There are big sequels for Fallout, Doom, Quake and Elder Scrolls coming to PC, Xbox and PS4 in next few months -- and years -- but all I care about right now is Elder Scrolls Blades, the new free-to-play iOS and Android RPG. And I only care about it because of one single brilliant feature: The ability to play the game in portrait mode.
But let's back up a bit. Blades was one of several jaw-dropping announcements at Bethesda's E3 press conference earlier this week -- a presentation that also included Fallout 76 and a tease for a totally new space game called Starfield. And the developer also announced Elder Scrolls VI, the next installment of its beloved fantasy series. But before we get that PC-centric sequel to Morrowind, Oblivion and Skyrim, we're getting Elder Scrolls Blades, a mobile game set in the Elder Scrolls universe, scheduled to hit later this year.
And that's the one I'll be playing. And yes, you can tilt your phone on its side and play in landscape mode, if you'd like. But Bethesda's decision to allow you to play the game in portrait mode was inspired. A portrait mode lets you easily play the game with one hand while your other hand is completely free. Why is this such a huge deal for me? It has everything to do with what my other hand will be doing while playing. And yes, I promise this post is completely safe for work.
I haven't regularly played a game on my iPhone since 2016. Back then, my game of choice was Hearthstone. I played it a lot. While the PC version of the game is still my favorite, I loved it even more when it came to iPad and I could play it in my bed before turning in. When it finally launched on iPhones and Android phones, I was seriously playing it every chance I could get.
The peak of my obsession was when my first son was born in September 2016. Soon after, it was not uncommon to find me swaying back and forth in his bedroom rocking chair, baby in one hand, my iphone in the other, destroying fools online (sometimes) in card battles. Or kind of.
Unfortunately, Hearthstone is played in landscape, and it can be difficult, but not impossible, to play with one hand. But it's not ideal and not comfortable. However, when you've got nothing else to do but just sit there and hold a baby, hoping he doesn't wake up, you make it work.
However, with Blades I won't have to make it work. Son no. 2 is slated to arrive in August, and the game's rumored release date is September. I haven't played it yet, so there's a chance it might actually suck. Who knows? As of right now though, the thought of playing a game on my phone that's even an approximation of Skyrim with only one hand takes a bit of the sting out of the extreme sleep deprivation that awaits me two months from now.
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Also, the fact I've been looking for a new dark fantasy RPG to sink my teeth into that doesn't ask me to remember what several buttons and button combinations do if I take a week off (looking at you, Witcher 2; this is why I never actually finished you!) and it's like they made this game specifically for me!
Blades will also give me some incentive to upgrade from my iPhone 7 Plus to whatever the new high-end iPhone is called this year as I'll want as high a framerate as possible with the most detail. From what I could tell from the demo shown at the Bethesda press conference, the game is gorgeous.
It's difficult for me to get truly hooked on a game. It takes a lot of consistent play time to get used to the mechanics and systems. I came to the Skyrim party late and never got too far in it as I just couldn't devote enough consecutive chunks of time to really let it get its claws in me. With Elder Scrolls Blades, a new phone and a new son, having chunks of time soon won't be a problem for me.
E3 2018: Everything you need to know
E3 2018 coverage at CNET: All of our E3 2018 coverage in one place.
E3 2018 coverage at GameSpot: Wall-to-wall coverage of the show from our sister site, GameSpot.
E3 2018 coverage at Giant Bomb: Still more commentary and news from E3, from our colleagues at Giant Bomb.