PC gaming's show of its own
The PC Gaming Show is back in 2016 for its second incarnation—a celebration of all things PC, this time smack dab in the middle of E3 press conference day. Huge.
It's a place where huge trailers (Deus Ex) live alongside weird indie titles (Giant Cop) and super complex simulators (Mount and Blade II). In other words, it's what we love about this platform, and kudos to PC Gamer for once again putting on this show for everyone.
See all the trailers and announcements inside.
Dawn of War III
"While the enemies of the Emperor still draw breath, there can be no peace."
As announced last month, Relic is bringing back Dawn of War for another incarnation. An icy planet, a massive robot, and a whole bunch of Space Marines—oh, and a big ol' space laser firing into the middle of it all.
Looks pretty stellar.
Oxygen Not Included
Klei, the makers of Don’t Starve and Mark of the Ninja, dropped in to the PC Gaming Show for a brief world premiere of its forthcoming game, Oxygen Not Included. Few details were revealed in the too-short trailer shown above. It looks like a space colony game with Don’t Starve’s art style? Look for it to launch sometime in late 2016.
Ark: Survival Evolved
There are all sorts of updates coming to Ark: Survival Evolved, including a dinosaur so big you can build a base on its back, but the best one? You can play as the animals, thanks to PC mods becoming embraced as official mods. You can walk and (maybe?) talk and dance and sing with the animals.
And if you're a monkey, you can throw your own poop. Video games in 2016, people. Revolutionary.
You know what game looks great? Giant Cop, a VR game where you play as...a giant cop. Naked people on the beach? Pick them up from your position in the sky and throw them in the water. Man being mugged? Grab the mugger and throw him in the water. Hippies? Throw them in the water.
Okay, it's gimmicky as hell but I still love it.
Mount and Blade II: Bannerlord
The original Mount and Blade was a freeform medieval warfare hit, long before that became a genre unto itself. A sequel? With all that 2016 technology can offer? Great. Siege warfare is the tentpole feature of Mount and Blade II: Bannerlord, with all sorts of siege engines and the ability to plan which side of a castle you attack from.
Developer Taleworlds also talked modding. The big news? Access to the full developer tools, and the ability to combine mods.
Lords of the Fallen was an inspired-but-flawed clone of Dark Souls. Now? The team is back with the same sort of methodical combat and punishing enemies the Souls games are known for, but now in a gritty science fiction-looking setting. Uh...with swords.
Boss Key's Cliff Bleszinski took to the stage briefly to talk Lawbreakers, the futuristic shooter his team's been showing off for a while now. The focus of today's presentation? Movement—be it bunny-hopping, zero-G, or grappling hook.
We also got a look at the game's new Santa Monica map, which reimagines the city and its famous pier with a near-future science fiction aesthetic. Pretty slick. Look for a public alpha soon, according to Bleszinski.
Radeon RX 470 and RX 460
Like last year, AMD took to the stage to talk graphics cards midway through the show and unveiled the full Polaris lineup. Though the $200 RX 480 is getting the lion's share of attention, AMD announced two lower-end cards to go alongside it: The Radeon RX 470 and RX 460.
The 470 is a solid mid-tier card, while the 460 is being billed as a "esports" card (read: It's for Dota 2 and League of Legends, like the 750 Ti). No real specs, though.
Alienware VR backpack
The other thing? AMD showed off an Alienware design for a backpack computer, with an RX 480 inside. It’s meant for VR, so you can walk around with the Rift or Vive without the tether getting in the way.
Let’s level for a second: It looks dorky as hell. When AMD’s Lisa Su said “Is that cool or what?” I instinctively said “No.” Still, it’s great OEMs are attempting to solve the tether issue.
Serious Sam VR
You want Talos Principle 2. I want Talos Principle 2. But in the meantime, Croteam is revisiting its previous game, Serious Sam, this time in virtual reality.
It's more of a lightgun game than anything else, with you standing stationary while enemies run straight at you, but with Serious Sam's penchant for huge weapons it looks like it could be a decent time-waster. Look for it to land on the HTC Vive and Steam VR later this summer.
I still think going from Life is Strange straight to Vampyr is probably one of the weirder developer transitions I've seen in a long time, but that doesn't mean I'm any less excited. Vampyr looks a bit Souls-esque, or maybe Bloodborne-esque given the Victorian England-ish setting—but other than a short gameplay trailer, we didn't see much.
Killing Floor 2
Killing Floor 2 has been in Early Access fooooooorever. Like, since before the last PC Gaming Show. And...it's still in Early Access.
But there's a new "Bulls-Eye" update coming, which adds the ability to play as the Zed, a new character, and a Sharpshooter perk for all you wannabe snipers.
Killing Floor Incursion
Another one for the VR column, Killing Floor Incursion brings the zombie-shooting action to the Oculus Rift and Oculus Touch. It looks like it'll make for a decent horror experience on VR, though I have very little idea how it'll play. I assume, like Serious Sam, it'll be a stand-in-place-and-shoot game.
I remember seeing a VR version of Superhot at E3 like two years ago. Now? It's real. And it's apparently not just a port of the game we already played earlier this year, or support being added to that game. It's a different title entirely.
I'm excited, because Superhot's bullet-time style time-freezing is a lot more impressive when you're actually doing Matrix-esque moves in real life.
"The destiny of nations is yours to decide." That's quite a tagline for Obsidian's latest isometric RPG, Tyranny. We got a pretty good look at Tyranny during GDC, and this new trailer didn't really add much—it's more for tone than gameplay.
Still, it's safe to say this is one of my most-anticipated games this year. I mean...Obsidian. And isometric RPG.
As far as ten-second teasers go, Observer is on the low end of conveying what the hell is going on. But you know what? All they had to do was say it's the same developers that made Layers of Fear, because that was a solid horror title.
And luckily they followed up with a brief gameplay video afterward. It looks like it might employ the same space-manipulating tech from Layers of Fear, with environments changing on you when you turn your back. I'm digging the Soma-esque sci-fi aesthetic too.
How do you save the RTS? Combine it with a MOBA, apparently. Sparkypants took to the stage to show off Dropzone, a game where each player controls three units at a time, combining the multi-tasking of an RTS with the hero-based focus of something like Dota 2.
Will it work? I don't know. It runs the danger of failing to appeal to either fanbase, but with the RTS's star waning as-is it could be a smart last-ditch move to shake things up.
Arma III Apex
Bohemia returned to the PC Gaming Show stage this year, once again showing off a massive Arma III update, subtitled Apex. Coming July 11, Apex will focus on vehicles large and small as players traverse a Pacific archipelago called Tanoa.
The big news? A preview build went live during the show, if you want to get working on mods before official launch.
The Turing Test
Are there robots on Europa? Puzzle game The Turing Test looks like another in a long line of Portal-esque puzzle games, but I played a bit of it at GDC and enjoyed it. The main mechanic here involves moving balls of energy around to open doors, power elevators, and et cetera. Here's hoping it's as good as The Talos Principle.
So while No Man's Sky's been mired in delay after delay, someone else swooped in and said "Fine, we'll make the same exact game." Novaquark took to the PC Gaming Show stage to announce Dual Universe, a space-lite game where you can seamlessly fly from planet to planet and construct cities to live in.
Also, it's a "single-shard universe," meaning everyone is in the same game at the same time—not a one-person universe like No Man's Sky. Impressive, if it's real. It's a ways off though, with the game not planned to even enter alpha until end of the year.
Day of Infamy
The Insurgency team showed off its second game at the show today—Day of Infamy, which abandons modern warfare to head to World War II. The trailer opened in Sicily, though it looked like Normandy and maybe Bastogne made appearances in the trailer too.
The gravitas of Insurgency in a World War II setting? Yeah, I'm in.
Mirage: Arcane Warfare
Torn Banner Studios, the team behind the blockbuster Chivalry, popped into the PC Gaming Show to reveal a new trailer for Mirage: Arcane Warfare. It's a brutal multiplayer combat game, much like Chivalry, but in a far more colorful world.
Hey, you got Rocket League in my Warframe! The frenetic free-to-play tital Warframe is getting a new game mode that's basically Rocket League with ninjas and explosions. There's goals, a ball, and claws that looks like jai alai scoops. It feels like a bit of a weird fit for Warframe, but the furious pace might just make sports and ninjas go together like peanut butter and jelly.
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided
Finally, developers took the stage to show off some new Deus Ex: Mankind Divided gameplay footage. Unfortunately, the camera kept cutting away from the game, and the developers didn't reveal any startling new insights, so it was more of a fun diversion than anything else.