So Bethesda’s conference was short, maybe 40 minutes in all, weird, and full of interesting content. None of it was unexpected, but all of it was welcome, which is the best thing that can happen to a conference that plays it safe. So let’s get the best and worst things about this conference out of the way before jumping into the highlights:
The Best Thing: Every Game Shown at the Conference Will be Available This Year
This is where the short length worked in Bethesda’s favor and it was a very smart marketing move. No one’s going to wait for years and the likely delay when there’s a surefire promise that everything announced is coming this year and so much of it is coming in that September/October release window. There’s going to be a game for everyone, and I can imagine this move will have a big payoff at the end of that financial quarter.
The Worst Thing: The “Carnival” Theme
This is a matter of personal opinion, but I was cringing every time they showed more of this. I get what the publisher was trying to do with the whole “our games are a carnival with something for everyone,” but it came off as corny/cringy and I felt like I was watching a Saturday morning kids show. Also it kind of clashed with the many dark games they showed off such as Doom VFR, the Dishonored 2 expansion, The Evil Within 2, and others. But again thankfully all the games looked quite promising. Starting off with:
Personally, I could care less for Fallout 4 since I still can’t decide if its a good game, but DOOM VR sounds like an interesting experiment if nothing else. The body horror and fast-paced combat might be exactly what VR needs to feel fresh and interesting again, especially when there’s a real concern for whether or not the platform is sustainable long-term or if it will end up another gimmick like motion control. This is one of those titles that at its worst can just end up being mediocre, but right now I’m curious to see if it can soar above that mark.
Bethesda’s Creation Club
I’m really not sure how to feel about this, but considering 90% of the people who’ve viewed the video disliked it, I’m going to go with the majority here and say this sounds like an awful idea. Essentially, Bethesda will now charge money for content created by “third-party developers” and as I predicted microtransactions are required if you want to access this content. Bethesda seemed to forget that Valve tried this same idea on Steam and the backlash was so strong that the company pulled the design in less than a month, largely because people would charge something like $20 for stupid outfits. I really hope they don’t end up going through with this because these ideas give people all the excuse they need to pirate a game and keep a clean conscience.
Dishonored: Death of the Outsider
This was definitely my favorite project out of the entire conference. Billy DLC was already implied at the end of Dishonored 2, but being able to work with Daud to kill the effective “God” of the Dishonored universe sounds like a fantastic finale for Dishnored 2. I also give Arkane major props because this could’ve been the plot for a “Dishonored 3” and instead they chose to make a shorter, and ergo a stronger, narrative which is a bold move that I can’t wait to see the results of in September.
Wolfenstein: The New Colossus
…so… I mean I know Pete Hines reminded everyone after the trailer that MachineGames was working on something that was “fucking bananas” but that doesn’t begin to describe the latest installment of sci-fi Nazi murder porn set in a world where the Nazis won WWII. Dual-wielding assault-rifles, biological abominations, bodies and/or killer robots being torn and/or blown to bits, its hard to describe how chaotic this is without actually seeing the game. So, uh…here:
All in all, it was a short conference, but it looks as though less was more in this case. We didn’t hear about a new groundbreaking hundreds-of-hours long RPG but we got some neat stuff regardless and all of its coming at the back end of 2017, which again, is a great surprise.
So who won today? I’d have to throw the conference Bethesda’s way honestly. Microsoft showed off some very promising titles but there were also plenty of forgettable IPs thrown in the mix, and the smaller selection of handpicked titles from Bethesda gave me more time to appreciate each one individually. Tomorrow’s the last official big day, with a PC Gaming show at 10, and then its Ubisoft vs. Sony. Will Sony continue their winning streak of press conferences? Will Ubisoft stop forcing Aisha Tyler to make awkward sex jokes, and show off titles that don’t end up being downgraded and forgettable at launch? Whatever happens tomorrow, I can’t wait for the final conferences. Hopefully, they’ll blow these last two days right out of the water.