On a relaxing Sunday night, I took to the couch to view the Bethesda E3 showcase on Twitch. Nights like this take me back to a similar early summer evening in 2015. In that year, we saw Fallout 4 for the first time, and we got to see the very best of what an E3 presentation had to offer. It’s rare that some socially awkward game designers or board room magnates can make a glorified PowerPoint presentation a memorable experience. But if all the stars align, this stuff is better than porn.
For Bethesda this year, expectations are high. Sure, there’s Rage 2, possibly some new Dishonored content etc., but the majority of the 500,000 or so viewers are here for Fallout 76. Rumors have been swirling about the possibility of an MMO, or other such depressing alternatives, but it appears it’s finally “truth time.” I’ve slugged through the nauseating pre-show, it’s time to get down to business…
First up was Rage 2 and noted punk-piano man Andrew W.K. came out…. for a musical performance? Ugh, this isn’t what video game presentations are about, is it? This also doesn’t bode well for the actual content when it’s being wrapped in this sort of package, but okay. Following that, some bald fuckboi and a 9 ft tall Nordic claiming to be designers came out to finally talk about the game. Just as with the trailer, Rage 2 looks amazing, gritty and huge. While this is the same universe as the initial Rage, there is clearly more emphasis on vehicle combat, and an even bigger emphasis on superhuman powerups. Bodies are flying everywhere and the whole experience is a feast for the eyes and ears. The story though? Well, it has to be absolute trash. Our protagonist, a chatty tough guy, seems to be fighting against “the authority” protecting some nanotrites or other such silliness as he shoots he crazy weapons between checkpoints. We didn’t get much additional detail, or a release date, so we’ll put a pin in it for now I guess.
Elder Scrolls Legends/Elder Scrolls Online
Elder Scrolls Legends, it’s a card game, and it’s uhh relaunched or something. I remember seeing it at the last E3. I didn’t care then, I don’t care now. Elder Scrolls Online, also apparently is alive and well. I get a little bitter every time I see a fresh batch of content for the MMO, as it’s becoming clear that TES 6 is getting more and more out of our reach. Anyhow, apparently the supposed 11 million online players will have a dandy time with their fresh content, and I’ll die just a little more inside. Enough of this, give me what I came for.
-nervously twitches through chat-ups about Doom, Quake, Prey and Wolfenstein-
Oh Todd Howard, we meet again. No fucking around, give it to me straight. Ok fine, show me some of the world again. We finally get confirmation on the setting, and we’re shown some magnificent West Virginia country side. New creatures, news guns, this looks amazing! Oh no, wait…there’s something Todd’s not telling us yet. Oh no, here it comes….
Todd Howard: “Fallout 76 will be 100% online.”
-very shaky exhale as I start looking upset-
Alright, there it is, Fallout 76 will not be a single player experience. It’s fine, I’ll be fine, doesn’t bother me at all. Oh, Todd’s still talking. Yeah, the world’s going to be four times bigger than Fallout 4…lots of regions, make new friends…blah blah blah.
Ok, no. I have to get this out. Why are we doing this? What’s going to save this game from being a battle royale fuck-fest? Do I get to pay extra to get access to nuke launchers faster? Do I get extra experience if I play with sponsored content? Do we not get to use VATS? Why are there Super Mutants…those weren’t created yet? Oh god I’m actually going to have to make some friends now. Where am I? Why is it all getting dark…?
-my wife nudges me and asks why I’m looking so angry-
Sorry, that was an overreaction. A post-nuclear world with unscripted interaction with fellow humans might actually work. Bethesda confirmed that the game CAN be completed solo, and the world has proper quests alongside its story. With that in mind, I’ll reserve judgement for now and hope to have the time of my life this fall. In the meantime, does anyone want to be my friend?
Fallout 76 will be released on November 14th, 2018.
So that’s it, some good looking content to look forward to and hopefully some tougher questions to be answered in the coming weeks. Not a bad presentation overall. See you guys next year.
-starts to pack up my things-
Todd Howard: “Oh by the way, The Elder Scrolls 6 exists and it’ll be next-gen. Bye!”
Matthew is hanging out on Twitter.
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