An announcement of an announcement isn’t normally what you would reasonably call news, but when it’s Bethesda Softworks making the pre-announcement announcements, “normally” takes a swan-dive out of the nearest window. Indeed, within about 22.46 seconds of Bethesda’s blog post going live, the whole internet was positively buzzing with Fallout 4 chatter.
Could this, at last, be exactly what we’ve been waiting for? Can we, finally, dust off the old pip-boy and, maybe, possibly, dare to dream again?
Well, yes and no.
It’s not easy being a Fallout fan, and pretty much everything we do “know” is based on rumor, guestimation, and often times wishful thinking, so by those standards, this is at least something, and a considerably more substantial something than the usual I know the guy who delivers bagels to Bethesda and he said….. type extrapolation.
On the one hand, Bethesda’s not a massive Ubi/EA type studio, so the very fact that they’re doing any kind of unique event at E3 is significant. They’re also not a studio that tends to have lots of plates spinning at the same time, so it’s also unlikely that they’d need an “event” just because they’ve got loads of stuff to announce.
Likewise, whatever this announcement is (or these announcements are?), it’s very much in keeping with the Fallout 4 timeline which has been pieced together over the last few years, and using the logic of the alternating Elder Scrolls/Fallout schedule, it’s not entirely unreasonable to be cautiously optimistic.
Finally (and not for nothing), Bethesda must be aware of the anticipation(/desperation) surrounding Fallout, and one would hope they wouldn’t be so cruel as to whip up hope unnecessarily.
However, on the other hand, life can be cruel when you’re a Fallout fan. Despite the aforementioned rotation, timeline, and lack of spinning plates, there is still the possibility that the announcement has absolutely nothing to do with Fallout 4.
We know that id Software (owned by Bethesda) has been working on a Doom reboot, and that it’s already well overdue – so there’s a fairly big chance it might be that. That might not necessarily be bad news in-and-of-itself, but it’s not good news on a Fallout 4 level.
Bethesda also owns Arkane Studios, and they’ve already suggested they’d like to turn the Dishonored title into an ongoing franchise – so it might also be that. Again, that’s not necessarily bad news – but it’s certainly not likely to appease the hordes of desperate Fallout fans either.
Lastly, despite the existing habit of alternating Elder Scrolls and Fallout titles, there’s no real reason to assume this is set in stone. The former has as at least as many dedicated fans as the latter, and Elder Scrolls Online (for consoles) is set to launch on June 9th – five days before Bethesda’s conference. Whether this makes it more or less likely that it’s the focus of the conference is anybody’s guess. And, just to muddy the waters that bit more, there’s always the chance that Bethesda have decided, for whatever reason, to do an entirely new Elder Scrolls before tackling the new Fallout.
So, in conclusion, it’s genuinely difficult to tell whether the glass is half full, or half empty. Or, to be honest, whether there’s even a glass in the first place.
What is certain, however, is that come June 14th, there are going to be a lot of people paying attention to Bethesda’s Press Conference. And, in all likelihood, we’ll just have to wait and see whether it ends in ecstatic jubilation or bone-crushing disappointment (again) for the legions of Fallout fans.
Fingers crossed though, eh!?