Bethesda accused of faking crowd noise during E3 press conference

Did the reveal of a mobile reboot for a dormant franchise really earn raucous applause from the crowd?

Screengrab via Twitch.tv/Bethesda

A clip from Bethesda’s Sunday press conference at E3 is being used to fuel an allegation that the Fallout and Elder Scrolls developer pumped in fake crowd noise to their stream.

In the clip, the show was transitioning between speakers following a lackluster mobile game announcement for Commander Keen, a decades-old franchise that is being “rebooted.”

The crowd at the show seemed to give the game an uproarious applause, the likes of which we heard when Todd Howard debuted Fallout 4 on stage at E3 in 2015. This was just a mobile game full of microtransactions, however, something gamers that pay attention to E3 mostly aren’t interested in, although it will nonetheless do well with casual mobile players.

An attentive Twitch user shared a clip that appeared to show a mostly motionless crowd waiting for the next presenter, while the audio made it seem like the entire theater was applauding.

From the crowd shown in frame, it seems most noise being made is only light cordial clapping for the presenter from a handful of spectators. Even with the benefit of the doubt that every person beyond the frame is on their feet, it’s unlikely it would’ve matched the volume viewers heard at home.

And let’s just be honest, a mobile game reboot of an IP from the 1990s isn’t typically something that gets a positive audible response from gamers.

Bethesda’s 2019 conference came after a tumultuous six months since the release of Fallout 76 that was plagued by incidents of unprofessional customer service, game-breaking bugs, and lawsuits.

It could be that people are just wanting a reason to criticize the company that just a few years ago seemed untouchable atop the industry food chain. Given the circumstance of the clip in question, though, there seems to be some weight behind this new fake-noise allegation.