Welcome to Third Person's (timely) coverage of E3 2017. We'll have a podcast for each press conference going up soon, as well as usual weekly roundup on the conference as a whole and our thoughts. Be sure to check out the other articles and podcasts and let us know what you think! (Editor's Note: Having your editor in chief get very ill right as E3 ends is bad for #content.)
So far, this year’s E3 seems fairly tame in comparison to previous years, and Bethesda was no exception to this. Bethesda seemed to double down on VR in a way that’s cool, but impractical for most. However, as someone who would maybe invest in either VR or 4K gaming, I’d choose VR – the thought of DOOM in this format is intriguing. Fallout 4 seems a bit excessive: an 80 hour RPG played in small chunks, because of motion sickness and general exhaustion, isn’t the “chocolate and peanut butter” mix they might be hoping for.
There was a bunch in the middle that some seemed to find exciting, but I felt landed with a thud. Both Evil Within 2 and Quake didn’t light any of my fires, and Skyrim on Switch seems doomed from the start.
There were two interesting properties they did reveal, however. The first being a standalone DLC for Dishonored. The subtitle “Death of the Outsider” carries a lot of weight for that game’s mythology and characters. To explain why quickly, the Outsider is an enigmatic being who provides the protagonists with powers, and always exists on the edge of the story, hinting at larger forces at work. A story bringing the fight to this being, who appears to be a god, will have some implications for that world. I hope, though, that this is the last Dishonored game Arkane does for awhile, and explores new IP instead.
The other game shown to catch my, and everyone’s, eye was Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus. I never did beat The New Order (which I should get back to…), but this game seems to lean hard into the absurd in some fantastic ways. Machine Games do amazing gameplay, and BJ Blazkowicz became a nuanced character through that previous installment, which I’m excited to see picked back up again with this new game.
There were two games in Bethesda’s 2017 lineup that I got really excited for: Wolfenstein 2 and the new Dishonored standalone thing. The rest of their showing was very cool thematically, but like others have said, lacked substance. Their reliance on old IPs through sequels and ‘VR-ification’ was uninteresting to me.
As a student and young professional on a budget, living in a space that is restrictive, VR is not something I find incredibly accessible. A refreshing feature of both EA and Microsoft’s press conferences was the absence of VR. I feel that until VR hits a more approachable price point and physical system footprint, the adoption rate of this (admittedly really cool) technology will remain low.
Doom and its utilization of the Vulkan graphics API has always been intriguing to me. This game is a very good looking triple-A title that can run at a ludicrous frame rate on low-end hardware. I am excited to see more of this creative application of technology towards my favourite big flagship titles from Bethesda.
On the subject of the flagship titles, however, I have to note that I’m incredibly biased, in that every time they do a press conference without announcing the next entry in the Elder Scrolls series I can’t help but feel disappointed. I understand that we can’t see a release to the scale of Fallout 4 or Skyrim every year, but that doesn't stop me from holding onto hope.
Speaking of Elder Scrolls, the “Morrowind” DLC trailer (that I’ve seen before) felt different, and actually made me want to consider taking another look into an MMO that, by all rights, should be right up my alley.
I wish I could say I'm disappointed with Bethesda at E3 2017, but I think I'm just so underwhelmed that it sort of feels like the same thing. Their presentation was good, the concept of “Bethesdaland” was fun and cute, even a bit refreshing. Though I worry whenever a game company states that there's “something for everyone.” Usually that means a lot of vague interest, instead of active interest from any part of their audience, which seems to be exactly where we ended up.
They opened their presentation with a promise: “this will be unlike anything you've seen before.” With the bar already set so high from E3 2015 and the sudden drop of Fallout 4, I held my breath, and waited for something amazing. Right out of the gate we got F4 and Doom for VR. An exciting start, but the same old titles.
Sequels, add ons, new content, DLC, all for familiar games we’ve been playing for a while. Aside from one stand alone episodic for Dishonored, all I was looking at was sequels and in app purchases.
Don't get me wrong, some of what they presented looks great. The trailers for The Evil Within 2 and Wolfenstein 2 were fantastic. The Dishonored stand alone looks compelling, despite not having played the full game. Nonetheless, they're still installments in already well established franchises. Where's my new title? Where’s my new experience?
They put on a great, innovative show, but it wasn't anything new – in fact, quite the opposite. I appreciate a good sequel (hell I'm still playing Fallout 4 frequently), but it's hard not to be a bit disappointed when sequels are all you get.
Both The Evil Within 2 and Wolfenstein 2 launch in October, and I’m excited to see what these titles bring to the table regardless of their sequel status. I only wish Bethesda had given me something new to sink my teeth into. It's hard to be innovative when you won't make anything new.