Bethesda’s E3 2016 Press Conference Review

It’s been said many times before that Bethesda’s E3 2016 press conference would have a tall order to match, much less surpass, one of the trade show’s biggest events last year- their own press conference. That doesn’t make this year’s showing automatically “bad.” In fact, I’d say the developer/publisher had a strong showing in an attempt to appeal to multiple audiences, while still catering to their investors.

But if there’s one thing I think the show could have improved upon, it’s the overall pacing and placement of specific announcements. The show kicked off with an exciting trailer for Quake: Champions, and then launched into an explanation of id Software’s new game. I’m not a PC gamer by any means, but I understand how important that audience is to the success of Bethesda. Everyone in the room is excited at the fact that Quake is back, and then Arkane Austin comes on to reveal Prey, a reboot of the series.

Nice! Two game announcements back to back. This left me waiting for another big announcement or game reveal that was not present for the rest of the conference. Prey’s trailer is stunning, featuring a world which feels as cold and manufactured as the experiments are of Martin Ye. I’m very interested to see what Arkane Austin can bring to the series. The trailer dropped audiences into a decrepit world of a man whose mind is slowly being unraveled by forces he may not be able to control. I’d have rather this specific trailer be saved for the end of the show, an interesting and shocking little reveal.

Bethesda VR and Bethesda Games’ Fallout 4 presence at the press conference was brief albeit a bit obvious. Fallout 4 is a slow, methodical game which is primarily viewed in the first person, so it makes sense the developer would try to adapt it to VR. Todd Howard made an appearance via a pre-recorded video to introduce new Fallout 4 DLC, including the ability to make your own Vault. Then, he also provided us with a short look at Nuka World, a larger piece of Fallout 4 DLC in the same vein as Far Harbor. Fallout 4 was also announced as in development as a VR experience through the HTC Vive. Personally, while I know it will be a long time if ever before I grab an HTC Vive, it’s equally exciting to see one of gaming’s oldest and most revered RPG series placed in the realm of virtual reality.

Yet perhaps one of the biggest announcements came in the form of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition. While PC players have probably been playing with such specs for quite some time, console players will now be able to head back into a world filled with dragons, Khajits, and so much more. Bethesda didn’t linger too long on the unveiling, announcing a release date as well as a look at both mod support and at how nice the world looks on the PS4 and Xbox One.

Neither The Elder Scrolls Online portion nor the Doom multiplayer DLC felt like major conference announcements. I was still really looking forward to the Dishonored 2 gameplay demonstration at the end. But it left me with a sour taste in my mouth. The demo seemed to play it safe, focusing on what makes the world aesthetically different instead of showing us more gameplay variations.

It may be quite some time before Bethesda matches their press conference from last year, but content wise this still felt like a good show. The likes of Prey and Dishonored 2 proved to us Bethesda trusts Arkane in their development capabilities, but from what I think of as the misplacement of announcements also led me to slightly forget about the show faster than I would have liked.

Liam Crossey enjoys Twitter  for its many things to retweet, and is nearly always stressed about the U.S Men’s National Soccer Team.