Since hosting their own conference in 2015, Bethesda has been on an uphill climb. They’ve been a consistently great publisher over the last several years and I’m anticipating that to continue for the foreseeable future thanks to a wide portfolio of excellent games and talented studios. We’re no doubt going to see a number of their next titles this E3 and that’s an exciting prospect.
A company doesn’t hold a press conference at E3 without having the content to back it up. Looking back to Bethesda’s previous conferences, that much is evident. In 2015, they came to the show with a number of titles including Dishonored 2 and Dishonored: Definitive Edition, The Elder Scrolls: Legends, Fallout: Shelter, DOOM, and of course the monumental Fallout 4. In 2016, we got announcements for The Elder Scroll V: Skyrim Special Edition, the new Prey, Quake Champions and DLC for Fallout 4, DOOM, The Elder Scrolls Online, and more.
The point I’m making is that Bethesda has the software and number of studios to be able to continuously bring new things to the table. So this E3 2017 marks a new year and a time for some of their more quiet studios to get some spotlight. I expect one such studio to be Shinji Mikami’s team, Tango Gameworks. With The Evil Within released in October 2014, it’s high time we get some idea on what their next project is. Speaking of which, there was a recent job posting for a second game. Hmm. I expect this sequel to show up at the conference and while I enjoyed the original to a certain degree, I didn’t have as good a time as I’d wished. I’m hoping this second game can improve upon some shortcomings like the cumbersome controls, an iffy story and somewhat bland characters.
Next is something I’m most looking forward to at Bethesda’s show, heck, even E3 as a whole. Wolfenstein: The New Order is one of my favorite games in this current generation and the expansion piece The Old Blood was a fantastic add-on. I was pleasantly surprised by just how much I enjoyed it. Being single player only, MachineGames was able to focus exclusively on fleshing out the level design, combat scenarios, story and characters and I think they did an admirable job with it.
With that said, The Old Blood came out in the summer of 2015 so the studio’s been radio silent for almost 2 years at this point. There’s no doubt in my mind that we’ll likely see the next game in the franchise and it’ll again star good ol’ BJ Blazkowicz, a surprising fan favorite. I’d like to see new locations, new likable characters and weapon mechanics to name a few. It’s about time to kill some more Nazis.
One thing I do not anticipate seeing any time soon is the next mainline Elder Scrolls game. There’s several factors affecting this. For one, the team consists of less than 200 individuals. With Fallout 4 having been released less than 2 years ago and DLC wrapped up not too long ago, the timing isn’t feasible. Producer Todd Howard and Bethesda as a whole has stated that shorter reveal-to-launch windows are more or less their policy for game releases and given that, there’s just no reason to expect anything here. To finish it off with a cherry on top, Bethesda Game Studios is working on a couple things planned for release before any potential new Elder Scrolls. If anything I think there’s some chance to see one of these projects.
There’s also the potential for something to come out of some form of publishing deal with a studio. I want to be clear, this is pure speculation, not a hint at some reveal. Bethesda’s growing as a publisher and it’s not too far fetched to think a possible partnership blossomed somewhere and could theoretically be detailed at the show.
One team I don’t expect to hear from is id Software. With DOOM being released less than a year ago, an expectation of an announcement or reveal would be unreasonable. I think the safest bets would be extra content for games already released. I have a feeling we’ll see an expansion of sorts for Dishonored 2 as Arkane Studios has certainly been busy since main game’s release last November. It feels a little too soon to hear about DLC for Prey but a team working on DLC prior to a base game’s release isn’t unheard of in the industry. In fact it’s more the norm so showing a possible piece of DLC for Prey wouldn’t be too shocking.
I suspect we’ll get an update on Quake: Champions. With it being in closed beta, a release date for the final product also wouldn’t be too out there. So to sum up, with its suite of software and portfolio of studios I think Bethesda has a chance to really capture a lot of attention. My personal ‘most anticipated’ announcement is the inevitable sequel to Wolfenstein: The New Order but I’d love a look at more from Shinji Mikami and the team at Arkane (Dishonored II was one of my favorite games last year).
Here’s to a great show from Bethesda.