Bethesda’s shows have always been worthwhile and while this year was no different, it felt like it was treading on water at the same time. The newer games weren’t given gameplay, release dates/timelines or platforms. I wonder why.

Still, it was a decent show, highlighted by a wonderful display of enthusiasm and energy.


The Rapture has come

Tango Gameworks founder and the father of gaming horror, Shinji Mikami, appeared on stage to announce the studio’s brand new IP, an action-adventure game called Ghostwire: Tokyo, which takes place in – where else – Tokyo. The kicker is the set up revolves around spiritual and paranormal activities after the Rapture.

But Mikami is not heading up the project himself. Rather, he handed it off to the next generation, something he’s noted in past interviews he has wanted to do before, to creative director Ikumi Nakamura, who was the star of Bethesda’s show for her passion, energy, humour and enthusiasm in presenting the game’s trailer.

Even now, a little over an hour-and-a-half after the press conference has ended, there are still tweets about her on my timeline. And why not!

But more importantly, in the context of her work, she is fucking legendary. If Hideki Kamiya is the father of Bayonetta, Ikumi Nakamura is her mother. She is the one who conceptualised and designed how she would look when she was at Platinum Games. In addition, she also worked at Clover Studios on art for Okami.

And more so, at Tango Gameworks, she did art for both Evil Within games. She also drew up some lncredibly creepy and fucked up but brilliant art around the time Tango was established and just before it was bought by Zenimax Media.

For the game itself, it’s an idea that on paper is so up my street. An action adventure game with themes of horror – but not with it being the big thing of the game – is a big thumbs up for me. The only disappointment was we didn’t get gameplay, platforms or release timeline.

But as reveals go, Tango nailed it and hit out of the park. And all the analogies you can describe it as.


The deep apology

It takes a lot to overshadow Todd Howard. And yet, if Fallout 76 hadn’t launched in the state it did last year, he would have been a footnote. Instead, he had some grovelling to do. And… it was a decent apology.

He admitted things didn’t go to plan. He admitted that Bethesda Game Studios got justified criticism in how it handled the launch and its aftermath. But it does feel like the game is turning around. The new Wastelanders update, coming to all Fallout 76 players on all platforms this autumn for free, features human NPCs, a new story quest and a ton more.

It’s also getting a game mode called Nuclear Winter. The video it showed at the show seemed like they would let you run your own vault in the game, similar to Fallout Shelter, and I was ready to return to the game tonight if so. Instead, it was for a battle royale mode, which felt very anti-climatic.

Fallout 76 was, for the most part, all Howard would talk about. No The Elder Scrolls VI and no Starfield other than they were both still in the works. But for Fallout 76, at least mostly, it does feel like it is turning a corner. Even if it’s a game that, by right considering the franchise’s legacy and the pedigree of Bethesda Game Studios, shouldn’t have been there in the first place.


Protect Mick Gordon at all costs

DOOM FUCKING ETERNAL.

That’s it. That’s the section.

(It’s out on November 22 and Mick Gordon’s music still fucking slaps the shit out of most soundtracks this year even just in that fifteen-minute period the game ended the press conference)


Other Notes

– The Elder Scrolls Blades is getting new content as of right now and is coming to Nintendo Switch, for free, this Autumn. Which would be neat if the game wasn’t universally panned and Skyrim was already on the system.

– The Elder Scrolls Online seems to be getting a new expansion? It’s due out by the end of the year and it was implied as such in a CG trailer, which Bethesda only uses for TESO if it’s a new expansion. That’s how I understood it anyway. More at Quakecon.

Commander Keen is coming back from Zenimax Online Studios! As a mobile game. The art style looks rather neat, though.

New RAGE 2 content advertised as a sitcom is top marketing. Good job, Bethesda posse.

– Wolfenstein Youngblood and Wolfenstein Cyberpilot got its own bit along with a new trailer for the former. It’s out July 25 for PS4, Xbox One, Switch and PC.

– I’m legitimately sorry that I am so tired and exhausted at quarter past four in the morning to be giving this a note rather than its own section because otherwise, Deathloop looks absolutely dope. The new IP from Dishonored 2 developer Arkane Lyon showed incredible flair and style in its first trailer. It was also promised this’ll also still have the signature immersive gameplay to expect from Arkane’s games. But like Ghostwire: Tokyo, there was no gameplay, no platforms and no release timeline.

– Orion is a thing that’ll make streaming games better, regardless of which cloud gaming platform you’re playing on and works across games engines – your idTechs, your Unreal Engines, etc etc etc.


Bethesda had an enjoyable show as usual, but with the exception of DOOM Eternal, there was no real hard gameplay demos. And that really hurt with the two new IPs it unveiled in its show this year. Maybe they’re next-gen games. Maybe they’re launch games! Maybe both will be launch games with Starfield! Okay, I’m tired.

My point is there was some great stuff on show, including and especially Ghostwire: Tokyo. DOOM Eternal was DOOM Eternal (and that’s very much a great thing!). And Fallout 76 is starting to become a game it should have been when it launched last year.

But otherwise, it felt like a show that, as I mentioned at the top of the piece, treading on water with some of the stuff shown that didn’t get platforms, release timelines or gameplay with Scarlett and the next-gen PlayStation still a year out.

I’m hoping Bethesda will really bring it next year.

7/10

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