Opinion: Forget the hype, Bethesda’s E3 was lacklustre at best

Bethesda’s E3 showing was arguably the most-hyped of recent memory, perhaps because they’ve never held their own press conference let alone done it on a year when announcing a new Fallout title.

But when we left the Dolby Theatre, we couldn’t help but feel disappointed at the lack of titles that were actually shown off. The show opened and closed with a bang, without a doubt: both Doom and Fallout 4 were given massive applauses without reservations. And no one is arguing against a November Fallout 4 release date; that’s just awesome.


Doom took up the first 20 minutes of the presentation, and Fallout 4 (along with Fallout Shelter for iOS) wrapped the final 35 minutes. But the conference itself was only an hour and 15 minutes, and no fewer than five other games were discussed in less than 20 minutes: BattlecryDishonored 2Dishonored: Definitive EditionThe Elder Scrolls Online Tamriel Unlimited, The Elder Scrolls Legends.

Dishonored: Definitive Edition was yet another repackaged game, and while Dishonored 2 was a nice announcement, we saw no gameplay footage or a solid date; the game launches in 2016.

Tamriel Unlimited‘s announcement sounded like, “So, our game came out five days ago and we all just wanted to remind you of that, and since we’re making sure it doesn’t break, we can’t come to E3. Just wanted to call and tell you we’re okay. Oh, nope, nothing new to announce, just wanted to say please play The Elder Scrolls Online. Okay, bye!

And don’t get us started on this strategy card game bandwagon every MMORPG seems to be jumping on. This is why we’re in the Dolby theatre right now?

It’s kind of the definition of all filler, no killer. 55 minutes spent on two games? That’s great for those who want all that information (which, admittedly, is a lot of people), but why spend the entire evening discussing something that could have just as well been hyped in another conference? No doubt Sony or Microsoft would have loved to add a solid 15 minutes to their conferences to have this announcement steal part of the show.

Critics thought Bethesda had a ton to say, but we just can’t get there. Doom and Fallout 4 looked great, but the hype train just went out of control for this one.

Perhaps Bethesda is a victim of itself. It wanted to have a hugely-hyped E3 conference, and it did that. But unless you can live up to the hype, it would probably be a lot better to spread out announcements over a bunch of different conferences. Doom at Sony and Fallout 4 at Microsoft would have been a great way to keep the Bethesda name in the media even more than it seems it was.

Bethesda’s first E3 conference may have been a success–it was, in fact–and for a first conference, it may have even been quite good. But from a substantial news standpoint, we couldn’t help but feel like Bethesda’s conference left too much up in the air, or at the very least, that the news they had didn’t deserve its own conference.

A nice online video a la Nintendo Direct would have done the trick.