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Bethesda's E3 Briefing Delivers On Multiple Fronts To Satisfy Its Fans

Marcus Stewart

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With jovial attitudes and company vignettes that resembled employee training videos at times, Bethesda’s theme of “Create” spotlighted the minds behind the games almost as prominently as the games themselves. That resulted in a lighthearted and fun presentation that was backed by several significant announcements. Bethesda touched on pretty much every major IP of its recent catalog, announcing a slew of sequels and updates. They even teased projects aimed at the next generation. 

Rage 2’s first big showing kicked off in the only way it could: a rowdy Andrew W.K. concert in front of a less raucous crowd of indifferent journalists. The musical performance fit the game’s fresh coat of zaniness. We got a look at the Mad Max-style vehicle shootouts and the arguably more chaotic on-foot shootouts. Say what you want about Rage 2’s semi-obnoxious absurdity, but this demo definitely raised eyebrows and the game already bleeds more personality than its predecessor ever did. 


The Elder Scrolls Legends calmed things down a bit. The digital trading card game will soon launch with overhauled visuals and comes to all consoles later this year. In more Elder Scrolls news. The Elder Scrolls Online has a new dungeon DLC on the way called Wolfhunter which centers on werewolves. Additionally, Murkmire, a story expansion set in Black Marsh, arrives later this year. 


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A teaser for Doom Eternal took everyone to Hell (in a good way). Described as an “awesome, awesome new sequel to Doom”, it will have twice as many demons as the last game and takes place on an Earth overrun by Hell’s nastiest. Doom Eternal’s full reveal will take place at QuakeCon in August.


Speaking of Quake, Quake Champions competitions were announced for QuakeCon and DreamHack Winter. A week-long free trial for the game, currently in Steam Early Access, launched on June 10th. Those who downloaded that week got to continue playing free of charge after the trial expired. A new trailer wrapped things up, though we still don’t have a launch window for the final version. 


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Arkane Studios announced a free Prey update that introduced three new modes: Story, New Game +, and Survival. A roguelike-style DLC called Mooncrash will change enemies, scenarios, and loot with each playthrough for “infinite” replayability. Both Mooncrash and the free update went live that night. Later this summer, Prey gets the hide-and-seek multiplayer mode Typhoon Hunter. It pits one player against five others posing as Mimics. 

More Wolfenstein is coming in the form of Wolfenstein: Youngblood. This standalone story stars BJ Blazkowicz’s twin daughters, now adults, battling Nazis in the 1980’s. Since there’s two characters, it can be played cooperatively with a buddy. Youngblood releases in 2019.  


Pete Hines returned to reveal a few virtual reality projects. First, Prey’s Typhoon Hunter, along with an unnamed puzzle-focused single-player, will be playable in VR. Furthemore, Wolfenstein: Cyber Pilot is a VR-exclusive spin-off about a hacker that hijacks Nazi war machines and turns them against their masters.


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Todd Howard took the stage next. After warming up the crowd with a humorous summary of E3’s history, he then trolled viewers (and himself) with an ad for an Amazon Alexa, audio-only version of Skyrim. The twist: it actually exists. Howard then moved on to the big info dump of Fallout 76.

After showing the same trailer from the Xbox briefing, Howard discussed Vault 76’s premise. Players control a citizen chosen to spend 25 years in Vault 76 awaiting Reclamation Day, the day the vault opens. Todd showed a video of the vault dweller exiting the underground home into an untamed West Virginia. Fallout 76 features new rendering and lighting technology, allowing for increased details. West Virginia features six distinct regions filled with new creatures, some of which will be based on local folklore. 


Todd then revealed that Fallout 76 will be an entirely online experience filled with other human players. However, he quickly assured that it can be played solo (although the game will be tougher), and a main story will still be present. Though Fallout 76 will focus more on survival, Howard described it as a “softcore” experience. Players won’t lose progress, or their character, should they perish. Furthermore, characters won’t be tied to server and their progress carries with them no matter which players they decide to join up with. Worlds will be populated by dozens of human players rather than hundreds or thousands (Howard: “it’s the apocalypse. It’s not an amusement park”).


A video of Fallout 76’s building mechanics showed how players can build anything, then move their creations wherever they’d like. To combat threats, multiple active nuclear missile sites will litter the map, which players can use to nuke others to smithereens.  Finally, Howard announced a beta for Fallout 76 set for an unknown date, as well as a special Power Armor Edition filled with goodies. He concluded Fallout 76’s segment a release date: November 14 of this year.


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Todd then announced the immediate availability of Fallout Shelter on PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch. He used that news to segue into the announcement of The Elder Scrolls: Blades. Described as a “pure Elder Scrolls experience”, its a console-quality title built for mobile platforms.Dungeons are both hand-crafted and procedurally generated, with touch-based combat. 


Blades features three modes of play as well as a town-building/sharing feature. Despite showing it off on mobile, The Elder Scrolls: Blades will come to consoles, PC, and VR devices and all versions will be connected. The game arrives this fall as a free download, though players can pre-register for it now.


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Todd wrapped up things by teasing two big future projects. First up was the teaser trailer of the rumored Starfield. This sci-fi, next-generation  title will be Bethesda’s first new IP in 25 years. If that wasn’t enough, a teaser for The Elder Scrolls VI completed the double-whammy of huge announcements. Of note: Howard described the sixth entry as “the game after” Starfield. Given that Starfield was billed as a next-gen title, Elder Scrolls VI will likely be a long ways out. 


That wraps up Bethesda. They did a nice job highlighting not only their own internal IP, but also the works of its umbrella studios. Fallout and Elder Scrolls faithful have plenty to look forward to with Starfield as the another, mysterious silver lining. If those franchises aren't your jam, new entries in the Rage, Doom, Wolfenstein, and Prey franchises help cover additional bases. As someone who expected to hear about a new Doom OR Wolfenstein, as well as Starfield OR Elder Scrolls VI, this felt like Bethesda letting fans have their cake and eat it too. The humorous tone, albeit cheesy at times, also made for a lively briefing. Tell us what you thought about their briefing in the comments!


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Edited by Marcus Stewart

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