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E3 2017: Bethesda Showcase
Post by KostaAndreadis @ 05:52pm 12/06/17 | Comments
Where we take you through the 2017 Bethesda E3 Showcase, with play-by-play, trailer embeds and our thoughts on what was shown.

For those looking for several high-profile announcements, the Bethesda E3 showcase this year may have felt a little underwhelming. Mainly because no matter how you slice it the likes of The Evil Within 2 and Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus can’t really compete with Fallout 4, Dishonored, or the DOOM-style presentations we got the last couple of years. Also, expecting to hear about a new Elder Scrolls or Fallout size game, because it’s E3, probably hurt what we ended up seeing. And make no mistake, both The Evil Within 2 and Wolfenstein II look great.

And by focusing on content coming this year, Bethesda’s showcase did feature an impressive line-up of things coming over the course of the next six months. Including services, add-on content, VR, and yes, new games. Not exactly all-time great E3 stuff, but solid none the less. The showcase itself was presented as a theme-park presentation, for a fictional place called Bethesdaland, where all of the publisher’s games lived and were brought to life with the sort of humour that you might find in the Fallout series. After a brief look at the past year of new stuff – an impressive line-up that includes Doom, Dishonored 2, and Prey – it was time for the show to begin.

With the stuff that everybody was talking about last year – VR. Bethesda’s entry into the VR space will come later this year with the introduction of Doom VFR and Fallout 4 VR. Where both games have been rebuilt with VR in-mind. That means brand new interfaces and presentation methods to take advantage of hardware like PlayStation VR and the HTC VIVE. Fallout 4 VR, which will let you play through the entire game, is strangely only in development for the VIVE.

Both titles were given a tentative release window of later this year.

Virtual Reality, it’s still the future. We think.

Anyway, up next came the introduction of a new service called the Creation Club which aims to provide a marketplace for the sorts of people creating mods for Fallout 4 and Skyrim Special Edition to sell their work. A move that on paper may sound a little like a cash grab, but according to Bethesda "Mods will remain a free and open system where anyone can create and share what they’d like. Also, we won’t allow any existing mods to be retrofitted into Creation Club, it must all be original content". Which means the introduction of a system where content gets approved by Bethesda and creators work directly with the publisher throughout the process, including QA, and ensuring the release plays nice with all existing content and official add-ons.

It sounds, well, great.

Staying in the realm of Elder Scrolls, the competitive card game The Elder Scrolls Legends is set to get a new Heroes of Skyrim expansion on June 29 that will include a new Shout mechanic. And plenty of dragons. And staying in the more specific realm of Skyrim, we also got a new look at Skyrim Special Edition for the Nintendo Switch. Which naturally looks great as a handheld game, even for something that dates back all the way to 2011. In a surprise move though it looks like Skyrim Switch will include Amiibo support. Specifically, the ability to read a Link figurine and then dress up your character in Link-style garb equipped with a shiny Master Sword.

After the one two punches of Dishonored 2 late last year and then Prey just a mere month or so ago, we were kind of expecting that Arkane Studios would take a break this year from showing anything new. Turns out we were wrong, with the announcement of a new standalone expansion for Dishonored 2 called Dishonored: Death of the Outsider. Much like with Uncharted: Lost Legacy, you won't need a copy of the original to play. In Death of the Outsider players will take control of fan-favourite Billie Lurk, armed with an all new set of powers and abilities, and venture into the dark underbelly of Karnaca.

Next up came an esports-heavy look at id Software’s Quake Champions where it was announced that the first large scale Quake Champions, err, championship (with a $1 million prize pool) is coming to QuakeCon this year. Currently available to play in beta, some new content was also announced in the form of Wolfenstein’s BJ Blazkowicz joining the Champions roster and some new maps too. More details on both are expected later in the week.

In the meantime, here’s a look at Gib Dreams - Quake Champions.

Finally, we got to the new game portion of the show, which admittedly came late in the proceedings. The Evil Within 2, once again from the mind of Resident Evil creator Shinji Mikami, was announced alongside an extended trailer that was equal parts off-putting and impressive. Playing up the sheer insanity of the first game, The Evil Within 2 looks like a pure horror experience. So naturally it has a release date of Friday, October 13.

And closing out the showcase was an extended look at Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, Machine Games follow-up to the surprisingly awesome Wolfenstein: The New Order. Built on Doom’s id Tech 6, The New Colossus looks to pick things up after the events of the first game, with a story that will take players to new locations across the United States as they shore up a resistance. Also, it looks kind of crazy too, with Bethesda’s Pete Hines describing it as "f*****g bananas". Which is in reference to the clip at the end that shows a soldier dropping acid and then hallucinating a small cartoon animal that fits in the palm of his hand.

Bananas, in a good way.

Overall, Bethesda’s hyped Bethesdaland E3 experience resulted in little more than an animated connective thread to connect each announcement and game spotlight. With Pete Hines relegated to the opening and closing moments, in front of the same giant screen as last year. No physical theme park attractions, no developers on stage, and very little engagement with the audience – who were there in droves. Although content wise what we saw was all solid stuff, when taken as a whole it was a bit of a disappointment. For an E3 presentation. The entire thing clocked in at just under 39 minutes, with 8 of those dedicated to Wolfenstein II.

So, here's to next year, and the announcement of a new Fallout, some brand-new IP, and Elder Scrolls VI. Where all Bethesda will need to do to succeed is hit one out of three.

You can watch the entire Bethesda E3 Showcase below