E3 2016 - Bethesda Predictions

Last year, when Bethesda (one of these days I won't write Bethesday first and have to delete the "y") announced their intention to host an E3 press conference, it was widely believed that it would be a one-time thing because they had a lot of high-profile games like DoomDishonored, and Fallout to showcase. People assumed with Fallout and Doom out this year they wouldn't have enough of note to fill out a conference for the second year in a row but they're doing it anyway. So let's make some crazy guesses as to why:

1.  The Elders Scrolls V: Skyrim - Dovahkiin Edition announced. Release date: October 14, 2016. Late last year, a story broke about Fallout 4 essentially having started by way of a Skyrim port to the new generation of consoles. As Todd Howard put it, "The first thing we did was port Skyrim to Xbox One...Don't get your hopes up yet." Rumors have resurfaced this week that a Skyrim remaster, with enhanced graphics, all of the DLC, and console mod support just like Fallout 4 could be coming to Xbox One and PlayStation 4. If, as Howard alluded to, most of the work on this has been done for awhile, it would seem like getting the mod support might be the last piece of the puzzle. And with the feature now active on the Xbox One version of Fallout 4 and soon to be implemented on the PlayStation 4, it would track that the same infrastructure is probably in place for a potential Skyrim remaster. So I'm predicting October 14 in order to give people some time back in Skyrim before Dishonored 2 launches on November 11. And the Dovahkiin Edition name is just a big shot in the dark because I really don't want them to name it something dumb like The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Remastered. And just like last year, we'll probably get a tease of this both during Bethesda's conference and Microsoft's the following day.

2. Future plans for Fallout 4 DLC and Fallout Shelter announced. Three DLC packs launching in September, October, and November. Fallout Shelter add-ons available in an update Sunday night after the conference. Obviously the big showcase of last year's Bethesda conference was Fallout 4. And one of the runaway surprise announcements of the conference was the Fallout Shelter mobile app that became an overnight financial gold mine. It performed so well, that Bethesda invested in a mobile arm of the company. Now that all of the initial Fallout 4 DLC has launched, I think Todd Howard will come out for a bit of a victory lap, thanking everyone for making it one of the most successful games of last year and give the first look at the next round of DLC for the game. And echoing last year's announcement, Fallout Shelter will receive a significant new update (available now) to reinvigorate interest in the mobile game. There will also probably be a sizzle reel of some of their favorite mods and the confirmed date of when mods will be available on PlayStation 4 (likely next Tuesday, June 14).

3. Wolfenstein 2 announced. Release window of Summer 2017. Likely May. Between the critical acclaim of Wolfenstein: The New Order and now Doom, Bethesda's investment in reviving the founding fathers of the first-person shooter for a new generation has paid off. Machine Games has been relatively quiet since releasing Wolfenstein: The New Order in May 2014. Sure, they had The Old Blood DLC release nearly a year later but that was likely handled by a smaller team while the brunt of the company was hard at work on the proper sequel. As they'll probably continue building on the same engine utilized for the initial game and DLC, a three-year turn around time seems appropriate to put together and polish a new 8-10 hour campaign. And as they likely found out with the last game and Doom, launching in May seems to be working pretty well for them, keeping them well out of the way of the annualized shooters like Call of Duty.

4. Dishonored 2 Cast Showcase piece. So this is a bit of a weird one. Dishonored 2 already has a release date of November 11. And Bethesda has already confirmed that we'll get the first gameplay trailer during this conference. So both of those fun prediction-y things are off the table. So I think to supplement the gameplay trailer, they'll also show off a series of behind-the-scenes clips and interviews with the star-studded cast they've gotten for the game: people like Vincent D'Onofrio, Rosario Dawson, and Sam Rockwell. I think we'll see that well-worn style of behind-the-scenes voice acting documentary with the actors delivering lines in an animated fashion in the sound booth juxtaposed with them sitting in chairs telling the audience a bit about their characters.

5. The Evil Within 2 announced. 2017 release. I was torn on this last prediction. At first, I was going to go with "Battlecry is a no-show at the conference" in an effort to give the free-to-play team shooter some distance from the apparent poor reception for the similarly-named Battleborn and the massive success of Overwatch. But I'm not a fan of the "Game X won't be there" or the "Game Y will be delayed" predictions. As the publisher, you either get the bad news out ahead of the conference (a la Horizon Zero Dawn) or you just don't draw any attention to it. So instead, I'm going with the announcement of the long-rumored follow-up to The Evil Within from Tango Gameworks. I think an announcement trailer will play and Shinji Makami will come out onstage with a translator in tow to discuss the new title for a couple minutes. Nothing too exciting, but the horror title will do a nice job rounding out the conference if all of the above nonsense happens as well.

So there are my five predictions for Bethesda's conference. We'll see Sunday night at 7PM PT if I got any of them right. Let me know what you think and what your predictions entail.