Bethesda E3 2017 Conference Roundup

There was a Nazi Cat Monkey. That’s all you need to know.

By Alex Winton

Bethesda’s conference really might as well have not been a conference at all. Very little time was given to anyone on stage – and there wasn’t any Todd Howard, either. Simply playing out the whole Bethesdaland presentation unbroken would likely have changed nothing. As it was, because everything was a pre-recorded link, the conference was also the shortest of the weekend by far – clocking in at about 40 minutes. Here’s our roundup at what happened in Bethesdaland.

Doom and Fallout VR

Fallout 4 VR was announced last year as, effectively, an internal experiment that Bethesda were going to share. This year, Doom’s been given the VR treatment to go with it. While Fallout 4 VR will only be available on PC for the HTC Vive, Doom ‘VFR’ (you can use your imagine for what the additional ‘F’ stands for) will also be available on Playstation VR. We can likely expect to see more of it at Sony’s show as a result. I’d personally be skeptical about being able to spend hours upon hours playing Fallout 4 from beginning to end with a headset on, but it should be a fun ability to occasionally pick it up for a whirl around Fallout’s wastelands.

Mods go commercial

Now that Bethesda has brought mods to Fallout 4 and Skyrim on both Microsoft and Sony’s platforms, their next step is obviously monetising that feature. More than simply selling user-created mods, though, the Bethesda Creation Club involves Bethesda developers, as well as specially contracted external developers and mod creators working with Bethesda, to create ‘official’ mods for sale. These mods are guaranteed to be quality-controlled and fully compatible with all your save files just as if they were normal DLC. Rather than being sold directly for money, though, they will be sold for Creation Club Credits. This presumably just allows for a unified pricing system throughout all the games and regions – but could mean the content being slightly more expensive here in the UK vs the US in real terms.

The Elder Scrolls Legends really wants you to remember it exists

It’s hard to be a Hearthstone clone in 2017. The fad of such games has faded away along with the height of Hearthstone’s popularity itself. Bethesda’s bid to encourage you to remember that they had their own go at it last year brings the world of Skyrim to the game. Unfortunately, it’s the also the third least interesting announcement about Skyrim at Bethesda’s conference.

Skyrim vs The Legend of Zelda

This Skyrim announcement (and you’re right, this is a lot of announcements about a 6 year old game) is far more interesting. While bringing Skyrim to the Switch – the first Bethesda game on a Nintendo platform in many years – does mean losing out on mod support as well as, presumably, a lot of the prettying up of the Xbox One and PS4 releases, it still brings with it something new and exclusive. By tapping a Link amiibo to the Switch’s right analog stick, you will summon a treasure chest that will transform your Dragonborn into the Hero of the Wild himself. Complete with a Hylian Shield and Master Sword. Also new and exclusive to the Switch version is the addition of motion controls. It’ll remain to be seen just how effective they are in the real world, but it definitely looks like it might work well when it comes to using the bow and arrow at least. There’s still no release date for this version of the game, but we may learn more in Nintendo’s show on Tuesday.

The Evil Within 2

A surprise new contender for the crown of survival horror, the first Evil Within was a huge success. Coming from the twisted brain of Shinji Mikami, the former director of the Resident Evil series, it took a lot of notes from the best parts of those games and delivered a deeply unsettling experience and some iconically monstrous bosses. This followup – from the amazingly well made trailer above, at least – looks to be just as disconcerting as the first. Being able to launch on Friday 13th this October will surely only add to its inherent creepiness.

Dishonored is back for more

It’s seeming quite hard to imagine a studio more busy at the moment than Arkane studios. Following the release of Dishonored 2 last year and Prey this year, we’ve got yet another game from them on the way in the form of Dishonored: Death of the Outsider. A standalone adventure set in the world of Dishonored, the game picks up the story of Billie Lurk as she sets off on a murderous quest to kill the Outsider – a mysterious and powerful character that shows up infrequently in the main Dishonored titles in various dream-like sequences. The game is very heavy on the lore of the main series, so it won’t mean a lot to anyone unfamiliar with those games. For Dishonored fans, though, the story alone will be a huge draw to go with even more Dishonored gameplay. Now, if only someone at Ubisoft could learn how to actually spell dishonoured…

Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus enters with a bang

We’d known about a new Wolfenstein for a while – Bethesda even teased it at least year’s conference – but we finally got to see it in action today. Following on from the story of Wolfenstein: The New Order, The New Colossus looks set to ramp up the action to even crazier levels. We also get to see an even wider glimpse into The New Order‘s alt-history, where the Nazis won WWII and successfully invaded America. The trailer starts off with a look at some of America’s classic 60s TV viewed through the lens of Nazi occupation. We’d certainly be up for anyone commissioning a full series of Lassie-parody, Liesel. The game is out on the 20th October and features, as well as a Nazi Cat Monkey, a man tripping acid while a woman heavily pregnant with twins gores a nazi with a huge knife.

Overall Verdict?

Realistically, it doesn’t really seem worth Bethesda’s time and money to have rented out a hall for having a physical conference, given that most of it was pre-recorded over animated links. What they did have to show impressed, but it definitely feels like a bit of a ‘gap’ year for Bethesda while they work on the next Elder Scrolls game. The entire thing was absolutely made worth it by the Wolfenstein trailer, though.

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