“What? There won’t be any talk about Starfield or Elder Scrolls VI this year? What the fuck are they gonna talk about then?”
I think that was the general consensus leading into Bethesda’s conference this year. So how did they do? Did they survive without those two huge titles? Let’s find out:
Winner: All the Bethesda developers
Some may have been bored by these constant cuts to the Bethesda team, but they do this every year and I really like it. Game developers put so many hours into these titles over the course of a 3-4 year cycle or longer, and most of the time only get credited in a rolling screen that most players skip anyway. So any time that game developers are showcased in a presentation, I’m a fan.
Loser: The first 20 minutes of the conference
Most developers kick off with a highly anticipated titled in order to start with a good amount of momentum before they discuss the less interesting titles. Bethesda chose to open with The Elder Scrolls: Blades, a very stripped down version of the series with lots of grinding and micro-transactions. They then followed it up with new content for Fallout: 76, which was rather underwhelming. I remember watching this and thinking “um, what the fuck guys when are you gonna talk about something I actually care about?”. Not a hot start.
Loser: Fallout 76, and yes, it can still lose more
Ugh. That’s all that I thought. I cannot believe my eyes. Of all the games that don’t need a damn battle royale mode, the Fallout series is near the top of the list. The whole series is primarily a single player RPG game with combat that centers around a V.A.T.S targeting system. But instead, they want us to pull out our clunky raggedy guns and fight each other. I understand that cinematic trailers don’t reflect actual gameplay, but that was so deceiving. The fights are gonna be no where near half as smooth as they were depicted. This was a huge flop.
Winner: Ghostwire Tokyo
“It’s spooky”. I love the girl that presented it. She brought such a fun energy to the stage and was one of the best presenters in all of E3 this year, and she couldn’t even speak English very well! Very well done. This game looks absolutely fucking awesome. Made by the developers of The Evil Within series, a highly successful horror franchise, there’s every reason to be optimistic about this title. But I will caution you, these people know your deep dark inner fears. Outside of the Outlast series, no other series has kept me up at night as much as The Evil Within. But the games are so fun that it keeps you wanting more instead of dreading every time you pick up the controller. Just be prepared to lose sleep when Ghostwire Tokyo releases next year.
Winner: MMORPG Trailers are still badass
I’ve never played any big MMO like World of Warcraft or The Elder Scrolls Online, but man do they have a way of trying to suck me in. This trailer was bad fucking ass. It had it all: dragons, giant skeleton kings, a homage to Dany burning down King’s Landing (at least that’s what I thought the whole time the dragon was flying around), an old ass guy with a magic staff, giant dragon crossbows, oh, and a fucking panther man that went toe to toe with the dragon. I still won’t be buying or playing the grindfest, but for anyone that’s a fan of these types of games, your balls (or ovaries) should be tingling.
Winner: Rage 2 and goofy shooters
Between Borderlands 3, The Outer Worlds, and Rage 2, there’s no end to the crazy, wacky, over-the-top, violent shooters being released over the next 12 months. Rage 2 was released last month to mediocre reviews, but this trailer is making me want to play it badly when it goes on sale. I mean did you see the gun that makes two people splatter together like that guy that flew into the billboard in Deadpool? And that convo where the creepy guys said “I miss the taste of flesh” and the next guy said “that’s my next tattoo” is the perfect description of my group chat. This actually might be the perfect game for me, but I need it to go on sale well before Borderlands 3 comes out because I’m dropping everything to play it.
Winner: Wolfenstein: Youngblood, and all outspoken feminists
I can see it now. Kotaku’s headline on July 26th: “Finally a game that empowers women to be the Nazi slaying badasses that they all knew they were”. Yea forget Lara Croft (Tomb Raider), ‘Female’ Commander Shepard (Mass Effect), Samus Aran (Metroid), Senua (Hellblade), Aloy (Horizon: Zero Dawn), Ellie (The Last of Us), and all the other badass females in gaming. You’re right, this is the first time. But you know what? I don’t really give a shit because I, a male gamer, am excited, to play this game. Let me say that again for the men haters in the back: I’m fucking excited to play this game in July. Whether it’s B.J, Soph, Jess, or any other character, the Wolfenstein games are a ton of fun regardless of the main character and I cannot wait to stream this co-op in a little over a month.
Like I said in the Microsoft recap, I don’t know why but there’s a wave of time-loop games hitting the market in the near future. Unlike the other two showcased at the Xbox conference, which are horror/thriller style time-loop games, this is a action shooter game by the creators of Dishonored. All the Dishonored titles have been critically acclaimed, and I’m excited to see what direction they take with this title. More to come at The Game Awards or next year’s E3.
WINNER: DOOM ETERNAL
I’ve said it once and I’ll keep on saying it until every single fan of shooters does it: if you haven’t played DOOM (2016), buy it TODAY. It’s only $14.99 and it so much goddamn fun. You don’t have to play it to play DOOM Eternal, but it will be a great teaser for the awesomeness dropping this November. I really can’t say enough good things about this rebooted franchise. No other game, not even Wolfenstein, can match the fast paced action and thrill you get when you’re going up against the forces of hell. And apparently, you’re also gonna be going up against the forces of heaven as well in the new title, which I have no idea what that will look like but I’m here for it. What a way to end a conference.
The Rest of the Show
Bethesda continued to pump some titles into the mobile market with Commander Keen and a Elder Scrolls x Hearthstone title. They talked briefly about their streaming technology Orion, which was kinda cool but also kinda vague. But they flexed hard during that portion of the presentation, basically saying they’re the leader in new tech as they pioneered first person shooters, DLC, and much more. Which, um, they are.
Well, that’s everything from the show. Let’s look back and my own predictions and see what I got right:
Fallout 76 DLC: Correct, but underwhelming
DOOM Eternal Gameplay: Correct, and overwhelming
Wolfenstein Youngblood Gameplay: Correct
Elder Scrolls: Blades new content: Correct
The Evil Within 3 announced: Wrong, but very happy with Ghostwire Tokyo
Starfield trailer: Wrong
I’m the fucking best guys. I mapped out exactly how Bethesda could win this year and, for the most part, they followed it perfectly. Yes, we would have loved to see something from Elder Scrolls VI or Starfield, but with the surprises like Ghostwire Tokyo and Death Loop, and the DOOM Eternal showcase, Bethesda was able to fill that void effectively. Some people may have walked away dissatisfied, but this was a very solid conference for Bethesda.