a new Fallout or Elder Scrolls game, what did our editors think of Bethesdaland?
I don't really know what I expected from Bethesda--besides a new offline Elder Scrolls game--but good grief what a let down. There was nothing here even worth raising an eyebrow over and I thought it was hilarious that the Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind trailer was largely a reaction video. Of course, this is coming from someone who has no real affinity for the MMO nor its Hearthstone-like card game.
Right when my apathy was at its heights, Wolfenstein II comes and saves the god damned day. What a fantastic and hilarious trailer! I loved everything about what was going on and I am 100% on board with its insanity.
But geez, what a awful evening.
The presentation this year may have been devoid of bombshell announcements, but it is becoming clear that Bethesda really knows how to put on an entertaining show. A cute presentation and jokes did a lot to help through announcements for Elder Scrolls: Online expansions, card games, and Dishonored II DLC. We also got a glimpse at VR versions for both Fallout 4 and DOOM, in addition to a breathtakingly bewildering trailer for The Evil Within 2 and a look at Wolfenstein: The New Colossus (which is looking fantastic.) It’s hard to expect a publisher like Bethesda to have big guns to pull out every single year, so it’s difficult to be disappointed by the lack of mic-drop game announcements. That being said, endless speculation over the past several months did dull the impact of the Evil Within and Wolfenstein announcements. At least both games got excellent trailers in an otherwise fun and inoffensive showcase.
Paid Mods and Sweet Little Lies
It makes sense that Bethesda’s conference lasts shorter than the rest of the pack. They don't have the resources and manpower to make enough games to fill two hours. But this year was just a snooze fest in terms of games announced. We started off with Doom VFR (I love that name) and Fallout VR. Doom VFR seems to be its own thing while Fallout VR seems like an expansion or something like that to Fallout 4.
But then we get to the Creation Club for Fallout 4 and Skyrim, here’s where it all goes downhill for me, PAID MODS!? SERIOUSLY BETHESDA?! Did you learn nothing by the failures of Valve? Mods should be by definition free, you can of course support the developers if you so choose, if you are going to give them a price just cut the shit and release them as DLC.
I could write an entire article about this topic but let's move on. Anyways, we got an Elder Scrolls Legends expansion titles Heroes of Skyrim to better help the 90% of the population who nowadays think that Skyrim is the name of the franchise. Speaking of Skyrim oversaturation, we saw the Nintendo Switch version of Skyrim with motion controls, amiibo and other bells and whistles to sell us a 6-year old game.
But finally, new stuff started coming in. First off we got a new Dishonored 2 DLC named Death Of The Outsider. The trailer was pretty cool. Then we got the long awaited, long teased and long leaked sequel to the Shinji Mikami horror masterpiece (Yes I know, I’m a bit alone on this opinion) The Evil Within 2, it was everything I expected and more. Then just as I thought they were done, they drop another bomb with Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus, it looks silly, ridiculous and I love it.
As much for the hype that I made in the previous paragraph, this was easily the worst conference by far. If EA can surpass you in terms of quality, there’s a legit problem.
P.S: The Evil Within 2 launches on Friday the 13th October. Cool and good.
Bethesda’s Doing Alright
If you expected anything new from a Bethesda conference on a year without an Elder Scrolls/Fallout/Doom, well, you got a new Wolfenstein. So smile, damn it, it’s not all bad.
Staying Focused on 2017
Watching Bethesda’s conference after Microsoft’s was like night and day. Bethesda took a very short, minimal approach to its conference by using the Bethesda Land theme, and I actually appreciated the no-frills quality to it. It was cute, had clear goals and felt focused. That being said, the majority of the conference showcased content we already knew existed, or tried to highlight new Skyrim and Fallout 4 additions. I didn’t expect Bethesda to do anything too dramatic like announce a new IP or the next Elder Scrolls game so the two new announcements at the end were enough to get me excited. Let me just say the trailer for The Evil Within 2 was bonkers and I am so ready for it. On top of that, as someone who has never played a Wolfenstein game, Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus looked like an absolute joy. The characters were immediately endearing and the gameplay bits they showed near the end of the trailer all looked fun as hell. While most of the conference was Bethesda going through the motions, my relatively low expectations were fully met with those last two announcements and the fact they chose to only show us games coming out this year was a smart move.
What Was the Point of This Conference?
Bethesda, you don’t need to be at E3 if you don’t have anything to show for yourself. I was very confused why you would spend the money on a big E3 conference if all you have to show is a prepared video event in the style of a Nintendo Direct. Ultimately though, it wasn’t unbearable but it sure was boring. So Doom and Fallout 4 are getting VR ports, Skyrim is finally coming to Nintendo Switch, The Elder Scrolls Online still exists, The Elder Scrolls still has a card game, Quake Champions is still looking good, The Evil Within 2 exists, and Wolfenstein II also exists. The part I don’t understand about all of this is that they had already hinted at or talked about all of these things the previous year of E3, so why go through the effort? The VR games look interesting, but most consumers don’t have a reliable way to play them because of the cost. Skyrim coming to the Switch is cool, but since Bethesda is so focused on mods, the extra Nintendo goodies included in the package don’t feel worthwhile to the experience, especially since most people played through the game already six years ago. The fluff in the middle has already been mentioned and taken care of elsewhere, so there isn’t much news there. Finally we have the last two games, which admittedly look good, but the execution could have been much better. I found myself very uninterested in The Evil Within 2 because almost all of the trailer was cryptic CG cutscenes that told me nothing about the game other than that it looks atmospheric and detailed. There was some gameplay at the end, but by the time I got there I had already lost interest. Wolfenstein II on the other hand had some really interesting sequences and genuinely got me interested in the game. It looked like they really wanted to change up the first person shooter genre, and as someone who doesn’t play much of them anymore, I was excited to see one that I wanted to play. Still, that was it. It was a very short conference and ultimately felt like a waste of time.
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