At E3 2018, Bethesda was the belle of the ball – they had a ton of new games to showcase and some really innovative stuff with the existing IP, like Elder Scrolls, Wolfenstein and Fallout.
By comparison, 2019 is really more of a consolidation year for Bethesda as they clean up some of the, excuse the pun, “fallout” from some of their releases last year, including the rather disappointing launch of Fallout 76.
In fact, the entire “theme” of the showcase was about listening to “fans” and “community engagement”, so a lot of the features and updates that Bethesda are working on are clearly being driven by some of that community criticism.
Here’s a recap video of the highlights of Bethesda’s showcase at E3 2019 and head below the video to read some more analysis in this post.
Elder Scrolls: Blades Update
Right now, The Elder Scrolls: Blades is still in early access across iOS and Android, but according to Bethesda, the feedback and the user numbers are really positive for the game.
To round out the early access mode, Bethesda are adding a solo arena battle mode, some new jewelry, and a new dragon questline which will be released immediately.
Later this year, in the fall, Blades will be getting deeper guilds integration and a new PvP arena mode to make the game more interactive for players – this update will be free.
The biggest announcement for Blades was that it would be coming to Nintendo Switch this year.
They showed off some pretty interesting gameplay capabilities that you can engage in with the Switch joycons that will make the game more intuitive, and of course, the flexibility of display that the Switch gives you is fairly unique.
In a very cool, related announcement, Bethesda said that Blades will be cross-platform and cross-progression, so playing now on your iOS device for example means that you can pick up progress on your Android device, or later in the year, on your Switch.
Fallout 76 Updated
To say that Fallout 76 had a rough launch would be an understatement. In the opening comments by Todd Howard of Bethesda, he acknowledged that the game received plenty of well deserved criticism.
But it was also worth noting that Bethesda have kept working on it and more recently, the feedback from the community has been positive and the overall gameplay for an online game is genuinely less toxic than most other massive multiplayer games, which the community says is a positive aspect of the game.
Bethesda announced the new Wastelanders update would be coming in the fall.
Wastelanders will see Human NPCs, full dialogue trees, a new main quest line, new factions and an assortment of other goodies to keep the game interesting – best of all, this will be a free DLC.
Bethesda says Wastelanders is advancing the storyline for Fallout 76 – Year 1 was all about players settling the Wastelands and now, Year 2 will see people coming back to the Wastelands.
A new game mode called Nuclear Winter was also announced and will be available in a sneak peak starting June 10th, 2019.
Nuclear Winter is a 52 player, battle royal style game mode where players fight it out to become the Overseer of Vault 51 which brings prizes and awards for the winners.
Tango Gameworks, the Bethesda studio behind “The Evil Within”, announced their upcoming game, “Ghostwire: Tokyo” which is a third-person, action-adventure game with really stunning visuals.
The basic premise of the game is that people are mysteriously disappearing from Tokyo and you need to figure out why by dealing with forces of a supernatural and paranormal nature.
The game showed some incredibly detailed eye candy, but was fairly light on with respect to gameplay, mechanics or even in-game demos.
Elder Scrolls: Online “Scalebreaker” and “Dragonhold” DLCs
Elder Scrolls: Online continues to add players and remains incredibly popular as a MMORPG – Bethesda recently announced that the game now has 13.5m accounts not including free trials.
This is the “Season of the Dragon” in ESO and the most recent update for the game Elsweyr just launched a few weeks back and Bethesda will be continuing the theme announcing two new updates, “Scalebreaker” and “Dragonhold” will be coming in August and the 4th quarter respectively.
Scalebreaker will be a dungeon focused DLC where players can get access to two new dungeons: Moongrave Fane and Lair of Maarselok. There will of course be new dragons and new loot.
Dragonhold will conclude the “Season of the Dragon” sometime later this year and will open up a new zone in Southern Elsweyr called Pellitine. It goes without saying that there will likely be more new dragons, tools and loot in this DLC as well!
Rage 2 Update
One game that many people were expecting to see some more detail about was Rage 2, but the presentation was delivered in a such a frenetic way that it was hard to work out what was going on.
The basic idea is that Rage 2 is getting an expansion, Rise of the Ghosts, but no specific date was mentioned. The team did say that there would be new content dropping within the game weekly to add to the unpredictability.
The video for Rise of the Ghosts showed a new playable mechanized walker, new vehicles, new maps and new game modes.
It’s really hard to pin down details because the team who put the package together were obviously trying to channel the “style” of Rage 2, but that makes it a bit hard to follow – the audience in attendance seemed pumped.
After the success of New Colossus and the accompanying DLCs for Wolfenstein, you could be forgiven for thinking that Bethesda might be taking it a bit easy this year – you’d be wrong.
Bethesda announced two updates this year for Wolfenstein – a rather niche VR update called Cyberpilot and the previously announced expansion, Youngblood.
Cyberpilot takes place 20 years after New Colossus but before Youngblood and has the player serving in the French Resistance where you take on the role of a hacker trying to take control of the Nazi machines and turn them against their evil masters.
It’s an innovative game style and well suited to VR.
Youngblood is a little further out on the Wolfenstein timeline, and again, innovation in gameplay is the key here because it’s a co-op style game where you can work collaboratively with someone else to attack the game.
The story has you playing the role of sisters who go to Nazi Occupied Paris to find their father who is rumoured to be trapped there – if you play solo, the AI will run your sister, but the magic is the co-op mode where you and a friend can play together.
Youngblood is arriving on Xbox One, PS4, Switch and PC on July 26th, 2019.
Bethesda studio, Arkane Lyon, did a demo of their upcoming new game with original IP, “Deathloop”.
The video package showed some intense one-on-one combat between the two main characters, Julianna and Colt – the narrative running over the demo tells an interesting story.
It would appear the two characters are stuck in some kind of repeating time loop with Colt trying to kill Julianna to break free of the loop and Julianna trying to kill Colt to preserve it.
Both characters are deadly assassins so the violence and mayhem in the trailer was next level.
It would appear that this title is very early in the development cycle because Arkane Lyon didn’t reveal anything even akin to a release date for the game, but they obviously wanted to show it off because it looked pretty cool.
We reached the point in the presentation where Bethesda and id Software needed to show off some cool new tech that they’ve been working on.
Orion is technology appears to be a devkit that allows game engines to work with streaming platforms in a more optimized way.
The details are a bit fuzzy, but it seems to be complementary to, rather than competitive with, things like Google Stadia and Microsoft’s Project xCloud.
The streaming platform turns on the Orion technology, game engine makers make API calls to Orion and they can take advantage of the technology to lower bandwidth requirements and reduce the impact of latency.
For streaming technology players like Google and Microsoft, bandwidth is becoming less of a problem for end users in key markets, but latency is a big unknown right now and could be a significant problem for these platforms to overcome.
Nothing is worse than streaming content and getting lag or jitters, but if that content is a game, the problem is MUCH worse.
If Bethesda has figured out a way to reduce that risk, then Orion is going to absolutely be a popular addition for game engine makers.
The highlight of the Bethesda showcase was of course, a full rundown and significant in-game demo of the upcoming Doom Eternal which gets released on November 22nd, 2019.
Bethesda have said that this is the filling out fo the Doom Universe that takes players out of Hell and out into the stars and beyond.
The vast majority of the presentation was a frenetic demo of in-game footage that in typical Doom style has plenty of killing, incredible action, lots of crazy weapons and just a smattering of blood… No seriously, there’s ample gore for Doom fans.
Doom Eternal will also have a new multiplayer experience called “Battlemode” where two players take on the role of demons and the third player controls a fully loaded slayer. The demons will be able to call AI demons to help take down the slayer.
Bethesda announced that the game is available now for pre-sale and the Collector’s Edition comes with a life-sized helmet that someone in the audience was actually wearing.
What Did You Think?
Bethesda’s Showcase at E3 2019 was always going to be a smaller affair than last year’s considering the titles and lineup they have on deck, but overall, it delivered a fair amount of good information.
But we want to hear what you thought? Were there any games you wished they’d have covered and left out or was there something that caught your attention that you weren’t expecting?
Let us know what you think down in the comments below!