E3 2018 is now well underway, with EA’s attempt at a conference, and Microsoft’s banger of one. Next is everyone’s favorite purveyor of mayhem, Bethesda, who made a surprise appearance earlier at the Microsoft show to reveal some cursory details about the highly anticipated Fallout: 76, revealing that it’ll serve as a series prequel set in the Virginia mountains. But they certainly saved the best bits of news for their show, so let’s dig into this year’s Bethesda offerings.
Bethesda clearly heard the comments about last year’s show and came out with double-barrels. Starting the show with some self-deprecating jokes and jabs at the recent Walmart Canada leaks, it quickly, and weirdly, transitioned to a musical performance by Andrew W.K, who belted out his hit Party Till You Puke, featured in the trailer for RAGE 2, which we finally got some more details on. The story this time puts you in the boots of Walker, the last of the Rangers tasked with keeping the peace while fighting the Authority.
Gameplay, once again, is a mixture of on-foot shooting and open world driving, although there’s a massive focus on fast action with plenty of jumps and double-jumps in and out of the car. It looked to be a marriage of Avalanche Studio’s previous Mad Max title and Bulletstorm and definitely seems to be cranking up the insanity. An interesting note, however, despite the promise of co-op, nothing of the sort was shown in the gameplay demo.
Elder Scrolls Legends and Elder Scrolls Online
Next, we returned to Bethesda’s attempts at wider markets. First was the announcement of a PS4, X1, and Switch version of Elder Scrolls Legends, the card game based on the Elder Scrolls series. Next was an overly long, but not actually important mention of Elder Scrolls Online, briefly mentioning the next DLC would be about hunting werewolves and that the game would later be moving to the Black Marsh, home of the Argonians. Not many details on either announcement.
DOOM Eternal and Quake Champions
As many fans have been requesting it, Bethesda has decided to return to DOOM again, this time bringing the action earth-side and doubling the fun. While no gameplay was shown, more weapons and more daemons have been promised, as well as a full reveal at QuakeCon later this summer. Speaking of Quake, there was mention of putting more effort into making Quake Champions a staple of the E-Sports community, as well as a free-to-keep download, live as of right now.
Also live right now is the long-hinted-at Prey expansion, Mooncrash. Taking place in a simulation of the moon, the DLC is a new take on the game, offering new experiences every time you play, incorporating randomized elements into the game world to generate new challenges. Also announced was the next DLC, Typhon Hunt which will add a PVP mode where players hunt each other while using Typhon powers. All of this came alongside a free update to add an easier Story mode, a harder Survival mode, and the much requested New Game+ to the base Prey experience.
Wolfenstein and VR
Speaking of DLC, Wolfenstein is set to receive it’s 4th expansion, albeit this time standalone, in the form of Wolfenstein: Young Blood, pitting you and a friend in a coop experience as BJ’s twin daughters freeing France from the Nazis. If that wasn’t cool enough, both Prey and Wolfenstein are being added to Bethesda’s VR lineups, with the former getting a VR experience, including co-op later this year, and the latter getting another standalone game where you play as a hacker that takes over the Nazi war machines. No release dates for any of these as of yet.
Todd Howard is a man that knows what the internet thinks of him. Tonight he showed that amazingly with the (hopefully) joke trailer for Skyrim: Very Special Edition featuring Keegan-Michael Key “playing” Skyrim on an Amazon Alexa. It was a good joke and played well before the biggest announcements of the night.
Finally, we move to what everyone was waiting for. First and foremost, yes Fallout 76 is going to be a co-op experience. While Todd Howard was quick to point out that the game could be played singleplayer it was immediately apparent that it’s meant for the connected experience. Players will play as a survivor of Vault 76, one of the first vaults to open in Virginia, and will work to build their community in the new world. New enemies based on West Virginia lore were shown off, as well as some of the connected experiences like building anywhere and PVP. Most interesting is the inclusion of end-game nuclear silos that players can work together to unlock and unleash. Lastly, we finished with the most exciting news of all, the release date of Nov. 14, this year, as well as a promised beta coming up.
Elder Scrolls Blades and Moving Forward
Not content with just one tentpole IP, Howard also showed off Elder Scrolls Blades, a new singleplayer game launching on phones later this year. The most interesting thing is that it really looked like a full-fledged Elder Scrolls title, featuring full freedom of movement and first-person combat. According to Howard, there’s going to be procedural generated dungeons to explore, along with a town-building minigame. Worth noting the presence of a mysterious green gem, which likely indicates a form of in-game currency. There was also mention that Blades will be coming to other platforms later, with possible cross-platform multiplayer as well.
Next Howard mentioned the team was hard at work on something they haven’t done in a very long time. Breaking away from Fallout, DOOM or Elder Scrolls was the announcement of Starfield. Unfortunately, all we know at this time is the name, but it will be a new single-player IP and according to Howard it’s going to be on next-gen consoles.
The Final Thought on Bethesda
In conclusion, the night ended with the mention and teaser for Elder Scrolls 6. There wasn’t any information, just mention that it does exist and likely will be revealed next year.
Overall the show was a vast improvement over last year… less than stellar performance. The return of Todd Howard certainly helped, but also a greater focus on talking about the games. It’s a lot of exciting stuff from what Metacritic called “the best publisher” last year, and it’s going to be great seeing everything come together in the next few months and years.