After a thoroughly underwhelming performance at E3 2017 that gave the world the outrageous but quickly forgotten Creation Club and a year of bad Skyrim port jokes, Bethesda is undoubtedly going to try to deliver a more interesting conference at E3 2018. Fortunately enough for Bethesda, most of the games that they have developed and or published are generally held in high regard. Unfortunately, Bethesda’s focus on relative quality over quantity means that they might be forced to pad their presentation with more of what made their E3 2017 so mundane. It’s possible that Bethesda might be able to steal the show with some surprise (and not so surprising) announcements, but one thing is certain: whatever Bethesda does to redeem themselves is going to get people talking, one way or another.
The Obvious: It would be surprising if these didn’t show up
The last time that Bethesda announced a Fallout game at E3, they set the gaming world on fire. Even though Fallout 4 was lacking in some areas, it had potential, and unless Fallout 76 turns out to be a card game or something else that is completely unexpected, it is nigh inconceivable for Bethesda to fail to capitalize on Fallout’s reputation. After the mediocre performances of other high profile games over the past year or so, it is high time for Bethesda to steal the show.
From a logical standpoint, it seems highly likely that Quake Champions will be shown in some capacity by Bethesda purely because it’s been about a year since anyone has heard anything about the game. From a less logical but more cynical point of view, Bethesda might be eager to get people talking about Quake Champions because they saw the success of the Overwatch League.
Putting aside the idea that Walmart may have caused Bethesda to unveil the existence of Rage 2 a bit earlier than intended, it would actually make plenty of sense for Bethesda to talk about the game in a more in-depth manner at E3. After all, Bethesda is pretty well known for post-apocalyptic open world shooters, and Rage 2 is just that. If nothing else, the game is bound to attract some attention for being quite similar to Borderlands in its tone. It may also be interesting to note that the original Rage was moddable, so if Bethesda really wanted to, they can use Rage 2 as another vector for the spread of Creation Club.
The Maybes – High risk, potentially high reward
Prey 2/more Dishonored/new IP from Arkane
Arkane Studios has been strangely quiet lately despite releasing two games in 2017, Dishonored: Death of the Outsider and Prey. It’s not entirely surprising given the definitive way that both games ended, but when has that stopped any developer from pumping out sequel after sequel? After all, both games have these rich, intriguing, and unique worlds for people to delve into, and with all these battle royale clones popping up all over the place, it might be a prime time to offer a well crafted single player experience.
Speaking of single player experiences, DOOM made quite an impression when it was released, partly due to its quality and partly because you could rip and tear demons apart with your bare hands. The ending is perfect sequel-bait however, and even if it wasn’t, Doomguy’s work is never done so long as a single demon remains standing. Regardless, a DOOM sequel would likely have to wait until the end of next year to be released since id Software is responsible for Rage 2.
Similarly, B.J. Blazkowicz’s story in Wolfenstein is clearly far from over. While a Wolfenstein 3 seems unlikely, the fact that Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus had DLC that showed the work of other freedom loving, Nazi slaying, explosion spawning protagonists opens up the possibility of more stories within the universe. If nothing else, MachineGames can just release another Wolfenstein: The Old Blood-esque spin-off for no reason other than to give people more Nazi killing options alongside Battlefield V.
The Don’t Hold Your Breaths – Better get your good luck charm
The Elder Scrolls VI
At this point, Bethesda may as well preface every future E3 with the announcement that the next main Elder Scrolls installment is not coming out that year. At least that way, when they do finally release the game, it will be a genuine surprise. This year, it seems especially unlikely that we’ll see anything of The Elder Scrolls VI because a cinematic trailer for The Elder Scrolls Online was recently released, advertising the game’s latest expansion, Summerset, which itself is set for release a week before E3 starts.
VR/Creation Club/more of The Evil Within
It isn’t so much that it’s an impossibility that Bethesda will unveil some VR/Creation Club related stuff at E3 2018, but rather that it’s going to be a bad idea of relatively legendary proportions. As it turns out, devoting a whole E3 trailer to something that most people will instinctively dismiss as paid mods is not going to win anyone any fake internet awards. For that matter, announcing ports of old games to prohibitively expensive and hardware intensive systems isn’t going to do any good either. As for the next The Evil Within game, it is incredibly dubious that anyone would think that it’s a good idea to rush out a horror game that depends on good sales to stay alive a year after its predecessor was released.