E3’s PC Gaming Show: These are the games PC enthusiasts need to know about
From Battlegrounds to XCOM 2 and all sorts of indie gems, E3's PC Gaming Show highlighted the types of intensely focused games that make the PC special.
By Brad Chacos and Hayden Dingman
Gordon Mah Ung/Rob Schultz/IDG
Even in its third year, the PC Gaming show still feels like a novelty—a place where niche PC games like Mount & Blade rub elbows with huge productions like XCOM 2, Middle Earth: Shadow of War, and Destiny 2. Awkward at times, still full of bad jokes, it’s a nice break from the high-energy marketing blitz of the mainline publishers.
We’ve skipped the attendees previously revealed at other E3 events (like Shadow of War, which had a starring role at yesterday’s Microsoft keynote) but have otherwise rounded up all the most interesting games at 2017’s PC Gaming Show—including an XCOM 2 expansion, a new game from Mark of the Ninja developer Klei, all sorts of quirky indie gems, and more.
The PC Gaming Show sure didn’t waste any time dropping bombs, opening with a game teased last week—a massive expansion to XCOM 2, known as War of the Chosen. Releasing on August 29, 2017 the expansion has you banding together with resistance groups to fight The Chosen, three purple-skinned hero enemies who you’ll battle against multiple times during the campaign as they get stronger, gain new abilities, and generally give you a hard time.
If the Long War 2 mod is starting to feel long in the tooth, War of the Chosen looks ready to shake up the XCOM 2 formula even more.
If you enjoyed Stardew Valley but thought “Hey, I want this in 3D and also I want to collect a bunch of weird pseudo-Pikmin to follow me around while I’m farming?” then you might be interested in Ooblets, from studio Glumberland and publisher Double Fine. Actually I have no idea what this game is about, just going off the trailer, but it looks adorable.
We’ve covered the BattleTech beta at length—spoiler, it’s fairly excellent. Today Harebrained’s Jordan Weisman took the stage though to give our first look at the game’s campaign. There wasn’t much, but we did get a glimpse of the Argo, your XCOM-style HQ that acts as the strategic back-end for your merc company. Earn money, keep the engines running.
Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord
It’s been just about a year since I last saw Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord. The game showed up at the PC Gaming Show in 2016 to show off its siege tech. This year? Mounted combat, as well as a bit of infantry squabbling at the end. It’s not the best trailer—I don’t think it would necessarily pique someone’s interest if they didn’t already know what makes Mount and Blade fun. But for the fans, it’s yet another look at what might be one of the year’s best.
Total War: Warhammer II
I still think it was a mistake for Total War: Warhammer to give its upcoming standalone expansion a full-on sequel title for Warhammer II, but nomenclature aside it’s looking pretty damn good. With a brand new Grand Vortex campaign spanning an entirely new map, four new races (High Elves, Lizardmen, Dark Elves, and one unrevealed), and the ability post-release to hook both Total Warhammer games together into one gigantic map and campaign? It’s ambitious.
Still waiting on the next historical Total War though…
What exactly is this fox game, Tunic? I don’t know. It’s the kind of small indie thing I think you’d only ever see at the PC Gaming Show, and that’s what I love about it (awkward sponspored Intel segments and all). With a distinctly isometric-Zelda look and a charming polygonal art style, this one’s definitely caught my eye.
Killing Floor 2 showed off its upcoming Summer Sideshow seasonal event, a horror-carnival full of murderous amusement park rides, bizarro circus attractions, and lots and lots of zombies. It’s a pretty silly trailer, and looks like it’ll make for a pretty fun seasonal event. Also, you can wear clown makeup.
Next page: Many more new games, from Age of Empires to Lawbreakers.
Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds
Some nice quality of life upgrades are coming to the incredibly popular Battlegrounds, including weather effects and the ability to vault objects and leap through windows.
After its unveiling at Microsoft’s E3 event, Forza Motorsport 7 made an appearance at The PC Gaming Show to announce, basically, that it’ll support mouse and keyboard. Duh? Anyway, there’s a gameplay trailer above.
Sea of Thieves
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Sea of Thieves
Another Microsoft game, another minor announcement: Rare’s swashbuckling pirate simulator Sea of Thieves will support up to 4K resolutions, ultrawide aspect ratios, and unlocked frame rates on PCs. That’s cool and all, but the extended gameplay trailer is even more impressive.
Microsoft’s got Sea of Thieves. Bohemia has Yslands.
Or at least, that’s how the beginning of this trailer looked, showing off a seafaring survival game before then spiraling into Wild West, medieval, underwater, and other different settings. It’s quite a change of pace for Bohemia, which is mostly known for Arma’s ultra-realism, but looks like an incredibly powerful builder—if you were perhaps looking for another Minecraft-alike to play. That said, Yslands shares a common bond with Arma in that both seem to be platforms for mods and creativity rather that “just games.”
Klei, the makers of the superb Mark of the Ninja and Invisible Inc., revealed its latest game at the PC Gaming Show. “Griftlands is an RPG where everything is negotiable: money, loyalty—even morality. Choose your character and make your fortune,” the game’s Steam page says. The artwork in the trailer above sure is pretty.
Cliff Bleszinski and Boss Key’s fast-paced shooter Lawbreakers debuted at the first-ever PC Gaming Show in 2015. For 2017, Bleszinski returned to the stage to finally give a solid release date: August 8 is when the final version will launch, at a price of $30. That puts it dangerously close to Quake Champions, but we’ll see which speedy shooter wins out.
Age of Empires Definitive Edition
When the Age of Empires theme started and the camera panned across panes of stained glass I was convinced we were finally getting another game in the series. Alas—just another remaster.
If Age of Empires II HD isn’t enough for you, you’ll now be able to purchase Age of Empires: Definitive Edition, a reworked version of the original game with 4K visuals, smoother sprites, a modernized UI, control groups, and other small tweaks. It’s the first time the original Age of Empires has been on sale since 1997, and should reside nicely next to Blizzard’s upcoming StarCraft remaster.
And to celebrate the 20th anniversary, Microsoft also teased another Age of Empires announcement at Gamescom in August. Don’t give up those sequel hopes yet…
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