“You are definitely not afraid to tell us how you feel.”
Bethesda Softworks VP Pete Hines was first up on stage. He introduced the show, and welcomed the man myth legend (etc) Todd Howard.
Todd Howard started by wink wink nudge nudge acknowledging the, ah.. rough 2018 the company had. He had the good grace to look ashamed of the rough launch of Fallout 76.
Craig Lafferty and Matt Carofano, there to speak on Elder Scrolls Blades, revealed new jobs, arena battles, a custom jewelry system, and a new dragon questline. All on mobile? When? Now! “Download free tonight, and give it a try,” said Carofano, the unspoken plea heard loud and clear. Blades will also come free to Switch, Fall 2019. It is capable of cross-play and cross-progression with the mobile version.
Fallout 76. You know it, you probably hate it, and here it is at E3 once again. Tom Mustaine and Jeff Gardiner spoke on it. Gardiner started by thanking gamers for playing and sticking with the game. They’re working on another update, called “Wastelanders” which they promise will “fundamentally change the game”. What is it, you wonder? NPCs have come to the West Virginia wasteland! Understandably, the crowd went wild. “That’s right! Human NPCs are coming to Fallout 76,” Gardiner said. Someone in the crowd (a Bethesda employee, I imagine) even shouted “THANK YOU!” In addition to human NPCs, quest lines, and conversation trees will appear in the online multiplayer game. The update is coming this fall, and will be free for all F76 players. If you’d like to dip back into the game after dropping it as soon as it launched, there is a free week June 10-17. They also teased a new game mode: “Nuclear Winter”: Fallout 4’s Vault-Tec Workshop add-on meets PUBG. It’s a 52-player BR mode, to “claim your spot as overseer” of Vault 52. “Fuck yeah we put a battle royale in F76” exclaimed Mustaine.
Shinji Mikami, founder of Tango Gameworks, announced the next game from Tango: Ghostwire Tokyo. It’s an action adventure game where the player will fight abnormal enemies and rid the city of supernatural evil. Tango creative director Ikumi Nakamura (who also worked on Bayonetta and The Evil Within) promised a SPOOKY experience, but NOT a survival horror game. Citizens start disappearing rapture-style, leaving only their clothes behind (spooky!). You will face challenges and occult presences. Spirits evil and benign will chat with you. One split-second shot of a dog without its owner upset me. The game looks frightful and crisp, with different kinds of combat. Can’t wait to see more. “Don’t fear the unknown. Attack it.” is the tagline.
Zenimax studio director Matt Firor was up next to talk about ESO, specifically the Elsweyr expansion. Not much to say, other than… DRAGONS! We love dragons. They’re big, they’re nasty, and you get a lot of heavy dragon bones and scales when you kill one. (Ed. note: I haven’t actually played ESO. Do dragons drop loot? Remember to Google it.) In the extended trailer for Season of the Dragon, a Khajit (whose name I will imagine is Arya) fights alongside others to kill a dragon. The fourth quarter DLC, which completes Season of the Dragon, is called Dragonhold. More information will be available at QuakeCon in July. Scalebreaker, a dungeon DLC, will come out in August.
Firor brought out game director Kira Schlitt to introduce Commander Keen, a new spin on an old game, coming to iOS and Android. The new heroes are Billy and Billie, twin children to original game hero Billy Blaze, AKA Commander Keen. The game has aliens to fight, power ups to collect, and even a PvP mode where you can challenge other players to race through levels. The game will release later this summer.
Rage 2’s coming updates include a new expansion called Rise of the Ghosts. The Ghosts are an entirely new faction. Coming with these potential troublemakers are new vehicles, pilotable mechs, and the ability to use more cheat codes.
Jerk Gustafsson, EP for MachineGames, re-introduced Cyberpilot and Youngblood. Gustafsson didn’t share any new information, but just feeling the hype is enough for me. A new trailer for Youngblood pumps up the volume on killing Nazi scum in Paris with BJ and Anya’s twin daughters Jess and Soph in the campaign that can be played either solo or with a friend. Youngblood and Cyberpilot will be released July 26.
Dinga Bakaba and Sébastien Mitton of Arkane Lyon came to introduce something “different than what we’ve done before”. “This place isn’t a paradise. It’s a prison,” says one of the two (black!) leads. Footage shows the two leads running and gunning through enemies on 1970’s-inspired streets. They also kill each other. Repeatedly. The game’s called Deathloop, and it “lets you approach any situation any way you like”, which reminds me of Arkane’s other title Prey–specifically its DLC Mooncrash–with restarting after death being the main game mechanic.
Robert Duffy, CTO of id Software, and James Altman, Director of Publishing at Bethesda, were next, sharing information on a “dramatic new technology” to benefit game streaming. Orion is “a tremendous breakthrough in stream technology” meant to stream games up to 20% faster per frame, and up to 40% less bandwidth. This might be helpful for those with large households, or those who live in places with not-so-great internet.
DOOM Eternal, the sequel to 2016’s DOOM, promises more demon slaughter and more of that Good Shit. Hugo Martin creative director, Marty Stratton EP. They teased new locations (Heaven?!) and new ways to kill enemies and traverse levels. A new gameplay showcase has Doomslayer landing on Mars into a demonic hellscape compound, and immediately wrecking their shit. The music (Mick Gordon returns as composer) blares, matching the frenetic chaos by tone. Sound design and environmental tools seem as satisfying as ever. It’s beautiful, it’s marvelous, and it’ll be a wonder if any of us will be able to wait until release. DOOM Eternal will be available November 22, 2019. But the team wasn’t done sharing DOOM content: Battlemode, developed in-house at id, is “pure DOOM, with your friends” of asymmetrical 2v1, where two demons play against one super kitted-out slayer. Demon players will be able to summon AI demons for help, and I can only assume the human player will have plenty to even the odds.
Any news on Starfield and Elder Scrolls VI? No, says Todd Howard, a naughty gleam in his eye. On those, you’ll have to wait another day.