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What Bethesda got right and wrong at E3 2018

It was mostly right, and very little wrong

All eyes were on Bethesda during its press conference, with a surreal amount of traffic going through our post with the live feed. Bethesda is the main event for a large number of people during E3, and the company didn’t disappoint during this news-heavy, rabble-rousing event. The rabble, I’m comfortable saying, was definitely roused.

Let’s take a look at what Bethesda did well, and where it stumbled.

Right: There was a lot of Fallout 76 information

Bethesda wasn’t interested in doing one of those reveals that’s just a quick teaser followed by a date when you will more information. The company revealed a lot about Fallout 76, and it was great. There was a series of videos about the game, announcements about the collector’s edition and a release date that’s actually happening this year. There is also a beta coming up.

That’s how you do it, folks. Show the fans what you have. I think the game looks

Wolfenstein: Youngblood MachineGames/Bethesda Softworks

Right: More Wolfenstein

It’s a great series, and it seems to only be getting better with time. The next game, Youngblood, is set in 1980 and stars BJ’s twin daughters as the playable characters. (One of them kind of looks like the lead character from Dead Space from the back. Am I the only one who sees that?)

Machine Games has a good track record with Wolfenstein. We didn’t get a ton of information about the game otherwise, but things already look interesting.

Fallout 76 special edition wearable helmet Bethesda Game Studios/Bethesda Softworks

Right: Wearable Fallout helmet

WEARABLE FALLOUT HELMET. Bethesda has a long history of giving fans what they want when it comes to deluxe packages of its games, and this is likely to be another one that quickly sells out. Who wouldn’t want to recreate the cover from the very first Fallout game?

a star illuminating the edge of a planet in Starfield Image: Bethesda Game Studios/Bethesda Softworks

Right: Instant release dates, things that are coming soon — and games for far into the future

The new Prey content launched instantly, as did the PS4 and Switch versions of Fallout Shelter. Fallout 76 is launching in November, so fans won’t have to wait long. Starfield is a game coming far in the future, so there’s at least one long shot out there. Well, and a little game called The Elder Scrolls 6. No big deal.

So many companies at E3 primarily show us things that won’t happen for years, while Bethesda did a good job of announcing and showing things that will be here now, soon or, yes, way out there. You have things to play and things to look forward to, starting today. It’s a good approach, but it requires a substantial lineup that most publishers won’t be able to match. This almost feels like Bethesda flexing in front of the industry, and there’s probably a bit of that while these shows are being planned.

Right: More Doom

This, sadly, was a tease for more information that is coming during Bethesda’s QuakeCon celebration, but the trailer looked pretty good, and it’s not called Doom 2, a name that I believe has already been taken by another classic game. Again, 2016’s Doom was so good that I’m fine getting psyched about this just based on the reputation of the team and its track record.

Bethesda Game Studios/Bethesda Softworks

RIGHT: An Actual Elder Scrolls RPG on Mobile

Bethesda’s biggest RPG franchise has already arrived on mobile in the form of the card game, The Elder Scrolls Legends, but folks hoping for a traditional RPG have been out of luck. The Elder Scrolls Blades should fill some of that void. It’s a 3D action RPG in the style of Skyrim, but it uses touch controls on mobile devices. It’s also going to follow the same strategy of Fallout Shelter, reportedly coming to every platform on the planet. Even cooler, it’ll allow for progression to carry over across every platform it’s on.

So what did the company get wrong?

Bethesda via Polygon

Wrong: Am I really going to complain about cursing?

I don’t have a lot things I feel like I can ding Bethesda on here, so maybe I’ll just say a lot of these presenters have potty mouths? I’m coming up a bit blank otherwise. The flipside of this is saying “fuck Nazis” during press conferences is always welcome. Nazis need to be told to fuck themselves or get fucked more often. I might move this up to things Bethesda did right, I don’t know.

Bethesda via Polygon

Wrong: Andrew WK

It wasn’t a bad rendition of “Ready to Die,” but pausing your show for the performance of a song much of your audience has probably never heard isn’t the best way to keep momentum going. The reaction shots from the audience proved that out. This was to promote Rage 2, by the way, a game that has had a rocky promotional schedule already.

Quake Champions
Hey everyone, remember Quake?
id Software/Bethesda Softworks

Wrong: Quake Champions

It’s neat that this game exists and everything, but the pitch during the press conference had a slight whiff of desperation. The Quake aesthetic and style of competitive gaming felt like something lifted out of a time that has definitely moved on. I’m not sure there’s any way to get new players interested in giving this a shot, and the Quake Champions section of the press conference in general slowed things down.

All in all, Bethesda’s show is one of the best press conferences I’ve seen at E3 2018 so far, and it’s going to be hard to top. Everyone should leave the aging rockers at home for these events, though.

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