E3 2016 – Bethesda Conference Recap

Originally published on Trevor Trove on June 12, 2016

Wrapping up “Day Zero” of E3 was the Bethesda conference. A lot of people were surprised to see them come back to hold their own conference this year, assuming last year’s show was a big one-and-done event to give Fallout 4 a ton of attention. But Bethesda said, “nope, we’re back. Enjoy!”

As a reminder, here were my big predictions for the Bethesda conference:

  1. The Elders Scrolls V: Skyrim – Dovahkiin Edition announced. Release date: October 14, 2016.
  2. Future plans for Fallout 4 DLC and Fallout Shelter announced. Three DLC packs launching in September, October, and November. Fallout Shelter add-ons available in an update Sunday night after the conference.
  3. Wolfenstein 2 announced. Release window of Summer 2017. Likely May.
  4. Dishonored 2 Cast Showcase piece.
  5. The Evil Within 2 announced. 2017 release.

And Bethesda came out swinging with a cinematic trailer for Quake Champions, further adding to Bethesda’s devotion to reviving the original first-person shooters. id Software Studio Director Tim Willits came out to discuss the game, “a competitive arena-style first-person shooter for the PC.”

NeoGAF immediately identified a screenshot identifying something called “New_Colossus” in the opening “DOS” file directory with “XX-XX-XX” in place of dates. Given it’s placement in the “file,” it would appear this is a tease for the next, yet unannounced Wolfenstein game.

Pete Hines then came out for a little victory lap of the successes of last year, running through The Elder Scrolls OnlineFallout ShelterFallout 4, and Doom.

Up next: The Elder Scrolls Legends strategy card game was shown off with an opening cinematic. The game looks a bit like a mix of Hearthstone and Gwent. People can sign up for the beta online and the game will be coming to Mac, iPhone, and Android devices, in addition to the PC and iPad support already in the beta.

A pre-packaged segment with Todd Howard introduced new Fallout 4 Add-ons. Contraptions Workshop coming next week will allow for Rube Goldberg-esque devices. Vault-Tec Workshop in July will expand settlement building into building your own vault and experimenting on vault dwellers. And the rumored Nuka World add-on in August will introduce a new Nuka Cola-themed theme park. Additionally, Quests and a PC version of Fallout Shelter are set to launch next month.

And the rumored Skyrim Special Edition remaster is real and coming later this year on October 28, with mod support just like Fallout 4.

A new first-person game from Arkane Austin studios: a near-future cinematic trailer of a rebooted Prey. Looks like a first-person survival horror game set on a space station. Coming next year with more information to be revealed at Quake-Con.

id Software returned in a pre-packaged segment to talk up SnapMap for Doom and the continued support that the game will be receiving. Most of the DLC support will be free but they announced a premium Unto the Evil DLC pack coming next month featuring three new maps.

Additionally, for the next week, people can demo the first level of Doom for free on PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4.

Matt Firor from Zenimax Online, Game Director of The Elder Scrolls Online, came out to celebrate anniversary of launching the game on consoles with a sizzle real version of your standard infographic (“578 million mudcrabs killed”). On June 23rd, The Elder Scrolls Online will expand to Japan. Dark Brotherhood DLC launches on Xbox One and PlayStation 4 on Tuesday and was accompanied by a trailer. Finally, One Tamriel will launch this fall and remove level barriers from content, allowing people of different levels to play more together.

Pete Hines announced the after-party for conference attendees featuring Blink-182. He also announced Bethesda VR, that will be playable at the featuring demos of a Doom exploratory experience and Fallout 4, the latter of which will launch on the HTC Vive in 2017.

Closing out the show, Harvey Smith, the co-creative director of Arkane Studios, came out to showcase the Dishonored 2. Much like Todd Howard’s guided trailer of Fallout 4 last year, Smith talked over gameplay footage showcase the world and characters of Karnaka (sp?). A new game engine – the Void Engine – was developed to allow dynamic, interruptable action and cutscenes necessary for a stealth action title. Special care and attention was paid to the world design, “what was this city like 10 years before the player sets foot there?”

The game will follow Emily Kaldwin and Corvo Attano fifteen years after the events of the first game, giving the player the choice of which character to play as. Much like the first entry, the game is built around dynamic missions that allow players near-endless variation in how to accomplish the objectives set forth. Parts of one specific mission (the Dust District mission) were showcased, introducing new player abilities, dynamic weather effects, and combat. A second mission was demonstrated where Emily’s powers are disabled and a new tool called the Outsider’s Timepiece allows the player to travel between two time periods of a mission: the present-day where the manor you’re infiltrating is abandoned, and the past when it was lavish and occupied. It looks like a really interesting new mechanic that will feature in strategic gameplay and puzzle-solving.

A world-premiere of a Dishonored 2 gameplay trailer was shown off. Leading into an announcement of a special Collector’s Edition featuring a replica Corvo mask and a copy of the Dishonored Definitive Edition.

There was a nice moment near the end of the show where video calls of all the studios appeared on the big screen and the audience was invited to thank all of the studios for their tiring work. I always appreciate this kind of moment honoring all of the work that goes into these projects.

Overall, this was a much more interesting and well organized conference…for the most part. Kicking off things with a Quake announcement set things in motion. There was a bit of up and down with things like The Elder Scrolls card game and MMO leading to a dip in the momentum. But fan service elements like the Skyrim remaster brought the energy and excitement right back up. The final Dishonored 2 segment probably went on a bit too long but as a fan of the first game, I enjoyed seeing the different ways they’ve expanded on the ideas they established in Dishonored.

So how did I do on the predictions?

  1. Skyrim Special Edition announced. Release date: October 28, 2016. .75 points (they didn’t take my idea for the name of the special edition and I was only off by two weeks in my prediction).
  2. Future plans for Fallout 4 DLC and Fallout Shelter announced. Three DLC packs launching in June, July, and August. Fallout Shelter add-ons and a PC version coming in July. .50 points (for the three DLC packs were announced and the Fallout Shelter add-on announced).
  3. Wolfenstein 2 announced. Release window of Summer 2017. Likely May. 0 points (even if that New_Colossus tease ends up being the next game, they didn’t officially announce it or a date)
  4. Dishonored 2 was the showcase. .25 points. (Dishonored was certainly the centerpiece of the conference but not in the cast interviews method I predicted).
  5. Absolutely nothing on The Evil Within 2. O points.

So when all is said and done, I left the Bethesda conference with 1.50/5.00 points. Double my EA prediction score.

We’ll see how tomorrow shakes out.

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