Sunday, June 12, 2016

E3 2016: Bethesda

E3 rolls on, and Bethesda asks how much you like DLC and Dishonored 2.

Bethesda has always been a weird company to put on E3 press conferences. They're by no means bad, but they always have a very clear agenda when it comes to these events. Last year, their press conference was solely dedicated to Fallout 4 with a smattering of smaller, but still important titles in comparison. This year, I kept asking myself why Bethesda would hold another conference. After all, they said last year that they wouldn't do one again, confirming that last year's show was just to introduce the world to Fallout 4. This year they had more games, and while some of them were good, some announcements just seemed... pointless.

The conference started off with the announcement of Quake Champions, a new addition tot he legendary Quake series, though outside of the announcement, more details will be revealed at Quake-Con. What makes the reveal of Quake Champions and the announcement for an announcement, a practice I just railed EA on, tolerable here is that we just learned about this game. This is a new game, not a game we've known about for years or even for a project we have no idea about. The world knows the game exists, and the info that we have is interesting in the moment. No developer diaries, no concept art, just a cool cinematic and a tentative release date. That's how you do it.

What you don't do is spend a lot of your press conference advertising DLC and ports of games to systems that no one cares about. Elder Scrolls: Legends, that bizarre Elder Scrolls card game, is coming to more kinds of smart phones, Fallout Shelter comes to PC, Elder Scrolls Online comes to Japan, and Doom and Fallout 4 are going to HTC Vive,  a VR headset, next year. As for the DLC, we had a plethora of Doom, Elder Scrolls Online, and Fallout 4 DLC coming out this year, making the conference seem very... eh. I saw more DLC detailed than actual gameplay here.

The two standout games of the conference were Prey, a revival of the long cancelled Prey 2 for current gen consoles, which looks fascinating and had a pretty interesting trailer, and of course, Dishonored 2, which Bethesda spent a lot of time detailing and showing off. New powers were shown, a gameplay demo was shown, new cinematics were shown, and the conference concluded with a new trailer for the game as well as confirming a November 11th release date.

And all of that was fine. Both of those games look good and I'm probably going to really love Dishonored 2, but I feel like the entire event was just on the north side of good. It had some good elements to it, and the event was focused around a cool looking sequel to a smaller studio's game, but most of the conference seemed like taking care of bits and pieces. Yeah, Skyrim was confirmed for PS4 and Xbox One, but I'd much rather see an Elder Scrolls 6 or something other than a port of a five year old game that is still played by the millions. It's hard for me to rationally explain why Bethesda's conference was just okay, but I think I can sum it up like this; I want more Dishonored 2's and less Skyrim Special Edition's.


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