The PC Gaming Show has started to establish itself as a part of the yearly E3 festivities, whilst still standing somewhat outside it. It’s still trying to find the right balance between informative and getting to the point, but this year the organisers lined up a few exclusive announcements.
Prior to the show’s official start (at 3am local time!) there was a kind of Intel-hosted pre-show, where a bunch of things were revealed, including some VR and esports stuff. About half of what was shown prior to the main event was also shown during the main show, but there were a couple of interesting tidbits it’s worth picking out.
First, Intel announced that an amazing 46 million people watched the ESL finals. They’re expecting that number to rise to a staggering 500 million by the year 2020, making it more popular than the NBA or Major League Baseball. For something that still struggles to garner the mainstream respect it deserves, those are some incredible figures to contemplate.
In line with Intel’s commitment to eSports they’re putting up a $1,000,000 bonus prize to the first team to win 4 of the 10 competitions they’re planning to run over the next year or so. That’s on top of whatever the regular prize pools may be. Exciting, if you’re an elite eSports athlete.
They’re also working with Linkin Park to create… something. Looks to combine some artistic VR painting with Linkin Park music and motifs. Will be worth a look.
But on to the main part of the show, PC Gaming!
Sean “Day” Plott is the main host, with Sonja “OMGitsfirefoxx” Reed up on the mezzanine level for some side interviews and gameplay reveals. Throwing back and forth eats up a bit of time, but it seems worth the sacrifice to break up all the “man interviewing other man” moments on the main stage, something the PC Gaming Show has struggled a little with in the past.
The first game shown off in the main portion of the show is actually an expansion pack, for turn based alien shooting strategy game X-COM 2. Titled War of the Chosen, it brings some new enemies and some new potential allies to the table. The titular Chosen are three ultra elite enemies, each with distinct personalities and fighting styles, that players will face multiple times through the course of the campaign. These enemies will grow and evolve new skills, making sure they remain a challenge throughout.
X-COM 2: War of the Chosen is coming August 29 to PC, Xbox One and Playstation 4.
First cross to Sonja, who introduces us to Ooblets, a game that seems similar in style to a Harvest Moon or Animal Crossing game. Farm crops, decorate your house, explore strange locales and… dance?
If that sounds like your jam, here’s a short trailer.
Next, something a little more on the hardcore side. Harebrained Schemes is bringing a turn based Battletech game to PC. Jordan Weisman, original creator of Battletech, is on board and all the battlemechs and technology seem to be spot on to what you would expect.
Taking something of a leaf out of the Mechwarrior: Mercenaries playbook you’ll command a mercenary squad, based off an ageing ship named The Argo. Outfit your mechs with weapons, heatsinks and armour and send them into battles for whoever’s paying. Any damage taken will have to be paid for, but you can again salvage weaponry and put it to your own use in future missions.
The mechs will have individual armour plates, so targeting specific sections will serve a purpose. Mechs aren’t just HP-based damage sponges this time. Nice!
Also very nice, once you complete the main storyline campaign you can continue taking missions in the open galaxy map as new missions are generated.
No release date as yet, but you can back the project at Battletechgame.com if you’d like access to the beta.
Next, a quick bit on Mount & Blade 2: Bannerlord, which is still in development at Talesworld Entertainment, still has no release date, still looks nicer than the original game, still looks brutally difficult.
After that, Al Bickham from Creative Assembly is on stage with Sean to talk about Total War: Warhammer 2. He confirms (or lets slip) that the game will be the second in a trilogy, so if you’re expecting every race to finally be added this time you may be in for disappointment.
What you will get is four new races. High Elves and Lizardmen were showcased today, but Dark Elves have also been revealed and they’re keeping the fourth under wraps for now.
Otherwise it looks to be much the same as the first game, though doubtless there’ll be some new widgets and features to play with. Some time after release there’ll be an update that will allow you to play across the combined map from game 1 and 2, with any of the races, to try and take over the entire world. That’ll be neat, but it seems like something that could just be in the base game.
Another weird decision? Early adopters of Warhammer 2 will apparently get a bonus race pack for the first game? That doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Maybe explain it in the comments for the edification of all.
The trailer for the game was very short and not worth reprinting. The big news is that the game is coming 28th of September. Which is pretty soon!
Next, streamer Kriparrian is on for a couple of minutes talking about Shadowverse, another strategy card game. It’s one of those games with weirdly sexualised characters that look too young to be sexualised. Many of the YouTube results, when searching for the trailer, are advertisement spots from Kriparrian promoting the game.
If the current crop of strategy card games is not extensive enough to cater to your particular tastes, check it out on Steam. It’s free to play so there’s no harm in having a look!
Then, Destiny 2. Someone named TeftyTeft is on stage to tell us it has uncapped frame rates and will take advantage of multiple cores, like what Intel chips provide. Which probably means DirectX 12 or Vulkan, but it wasn’t specified. Sorry.
Doug Fisher from Intel was there to tout their chips during this segment but the advice for most gamers is still the same as ever – get an i5 if you just want to game, consider an i7 if you’d like to game and stream, or do more serious CPU intensive work.
Doug also said gaming is an, “Amazing, inclusive and social environment.” Yeah, nice one Doug!
Back to Sonja, who is chatting to Felix Kramer about her new game which has finally got a proper name. Tunic! Tunic is another cute little adventure game with a cute little fox hero.
See? Cute as.
PLAYERUNKNOWN’s BattleGrounds gets another outing next, with Brendan Greene on stage for a chat. The game is still technically in development, with a focus on server stability being the next big thing for the team. They’ve also recently been working on a jumping/vaulting system, to allow players to get over or on top of the various fences, cars and other obstacles of the world.
New weathers are coming, as is a new gun, and Brendan promises modding is also in the game’s future. Two new maps, a Peruvian desert and a snowy Adriatic map are also on the way.
Also getting new content, Killing Floor 2! Summer Sideshow events kick off tomorrow, with the game itself being free all week via Steam. If you’ve not had the chance to check the game out before now (shoot zombies, try not to get eaten by zombies, earn xp and cash, upgrade, repeat) it’s probably not going to ever be a better time. Free, and a special event full of clowns to shoot. What’s not to like?
Forza Motorsport 7 is coming to PC, which we knew. What we did not know is that they’ve taken the time to dig deep into the USB controller support systems, meaning you can drive cars with anything from the mouse and keyboard to Guitar Hero accessories and dance mats. Expect a flood of YouTube vids of people trying amazingly inappropriate setups for the game. It’ll be great.
Sea of Thieves makes another E3 appearance without announcing a release date. PC and Xbox versions are being developed in parallel, meaning neither is a port. Apparently.
Next, something that must have seemed a great idea when it was booked…
The Last Night, from Oddtales. Tim Soret, creative director for Oddtales, ran into the wrath of the internets for a past association with GamerGate and some tangentially related remarks he’d made in the past that did not sit well with some people.
Sean seemed happy to sidestep the issue entirely but, to his credit, Tim took the time to address his past comments, which he says do not reflect his current opinions, and apologised for what he’d said previously. Whether the internet is prepared to let it go at that is hard to say.
No, it’s easy actually. Of course that won’t be the end of it!
The game itself sounds pretty interesting. Sort of cyberpunk, but with a persistent simulation system behind the scenes, governing police presence and other NPC behaviour. It’s a 2D side scroller, but it has some advanced lighting effects and other jazzy graphical features that give it a fairly unique look.
It would be a shame to see it sink because of some foolish behaviour in the past, but the internet rarely forgives, or forgets.
Next, something even weirder. Bohemia Interactive, makers of hardcore military simulation series Arma, are making a freeform survival game named Ylands. Pronounced like Islands, but the Y indicates they’re your-lands.
I did say it was weird.
Sailing boats around sure looks fun, but whether we actually needed another game like this…?
Next, and in a similar vein, a WORLD EXCLUSIVE! Klei Entertainment’s next game is a kind of scifi version of their previous big hit, Don’t Starve. The new game is titled Grift Lands, and it continues the same nifty art style, though details are a little scarce as yet.
After that we’re back in VR territory for a bit, with Lone Echo and the multiplayer Echo Arena getting a second showing. Troy Baker’s doing the voicework for the zero-g exploration and manipulation game Lone Echo, while Intel’s backing Echo Arena heavily by offering it for free to Oculus Rift owners. Echo Arena is also set in zero-g, with players throwing a disc around and trying to put it through a goal at the other end of an arena.
Ready At Dawn might have made a VR game worth playing? Egads!
Next, another cutesy art style thing, WarGroove. Inspired by Fire Emblem and Advance Wars, WarGroove comes from Chucklefish, the team behind Stardew Valley and Starbound.
It’ll have online play, mod support and a built-in map editor players can use to quickly construct fully playable campaigns of their own. They demonstrate creating a map live and it really does look remarkably simple.
LawBreakers finally has a release date!
Well, first it has a final closed beta date, with June 28th being the start of the final playtesting session for anyone with existing access. June 30th the doors will be thrown open to the general public to play what Cliffy B describes as a legitimate beta, not the bullshit promotional betas other companies have been doing. If you provide worthwhile feedback it will be taken into consideration before the game launches.
The game launches August 8th, so how much of that feedback will actually get incorporated remains to be seen. It’s coming to PC and Playstation 4 and will be priced at a mere $29.99. Not a full priced $60 online multiplayer only bullshit price, Cliff tells us. Good man!
Middle-Earth: Shadow of War gets another showing. Will it be at all the relevant presentations? We’ll find out later at the Sony presser.
Interesting detail from this show, there’ll be an elven assassin sent to Mordor by Galadriel, attempting to kill the Nazgul or any other bearer of a ring of power. She’s equipped with the Light of Galadriel and can see Talion’s wraith friend. And her story will be playable in a post-launch DLC. Neat!
And, last and by every means least, one more reveal for the show. Another World Exclusive! As the trailer plays it becomes increasingly obvious the much loved franchise is Age of Empires and excitement builds throughout the lands!
Only to be horrifically dashed as what is being touted is a remaster/remake of the original game. Proper 3D engine and some quality of life improvements, like unit grouping and finding unassigned workers.
But it’s Age of Empires. The original one. It’ll work properly on a modern computer (one hopes) but… is anyone excited? Age of Empires is 20 years old. Make a new one!
Yes, I will probably still play it.
That wraps up the wrap-up of the PC Gaming Show! Did anything in particular catch your eye? Let us know in the comments below.