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Bethesda Conference Analysis | E3 2018

Bethesda

Bethesda had one of the more…unique… E3 conferences back in 2017.  Very few announcements hit home for fans and there was no word on some of Bethesda’s biggest franchises.  Bethesda needed to come through 2018 with some of the heavy hitters. TGF did a pretty good job of anticipating what Bethesda would reveal. And that is exactly what they did.  Bethesda showcased nearly every single one of their biggest franchises in some capacity.

Last year was a rough one for Bethesda in terms of E3 exposure.  They made the decision to take a page from Nintendo and have a pre-recorded “direct” presentation.  This was received with lackluster appeal and also had the bad luck of being fairly mundane in terms of content that was showcased. With a strong slate of games from 2015-2016, it was a disappointment to see what publisher offered up in 2017.

2018 brought whole new Bethesda to the E3 forum.  Every single major series was showcased in a meaningful way.  Rage 2 was shown in full form and looked crisp and fun (let’s not mention too much about the protagonist’s name; Walker Ranger.)  Prey 2 announced new DLC and game modes.  Some of this was even available during the show!  We also received a new entry into the Doom franchise with Doom Eternal.  Wolfenstein also had a new title with Wolfenstein: Youngbloods.  New games, new content and a dedication to bringing us this content as soon as possible.

What Does It All Mean?

While none of these titles would be considered flagships for the company, it’s a smart move to continue to create quality content for their legacy franchises.  No one can accuse Bethesda of not working to keep its slate of franchises relevant in this console generation.  The only mainline franchise yet to make an appearance had been Elder Scrolls.  One of the best things to note is that fact that Bethesda is not “shelving” franchises while working with others.

Many developers cycle through their library of games and take turns with each one on the horns.  Others will drive a series into the ground with yearly iterations until it is a shell of its former self.  Bethesda is taking the middle approach to these two extremes.  Bethesda’s less involved and storied franchises are receiving consistent DLC and new games every 2-3 years.  It’s big two getting a bit more polish and time put into them.  It’s a strategy that has paid off for them.  Fallout 4 was critically acclaimed, Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is the poster game for Western RPG’s and Doom is one of the highest rated shooters of this console generation.

Bringing the Heavy Hitters

Speaking of the Fallout series, Fallout 76 takes the series in a bold new direction.  Making the game a cooperative/multiplayer experience opens the series up to many gamers who are interested in a different gaming experience then Fallout normally provides. This move also shows that Bethesda understands the current trends in gaming.  They are looking to ensure their franchises stay relevant by branching them into other genres.  While this does have some risk of pulling the series outside of its tried and true niche, Bethesda has done well in this regard.  Games like Elder Scrolls Legends, Elder Scrolls Online, and Fallout Shelter are examples of the publisher knowing just how to put its franchises in fresh new genres that work.

So How’d They Do?

To end things strong we were treated to the knowledge of a brand new Intellectual Property with Starfield.  Not much is known but odds are that this is going to be an open world Western RPG in the same vein as Fallout/Elder Scrolls.  It’s too early to say for certain but this could be a title that helps to alleviate the anxiousness of the wait between new Fallout’s and Elder Scrolls titles.  And as the cherry on top, we were shown the briefest of Elder Scrolls VI teaser trailers.   Very little was shown but there may be more information within that glimpse than most would imagine.

Overall Bethesda knocked it out of the park with this E3 Conference.  Much of the content they announced is on the horizon within the next six months.  A new Triple-A franchise was announced in Starfield and an Elder Scrolls 6 is coming at some point.  We have knowledge of what is to come in the future and what’s coming in the soon to be present.  A bit of here and now.  A bit of see you next year.  All of that adds up to a successful conference from Bethesda.