E3’17 – Bethesda Conference

Bethesda took the stage late on June 11 (or early depending on where you live) in what was perhaps the most unknown of all conferences at this year’s E3. The industry insiders were largely expecting mostly DLC announcements, and Bethesda delivered just a bit beyond.

Bethesda first presented their heavy handed shot across the bow with three new VR titles…and by new I mean they have not been available before, not that they are new IP. We were given a look at Doom VFR, a game set in the Doom universe but clearly not the recently released Doom. In order to accommodate such a game, Bethesda has decided to implement teleporting as the movement scheme, allowing the player to place themselves in a position and gun from there. It’s a departure from the run and gun style of the normal Doom experience.

Next came both Fallout 4 VR and Skyrim VR, two games that enable the full experiences to be played in VR. While a noble concept and certainly a step in the right direction from the usual “VR experiences,” the implementation looks to need some work. Playing in VR will certainly give long time fans a sense of scale in these familiar worlds they would otherwise not have had, but the interface and action looks clunky and hard to execute. Perhaps both will be cleaned up before full game release.

In addition to the VR announcement, Elder Scrolls games continued to take center stage. The long rumored Skyrim release on Nintendo’s Switch was announced, which is only likely to delight those Nintendo fans who do not own another console or gaming PC. In addition, the Elder Scrolls Legends card game is getting some expansions including arena combat and new story content. Finally, Elder Scrolls Online is taking players to Morrowind in a huge expansion to the existing game.

Outside of the tradtional Bethesda juggernaughts, new DLC was announced for Dishonored 2. In this story content, the player will work to take down The Outsider. I don’t exactly know what that means not having played Dishonored, but I’m told it is a big deal.

In the ever growing eSports world, a new Quake Champions tournament was announced for the August time frame with a grand prize of $1 million. That’s big money for a game that is still only in beta play testing. Hopefully that means contestants will be on an even playing field coming in.

The last and perhaps biggest showing of the conference is Wolfenstein II. This sequel to a reboot stars BJ as he awakens in a world where Nazis have occupied the USA, complete with harassing people in a local soda shop. The trailer walked a line of taking itself seriously and being entirely ridiculous. That being said, as a fan of the last game, I am looking forward to the next in October 2017.

While I would have certainly liked to see some new IP out of Bethesda, I can say that they offered fans of their current games with some more content to expect in the near future.

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