Bethesda has always had a great showing at PAX East whenever they’re at the show, but since last year they’ve stepped it up with their Bethesda Game Days experience. If you haven’t followed along, this is a two-day event adjacent to PAX East where the maker of Fallout and Elder Scrolls can show off their latest games while treating fans to some food, drinks, and fun. This year’s obviously had some extra weight to it due to the faulty launch of Fallout 76 mixed with concerns of Elder Scrolls VI and other Bethesda titles. But it all went great, and by the end of the weekend many fans were much more positive about Bethesda as a whole.
I won’t break down the whole event, since you can watch most of it on Bethesda’s Twitch page. I’m not here to say what happened at Game Days, rather the feeling I got as to its effectiveness. Here it’s a solid A+ with tons of threads about panels talking very positively about what was said and the future of the company. This includes Fallout 76, which was going into the convention as a punching bag. They even held a Q&A at the panel and got out of it without a Diablo Immortal style meme.
Combine this with the fact that Elder Scrolls VI and Starfield were not going to be at E3, and are running on an engine that many feel is running out of steam, and Bethesda wasn’t coming to PAX East as the hero they typically are. Not all of these concerns were answered, but man did Bethesda Game Days change the tone of the conversation. By the end of the event fans were excited, carrying around their swag, t-shirts, and bags full of purchased Fallout, Elder Scrolls, and DOOM merch. It was great to see and a good sign that things are looking brighter.
We’re just a couple of months away from Bethesda’s E3 Showcase, so there’s more chances to bring fans back into the fold too. Of course, without Elder Scrolls VI or Starfield, the show is starting off a bit behind what was expected. However, it’s clear that Bethesda gets their fans better than most companies. If they’re putting on a show at E3 without their top tier games, then they’ve probably got some surprises in store. What could they be? We’ll all just have to wait to find out.
Hopefully this is just the first step toward a total turn around for the trend that’s been going against Bethesda as of late. It’s not clear how much the good will they generated spread outside the Boston area, or PAX East attendees as a whole, but so far there feels like a lot less negativity. People have made comparisons to No Man’s Sky, which had a totally disastrous launch followed by years of improvements. It is now regarded as the poster child for how to turn a game around.
Fallout 76 could follow a similar path, or it could not. The honesty out of Todd Howard during the panel at Betheda Game Days was a promising thing to see though, and bodes well for the game’s future. Maybe E3 2019 will showcase massive changes for the game, along with new content. Could NPCs get added? Man would that fix a lot of the issues I had in my review. Even if they don’t come, this last weekend showed that the developers are listening and understand, and there isn’t much more you can ask for out of an event like this.