Just like Bethesda, the PC Gaming show is a relative newcomer to E3, starting back in 2015. Since then, it hasn’t quite hit the highs that Bethesda managed but it’s eclectic, unbiased look at PC games from many different companies has been insightful.
This year had host Sean [Day9] Platt take us on a lethargic jaunt through several new games coming out soon on PC platforms. While he was entertaining as always, the conference itself felt quite slow, choosing a tell-don’t-show approach by interviewing developers rather than simply showing gameplay for the games on stage. Before we score the conference overall though, let’s take a look at what was announced.
XCOM 2: War of the Chosen – August 29
Firaxis had a new DLC pack to announce for their long-running XCOM franchise, War of the Chosen. Jake Soloman, the creative director of the game, came on stage to say it was twice the size of any previous XCOM expansion packs containing new enemies, new characters and new maps.
The story will focus around three factions of Chosen, the new enemies who are made up of enemies following different strategies. Soloman gave the examples of the Hunter, a sniper-based team and the Warlock which uses psionics to fight. Players will fight each Chosen on multiple occasions and they will power-up procedurally, gaining new abilities and weapons.
In order to fight them, players will need to recruit three rebel factions that are separate from the XCOM movement which will function similarly to the Chosen. Finally, it looks like they are introducing a new type of enemy called the Lost (read: zombies) which are the people left behind in the destroyed cities of Earth.
Like most other trailers in this show, the trailer was almost entirely cinematic and showed no real gameplay but it seems as though Firaxis is taking a very story-based approach which is interesting for a strategy title based on player choice.
Ooblets – 2018
We actually got a brief look at Ooblets during the Xbox presser but during the PC conference, we got to see a full cinematic trailer for the game which was toted as being a mix of Harvest Moon and Pokemon.
From the look of things, this will be a simulation game where you use farming to grow creatures that will fight other creatures for you. The trailer showed different seasons and locations but it’s hard to say what the game will actually be about or if it will have just an aimless simulation style to it. Either way, if you’re into games like Stardew Valley or Viva Pinata, it looks like something you should keep an eye on.
Battletech – Unknown
Battletech was successfully kickstarted to the tune of $2.7 MILLION back in 2015 but since then, those of us who aren’t backers haven’t gotten to see much from this revival of the Pen and Paper RPG. UNTIL NOW!!
A bit over the top? Fair enough, but for Battletech fans, they have been waiting a long time for this and have a right to be excited. The turn-based game looks to bring the full combat system from the tabletop game into a strategy title and it looks like they have been pretty successful thus far.
If I have one criticism, it’s that environments don’t look particularly exciting although taking out individual parts on enemy mechs sounds fantastic. The game was originally estimated to come out in May 2017 and that… obviously didn’t happen. Unfortunately, we didn’t get a new release date which is quite disappointing for a delayed game but they did say that their closed beta would be starting soon and they are currently taking sign-ups on their website. If you are desperate for some Battletech, that may be worth a look.
Mount & Blade 2: Bannerlord – Unknown
Mount & Blade 2 has been in development for at least five years now and considering the rabid fanbase behind the original title, I was expecting a bit more from this reveal. Mount & Blade was an RPG franchise that thrived in it’s crunchy realism, letting you build up a character and deal with medieval factions in a realistic fashion.
If you didn’t know better, watching this trailer would make you think this is a poorly done medieval Dynasty Warriors where all you do is hack up bland characters in the most lifeless setting imaginable. Seriously, it was just a big valley of nothing. Mount & Blade has never been known for it’s graphical prowess but this is ridiculous! I’m hoping that this is not indicative of the final product because this reveal was a massive disappointment.
Total War: Warhammer 2 – September 28
Total War: Warhammer was a surprising take on the Total War franchise, introducing story and fantasy elements into a previously historical fiction-based series. It may not have been expected but it was certainly welcome as it released to huge critical acclaim and they are keeping that ball a-rolling with Total War: Warhammer 2 this year.
This game will focus on the High Elves, Lizardmen, Dark Elves and a yet unannounced fourth race as they battle for supremacy of the Great Vortex in Ulthuan. Players will learn from ability trees and will have even more options than before when waging their war.
Shadowverse: Wonderland Dreams – June 29th
Shadowverse released last year to critical acclaim although not a whole lot of commercial recognition. Still, fans of the series have become intensely devoted over the last year and they will be rewarded with a new expansion coming out in just over 2 weeks. As it is a card game, the trailer didn’t show much because, let’s be honest here, how do you do a gameplay trailer for a card game? But here’s an anime girl!
Intel Tech Talk
Intel was the sponsor of this PC Gaming show this year and thus, they wanted to reiterate some of their announcements from earlier this week as well. Most of it was just tooting their own horn but there was some relevant information for gamers as well. In case you missed it and are into building super-computers, Intel announced their new i9X series of chips with up to 18 cores. These things are nuts and the price tag reflects that as the cheapest in this line will run you $999! That alone is more than my whole rig cost me!
Still, if you invest, several games including the upcoming Destiny 2, will fully support these chips which should make for some very speedy games. They also wanted to announce that they will be sponsoring the Ready at Dawn devs to make Echo Arena, the upcoming VR Ender’s Game remake (not really) free at launch for a limited time. Note that this will only be the multiplayer portion, NOT the single player Lone Echo. That will be out for Oculus Rift owners on July 20th.
Several more games were shown off that didn’t have many actual details so let me blast through a few of these really quickly for you!
- Secret Legend is now called Tunic! – Release Date Unknown – Isometric cutesy RPG(??)
- PlayerUnknown’s Battleground – New updates coming every month and will include new weapons, maps, dynamic weather, 3D replays and vaulting over fences!
- Killing Floor 2 Summer Sideshow – Weekly Outbreak mode featuring new minigames and challenges along with a carnival themed map which is open for one month starting TOMORROW. The game will also be free all week and will have 50 new unlockable customization items.
- Forza Motorsport 7 – Coming day and date to PC upon release for Xbox One and will feature compatibility with any USB device (including Guitar Hero guitars and DDR pads! If you’re insane!)
- Sea of Thieves – It’s coming to PC! That’s… pretty much it.
- Wargroove – Release Date Unknown – Advance Wars spiritual successor, it looks and plays identically but with more types of units and maps. It also contains a full campaign and scenario editor letting players make their own branching campaigns.
- Middle-Earth: Shadow of War – October 10 – Nothing new here we didn’t know during the Xbox conference but it still looks amazing!
The Last Night
We got some more details about the upcoming pixelart adventure game The Last Night but I wanted to spotlight this game for a reason. Apparently, some tweets surfaced yesterday by the game’s creator Tim Soret in which he publicly supported the GamerGate movement from a few years ago and actively attacked so-called SJWs. Because of this, the game was getting some heat online from some gamers.
Tim Soret came on stage to talk about his game but started off apologizing for these tweets. He said this does not reflect who he is today and that he was sorry about what he had said. He then went on to discuss elements of the game which will include a time-based mechanic where situations will change depending on what part of the night you are into. An example given was that if you need to break into an apartment, there may be guards overnight but in the morning, the guards may be gone, replaced by tenants that are home. It’ll be interesting to see how this game takes form and if it will survive the political heat.
Ylands is the new game from Bohemia Interactive. Yeah, THAT Bohemia Interactive. The folks behind the ultra-realistic ARMA series. They made this goofy polygonal survival sandbox. Surprising, right?
Anyway, this game looks like a pleasant mix between Minecraft and LittleBigPlanet in that the game works as a survival game but can be made into anything you want it to be. A later part of the trailer even showed a race track and players racing each other in cars.
Since it’s coming from Bohemia, it can be pretty safely assumed that this game will receive heavy mod support and may become one hell of a sandbox depending on how players choose to use it. The Alpha is available right now on their website and will be coming to Steam early access soon.
Griftlands – 2017/2018 (whatever that means)
Griftlands is the new game by Klei, the folks behind Mark of the Ninja and Don’t Starve. It’s hard to say exactly what this game is but it appears to be an RPG of sorts where players pick up party members to go and hunt for treasure with them. The cinematic trailer didn’t show much but the art style was distinctly Klei and ought to make Don’t Starve fans very happy.
Lawbreakers – Beta: June 30, Full Release: August 8
Cliff Blezinski has moved on from Gears of War and is almost ready to release his next new game, Lawbreakers, which he is making independently. Lawbreakers looks to take on Overwatch by going back to the basics of competitive shooters. The game is fast and ultra-twitchy, much like Quake or Unreal Tournament, but with the added challenge of dealing with gravity altering effects.
Cliffy-B has stated that he wants to add the verticality into the game like nothing else has done and he looks like he may have succeeded. Trailers showed players flying through the air with movements and shots have instantaneous life-or-death impacts.
Age of Empires Definitive Edition – Multiplayer Beta: Today
Microsoft made a surprising, if odd, announcement today that they are releasing an Age of Empires remake called Definitive Edition. What makes this announcement particularly strange is that we already got a remake of Age of Empires 2 a few years ago. While it will be a nice nostalgia trip for players looking to experience the first one all over again, it’s odd to be going backwards in time considering they’re still making new expansions to Age of Empires 2.
The PC Gaming show moved at a very slow pace and was rather light on details or actual gameplay footage. Still, the interview style was interesting and had potential if companies were willing to drop a bit more pieces of information. Also, it is still nice to have some information about PC games since that is not something we’re used to getting at E3.