Brendan: There is no end to the videogame onslaught of E3 2019. We almost perished escaping from the Microsoft conference mere hours ago, and we are already at another one. Joining me at Bethesda’s live show is Matt, who is lookin– Matt? Matt!? Oh god. I’ve lost him. MATT.
Matt: Matt is dead. There is now only Cheer.
Brendan: Where are you? I can’t see you anywhere in this theatre hall?
Matt: I get to watch this one from our cosy hotel bar, because Bethesda wouldn’t let both of us in. I have a glass of coke and just ordered some chicken wings.
Brendan: Well, at least you’re alive, thank games. I thought you’d been killed by Cyber Keanu Reeves. Do you want to be the cheerer or the jeerer this time?
Matt: Did you not hear me say I had coke and chicken wings? I couldn’t be cheerier.
Brendan: Right then [cracks knuckles] that means [cracks knees] I am jeering [cracks jeer bone]. I think you should know, Matt, that there is an air of danger in this theatre. An air of unease. There are smiles and laughter, yes. But it is the laughter of a people unsure of their future, uncertain of their role in the great Bethesda machine. If you do not hear from me after this event, please send my luggage home to my wife. She likes the suitcase.
Matt: Your role is to delight in Bethesda’s lovely videogame bath. Bask in it.
Brendan: You know the unsettling music at the start of 28 Days Later? They are currently playing something which sounds like that.
Matt: I haven’t seen that film but can only presume everyone remains alive and happy right to the very end. Just as they will here. The conference hall is not booby-trapped and you will absolutely be fine.
Brendan: It begins. The noise of the crowd is painful. Matt, you should be here, and I should be the one with the chicken.
Matt: The chicken is long gone, I’m afraid. But now you have tinkly piano music and balloons and togetherness. It’s a short video all about the company’s employees and their fans.
Brendan: An ode to togetherness from the company whose only good games are the singleplayer ones, ohhhhhhhhhhh! No, that’s not fair, they do an OK Elder Scrolls card game. Anyway, here comes Peter “Pete” Hines, head marketeer.
Matt: Oh no, I think I’m about 30 seconds behind you. I only just started getting marketed at by a live person.
Brendan: I’m reporting live from the future, and the future is monotoned. He’s talking about his own career in games now.
Matt: I like people cheering for somebody’s long-term successful career. If they’re gonna cheer, cheer for a human’s happiness.
Brendan: Oh great, now I’M the asshole. Oh wait, yes, that’s my role. Look, here’s the other one, Todd Howard. He is being very optimistic about the upcoming collapse of civilisation by suggesting that the actions of players in Fallout 76 are representative of humanity’s potential goodwill in the hellish world we will someday inhabit. I am not as hopeful, and not just because I’m the jeerer.
Matt: That Fallout 76 intro was reasonably well-navigated, given everything. And segueing into Blades, the Elder Scrolls mobile game, is brave. It’s very brave, Brendy.
Brendan: Yes, a courageous act, I agree, because I can hear the grumbling and see the uncaring faces of several crowd members.
Matt: I can only hear the whoopers, bless ‘em.
Brendan: Wastelanders, the upcoming DLC for the multiplayer nuke ’em up, is something that will “fundamentally change the game”, they say. But it looks very similar to me.
Matt: But there are NPCs now! Factions and dialogue trees and all!
Brendan: Oh god, my eyes. I don’t know if you saw it from your fortress of hotel chicken bones, but a wall of lights flashed on stage and I think I’ve lost several days of recent memory.
Matt: See, you’ve lost all memory of pre-expansion Fallout 76. Isn’t that considerate?
Brendan: Hmm, this Battle Royale mode they’ve just announced, with a firestorm circle thing, seems somewhat familiar, don’t you think?
Matt: Yeah, but Battlefield V’s trailer for their firestorm mode didn’t actually play Johnny Cash, so Fallout wins. There is no room for debate here.
Brendan: There is always room for debate when the jeerman is in town. I reckon Battlefield did not use Johnny Cash because someone in the office at Dice had the gumption to say: “bit obvious?” Anyway, that’s Fallout 76 over, and I’m eager to crack on. I’m not keen for another Batts Royale.
Brendan: I think Battlefield did not use Johnny Cash because someone in their office had the gumption to say: “bit too obvious?” Anyway, that’s Fallout 76 over, and I’m eager to crack on. I’m not keen for another Batts Royale. But look, they’re announcing GhostWire Tokyo, which is something new. Let me just contain the snark for a second…
Matt: It’s Ghostbusters but not actually Ghostbusters, set in Japan. Some of the ghosts are friendly and up for chats, others need to be vanquished. I am very much down for a mix of spectral chatting and busting.
Brendan: I am trying hard to be sneery and jeery about this otherworldliness. I am. I’ll come up with something. Give me a second. It looks, uh… it’s sort of… let me just… Aha! Got something. “Don’t fear the unknown,” says a character. “Attack it.” This is terrible advice. What a bad game!
Matt: It does rather fly in the face of the earlier line about some of the ghosts being nice. Still though! (Implied) investigative ghost hunts and orange lightning gauntlets. I’m here for it.
Brendan: They’re talking Elder Scrolls Online now. The endless reformation of this MMO is something I always look upon with fear and suspicion. I played it. I wrote a review. Games don’t change, it can’t suddenly be good. Not possible. Get out of here Elder Scroll man.
Matt: But players get to go to your favourite cat-land in the last expansion, Jeerer! Anyway, the new one isn’t about Khajeets in Elsewheryre. It’s about dragons and – oh wait there is a cat after all.
Brendan: It’s Khajiit, and Elsweyr, you disgusting Nord-lover. And I would go! If it looked and played anything like this cinematic trailer. What this dragon versus daedra fight does not show are the circular nubbins underneath everyone’s feet, and the screenful of — my god this cat is handsome.
Matt: Lovely eyes. Top eyes. Eyes that penetrate right through the Jeerer’s steely snark.
Brendan: They just announced an extra thing called “Dragonhold” and I thought they said “Dragonhole” and did a doubletake.
Matt: From Skyrim to Dragonhole would make a lot of sense. But look! They’re about to talk about the biggun, right?
Brendan: Commander Keen. Ha ha. This is an oldie even I do not understand or care about. I’d like to see our young Cheerer find something positive to say about this. Go on, have a pop.
Matt: It’s okay, I don’t need to because this is another phone fiddler. I’m off the cheer hook.
Brendan: Lucky Cheerer, very lucky. Some day you’ll fall, and I’ll be there to drink all your precious hotel Cola. You should know that with all this mobile chat and Commander Keenery there is a certain cloud of numbness falling over the Bethesda fans in my crowdsector.
Matt: At least I’m not a nark who captilises cola.
Brendan: Oh god, I did, sorry.
Matt: They’re stiiiiill talking about mobile games. What do we do? This coffee shop commercial has broken our format.
Brendan: The numbness cloud is spreading. Several members of the audience are drooling, and their haunting vacant eyes are making me feel strange. Almost like the numbness is spreading via stares as well as the vaprous indifference that seems to be enveloping more and more of the theatre.
Matt: Oh, the coffee shop has become a wizards den. A mudcrab is shuffling down the stairs. That’s kinda fun.
Brendan: Oh, it’s a video for The Elder Scrolls: Legends all along, which is actually not the worst card game. B-b-but not the best either! Phew. Almost broke Jeer cover there.
Matt: It’s got more cats now though. I am never opposed to more cats.
Brendan: Anyway, they got bored of speaking about that and have moved onto Rage 2, which is a game you liked, according to your Rage 2 review, which I do not recommend our readers look at because you are disreputable.
Matt: More ghosts! The worms from Dune! A big train, I think? These are exactly the areas Rage should expand to. I’m glad.
Brendan: The mist is disipating a little in the theatre. The crowd look a little livlier about things now. On stage, I can just about make out a Wolfenstein man. He is here to give the publisher its usual self-congratulatory pat on the back for being anti-fascist.
Matt: It’s a good thing to be anti.
Brendan: It is a good thing, yes. I just dislike Bethesda realising they can eat so much low-hanging PR fruit by saying things which have been clear for decades. Like, do you want a medal for disliking a genocidal idelogy? Videogames have been shooting nazis for a while. And the Jeerer doesn’t give prizes for the most basic observation in political history.
Matt: I know, I know. But amongst all the repeated uses of the phrase “Nazi killing” they just announced an expansion that lets you play in co-op. “Youngblood”, it’s called. July 26th, it’s due.
Brendan: Never mind that, Cheerboy. We need you elsewhere. Them folks at Arkane have announced a new game! It is about two gun foes caught in a timeloop of death. What could this be called!
Matt: It’s called Deatloop. I admire this bold simplicity. I also admire that both protagonists say the only way to break/protect the cycle is to kill each other, but clearly both do that many many times.
Brendan: All right, all right. You can have this one. The rise of Groundhog Day style stories (Outer Wilds, Russian Doll, Edge of Tomorrow, etc) is something I will not officially jeer. But I will squint with worry, concerned about how long it is before this gimmick becomes overused.
Matt: Time-nonsense is fun, Brendy. The rise of time-nonsense should be cheered, I say.
Brendan: Cheer away. Just get ready to turn that cheer upside-jeer. And lo, what fresh hellware is this? Bethesda is announcing another new thing. But this is not a game. It is Orion, a vague game-streaming service-o-thing.
Matt: It’s a group of patented game technologies that enhance games in a something something environment. Couldn’t be clearer.
Brendan: They are announcing this at a time when Stadia is also getting started and– hang on, Matt. The cloud of numb-mist that has been lurking in the theatre since they were showing off the mobile games has thickened into a sort of… floss? I don’t know. I feel like I’m breathing hair. Some audience members nearby are clapping, and whooping, but it is a hollow motion. Their bodies are the same colour as the mist. I don’t know what’s happening.
Matt: Another ghost! Bust it. Bust it good, ideally with new Doom Eternal, which we are now seeing in an explodey trailer. Was that heaven?
Brendan: I think it was the other place.
Matt: I thought they were doing the demonic angel thing?
Brendan: Oh, you’re right, he just said both realms feature in the game, heaven AND hell. That’s both-sides-ism. Awful. Just awful.
Matt: On the bright side, every time these blokes say the name aloud it sounds like “Doomy Ternal”.
Brendan: There was a lot of exploding and blood in that trailer. They say the people in the room will get to play it after the show! Am I going to play it? Maybe. But only for jeering purposes, you understand.
Matt: I’ll cheer you on as you wait in the 17-hour queue. [Update: The line was huge, Brendan did not play it]. Did the Doomslayer just reach hell by going into space? My understanding of both hell and space is being challenged here. But anyway: shoulder-mounted flamethrowers. Those are unambiguously cheer-worthy. So was that shotgun-mounted grappling hook. Go on, try and deny it.
Brendan: Looks like guns, all right.
Matt: Trust you to be all Doom and gloom.
Brendan: Sor yr Mat t its gettin g hard to see my lap top and keybaord thoug h the mist of uncaring.
Matt: It’s fine, I’ll just have to find someone else to be my demonic rival in the new multiplayer Doom battle mode, called Battlemode.
Brendan: To close out the Doom trailers, Bethesda’s representatives on-stage have unilaterally announced The Year Of Doom, ushering out the Era of Luigi, which is a terrible sign of the horror that awaits us.
Matt: Luigi’s time has come.
Brendan: And so has mine. The show has officially ended, and the mist has become corporeal, bodily represented by a large demon of apathy, who is currently … well, not exactly “rampaging” through the crowd. He’s sort of like, ushering them toward the exits with a sad expression.
Matt: I’m a bit sad they didn’t mention Elder Scrolls 6 or (oh no what was the big space game called)
Matt: Yes. But I am happy about all the new ghosts. The Tokyo ghosts especially.
Brendan: I don’t have time to listen to your ghost fanboying, sorry. The mist demon has come for me. I must go. Farewell, Matt, it was good to be friends. I’m sorry for calling you disreputable.
Matt: Oh no! I’ve lost Brendy to the mist. I can only hope he’ll re-materialise in time for the RPS fanzine show tomorrow.
Note: This liveblog is over now, but you can catch the last of the conferences tomorrow, including Square Enix and the PC Gaming Show.
See our E3 2019 for the rest of our coverage from the show, including all the news of the conference collected by Alice O.