Bethesda Softworks is the steward of several beloved franchises, and this year at E3 2018 they definitely kicked up the hype engine a notch for their current and future projects. Bethesda’s showcases are always of a particular flavour because unlike other companies at E3, they always spend a lot of time talking up their existing franchises and shipping games before revealing new ones. They’ve already made a shift internally to viewing ongoing title support as a service to their fans, and it looks like their future titles will continue to expand upon the live services they’ll offer to their customers. That’s the lens through which you should be viewing today’s announcements. Let’s head out to the wasteland, shall we?
The Elder Scrolls Skyrim Very Special Edition
You asked and Bethesda listened. Now you can play Skyrim on an Amazon Alexa Smart Speake-no, no. That’s not happening. Haha. Gotcha!
But wait, seriously, think about it. How cool would this be? I hope Bethesda ends up doing this anyway, because it is an awesome idea.
Rage 2 looks a lot like DOOM, doesn’t it?
Rage 2 is a collective effort between id Software and Avalanche Studios, telling the story of Walker, the last Ranger of the wasteland (I sat in my chair, waiting for the Chuck Norris jokes, but they never came…) who is hell-bent on revenge for the murder of his parents and has a genuine lack of respect for The Authority, a gang of bandits ruling the lands with an iron fist. Rage 2 looks and plays differently to the first game thanks to the addition of a new mechanic called Nanotrites which give Walker special abilities, and the gameplay trailer showed on Bethesda’s stage looks a lot like DOOM now that it’s been pointed out to me. Rage 2 launches on the Windows PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One platforms in early 2019.
The Elder Scrolls: Legends gets a fresh set of deck sleeves
The Elder Scrolls: Legends has already been shipping on various mobile platforms, as well as Windows PC and Apple macOS, since mid 2017, and it’s attracted a lot of players for an online card game attached to an extremely famous brand. Legends is getting a graphical overhaul in the very near future, with improvements in the gameplay and compatibility with different input methods. Legends is also coming to the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One platforms this year, in addition to relaunching on all existing supported platforms.
The Elder Scrolls Online: Summerset, with a look to future expansions
Bethesda took a bit of time to talk about how well TESO is doing, and amazingly the company announced that the game has over 11 million active players, with one million players added to the service over the course of 2017. Warcraft, by comparison, has around 12 million active subscribers, so this is quite the achievement for an MMO that’s only three years old. A new expansion to the series, Summerset, launched just this past month, but the next two DLC expansions have also been announced. TESO Wolfhunter will see players engaging in a new series of quests involving werewolves and dungeons, where you both hunt them down and come face-to-face with Hircine, a Daedric Prince who just loves to hunt things. Wolfhunter will launch sometime in Q3 2018. The DLC expansion after that is called Murkmire, which includes a new set of adventures for players that takes place in Blackmarsh.
DOOM Eternal announced, but not revealed until Quakecon
We knew from previous leaks that there was a DOOM sequel in the works, and it was revealed as DOOM Eternal. And that’s about it, really. Bethesda will be showing off DOOM Eternal at Quakecon this year, which takes place on 10 August 2018.
Quake Champions free trial ahead of a full launch
Quake Champions has been in an early access sort of phase for a few months if you were willing to work around the niggles of setting it up, but it now has a proper trial period for players to test the game ahead of its launch in late 2018. If you sign up to the free trial on Bethesda.net for the next week, you can stay in the early access trial and playtest the game for free until it launches. Champions includes game modes such as Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, and Instagib. There are additionally ranked Duel and 2v2 modes where players compete to climb the leaderboards. Quake Champions will be a free-to-play game at launch, supported with in-app purchases for cosmetic content.
Wolfenstein: Youngblood makes Nazism seem fashionable in the 1980s
Following the events of Wolfenstein II: The New Collosus, Wolfenstein: Youngblood tells the story of BJ Blazkowicz’s twin daughters Jess and Sophia who are actively fighting in Paris, France and trying to find their father at the same time. Youngblood is a co-op experience much like Deadspace 3, where drop-in, drop-out co-op allows players to take the roles of either Jess or Sophia and play through the storyline in Youngblood together. It’s set for a 2019 release on all platforms, which hopefully includes the Nintendo Switch as well.
Developers MachineGames are also working on a VR project called Wolfenstein: Cyberpilot. More on that will come later, hopefully at Quakecon.
Prey (2017) gets a new endless runner game mode
Prey has received its first major DLC update in the form of Mooncrash, an endless runner where the goal is to escape off the moon. The only problem is that every playthrough is different. The monsters are in different places, there’s fire where it shouldn’t be, and that’s probably a mimic on the coffee table to your left. Luckily, Mooncrash is a simulation run by your brother, called “Pytheas Moonbase Sim”, so it’s not like you actually get to die. In addition to Mooncrash, the free DLC update includes a New Game Plus mode that has been a hotly requested add-on, as well as a hard-core Survival mode which is way more difficult. Mooncrash is available starting today to all Prey players.
In addition, Arkane Studios is working on Typhon Hunter. This is a five-versus-1 game mode where one player is the human, and the other five players are mimics playing Hide-and-Seek with pot plants, clipboards, towels, and chairs (have I ever told you that I can’t look at chairs the same way in real life? Honestly…). Typhon Hunter will be VR compatible, so you can be a mimic whilst also being the size of a coffee cup waiting to terrify your target. Wait, have I also told you that I can’t look at coffee cups the same way again?
Also, that Youtube cover image for Mooncrash looks surprisingly familiar.
Starfield, a next-gen space epic
Announced by Bethesda’s Todd Howard as “a game we’ve been thinking about for years”, Starfield is a game set to launch for the next generation of consoles. It’s a space epic with the typical Bethesda flair, and hopefully it will turn out to be the RPG we need to fill the gaping hole left in our hearts by Mass Effect Andromeda. Starfield is Bethesda Softworks’ first new franchise in 25 years.
The Elder Scrolls: Blades for iOS and Android
In a surprise announcement, Bethesda revealed Elder Scrolls: Blades, a mobile game coming first to iOS and Android platforms first. Blades is a new experience in Tamriel, offering a fully-realised first-person experience on a mobile platform that rivals the gameplay experience on previous-gen consoles. The on-screen controls are designed to function like regular controllers, and in battles you get to swipe across the screen to attack with your equipped bladed weapons. On iOS Blades runs on the Metal API, while on Android it is running through Vulkan, allowing both platforms to run the game unencumbered while also offering fully 3D environments in large landscapes.
Blades offers players three modes of play: Abyss, Arena, and Town. Abyss is an endless runner dungeon crawler, which will include a mixture of randomly generated and developer-made dungeon levels for you to explore and loot. Arena is, as you’d expect, a place where you can fight against monsters in close-quarters, or other players with their own custom characters. Town is a mode ripped straight from The Division, where you can actively rebuild your hometown to your own liking, and in doing so unlock new NPCs and missions to choose from, and you can visit the towns of others.
The Elder Scrolls: Blades will be free-to-play on iOS and Android, and Bethesda will eventually be porting the game to other platforms, along with planned VR support for both phones and PCs in the future. Not revealed or promised is any compatibility with game controllers, but for VR that would be a prerequisite anyway. The game will launch in late 2018.
The Elder Scrolls VI (for literally every platform at this point)
Cue the millions of Elder Scrolls fans whipping out maps and textbooks and lore literature to try figure out where the heck in Tamriel this mountain range is. TESVI is confirmed to be in pre-production at Bethesda, so it will be at least three years before we see this game shipping.
Fallout Shelter coming to PlayStation 4 and the Nintendo Switch
Fallout Shelter is a big hit on mobile and PC platforms, with over 120 million players to date and tons of money pouring into Bethesda through in-app purchases. Fallout Shelter, previously only available Android, iOS, Windows PC, and Xbox One platforms will finally be shipping on PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch, and will be made available later this week.
Finally, the star of the show, Fallout 76
All the rumours were right and the leaks were correct – Fallout 76 is the next game in the series that serves as a prequel to Fallout 3, New Vegas, and Fallout 4, but it is also a multiplayer co-op experience. In Fallout 76, players are thrust out into the wasteland with one mission handed to them by the Overseer: survive, and find others. They are equipped with a C.A.M.P kit to allow them to pack up their base wherever they might go, giving them the freedom to settle on any land they might find useful or attractive. You can team up with up to four other players to roam the wasteland completing missions, building up a settlement of your own (though the trailer shows these are much smaller in size and scope than the ones you can build in Fallout 4). But it’s not just limited to four players – all throughout the wasteland, you can play on the same servers as dozens of other players, who additionally might be friend or foe. Yes, you can blow off their heads and loot their bodies.
In the typically insane way that people in the wasteland are just handed weapons of mass destruction willy-nilly, there are a bunch of abandoned nuclear missile silos dotted across the landscape, with near-endless supplies of armaments and a complete and updated map of West Virginia. If a band of players in another camp on the other side of the map are annoying you, you can band together with your teammates to gather a set of launch codes and storm a nearby silo to gain temporary control and launch an ICBM with a nuclear warhead on the offending camps. It’s meant to be difficult to do this so that players don’t go doing this all the time.
Fallout 76 is an always-online experience launching on 14 November 2018 for Windows PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One platforms. The Power Armor Collector’s Edition is available for pre-order, which includes a glow-in-the-dark map of West Virginia, a set of figurines so that you can use them to plot your course and location, and a wearable and working T-51 Power Suit helmet.