It was always going to tough for Bethesda to match their stellar E3 début last year. After all, the element of surprise was no longer there – we knew they could deliver a well-paced show and deliver welcome surprises. As a result their 2016 presser lacked the full force of the 2015 extravaganza, but despite some leaks ahead of time Bethesda managed to put on an engaging show that threw out a few unexpected curve balls.
Our new reality
Perhaps the greatest of those surprises was the announcement of Bethesda VR. We hadn’t heard anything on that front since they helped bring the platform to life with DOOM 3 BFG Edition, but the announcement of DOOM and Fallout 4 gaining compatibility with the HTC Vive next year was a strong move. As two of Bethesda’s strongest performing titles, it only further entices me to get my ass in gear and lose my VRginity (yeah, I still haven’t tried VR and I’m a terrible person for it.)
Ultimately Bethesda’s support bodes well for a platform that is still in its infancy, although I do hope that access won’t be restricted to just the Vive. User base fragmentation is the main reason I haven’t jumped into VR yet, but I’m sure Bethesda know this, being the savvy bunch they are.
Mighty fine vertical butchery
I must confess – I still have yet to play Dishonored, despite owning it on both PS3 and PC. I’ll definitely find the time, though, as tonight’s gameplay reveal of Dishonored 2 looked fantastic. The art style has always been appealing, but the brighter colour palette and the southern-Europe-inspired architecture of Karnaca really strike a chord with me. Seeing the brand new powers Emily Kaldwin brings to the game scores it some well deserved bonus points too, as I imagine it will offer a contrasting playstyle compared to being Corvo Attano.
Admittedly, the reveal of the Collector’s Edition wasn’t as cool as the one they did for Fallout 4, but I’m sure cosplayers will dig having a replica of Corvo’s mask.
We knew some sort of appearance was on the cards, but the announced of a Prey reboot was clearly the surprise and highlight of the night. Although we only got a CGI trailer, there was a number of hints on the title that looks like a spiritual successor to System Shock. The psychological thriller approach with survival elements, as players scavenge tools across the Talon 1 space station, has me intrigued. It’s a far cry from the open-world bounty hunter adventure we last saw from Prey 2 (and it’s a huge shame we won’t every see it) but considering the quality of Dishonored I expect Arkane Studios will be able to meet expectations. Well, what they showed in today’s presser certainly has me feeling that way.
We’ll learn more info on the game at QuakeCon in August, so I’m hoping it will slip into the May schedule slot that DOOM took this year.
And the rest…
With the exception of the Quake Champions CGI trailer reveal (which was no doubt a knee-jerk reaction to the runaway success of DOOM) we had plenty of commitment to existing titles. Content and feature-packed updates coming to DOOM, ESO, and Fallout 4 show that Bethesda fans will continue to play their favourite games for the foreseeable future. I was also happy to see that ESO will be getting dynamic level scaling, opening up the entire game world to all characters (even if the concept isn’t quite as original as they were making it.) Likewise, announcing that TES Legends was coming to mobile platforms will help the upcoming TCG compete with a certain Blizzard-run rival.
Another noteworthy announcement was that Skyrim Special Edition is indeed a thing. I’m just glad it was announced off-stream that owners of all the DLC or the Legendary Edition will get it for free, because I’m not sure I could be bothered to pay yet more money having owned it on PC for nearly five years.
Oh, and the DOOM “shareware” demo is a great chance for those idiots who haven’t yet had chance to play it (like me. Ugh.)
Do let us know what you thought of Bethesda’s efforts in the comments, and be sure to stay tuned for more impressions from the rest of this year’s pressers!