E3 2018 Predictions: Bethesda

We’re kicking off our E3 2018 coverage early with some predictions for the E3 Bethesda Showcase!

Bethesda Softworks is one of the most well known, beloved and praised game production companies in the world. Having released games like Skyrim, Dishonored and Fallout 4, Bethesda has some of the most incredible games on their roster. With such incredible games, it’s no wonder that people look forward to the Bethesda event every year at E3. While E3 is still a few months out, we can already reasonably predict what we can expect from the Bethesda panel this year based on their recent activity.

Before we start, we need to first understand the different branches of the company. Bethesda Softworks is the parent company of multiple game production companies. These companies include Bethesda Game Studios which is directed Todd Howard and have created beloved games like Skyrim, Fallout 3 and Fallout 4. Arkane Studios are the studio behind the Dishonored games. Battlecry was just recently absorbed by Bethesda Game Studios and was turned into their new Studio in Austin Texas. Zenimax online studios are the studio behind Elder Scrolls Online(ESO) and the related expansion packs to it. Dire Wolf Studios are a small studio responsible for Elder Scrolls Legends, Bethesda’s online Card game much like Blizzard’s Hearthstone. Machine Games are the company behind the Wolfenstein series including the recent Wolfenstein 2 The New Order release. Finally, we have Tango Games, the company that has published the Evil Within games.

It’s important to know these different groups because they all share the Bethesda Softworks E3 panel. So, let’s go through what we expect from each company during the panel. Zenimax Studios just recently announced Summerset as the next chapter in Elder Scrolls Online so we can expect to see some coverage of that. We suspect we will likely see about 5-10 minutes of ESO coverage, likely closer to five, and Arkane Studios just two titles in succession with Prey and Dishonored: Death of the Outsider. However, we do expect to see some DLC for Prey. This may take up another 10 minutes of time, but I highly doubt it will take that much time. Dire Wolf will likely put out another expansion for Elder Scrolls Legends, but this will likely be a reveal trailer and take up maybe a couple minutes. Machine Games might announce DLC for Wolfenstein 2, but considering there have already been a few expansions, it could prove to be a longshot. Tango Games, who released Evil Within 2 in October, will likely not have a part in this panel.

So that leaves Bethesda Game Studios and about 20-30 minutes of panel time as Bethesdas E3 panels tend to be around an hour long and we already figure that about 20 minutes have been taken up to this point. We can assume another 10 minutes will be sucked up by smaller announcements such as switch ports and some coverage on some upcoming VR releases. We can also knock off ten more minutes for a five-minute introduction and outro from either Pete Hines or Todd Howard. So, we will assume roughly 40 minutes of the panel have to be sucked up. What dos Bethesda has up its sleeve to fill up that 20-30 minutes? Well, I suspect that Bethesda game studios (will be referred to as BGS from here) will announce another large-scale game such as Skyrim or Fallout. BGS tends to release a large game every 3-4 year. Since Fallout 4 was released in 2015 a release in 2018 would line up perfectly with this timeline.

We have a lot of information pointing us to believe that there will be a massive release coming. For several years now BGS has been claiming that they are working on two new massive IP’s. Many believe that one of these projects is StarField as BGS has continued to keep this word trademarked despite it not having any relation to any of their games. This is also concreted by the Starry and space-themed E3 panel last year. BGS also recently absorbed BattleCry studios and grew their staff size to around 300 employees. This is roughly 3X larger than the 80-person sized staff that produced Oblivion.  This means that Bethesda has a large staff working on a single project. While this is still considered to be a small staff by most gaming production standards this is huge by Bethesdas norm. With BGS quickly expanding staff they can create larger more fleshed out games with much greater speed.

To recap, the E3 showcase seems like it will have a massive time gap in their showcase that needs to be filled by something. We can expect Zenimax to show off some footage about the Summerset Isles chapter of ESO, at the most ten minutes of time. Expect about 10 minutes to be taken by Arkane as they show off some Prey DLC that has been hinted at as well as some other small DLC that may be released. Then as sort of the mid halftime show, we can suspect about 10 minutes to be taken up for Dire wolfs expansion for Elder Scrolls Legends, and other various small announcements and news regarding Bethesda. That leaves an estimated roughly 20-30 minutes for BGS studios to suck up. With such a massive time opening it makes sense for Bethesda to announce a massive new game.