Rating the E3 Conferences: Bethesda

I already did a brief "rating" thing during my livestream earlier in the week, but I think these conferences deserve a bit more of an in-depth look.  These are kinda long so I'll be releasing them in chunks rather than in one mega-article.


Grade: B-

Bethesda’s often lauded for its games with enormous worlds that allow players to explore every nook and cranny, and play as any kind of person they choose to be.   That aspect of their video games appeals to me…but unfortunately their universes often don’t, and so I’m generally pretty hands off with regards to them.  Even when they announced this conference I knew that unless they were showing off Elder Scrolls VI—which would still need a significant graphical overhaul to look like the opposite of Skyrim—nothing they had would be for me.

Unsurprisingly, I was right.  But these ratings aren’t really for “games I’m interested in versus games I’m not”.  If that were the case all of these companies would get varying grades of F, with maaaybe Square climbing up to a C-.  Instead, it’s all about how well they were able to present, what they had, and how much they showed.

With that in mind, Bethesda did a great job.  I don’t give a fuck about DOOM, but they gave players who do an extended look at its world and graphics.  Similarly, they did the same with the stunningly beautiful and long-awaited Dishonored 2.  Lots of CG, but I imagine we’ll get more gameplay in the months to come as they ramp up towards the game’s early 2016 release.  

And of course there was Fallout 4.  One of the biggest titles of last generation, this was the reason Bethesda even had a conference.  And to their credit, they unveiled this perfectly—showing you how the opening of the game plays out up until your character finds themselves placed in the vault, giving players a good idea of the battle system, the world, crafting, and even the neat little “city building” mechanic.  And all of that doesn’t even get to the incredible Fallout app and the “Pipboy” wrist device—one of the neatest collector’s edition pack-ins I’ve ever seen.

Also, that release date is something I wish more companies would notice.  If E3 has to die for a year, so be it—but let’s get back to the point where we reveal games at E3 that are due out within a year, not two or more.   Most core gamers are already tired of most titles by the time they come out because they spend so much time after unveiling just hovering about in the back of our minds.  When they come out 18-24 months after their initial reveal, it feels like we should have already played them.  As a result when they finally hit store shelves only the games we can’t wait to play even remotely feel worth our time.

This was an awesome prologue, and even though Bethesda has no reason to be here next year—I’m going to miss them already.


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