June 23, 2017 | 16:30
The most surprising thing about Bethesda’s conference came in the form of an omission. Prior to the conference, rumours circled that a new Elder Scrolls game might be revealed. But Bethesda quickly put paid to such rumours, stating that The Elder Scrolls VI won’t be happening any time soon.
Nevertheless, there were a few exciting if fairly predictable demonstrations during Bethesda’s conference. The star of Bethesda’s show was undoubtedly Wolfenstein: The New Colossus, the sequel to MachineGames’ unexpectedly brilliant reboot of the classic shooter. It sees BJ Blazcowicz taking the fight against the Nazi World Order to the United States and involves more of MachineGames’ intriguing blend of pulpy aesthetics, violent gunplay, and well-drawn characters.
Beyond this, Bethesda also announced an expansion to Dishonored II. Called Death of the Outsider, it sees players assume the role of Billie Lurk as she attempts to take down Dishonored’s black-eyed god with the aid of her old mentor, Daud. Following this, Bethesda unveiled a sequel to The Evil Within, Shinji Mikami’s spiritual successor to Resident Evil 4. It looks very similar to the first game and, frankly, didn’t excite me all that much.
Despite a couple of intriguing announcements, this was by far Bethesda’s weakest conference for several years. The publisher rested heavily on old glories, showcasing a lot of VR versions of already-released games such as DOOM, Fallout 4, and Skyrim. That said, Wolfenstein and the Dishonored expansion both have me excited, so it wasn’t quite the disaster it could have been.
Ubisoft enjoyed the strongest conference of the show, exhibiting the most diverse range of games and unveiling the biggest shock of the week. It even began with remarkable aplomb, bringing on Shigueru Miyamoto on stage to unveil Mario and Rabbids Kingdom Battle, a tactical RPG in the XCom vein that sees Nintendo’s iconic character and Ubisoft’s somewhat less iconic mascots embarking on a cooperative adventure through the Mushroom Kingdom.
After this came another look at Assassin’s Creed Origins, followed by the announcement of The Crew 2, which is basically the same idea as the first The Crew, but it adds boats and planes into the mix. Frankly, I found The Crew to be about as enjoyable as watching crocodiles evolve, and this didn’t do much to dispel me of that notion. Then we got another brief look at South Park’s Fractured but Whole, the follow-up to Obsidian’s previous South Park RPG.
At this point, Ubisoft unveiled a whole new game, Skull and Bones, which essentially takes the ship combat seen in Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag and builds a whole game around it with a full-on pirate theme. The demo only showcased multiplayer PvP, but Ubisoft has subsequently announced there will be a single-player campaign too, which makes the game a whole lot more interesting to me.
Also new is the bank account-draining Starlink: Battle for Altas, which is a toys-to-life game that can be summarised as 'No Man’s Skylanders'. It’s a space-sim with plastic toy ships you can purchase and upgrade that are then represented in the game itself. Were it not for the fact that I am immune to video game tat of all kinds, I would probably be quite excited.
Ubisoft drew the conference to a close with footage of Far Cry 5, which is set in the American Northwest and looks just dandy. Then, at the very end, it dropped a bombshell with a CG trailer for Beyond Good and Evil 2, which is pipped to be a persistent, open-world experience and features a monkey that swears a lot. The trailer itself didn’t reveal much other than the aesthetic style and tone, but in-engine footage shown after the conference showed a vast and hugely detailed open-world which extends off the planet’s surface into space itself. I guess we’ll be waiting another few years before we can play it.
January 24 2020 | 12:00