Bethesda’s conference offering showed that it’s a company that’s willing to take risks, as dependable announcements like Doom Eternal and new content for fan favourite titles like The Elder Scrolls Online were sat alongside some bold new titles that are a step removed from the games you usually expect from the triple-A publisher.
The publisher popped the hood on Fallout 76, revealing that the newest iteration in the franchise will be the rumoured online multiplayer title, with Todd Howard standing proud on the stage and announcing that your choices will still matter, it’s just that there will often be a bunch of people standing around watching as you decide whether or not to go full cannibal.
It’s an interesting choice, and for a game that has traditionally been a single player franchise, it’s going to ruffle some feathers, but by creating an online survival game – at least in part – Bethesda has shown that it’s happy to try and mix things up with some of its biggest franchises.
A beefier version of Fallout 4’s settlement system is in place if you want to do a build, but there’s also the option to take over a nuclear missile site and use it to launch a nuke at other players. Knowing that you are, in part, responsible for the mess of the earlier Fallout games could have some real narrative impact.
Talking of big risks with huge franchises, Bethesda Game Studios also announced a mobile edition of The Elder Scrolls, entitled The Elder Scrolls Blades. It’s a first person title and looks like a traditional Elder Scrolls game, but with touch-based mechanics. On stage, Todd Howard said that it was similar to Fallout Shelter insofar as it was a "uniquely mobile experience" and players should expect to adventure through both handcrafted and procedurally generated dungeons, in addition to building a town or visiting the towns built by your friends.
It looks high fidelity for mobile devices, and will be available for free.
Both Fallout 76 and The Elder Scrolls Blades release later this year, and if these experiments play out, we might see Bethesda emboldened even further by this time next year.