It’s E3 Week in Los Angeles, and the big players in the video game industry have all descended on Southern California to hawk their new toys. While the conference does not formally open until June 13th, many of the developers and consoles have already held their own private shows, bringing new titles and new hardware to the forefront in the industry’s ever-escalating arms race.
One of the big game studios bringing new goodies to the floor this year is Bethesda, a perennial contender for the Expo’s most-anticipated showcase. This year, the company invited people to tour “Bethesdaland”, putting a unique spin on some new offerings slated for release in 2017.
The Big Reveals
By far the most noteworthy item out of Bethesda’s showcase this year was the anticipated arrival of Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus this fall.
This will be the third game in the series under Bethesda’s watch, following 2014’s The New Order and a stand-alone prequel in 2015’s The Old Blood. The game possessed by far the most elaborate video package and buildup, capping off Bethesda’s conference. Series protagonist B.J. Blazkowicz is back to kick some Nazi-ass in an alternate history 1960’s where the Axis Powers wound up winning in World War II.
Developed by Bethesda subsidiary MachineGames, Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus will feature a special $100 Collector’s Edition that includes several special in-game perks along with a Blazkowicz action figure and some other goodies. It will launch for the PS4, Xbox One and PC users October 27.
The other big title announced is the follow-up to 2014’s The Evil Within, a survival-horror offering from Resident Evil creator Shinji Mikami. Produced by Tango Gameworks, The Evil Within 2 sees the return of series protagonist Sebastian Castellanos, fresh out of the hellscapes endured in the first game gets to return for a new trip through more nightmarish worlds.
The game drops (when else?) on Friday the 13th this October, and will be available across all major platforms. A change of undergarments will NOT be included in the special edition.
— Bethesda’s long-rumored VR offerings kicked off this year’s showcase, as the popular Doom and Fallout franchises will both receive virtual reality offerings on their most recent releases. Doom VFR and Fallout 4 VR will both arrive at some point in 2017 for the PlayStation VR and HTC Vive, though no release date was announced for either title.
— Quake fans received a new look at the upcoming Quake Champions release for PC, in addition to more information about a special Quake tournament later this year. This will be the first major entry in the franchise in well over a decade: the id Software release was first announced at last year’s E3 conference, and will be available in 2017.
— The Elder Scrolls series received a few new entries this year, though a full fledged sequel to The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim remains elusive. The Elder Scrolls: Legends card game series gets a new expansion, Heroes of Skyrim, introducing new elements from the popular fifth installment of the main game series, available June 29. The new Morrowind expansion for The Elder Scrolls Online received some attention as well, though the big news was a sneak peak at the new port of Skyrim to the Switch. And yes, Amiibo compatibility was confirmed in the trailer, thus allowing Nintendo gamers the ability to slay dragons while dressed up as Link.
— New DLC for Dishonored 2 was previewed for a September 15, 2017 release across all major platforms. Death of the Outsider will follow Billie Lurk and Daud as they seek to kill the Outsider (hence the title).
— Modding will receive a face lift, as Bethesda announced the creation of a new mod service for its titles called the Creation Club, bringing in-house and outside developers together for what looks to be a paid service allowing gamers to buy new immersive mods for existing games. Though no official word was given during the presentation, it would appear that free mods will continue to exist much as they have in conjunction with the new paid service.
In many respects, 2017’s E3 showcase felt like something of a letdown for Bethesda. Many were hopeful that they would receive a teaser for The Elder Scrolls VI, but those expectations were not met. The company’s two new VR offerings are intriguing, but rumors have been leaking out slowly for the past six months regarding their development, so there was little surprise to be found there. Everything released in their 2017 showcase was either DLC for existing games or sequels: no new titles are forthcoming.
The big selling point, in addition to their new paid feature, was that everything announced during the showcase would launch in 2017. That could give an indication that this year represented the conclusion of the current development cycle, leading to the expectation that big news may land in 2018 on some of their bigger franchises. Overall, there are some exciting things to look forward to later this year, but patience will be needed, because Bethesda works on their own time.