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Quad Damage: Skyrim leads four in Bethesda’s FY2012

Wednesday, 6th April 2011 08:32 GMT By Brenna Hillier

Bethesda will unleash a line-up of just four games in the next 12 months, the result of a long play on slow burn, high budget, high quality development. This year, we all win the jackpot.

Bethesda FY2012

Four major releases before end of calendar 2011.

Highly anticipated sequel The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim for November.

Multiple unrevealed titles known to be in development.

Bethesda’s parent company, Zenimax, isn’t slave to shareholders, and its founders came from the core Bethesda Softworks team. The same attitude and approach which enabled the original Elder Scrolls games – enormous, high resource, unlikely beasts – is strongly apparent in the company today.

The Big Four

In just over six weeks, Splash Damage will release Brink. A new IP with some daring departures from regular shooter fare, this multiplayer-focussed title comes from a team which lives and breathes FPS. Modders turned id contractors, Splash Damage is using this game as its graduate thesis. Expect it on May 17 in the US, and May 20 elsewhere, for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC – the last benefiting from dedicated servers.

As summer heats up, Hunted: The Demon’s Forge makes its bid for blockbuster. A good old-fashioned dungeon crawl with a new-fangled action core, its the Bard’s Tale team going back to its fantasy roots. The co-op gameplay makes a play for the Gears of War crowd come June 1 in the US and June 3 internationally, on PC, PS3 and Xbox 360. Don’t be put off by the tropes and leather bikinis; there’s something good happening here.

Leading into the holiday season, we’ll see id’s first new IP since Quake, in 1996. RAGE drops on September 13 in the US and September 16 everywhere else, and, thanks to id Tech 5, will turn up on Mac as well as the usual three core platforms.

id has a big story tell, so it’s made a big world to tell it in, and has given you cars to drive around in between bouts of the studio’s famous first-person expertise. This is your chance to have a good old goggle at the new engine, so you really should.

The Skyrim trailer is hair-raisingly good.

Bethesda drops its H-bomb on November 11. Productivity in essential and non-essential industries is expected to take a hit for weeks, as a sudden and mysterious plague keeps besotted players home “sick” with shiny new copies of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. While a core fan base has always lauded Bethesda’s flagship series, the aftermath of Morrowind and the fantastically successful Oblivion suggest the audience lining up on launch day will be the biggest the company has ever seen. Bethesda has been beavering away at it for years, determined to live up to the hype; that Skyrim will stand tall among the worthiest games of 2011 is without question.

And then some

The resurgent Bethesda’s strategy of juggling a small number of heavy titles would be dangerous for any other publisher. The big B ensures each of its releases gets the development time and the marketing oomph needed to maximise potential, and as each one hypes, releases, and slips away, another slides in almost immediately.

With a constantly shifting hand of cards, it’s difficult to predict what Bethesda will being to this year’s major trade shows. Will it focus on marketing its imminent and recent releases, or risk overshadowing them with new announces and reveals?

Prey 2′s live action teaser.

The only confirmed 2012 release so far is Prey 2, from Human Head. The original game was built on the previous iteration of the id Tech Engine, making Bethesda a natural home for the new game. This may be Bethesda’s last release of the financial year, or it may slip back to FY2013, but it’s definitely next for the hype machine and should make an appearance at this year’s shows.

DOOM 4 is the next most obvious contender for some major media love. id has been focused on RAGE, and nobody’s dared to put a date on a title with so much to prove, but we may finally see something at QuakeCon in August. The timing would be right: RAGE will be on the verge of shipping and will be the big push at the Texas event, so a brief look at Carmack’s next won’t get in the way of success.

Fallout is a cagier prospect. New Vegas shipped just two years after the original, so we could see a year-end announce for a new title to ship in late 2012, following a “rest” year. If so, it’s not clear who’d develop; Bethesda Softworks and Obsidian are both occupied elsewhere. Don’t count on this just yet.

Elder Scrolls goes online

A wealth of recent studio acquisition sees Zenimax and Bethesda primed for a new portfolio of IP in the coming years. Arkane Studios and Machine Games each have an unannounced title in the works. Both were confirmed almost a year ago, but no further details have emerged, suggesting Bethesda is indeed lining up another power group.

Bethesda drops its H-bomb on November 11.

We’re unlikely to see anything from Resident Evil creator Shinji Mikami this year. The designer has been heavily involved with Grasshopper Manufacture’s Shadows of the Damned, but a few artworks suggest Tango Gamework at least has some idea of what it’s planning.

And, of course, Zenimax Online Studios will have to lift the veil on its top secret project eventually. An ongoing battle with Interplay over the Fallout license and some suggestive website art hint at a post-apocalyptic MMO in the works, but don’t fall for these red herrings. Before it mines a purchased property, Bethesda will take its baby multiplayer: The Elder Scrolls MMO. This E3 will be all about the Skyrim, but two announced Elder Scrolls properties side by side is not unthinkable.

Hype up. It’s going to be a golden year for Bethesda.

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14 Comments

  1. UuBuU

    Really can’t wait for Skyrim. Four years in development and full support for modding – Bethesda doesn’t sell out with their games. Other developers should look up to them.

    As for an Elder Scrolls MMO, it probably wouldn’t be for me as i’m not a fan of MMOs. If the rumours are true though (which is questionable) I’m just glad they’re treating it as a separate project and keeping the main titles of the series exclusively singleplayer.

    #1 4 years ago
  2. Blerk

    Some big names there, for sure. I’m at least interested to see how all of those turn out, although Skyrim’s the only definite “to buy” for me at this point. RAGE is almost there, I think – need to see a bit more of it.

    #2 4 years ago
  3. onlineatron

    I don’t understand why I’m so stoked for Skyrim; never did get along with Morrowind, Oblivion, Fallout 3.

    #3 4 years ago
  4. HauntaVirus

    Already have Brink, Rage, and Skyrim pre-ordered. I’ll pick up Hunted when its much cheaper.

    #4 4 years ago
  5. Schindet Nemo

    This is going to be an expensive year for me.

    #5 4 years ago
  6. UuBuU

    @3 – If you gave all of those games a fair try and still didn’t like them, there’s really not much hope of you liking Skyrim. It’s basically going to be more of the same.

    If you just avoided them because you thought they wouldn’t appeal to you though, I would highly recommend going out and buying them or you’ll have missed out on three of the greatest single player games ever.

    #6 4 years ago
  7. Mondayding

    I gotta hand it to them, they have the top two most anticipated games for me this year in Brink and Rage. So come on already and get them in the shops!

    #7 4 years ago
  8. viralshag

    All about Brink and Skyrim for me :D

    #8 4 years ago
  9. Hunam

    I think the thing with Skyrim is that it looks like they’ve finally hit the sweet spot. Morrowind was amazingly weird, but the combat was crap. Oblivion had better combat but was too traditional fantasy and a broken levelling system. Fallout fixed all the levelling and got rid of classes. Skyrim seems to take the combat ideals of fallout, the recognisable fantasy of Oblivion and the more askew nature of morrowind to make a game that appeals to each of the fans of their last 3 games, without diluting what Skyrim itself is. A feat which seems almost impossible yet bethesda seem to have done it.

    #9 4 years ago
  10. Erthazus

    @9 stop saying bullshit Hunam.

    We don’t know about SKYRIM nothing except for few trailers and tip of information about how this thing is going to be good.

    Morrowind was almost an excellent game. It was good not because it was weird but because there was a sense of exploration and decent dialogs and the roleplaying system was not broken.
    and combat at that time was good for what it was.

    Oblivon obviously had better combat, you can’t expect something worse from a sequel, but everything else was dumbed down. From exploration to the roleplaying system. There was no problem about traditional fantasy stuff, because everyone wanted exactly that.

    Fallout fixed nothing. If you never played Fallout 1-2 that does not mean that F3 fixed something. Fallout VATS and SPECIAL system is from the original Fallout 2 and it is again dumbed down. There are no classes from the beggining. thats th roleplaying system of Fallout.

    Stop hyping each other. You don’t know about SKYRIM nothing yet and already worshipping it. All that i remeber were just fake videos from Oblivion about stupid radiant AI that in the end was worse then in RPG games of 2000 year.

    #10 4 years ago
  11. OrbitMonkey

    Looking foreward to Rage, reminds me of a better looking all action Fallout crossed with Mad Max/ Road Warrior 2.
    And as for Skyrim… Woot! :-)

    #11 4 years ago
  12. UuBuU

    Yet again Erthazus finds time to troll a Skyrim article. He can’t just ignore these articles and not buy the game – he has to post in every single one to try and force his biased opinions onto others.

    First of all there has actually been a considerable amount of information released for the game. VG247 has posted snippets here and there, and of course the trailer, but anyone following the more detailed coverage which can be found elsewhere, along with various podcasts, interviews, etc. will have a very good idea about the game.

    It’s clear from all of the information so far that Skyrim is heading in the right direction and will indeed take some of the best bits from Morrowind, Oblivion and Fallout 3 as Hunam correctly pointed out.

    Your criticism of Oblivion’s “exploration” seems invalid. There’s plenty to explore in the game, and if that isn’t enough, there are thousands of mods which add entire new regions, towns, buildings, etc. No other RPG game can boast such a wealth of mods.

    Morrowind as it was released probably beats Oblivion as it was released, but for me, a fully modded Oblivion beats Morrowind easily in almost every way.

    In fact, all I really needed to know about Skyrim was that they were continuing to support modding. That alone already makes the game amazing in my opinion.

    #12 4 years ago
  13. RockTwist

    @Spammer That’s some mighty strange names for armour sets. Do these ‘sandals’ and ‘jeans’ have any decent +stats or are they just vendor trash?

    #13 4 years ago
  14. DonnerKebab

    I hear your words about Brink’s ‘daring departures from regular shooting fare’, and I want it to be true, but I haven’t seen anything daring yet – not saying it doesn’t look good, mind.

    #14 4 years ago

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