Bethesda Used E3 2019 To Apologize For Broken Promises and Then Make New Ones

It's been a wobbly year for Bethesda since last year's E3. It dropped a big tease for long awaited epics Starfield and Elder Scrolls 6, and coupled this with an impressive "Fallout 76 is finished this fall" moonshot. Depending on who you ask Fallout 76 either missed the mark entirely or is still sailing toward completion, both outcomes a disappointment after the promise of last year. But E3 is nothing if not a petri dish for promises and Bethesda decided to lead with it's bench this year instead of hyping more in-house legacy projects. And it took great pains to thank fans for their continued support (and constructive criticisms).

Bethesda addressed it's 2018 shortcomings, notably a botched Fallout 76 rollout, when Todd Howard opened the show acknowledging the controversy. "I'm impressed you're still here," he said, boasting that the end of the world isn't over yet. He lauded the great Fallout 76 community, a sign Bethesda isn't pulling the plug (or price tag) anytime soon.

bethesda 2019 e3
Bethesda Softworks

We've got a whole write-up covering the Fallout 76 news, but in summary there's going to be a bunch of new content coming soon. Most notably, human NPCs. Human characters with full dialogue trees are part of a phase 2 type initiative in the world-building. Players emerged from Vault 76 and started settling in year one, year two is when more people start showing up with their own ambitions and desires. The game is also free-to-play for the next week and includes a 52-players battle royale because it is definitely still 2019.

The real star of the show, according to Bethesda, is you and me. And everyone else, too. There was quote a bit of fanfare (pun intended) during the Bethesda E3 2019 press conference, with numerous videos depicting real fans sharing their experiences with the publisher through the years. It ran a safe gamut of ages and faces, but otherwise didn't feel too schlocky. Bethesda has always talked up it's fans, but it understood the need to be a little extra this year. Fans responded in kind with an abundance of enthusiasm (the pre-show bar had to close early, in case you're wondering where some of it was coming from). It helped that Bethesda delivered some impressive gameplay trailers to build the hype, and tested the momentum by introducing some new projects and ideas that give cause for skepticism.

Bethesda E3 2019: Ghostwire Tokyo

Ghostwire: Tokyo e3 2019
Bethesda Softworks

A brand new, not-leaked game announcement for the latest project from Tango Studios stood out during Bethesda's E3 press event. Billed as an "action adventure" and "survival horror" Ghostwire Tokyo is, in a word, creepy. It's set in a modern-day Tokyo where people start vanishing without a trace. Whole groups of commuters and shoppers are reduced to piles of clothing; a mournful dog drags a leash along the street. It's a soft, somber affair. Until the demons start to show up.

Maybe they're not demons, technically, but dark paranormal forces are mustering alongside these disappearances, and your character seems tasked with defending humanity. From what? Occult conspiracies abound. It doesn't faze you hero, who carries a bow and says cool things like "Don't fear the unknown. Attack it!"

This press conference also introduced us to Tango Games' Ikumi Nakamura who was just delightful

Bethesda E3 2019: Deathloop

Another ambitious brightspot in Bethesda's E3 2019, Deathloop is the latests game from Arkane Studios. Arkane has a reputation for building great games dark mood and intrigue (see the vastly underrated 2017 release Prey) and Deathloop seems to be nestled comfortably in that wheelhouse. Our initial take on the vibe seems to be Russian Doll meets We Happy Few, a time-and-space bending adventure pitting two assassins against each other in what the devs called "a world gone mad."

Arkane has a solid reputation for a reason. Deathloop looks to be something different, something that's taking big risks while adhering to Arkane's signature gameplay style of high-octane stealth unfolding within meticulously designed levels.

Bethesda E3 2019: Orion and the Slayersclub

orion bethesda e3 2019
Bethesda Softworks

In a very surprising announcement, Bethesda has inserted itself into the rapidly unfolding cloud streaming market. While companies like Google and Microsoft are taking a hardware-based approach to cloud streaming, Bethesda claims it's new software, Orion, will be the real key to unlocking the potential of the too-good-to-be-true premise of cloud game streaming.

The on-stage announcement boasted a 20 percent faster streaming experience, which means a big reduction in latency. The phrase "streaming at max settings" was used to imply that no matter how weak your wireless connection Orion would make up the difference. A demo showed someone playing Doom on a mobile phone at 60 FPS and no latency. Doom fans who sign up at will eventually get an invite to test Orion for themselves. Considering how Bethesda opened the show by apologizing for its inability to properly launch an MMO, color us skeptical on this one. But the tech appears to be developed on the id Software branch of the company, and given their success with id Tech 7 we can't write it off completely.

These were our picks for the most promising new ideas Bethesda introduced at E3 2019. Sure, there were also announcements for white hot sequels Doom: Eternal and Wolfenstein: Youngblood but those are safe bets. This is the stuff where Bethesda is taking risks and hoping to show everyone that no promise is too big to keep.