PC gaming finally gets a time to shine at E3
Oh hey, PC gamers. We’re finally important enough to merit our own E3 press conference—thanks to our fellow enthusiasts at PC Gamer and the deep pockets of AMD. The PC Gaming Show rounded out a busy first day of E3, and with it we got to see some devs on stage we typically don’t see at E3! Paradox, Tripwire, Fullbright—this was PC gaming’s day in the sun. And oh, what a beautiful, 4K/60fps day in the sun it was, hosted by the personable Sean 'Day9' Plott.
Read on for more from the first-ever PC-centric E3 press conference, and be sure to check out our guide to the 33 must-see PC games announced during E3’s “Day Zero” press events.
Rising Storm 2
The PC Gaming Show kicked off with a uniquely PC developer—Tripwire, developer of Killing Floor 2, which is in Early Access. And while we did get a short trailer for the excellent Killing Floor 2, it was the surprise reveal of Rising Storm 2 that stood out.
And the sequel is moving away from the WWII setting, if the trailer’s anything to go by. To where? Vietnam. Finally. The last decent Vietnam game I played was that expansion for Bad Company 2, so I’m pretty excited to see a deep and realistic shooter series like Rising Storm 2 head to that era.
Star Citizen, in spirit
Star Citizen's Chris Roberts didn't make it to the PC Gaming Show but he checked in via video to tell us how much he loves the PC. And...that was it. No new footage. Hooray.
AMD's brand new Radeon graphics cards
AMD’s chief gaming scientist Richard Huddy took the stage to talk up the company’s new Radeon graphics cards, including the beastly Radeon R9 Fury X, all of which were revealed earlier today—and (mostly) hitting the streets within the next week.
Later in the show, AMD CEO Lisa took appeared to provide the world's first glimpse at the unnamed graphics card sporting not one, but two Fiji GPUs, scheduled to launch sometime later this year.
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided
Square Enix’s Jean-Francois Dugas and Jonathan Jacques-Belletete wandered out next to show some new Deus Ex: Mankind Divided gameplay footage, as well as talk about some of the underlying technology found in the game and its new Dawn engine. Depth of field/bokeh effects, screen space reflection, volumetric lighting, yadda yadda yadda. Oh, and AMD’s TressFX for hair effects and Adam Jensen’s beard. That name drop had nothing to do with the fact that AMD sponsored the show, I’m sure.
Total War: Warhammer
Thankfully, Creative Assembly’s presentation led off with Day9 asking the same question we’ve all been asking since the announcement: Why is this not called Total Warhammer?
Jokes aside, Total War: Warhammer's mashup of Warhammer with Total War looks great—as I can attest with my recent preview—but we didn’t really see any of it at the show. Just concept art, which was a bit weird.
Microsoft <3 PC: Killer Instinct, Fable, and Gigantic
Then it got delightfully awkward in the room, as Xbox Overlord Phil Spencer came on stage to talk about loving PCs too—a message Microsoft has really been trying to ram home lately. Thanks, Valve, for putting some pressure on Microsoft.
The big news? Killer Instinct is coming to PC—a year and a half after it launched on the Xbox One! Better late than...well, super-late.
We also got chatted up some more about Fable Legends and Gigantic, the two cross-platform Xbox/Windows 10 titles Microsoft is pushing. No Halo though.
Gears of War: Ultimate Edition
...But we are getting Gears of War: Ultimate Edition. Can’t wait for a remake of a game that’s almost a decade old! A game that—for that matter—was already on PC before, and the port was terrible. Gears of War: Ultimate Edition will include support for 4K resolution, unlimited refresh rates, and keyboard and mouse, so fingers crossed that this one's better.
If you were hoping for a Gears 4-on-PC moment, well, keep hoping. Day9 asked and Rod Fergusson gave a noncommital “We’ll see” type of response.
American Truck Simulator
Now this—this—is what a PC gaming conference should be used for: Weird, niche titles that nobody in their right mind would put on a Microsoft or Sony stage.
American Truck Simulator looks like it’ll take all the craziness of Euro Truck Simulator and take it to the land of cowboys and cheeseburgers. Furthermore, the roads were created with the help of Google Maps, so you can drive real routes from LA to San Francisco.
Dean Hall came out on stage to
apologize for abandoning DayZ complain about how hard Early Access is talk about his new project Ion.
We still don't know a ton, but the game will feature a Diablo-style camera and involve wandering around space stations. It also sports realistic organ simulation for some unexplained reason, and a recent bug would cause all of those organs to fall out when you clicked on another player, which sounds like a pretty damn awesome bug.
Also, it's coming to Early Access because I guess Dean Hall feels like he didn't burn those bridges. We'll see.
Next up we saw 90s-shooter throwback Strafe—a Kickstarter game that looks vaguely like Marathon, Doom, Rise of the Triad, Quake, et cetera.
And for the first time all night, we saw a live demo! It looks much cleaner and blockier than a real 90s shooter, but it’s got the fast pace/jump pad/big guns feel down. One interesting point: All large guns are treated as power-ups—there’s no reloading. You just throw the gun away when you’re done.
Pillars of Eternity: The White March
Paradox and Obsidian officially announced the Pillars of Eternity expansion, subtitled "The White March." The core features: New companions. New abilities. Higher level cap. And, you know, more story.
David Braben came out to...not talk about Elite: Dangerous! Surprise!
Instead, he announced Planet Coaster, a spiritual successor to Rollercoaster Tycoon--not to be mistaken with the actual Rollercoaster Tycoon title Atari is working on.
It's a good year for rollercoaster fans, I guess. Which means everyone. Because amusement parks are awesome.
Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns
Next up was Guild Wars 2, showing off the fact that MMOs still exist, and are important to PCs. Also, an expansion—Heart of Thorns.
Game director Colin Johanson revealed the game’s new Guild Halls, which he called a “social feature.” Once a guild wrestles a hall from the monsters that inhabit it, they’ll be able to decorate it as they see fit, brawl competitively in a central arena, use “guild portals” to zap the gang to new adventures, and build equipment in preparation for large PVP guild wars. Sounds pretty darn cool if you’re into guilds, and if you’re playing Guild Wars 2, you probably are.
Preorders for the Heart of Thorns expansions were opened immediately if that’s also your thing.
Paris. City of lights. City of love. City of murders. We saw a bit of the city in tonight's Hitman footage, and we were told the locations are now "six to seven times bigger" than previous games and that there's a heavy emphasis on sandbox/open-ended ways to assassinate targets. That sounds promising! It's like modern-day Assassin's Creed Unity! Except...you know, good. Hopefully. Check out our coverage of Hitman from Square Enix's earlier E3 event for even more nitty gritty info about the games living, breathing world.
We'll know whether this is more Blood Money or Absolution on December 8, when the game releases.
Arma III: Tanoa
Bohemia Interactive came on-stage to talk about Arma III: Tanoa, what they're calling a "new theater of war." We saw 100 square kilometers of faux-Pacific Isles, which Bohemia dubbed a "green hell." It looks pretty, with a definite Just Cause vibe. Which will, inevitably, be one of the first new mods we get. I hope.
I really liked what I saw of Beyond Eyes during the Microsoft E3 presser on Monday, and I still really like it now! Amazing, I know.
In case you missed it, Beyond Eyes is an indie title about a blind girl whose surroundings fill in with a pseudo-watercolor art style as she explores, using her other senses. It's colorful, it's unique, and you can feed flowers to cows. Definitely one to keep an eye on.
Oh wow! Splash Damage gets to make its own game instead of pinch hitting on someone else's title!
Long a fill-in developer on other franchises, Splash Damage is now making Dirty Bomb, a game about mercs who say things like "Ready the $#^#$ up," and "Trick or treat, mother$^$@$^&#$."
In all honesty, there's not much to go on yet. I'm optimistic about the game's comedic tone, but without seeing any real game footage it's hard to tell what'll set this one apart from a legion of other B-tier shooters (a.k.a. anything that isn't Call of Duty, Counter-Strike, or Battlefield).
Also, they had an Nvidia logo in the trailer at an AMD-sponsored show. I laughed.
Best moment of the Tacoma presentation? Fullbright developer Steve Gaynor using the term “Walking Simulator” on-stage—the much lobbied complaint against the studio's previous game, Gone Home.
But I liked Gone Home, for what it was. And I think I’ll like Tacoma too, which takes the same sort of ideas to a space station. No new footage, though.
It's great to see Soma get some stage-time. Amnesia is one of the best horror games of all time, and Frictional absolutely deserves more attention.
We saw some real footage of the game. I cannot confirm nor deny whether people in attendance needed to change their pants after being chased by some sort of glitchy monster-man thing from the darkness. (But probably not. It was a short trailer.)
We'll have more details later this week, when I check the game out at E3.
Then DayZ actually came on stage! Dean Hall wasn't enough! And we got another pseudo-apology about how long DayZ has gone unfinished.
Some things you can look forward to, if you preordered: Three new vehicles (with a focus on repair-work) and Steam Workshop support. Oh, and feature-complete/beta is targeted for "the end of the year." That'd be nice.
Take On Mars
DayZ was followed by another Early Access Bohemia title: Take on Mars, which is described as a “Space Sim Exploration Game.” And also a survival game.
The trailer featured a lot of astronauts—hanging out in space, building moon-bases, exploring the surface of Mars. If it’s like hardcore Kerbal Space Program? I’d be cool with that.
Speaking of Gears of War, Cliff Bleszinski came on stage to talk about his new PC-first shooter, Project BlueStreak.
We didn’t see much beyond peaceful pre-rendered environments, but he did namedrop Counter-Strike: Global Offensive a lot as a huge inspiration. Also, he said “leading with the PC allows us to be agile” and talked about how awesome the mouse and keyboard are for shooters—both things I agree with.
Enter the Gungeon
Enter the Gungeon looks adorably indie. Day9 described it as a cross between Binding of Isaac and bullet-hell shooters, which is totally okay with me. It definitely has that vibe, albeit with a high-end pixel art look (similar to Link to the Past) instead of Isaac's Flash-like art.
Also, this is a game where the developers literally said "The best thing to do is to dodge straight through the bullets." And there are more than 200 weapons. That sounds like one big ball of amazing and dumb. Color me intrigued.
Heroes of the Storm: Eternal Conflict expansion
Oh look, it's one of the big PC gaming titans: Blizzard. There's a Heroes of the Storm expansion on the docket, Eternal Conflict, bringing a Diablo-themed arena and some additional heroes to the newly-released MOBA in a “fight for the heart of the Nexus.” Look for it to land June 30.
Starcraft II: Legacy of the Void
Blizzard also revealed a short trailer for Starcraft II’s third and final expansion, Legacy of the Void—the one that’ll wrap up the story for good.
Whispers of Oblivion, a prologue to LOTV, will consist of three missions that’ll be free for all players, regardless of whether or not they’ve bought STarcraft II itself. To get early access to the expansion, however, you have to preorder Starcraft II: Legacy of the Void. Because naturally.
We’ll have more when I go hands-on later this week.
No Man's Sky
And we wrapped with No Man's Sky, a game we've still barely seen anything about beyond its epic scope and scale, which spans every individual planet in countless procedurally generated solar systems. But hey! They confirmed the game is coming to PC! Nobody saw that coming!
In all honesty, I didn't even know prior to today that it wasn't coming to PC, so I guess I am either a prophet or simply someone who made a shameful assumption. But I mean...come on. You're telling me a massive space exploration game wouldn't come to PC?
Now uh...let's stop watching No Man's Sky trailers and just get a release date. And some hard details on what the game consists of.