Bethesda at E3 2017: what to look out for from the Fallout, Skyrim, Dishonored and Quake teams
Bethesda keeps its annual release count modest, but that just means every single one is worth a closer look at. It may not bring as many titles to E3 2017 as EA or the platform holders, but it's almost certain that each of them will be a banger.
Bethesda's been a bigger and more important part of every E3 it has elected to participate in, and this year should be no exception. You can tune in to Bethesda's E3 2017 conference at 7:00pm PT Sunday June 11 - and you absolutely should.
Although many of Bethesda's releases cater to fans of old school gaming, it's always doing new things and we're excited to see what it has for us at E3 2017. Of course, we think we already know what most of it is going to be, but don't let that spoil the excitement for you.
Or rather, do: click through this article and survey everything we're expecting, speculating on, and wildly hoping for during Bethesda's press conference at E3 2017.
Not only is it telling that Wolfenstein is missing from the invite, but the publisher backhandedly announced Wolfenstein: The New Colossus during E3 2016. Brian Bloom, who voices the protagonist of MachineGames' take on the series, has also hinted at a Wolfenstein sequel. Also, Bethesda's Pete Hines has said the Wolfenstein team is working on something that's "fucking bananas".
So that's all very nice; both previous entries were excellent, and we'd like to see another one. The last entry, Wolfenstein: The Old Blood, seems to have gone under the radar for no good reason, so hopefully Bethesda pulls out the big marketing guns and gets The New Colossus a heftier dose of attention - starting at E3 2017.
You don't buy up horror master Shinji Mikami and then only wring one game out of him, for one. For another, Tango Gameworks has merrily and openly recruited for The Evil Within 2. Also, it was part of that huge Bethesda E3 2016 rumour that otherwise turned out to otherwise be completely correct, suggesting the publisher may have planned a long-distance tease and then changed its mind. (Or maybe it happened, but it was kind of subtle, like Wolfenstein: The New Colossus - so we missed it.)
Finally - and you'll agree this bit is super compelling - if Bethesda doesn't announce The Evil Within 2 Matt may go over there, ring the doorbell, and throw a tantrum. He still reckons the first one is the best mainstream horror game of the last generation.
Bethesda has already confirmed that Fallout 4 VR will be at E3 2017, so the only mystery here is: in what capacity? As another behind closed-doors demo (we've already played Fallout 4 VR once)? As a release date announcement? or even ... releasing that very day? Bethesda shocked and delighted Fallout fans at E3 2015 by announcing and immediately releasing Fallout Shelter, so we know it's not afraid to use that little tactic.
It seems more than possible. The project was only announced at E3 2015, but Fallout 4 VR is playable start to finish. Moreover, Bethesda said last June that Fallout 4 VR was only 12 months away at most. It's a pretty safe bet we won't be waiting very long.
Maybe you think you don't care about this one, but AMD reckons Fallout 4 VR is virtual reality gaming's killer app. Bethesda also seems very confident, saying the VR market will sort itself out.
All in all, it's worth putting Fallout 4 VR on your radar for E3 2017.
It is extremely unlikely The Elder Scrolls 6 will make any sort of appearance this year; it's said to be pretty far off. At the same time, Bethesda is pushing The Elder Scrolls Online really hard at the moment, so it's almost certainly going to showcase the Morrowind expansion, which releases in early June.
There's a lot to talk about, too - the new Warden TESO class, 30 hours of story content, a new Trial, a 4v4v4 PvP mode and of course the island of Vvardenfell, complete with wizard tower mushrooms, cliff racers and all the other little touches of home that gladden a Neravarine's heart.
It's possible Bethesda will also talk about what's next for The Elder Scrolls Online, but given the appetite for a Morrowind remake and the powerful nostalgia card it represents, it would be weird of the publisher not to put the expansion under the E3 2017 limelight for a while.
Skyrim on Switch is a fantastic idea; The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has already shown that the only thing better than a good 200 hour open world game is one you can play on the train or lying in bed - or wherever else you take your portable, possibly in defiance of sense and hygiene.
Although Skyrim for Switch was announced alongside the console itself, Bethesda later backed off a little, presumably because the footage we saw was target rather than representative code. The publisher later said that it is definitely bringing Skyrim to Switch, but we've seen nor heard anything else on this project.
If it is really happening and Bethesda hasn't hit technical snags, either Nintendo or Bethesda is likely to give Skyrim for Switch a great deal of love during E3 2017, and put all our doubts to bed once and for all. If not, we expect it go the way of BioShock for Vita - just quietly not mentioned again until someone admits, years later, that it never got anywhere.
The first game generated a couple of pieces of to-notch add on content so we expect Bethesda to start talking about Dishonored 2 DLC soon.
The Arkane adventure released without a season pass, which with any other publisher you'd assume meant no content was coming, but remember that Fallout 4's Season Pass was announced with no details, and Bethesda later increased the scope and price. Perhaps it wanted to avoid a similar muddle? Bethesda's one of the few publishers which allows teams to complete projects before working out what it will add to them, after all.
Although the stealth-'em-up didn't make the same sort of noise as the blockbusters of 2016 it's a very solid game, and there's plenty of scope to tell more stories in the rich Dishonored lore. We're hoping for proper narrative modules, like last time - especially as Arkane has already got some obvious add-on features out of the way in Dishonored 2 patches.
Even Bethesda is unlikely to drop a big single-player game and not push out any add-ons, so expect Dishonored 2 DLC at E3 2017 (so it's an excellent time to finish Dishonored 2 with our exhaustive guide and walkthrough, plug plug).
It seems way too early, but there's always the possibility Bethesda may discuss Prey DLC at E3 2017 as well. We wouldn't bet on it, except maybe in passing, like, 'it's coming one day'.
Fresh out of NDA and into open beta, Quake Champions is in prime position for a big old marketing push.
The PC exclusive fragger has caused a fair bit of head scratching since its E3 2016 announce, as players try to wrap their head around the blend of determinedly old school arena shooter gameplay and more modern hero-driven mechanics. Clearing up that confusion by showing off the breathtakingly rapid shooter on the big stage will go a long way towards getting Quake Champions the audience numbers any multiplayer scene needs to thrive.
Bethesda had been very keen on turning DOOM into some sort of multiplayer extravaganza, so it might have another go this year, perhaps announcing some sort of re-release or cheap edition while it talks up all the improvements iD has made since the shooter's release. Honestly though? We think it's probably given up and transferred all that energy to Quake Champions instead.
In any case, expect to hear a lot about Quake Champions at E3 2017.
No, we haven't heard anything. No little birds have whispered in our ears. No winks or nods or handjobs have been exchanged. It's just that when we look at the release calendar, when we taste the wind, when we cough up the secret longings of our heart, we feel Bethesda has more for us this year - despite being pretty confident in our predictions for the two "surprises" it already promised.
Everyone's gagging for Bethesda to let Obsidian have another crack at the post-apocalyptic universe; there's a reason people are so psyched for a New Vegas mod for Fallout 4, hey. New Vegas was such a cool project - an opportunity for Obsidian to tell different kinds of stories than Bethesda does, using the existing tech - which was after all developed at enormous expense. Why not do it again?
Or maybe Bethesda will show off what Todd Howard's team has been up to since Fallout 4. The latest rumour suggests it's a sci-fi open world RPG called Starfield - which could well be total nonsense, of course.
But what if it's not? That Starfield banner image doing the rounds on Twitter is a PhotoShop job using an existing game's cover art, but that doesn't mean the original rumour wasn't true. A new Bethesda Game Studios title is a hell of an E3 announce, as Fallout 4 aptly demonstrated.