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The 7 biggest announcements from the Bethesda E3 2019 press conference

Doom Eternal, Wolfenstein Youngblood, and Fallout 76 led the charge in the Bethesda E3 2019 press conference.

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biggest announcements bethesda e3 2019 press conference

Doom Eternal, Wolfenstein Youngblood, and Fallout 76 led the charge in the Bethesda E3 2019 press conference.

By now, you’ve no doubt seen our list of every game announced at the Bethesda E3 2019 press conference.

The venerable developer and publisher, as expected, put first-person shooters at the forefront of their show. Wolfenstein Youngblood already looked really promising, and Bethesda used its typical, three hotel advertising billboard for Doom Eternal. (Something we imagine the proprietor of the Hotel Figueroa is delighted to have on the side of their establishment.)

But it wasn’t just Wolfenstein and Doom. This isn’t 1992. They also had *checks notes* a new Commander Keen game? Maybe it is 1992 after all.

The Elder Scrolls: Blades

The free-to-play, mobile Elder Scrolls game, Blades, is surprisingly impressive. It combines slick visuals (that are not too far removed from its console brethren) with a mix of dungeon crawling and city building.

First up is a new update, which is free for all, and launches tonight. It features new jobs, a new custom jewellery system, and a questline featuring dragons. They like their dragons.

But perhaps the bigger news is that The Elder Scrolls: Blades is coming to Nintendo Switch. It’s controllable with a dual JoyCon, dual-wield configuration (like Twilight Princess on Wii promised back in the way) and promises cross-save compatibility. Expect to see the Switch version of Blades this autumn.

Fallout 76

Both Pete Hines and Todd Howard alluded to the poor reception of Fallout 76 in the Bethesda press conference. They talked about feedback from the fans and being “kept honest,” while Howard went so far as to say that Fallout 76 “had a lot of difficulties at launch” and Bethesda “got a lot of well-deserved criticism.”

The funny thing is, though, that Fallout 76 has found its place in the world. It has a dedicated community of players who have embraced the rough edges, and Bethesda have incrementally improved it over the past year.

The time for increments is over, however. Fallout 76: Season 2 is almost upon us, and promises to bring actual NPCs, traditional questlines, and full dialogue trees to Fallout 76 in autumn 2019.

Bethesda is also adding a battle royale mode to Fallout 76, called “Nuclear Winter”, which sort of looks like a cross between battle royale and reality TV show? The premise is that vault 51 doesn’t have an overseer, and in order to find one, 52 players need to compete in a battle royale to see who has the best staying power. Quite how they plan to balance the immediacy of battle royale with Fallout 76’s perks, skills and experience remains to be seen, but it certainly looked interesting.

Ghostwire Tokyo

Tango Gameworks took to the stage to announce Ghostwire Tokyo. It’s a supernatural horror action adventure game, which sees the player battling mysterious forces that are causing people to disappear from the streets of Tokyo.

We only saw a snippet of Ghostwire Tokyo, but it looks seriously impressive.

Also, everybody loves Ikumi Nakamura now.

Wolfenstein expansions

Wolfenstein: The New Colossus is getting a couple of expandalones.

The first, Wolfenstein Cyberpilot, puts the player in the boots of a hacker working for the French resistance. In it, you’ll take control of Nazi defences and turn them against their masters. In VR. It doesn’t sound amazing? It kind of looks like roleplaying as someone watching a bunch of CCTV feeds.

The second one though, the one we already knew about? Wolfenstein: Youngblood is shaping up to look impressive indeed. Playing as the twin daughters of BJ Blaskowicz, the sisters, Jess and Soph, are trying to rescue BJ from occupied Paris in the 1980s.

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This one can also be played in two-player co-op, which is a win in our books, though the trailer we were shown was using a split-screen effect to show the two different characters, which was a bit misleading. Don’t get us wrong: if this does have local co-op, we’ll be singing Bethesda’s praises. But don’t get up your hopes that it will, because we’ve not heard anything of the sort in press materials thus far, and the game releases on July 26, 2019.

Deathloop

We were all a little concerned that, after the relative financial underperformance of Prey and Dishonored 2 in sales terms, that Arkane Studios might not be allowed to make weird, immersive sims anymore.

That’s not the case, though, because Deathloop looks simultaneously like something brand new and vintage Arkane, all in one go.

In short, it’s like an immersive sim version of Groundhog Day? Or maybe that Source/Code movie with Jake Gyllenhaal is a better comparison. If you don’t figure out how to fix the situation – in this case, murder someone before they murder you – you’re doomed to repeat it.

Orion

Orion is “a group of patented technologies that optimise game engines for performance in the cloud.” No wait, don’t go to sleep just yet. We’ll try and make it sound more exciting.

Bethesda and Id Software, with all their years of game engine development, have been working on improvements to game streaming technologies. These solutions and APIs, collectively known as Orion, can be used with any game engine and any streaming platform – for example, Google Stadia or Microsoft xCloud – to improve the experience.

How? Orion can “stream content 20% faster per frame, and uses 40% less bandwidth” according to the presentation, which “substantially reduces the cost of streaming for players and publishers.”

If you want to see for yourself, Bethesda will be holding a public test with the 2016 version of Doom. You can sign up at slayersclub.com to try and bag a spot on the test.

Doom Eternal

That leads us nicely onto Doom Eternal which is, erm, still happening? It’s hard to say anything particularly nice about this one because it, frankly, wasn’t very impressive.

While the 2016 Doom excelled at putting the player in the suit of the Doomslayer, timed the early story beats with Mick Gordon’s killer soundtrack and in-time cocking of a shotgun, and literally had the Doomslayer busting an intercom because they were sick of someone giving them exposition over the radio?

Doom Eternal is going hard in the other direction. Lots of story. Lots of exposition. It even features some third-person cinematics, which feel particularly ethereal and out-of-body when you’re used to viewing everything from behind the Doomslayer’s helmet.

Doom Eternal launches on November 22, and will feature a new multiplayer mode, imaginatively titled “Battlemode,” which pits two players as demons versus a single Doomslayer in asymmetrical multiplayer.

Assorted other musings

  • There’s a new Commander Keen mobile game and it looks truly dismal.
  • There was a “trailer” for the Elder Scrolls card game, Elder Scrolls Legends, but as far as we can tell it was just a reminder that the game exists?
  • Ditto a “trailer” for The Elder Scrolls Online: Elsewyr, which included a really cool cinematic of a Khajiit battling a dragon, but is in no representative of the clicky gameplay of an action MMO.
  • Rage 2 has a bunch of DLC coming out. It’s more stuff for Rage 2. It’s exactly what you’d expect.
  • As press conferences go, it was a slightly strange atmosphere. Where most conferences are filled with journos (you can tell them by the laptops and the lack of cheering) this audience seemed to be almost entirely stocked with influencers, fans, and Bethesda staff on a day out. It made for a very lively… audience, but also felt a bit like an overwhelmingly, aggressively positive echo chamber?
  • Following on from last year’s conference, where they had testimonials from all over Bethesda’s operations including receptionists and call centre workers, this year’s “We Are All Bethesda” motif featured talking heads from developers and superfans alike. It was really nice. Bethesda is very good at this stuff.
  • Todd Howard: “We’re still hard at work on our next-gen RPG, Starfield, and of course, Elder Scrolls VI.” Which is disappointing. We were hoping to see some of the Elder Scrolls VI this evening.

To keep abreast of all the biggest developments at E3 2019, don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and bookmark our E3 2019 landing page.

Enjoyed this article?

Found it interesting, entertaining, useful, or informative? Maybe it even saved you some money. That's great to hear! Sadly, independent publishing is struggling worse than ever, and Thumbsticks is no exception. So please, if you can afford to, consider supporting us via Patreon or buying us a coffee.


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Tom is an itinerant freelance technology writer who found a home as an Editor with Thumbsticks. Powered by coffee, RPGs, and local co-op.

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Littlewood is a cosy RPG set after the battle is over

Littlewood knows there’s nothing finer than a game that gives you a nice little epilogue.

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SmashGames

Littlewood knows there’s nothing finer than a game that gives you a nice little epilogue. (No, not yours, The Last of Us Part II.)

But those games that let you go back to the world after the battle is over, to visit with the townsfolk, and just generally chill out are something special. The first game I really remember it from is Wonder Boy 3: The Dragon’s Trap where, once restored to human form, you get to wander the village, chatting with the locals, before going to bed. That’s literally how the epilogue ends; you go back home for a well-earned rest.

It’s just so wholesome. Which is why Littlewood, a new RPG from Sean Wood and SmashGames, is so appealing.

“The world has already been saved. Now it’s time to rebuild your town, learn new hobbies, and forge lifelong friendships in this peaceful and relaxing RPG.”

It’s like Stardew Valley or Animal Crossing, then, but set in a world that was in peril – until the player character saved it. But the trick is, you can’t remember anything about your life before or what happened in the great battle to save the world. In order to restore your memories, you need to build up a welcoming town, encourage people to live there, and hope that spurs your recall.

But a game like Littlewood isn’t about the destination. There is an overall plot, of course, but cosy management RPGs are all about the micro-activities. And in Littlewood, you’ll be gathering, crafting, building, fishing, farming, bug catching, cooking, trading, and more – everything that people love about the genre.

Littlewood is out now on Steam.

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Pikmin 3 Deluxe is coming to Nintendo Switch this fall

Pikmin 3, one of the last remaining Wii U exclusives, is coming to Switch in October.

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Pikmin 3, one of the last remaining Wii U exclusives, is coming to Switch in October.

The Nintendo Wii U was a meh system with some fantastic exclusives. The console itself was a bit of a half-step. It was still tied, by name and nunchuck compatibility to the Wii. But, it experimented with the handheld hybridisation that later defined the Switch. Growing pains aside, iit had a great roster of Nintendo-developed games.

But, the Wii U died so that the Switch might live. And Nintendo, more aware than anyone that few people bought its last console, has thankfully brought most of the Wii U’s library to Switch. This article, outlining the dearth of Wii U games remaining without a Switch port was published less than a year ago. In the time since, half of the games have either received a Switch version or will receive a Switch version in the near future.

Pikmin 3 is the latest Wii U classic to get the Switch update, Nintendo announced today. The Deluxe version will include all of the original game’s DLC. Plus it will add new missions and the option to play the entire Story mode in co-op. Head-to-head multiplayer mode, Bingo Battle, will also return.

The RTS hybrid arrives on Switch on October 30. Notably, it is the only announced Nintendo game with a 2020 release date following the release of Paper Mario: The Origami King. Fingers crossed we hear more about those rumoured Mario remasters soon.


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New games added to the big PlayStation Store Summer Sale

New PS4 games join the PlayStation Store Summer Sale, including some of the year’s biggest releases.

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PlayStation Store Summer Sal
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New PS4 games join the PlayStation Store Summer Sale, including some of the year’s biggest releases.

Sony has added a new batch of PS4 games to this year’s PlayStation Store summer sale. The headline additions are the acclaimed Final Fantasy VII Remake, the reimagined Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, the fun enough World War Z, and the not as fun as it wants to be Doom Eternal.

The EA-published 3v3 shooter Rocket Arena is slashed in price by a massive 83%, just three weeks after release. And if you’ve been following the moderate buzz around sci-fi FPS Disintegration, it’s now reduced by a tempting 40%.

Other AAA games still on offer include Marvel’s Spider-Man, Dragon Quest XI: Echoes Of An Elusive Age, and Red Dead Redemption 2.

The PSN Summer Sale now runs through to August 19, 2020, which should give you enough time to pick through the mountain of titles on offer. Head over to the PlayStation Store in your region to see the full lineup. Here are some more recommendations from your friends at Thumbsticks.

PlayStation Store Summer Sale Highlights

  • A Plague Tale: Innocence
  • Abzû
  • Alien: Isolation
  • Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey
  • Anthem
  • Bad North
  • Bayonetta
  • Borderlands 3
  • Brothers: A Tale Of Two Sons
  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
  • Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy
  • Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled
  • Dark Souls III
  • Days Gone
  • Dead Island Definitive Edition
  • Death Stranding
  • Doom Eternal
  • Dragon Quest XI: Echoes Of An Elusive Age
  • Dreams
  • FIFA 20
  • Final Fantasy VII Remake
  • Final Fantasy VIII Remastered
  • For Honor Standard Edition
  • Grid
  • Horizon Zero Dawn Complete Edition
  • Kerbal Space Program Enhanced Edition
  • Kingdom Hearts III Re Mind
  • Maneater
  • Monster Hunter: World
  • Need For Speed Heat
  • Ni No Kuni Ii: Revenant Kingdom
  • Nioh 2
  • Persona 5 Royal
  • Predator: Hunting Grounds
  • Red Dead Redemption 2
  • Resident Evil 2
  • Saints Row: The Third Remastered
  • Secret Of Mana
  • Shenmue III
  • Sid Meier’s Civilization VI
  • Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
  • Superhot
  • Tetris Effect
  • The Last Of Us Remastered
  • The Legend Of Heroes: Trails Of Cold Steel III
  • The Outer Worlds
  • The Sims 4
  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
  • Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes Complete Edition
  • Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End Digital Edition
  • World War Z
  • Yakuza 5 Remastered
  • Yakuza Kiwami

For more video game deals – including news of this week’s Xbox One bargains – visit our dedicated sales page. You can follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

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Found it interesting, entertaining, useful, or informative? Maybe it even saved you some money. That's great to hear! Sadly, independent publishing is struggling worse than ever, and Thumbsticks is no exception. So please, if you can afford to, consider supporting us via Patreon or buying us a coffee.


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Release date revealed for Microsoft’s xCloud streaming service

xCloud will come to Android on September 15, 2020. There’s no news on a release date for an iOS version of Xbox’s game streaming service, however.

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xCloud will come to Android on September 15, 2020. There’s no news on a release date for an iOS version of Xbox’s game streaming service, however.

We’ve been hearing about the “Netflix of video games” for years now. But for all the promise, we’re yet to see anyone actually nail that value proposition.

Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass service – that allows you to play hundreds of PC and Xbox One games for a low monthly subscription fee – is the closest we’ve come thus far. But that still requires on you having some associated hardware to play the games, either an Xbox One console or a Windows PC.

Well, it did require you to have some associated hardware. As of September 15, 2020, all you’ll need is an Android phone.

That’s because Microsoft’s xCloud streaming service, which has been going through testing in the last year, is getting a full release on Android phones. Even better, xCloud access will be bundled in with the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription level, meaning you’ll get “more than 100 games” available to play on your phone or tablet with no console or PC hardware. (There’s no sign of an iOS release date for xCloud yet, but that’s not unusual. It took Steam a very long time to get its in-home streaming app certified on the App Store, for instance.)

xCloud will launch in 22 countries on September 15, 2020. Those countries, at the time of writing, are:

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Canada
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Hungary
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Slovakia
  • Spain
  • South Korea
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • United Kingdom
  • United States

As usual, it’s primarily Europe and North America that’s catered for, with South Korea and its incredible internet infrastructure in there, too. More countries (and, presumably, that elusive iOS version) will follow in due course.

You’ll need a compatible controller to use xCloud, but the good news is any Xbox One controller – which can connect to Android via Bluetooth – will do the trick. The likes of Razer, PowerA and 8Bitdo will be producing accessories, like the Android-specialist Razer Kishi controller, but you might prefer to get a cheap controller clip. It might be worth buying one quick before they stick “xCloud” in the listing title and jack up the price.


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Most important feature confirmed for Assassin’s Creed Valhalla

Well, maybe the second most important feature.

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pet the cat assassins creed valhalla
Ubisoft / Thumbsticks

Well, maybe the second most important feature.

Yes, you can pet the cat in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla.

That’s it. That’s the news.

Also, have you seen how big that cat is? That is clearly an ancient ancestor of the Norwegian Forest Cat, a very large, hairy Scandinavian breed. (Like cat Vikings, really.)

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Found it interesting, entertaining, useful, or informative? Maybe it even saved you some money. That's great to hear! Sadly, independent publishing is struggling worse than ever, and Thumbsticks is no exception. So please, if you can afford to, consider supporting us via Patreon or buying us a coffee.


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