Bethesda Softworks’ E3 keynote shows PC gaming some love

Bethesda Softworks held its second-ever E3 keynote late last night in Los Angeles. As the developer of the recent Fallout games as well as the beloved Elder Scrolls series, Bethesda needs no introduction. The company's big news last night regarded titles it publishes for its partner studios under the umbrella of Zenimax Media.

After a short intro featuring a mock-up of a DOS prompt, the Quake Champions trailer opened the show, and rightly so. After the massive success of the company's reimagined Doom just a month ago, Id Software fans turned their hopeful eyes toward the Quake franchise. Bethesda unfortunately didn't say much about Quake Champions, but we know it will be a multiplayer first-person shooter with an emphasis on character-specific abilities, similar to recent titles like Overwatch and Battleborn. Still unknown are platforms (besides the obvious PC release), release date, or really much of anything else. We expect more information on this title later in the year at Quakecon.

Speaking of Doom, Bethesda also announced a bit of information about forthcoming updates to the new release. The game's Snapmap feature is getting major updates, including support for proper single-player levels and a Hell-themed tileset. Doom's somewhat lackluster multiplayer mode is getting a shot in the arm with five new game modes, too including the return of Deathmatch to the game that invented it. The first multiplayer DLC is on the way too, titled "Unto the Evil." It'll offer three new maps, a new playable demon, and a new weapon.

Besides Id Software, Bethesda's other big partner studio is Arkane, which has a legacy of first-person action titles infused with RPG DNA that dates all the way back to Arx Fatalis in 2002. Arkane's most recent title—Dishonored—came out in 2012, and it was the company's biggest success yet. Players praised the game's storytelling as much as the first-person stealth action gameplay. Dishonored 2—which was actually announced at last year's E3—got a new trailer last night, showing gameplay for the first time.

Dishonored 2 is set fifteen years after the first game, and offers players the choice of Dishonored protagonist Corvo Attano or former princess Emily Kaldwin as playable characters. The new title has a focus on exploration, and the two characters each have their own unique abilities and story paths to follow. The game is being developed using a custom engine called the "Void Engine," which increases the tally of unique game engines in use at Bethesda to three. Dishonored 2 is coming out November 11 this year on Xbox One, Playstation 4, and PC.

In a surprising announcement, Bethesda also revealed that Arkane is working on a re-imagined Prey game. The original Prey, which released in 2006, was a bit of a sleeper hit, and the promising sequel shown at E3 in 2011 was unfortunately canceled in 2014. This new game, then, has little in common with the original title, but the trailer showcases a first-person shooter with cutting-edge graphics and an interesting near-future setting that recalls System Shock. Director Raphael Colantonio says the game is an open-world affair, and it's set for a 2017 release.

Bethesda had some news about its own games, too. Elder Scrolls: Legends, a spin-off title in the long-running series, is a digital card game in the vein of Hearthstone. Comparisons to Blizzard's Warcraft-inspired card game abound, but the title has as much in common with Magic: The Gathering or even The Witcher's Gwent. Like Gwent, Legends' game board is divided into lanes, although it only has two such slots versus Gwent's three. Players expend Magicka to summon creatures and cast spells in the grand tradition of card game dueling. Elder Scrolls: Legends is coming to Windows, Android, and iOS devices later this year.

In other Elder Scrolls news, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is getting a re-release on PC, Xbox One, and Playstation 4. The so-called Skyrim Special Edition features updated visuals, integrated DLC, and mod support on consoles, much like Fallout 4. Surprisingly, PC gamers who own the original release and all of the DLC (or Skyrim Legendary Edition) on Steam will be able to grab the Special Edition for free. Unfortunately, Bethesda didn't offer so much as a whisper about any brand-new Elder Scrolls games.

Finally, possibly the most interesting piece of news to come out of Bethesda's E3 presentation was that the company has sprouted a new branch dedicated to developing VR games. The first project from the new division will be adapting Fallout 4 to the HTC Vive as a room-scale game. Rather than a simple tech demo or preview, executive producer Todd Howard was on hand to assure us the whole game would be playable. The company says Doom is coming to VR in some form as well, which could make for a gloriously nauseating experience.

Most importantly, everything Bethesda showed last night is coming to to the PC. All three major Zenimax studios (Bethesda, Id, and Arkane) are historically PC software developers, and the company seems to be embracing that history with gusto. We look forward to QuakeCon for more information on Quake Champions and Dishonored 2.

Comments closed
    • Voldenuit
    • 3 years ago

    Looking forward to Dishonored 2.

    Had my fun with Skyrim (200+ hrs), unlikely to start a new game. I *am* looking forward to Skywind (fan remake of Morrowind w Skyrim engine; hopefully they streamlined the mechanics a bit).

      • Khali
      • 3 years ago

      I have just over 1800 hours in Skyrim and will probably give it another go just to see what they did.

      I’m not holding my breath waiting on Skywind. It’s been going on for a few years and I doubt it will every be finished enough to be released. A similar project was started to remake Morrowind using the Oblivion engine and it never saw the light of day.

        • sweatshopking
        • 3 years ago

        1800??? How?? Why???

          • biffzinker
          • 3 years ago

          No worse than someone on my friends list with with 2,189 hrs on record for CS:GO.

            • auxy
            • 3 years ago

            I have 2,436 hours on Warframe. (*’▽’)

            • LostCat
            • 3 years ago

            o.O I only have 1282. apparently I’m slacking off.

          • UberGerbil
          • 3 years ago

          My mother probably has at least double that on Freecell.

        • Froz
        • 3 years ago

        Skyrim was released on 11.11.2011. That’s 1677 days ago. Which would mean that you played on average more then an hour every single day since the release, for 4,5 years. Seriously, are you not bored by the game already?

        From the games I own on Steam (and so can count the time), the one I played for the longest has 775 hours and I bought it in 2009.

    • chuckula
    • 3 years ago

    Incidentally, AMD did a segment where they “launched” somewhat lower end versions of the Polaris parts.

      • biffzinker
      • 3 years ago

      What does AMD’s Polaris have to do with the Bethesda E3 keynote?

        • chuckula
        • 3 years ago

        There was a big keynote where multiple vendors got up and talked about stuff in different segments. I was posting information about what AMD said as a heads up. TR may choose to have a more detailed story later, but I thought the information might be of interest to some people here.

          • RAGEPRO
          • 3 years ago

          [url<]https://techreport.com/news/30271/amd-reveals-its-radeon-rx-460-and-radeon-rx-470-at-e3[/url<]

      • sweatshopking
      • 3 years ago

      Are they confirmed as new parts not rebranded?

        • chuckula
        • 3 years ago

        They are Polaris variants so they are new silicon.

        • biffzinker
        • 3 years ago

        [url<]http://www.legitreviews.com/amd-radeon-rx-470-radeon-rx-460-graphics-cards-announced_182512[/url<]

    • Chrispy_
    • 3 years ago

    Excellent:

    I loved all the Quake games (yes, even Quake II), I enjoyed Prey, for what it was – and I really liked the reboot of Doom (just finished it on Nightmare after a second playthrough).

    Dishonored was okay, sort of Deus-Ex okay – in other words not my preferred type of game but done so well that I enjoyed it regardless and can recommend it to others without hesitation.

    • TwoEars
    • 3 years ago

    So this Skyrim Special Edition is basically just the Legendary Edition with a few mods stolen from the nexus and re-packaged for PS4 and XBONE. Oh Bethesda… Bethesda…

      • RAGEPRO
      • 3 years ago

      I understand how you feel, but I think it seems more like a port of Skyrim to the Fallout 4 engine. 🙂

        • TwoEars
        • 3 years ago

        Where is Krogoth when I need him…

      • tipoo
      • 3 years ago

      I think they recognize this and is why the PC version is a free upgrade for Skyrim purchasers.

      • biffzinker
      • 3 years ago

      The only expense against you is bandwidth subtracted from your data cap, and ISP’s reoccurring monthly fee. If you already own the PC version of Skyrim, it’s free on October 28th.

        • Chrispy_
        • 3 years ago

        Oh, excellent again.

        I own Skyrim but never actually finished it (buggy at launch and had too many other good games to play at the time). If it’s all prettied up on the Fallout4 engine and the scripting has been fixed by Bethesda (and the community, since I understand Bethesda adopted some of the community patches) then I’ll be willing to give it a second chance.

      • superjawes
      • 3 years ago

      On the bright side, they are making it essentially free for PC users instead of trying to sell it to them AGAIN.

      • puppetworx
      • 3 years ago

      Bethesda tried to monetize mods on Steam not long ago, and it does say ‘mod support’. I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re paid mods.

        • Khali
        • 3 years ago

        This worries me as well. Skyrim is still fairly popular at this late date and the change to the Bethesda.net method for mods seems like a precursor to going forward with paid mods in both Fallout 4 and Skyrim. This is just Bethesda’s way of cutting Steam out of the deal.

        I, personally, do not like Bethesda.net. Its clunky and you can’t play the game while mods are downloading like you can with websites like the Nexus.

      • One Sick Puppy
      • 3 years ago

      Can’t complain for free on the PC. Looking forward to not having to install and manage all sorts of mods when I want to play Skyrim.

    • slowriot
    • 3 years ago

    I’m excited for Dishonored 2. The rest of the line up is either boring or worrying. I should be excited about Quake Champions but that its going to be a hero-shooter kills it.

    • biffzinker
    • 3 years ago

    Congrats on the write up Zak.

      • RAGEPRO
      • 3 years ago

      Thanks. Hope you enjoyed it.

        • biffzinker
        • 3 years ago

        Sure did, even found something I wasn’t aware of until I read through your news post.

    • anotherengineer
    • 3 years ago

    Wow, can’t believe I almost forgot about E3.

    [url<]http://www.e3expo.com/takeover[/url<] [url<]https://www.e3expo.com/home[/url<] Hmmmmmmmmmm

    • puppetworx
    • 3 years ago

    Dishonored 2 could be good, I enjoyed the first one. Quake Champions appears to be some IP that they decided to pin the Quake brand on.

    Skyrim is the weird one. If it has an updated renderer (DX11/12) I can see a lot of people being grateful for this. If not then I don’t see the point other than for those next-gen console bucks.

      • swaaye
      • 3 years ago

      Re-releases are all the rage on the consoles. I have no doubt there is lots of money to be made on that front. Plus these people are probably going to go nuts over the new mod opportunity.

      Looks like the lighting has been tweaked, including some additional volumetric lighting stuff maybe, but that’s all I really saw.

        • brucethemoose
        • 3 years ago

        I just hope they finally added GPU shadow rendering.

        CPU shadows in 2016 shouldnt be a thing, but I wouldn’t put it past Bethesda.

      • cygnus1
      • 3 years ago

      I think the Skyrim update/re-release will be at least DX11. They appear to be updating it to use the same or newer version of Gamebryo/Creation Engine that’s currently in Fallout 4.

      • brucethemoose
      • 3 years ago

      The Xbone isn’t compatible with DX9, and given their track record and the FO4 base, I’ll eat my shoe if BGS releases a DX12 game this year.

      It’s almost certainly DX11.

    • Froz
    • 3 years ago

    That Quake trailer is so disappointing. I can’t believe how it is possible to do something so bad for what I assume is to be AAA product. Terrible sound, no tension, nothing resembles old quake except weapons, but to be honest they also don’t feel right. Blah.

    • sweatshopking
    • 3 years ago

    Cutting edge graphics from bethesda? Ill believe it when I see it.

      • bittermann
      • 3 years ago

      Yeah but they didn’t specify cutting edge from what year. 🙂

    • yogibbear
    • 3 years ago

    Dishonored 2. Highlight so far.

      • swaaye
      • 3 years ago

      Yea I’m looking forward to it too.

      Interestingly, it’s another game running on modified id Tech 5.

    • DreadCthulhu
    • 3 years ago

    That Prey game looks interesting. Going from the trailer, I am guessing some sort of time loop is involved. Could make for a very different game.

    • brucethemoose
    • 3 years ago

    Wow. My expectations were low after EA’s presentation, but Bethesda hit it out of the park.

    I wish they were publicly traded. I would’ve bought stock in them long ago, and would currently be a much richer man 🙁

    • NTMBK
    • 3 years ago

    CCGs are this year’s MOBA, then? Everybody needs a “me-too!” copycat, and 95% of them will sink without a trace.

    Yay for free graphics upgrade for Skyrim, though. Hope this gives it 64-bit support. And Dishonoured 2 looks [i<]fantastic[/i<].

      • cmrcmk
      • 3 years ago

      +1 for 64-bit support. Though really, if they would just take advantage of the full 32-bit address space (4GB or even 2GB) that’d be a big improvement. As I understand it, allocating more than 512 MB in unmodded Skyrim will crash it.

        • RAGEPRO
        • 3 years ago

        I believe they did patch in Large Address support eventually.

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