The 2016 PC Gaming Show covers a range of PC games at this year's E3
Once again in 2016, PC Gamer put on a press conference for - you guessed it - PC games. Often under-represented in the big pressers of publishers like EA, Sony, and Microsoft, PC Gamer's PC Gaming Show (kudos on the branding to whomever came up with that) focuses on computer games, big and small. Held this year at the Ace Hotel Theatre in downtown LA, the odd hybrid of fan event, press conference, and talk show covered games from all over the world and a wide swath of genres. You can find a video of the whole show here.
Warhammer 40K: Dawn of War 3
The PC Gaming Show opened - well, it didn't open with a game, per se, but chose rather to begin with some words about the tragedy in Orlando, then segued into a Steam version of Supermarket Sweep. With just the right notes of commisseration, sympathy, and levity balanced, the proper show started.
Complete with a ponderous giant in a Space Marine suit, Phillipe Boulle and Brent Disbrow of Relic Entertainment introduced the world to the next installment of the highly regarded Dawn of War RTS series, promising a combination of elements from both previous games, though in the short gameplay footage shown there was a lack of base building, in particular. Of interest, though, was an enormous laser from space which the developers stated was essentially a squad unit the player controls on the field, growing larger (but slower) as it deals damage.
No release date was given, but more information was promised to be out June 24th.
As co-sponsors of the event, it was inevitable that someone from AMD would spend some time on the couch next to host Sean 'Day9' Plott - and so it was, with AMD CEO Lisa Su taking the stage to advertise AMD's new Polaris graphics cards, a line of GPUs that AMD promises will provide 'enthusiast-class' performance for normal prices.
AMD also trotted out the entirely bizarre and question-raising VR backpack concept. And when I say trotted out, I mean it: a woman came on stage wearing a prototype of the backpack concept developed by Alienware. It was said to contain a fully functioning PC, but that just begs all sorts of questions, and before Lisa Su was even done talking about the idea, the woman displaying the backpack made her exit.
From the makers of Souls-a-like Lords of the Fallen comes The Surge, which, from the gameplay footage on display, is essentially a sci-fi skinned Souls-a-like from the gameplay footage on display. Though some players may be growing tired of the formula, the game looked really good, and the sci-fi setting could open up interesting variants on the Souls formula. It also has electric swords and lots of stabbing, which I hear make for good trailers.
Lawbreakers, the latest in what is swiftly becoming a long line of new team-based arena shooters, made an appearance along with Cliff Blezsinski, the creator of Gears of War. Cliff was happy to show off a new map, called Promenade, based upon an LA that has been destroyed and rebuilt better than ever before.
The combat is fast and certainly hearkens back to games like Tribes, and when asked what felt like a rather pointed question by the host (namely, how does Lawbreakers differ from something like Overwatch), Bleszinski had a ready reply: "Overwatch is Street Fighter; Lawbreakers is Mortal Kombat."
The game is fast-paced and touts the two emerging themes of this year's E3: Verticality and Grappling Hooks. However, it is also in need of fan support, even at this early stage. CliffyB stated that the Promenade map is terrifically imbalanced, and that to fix this issue Lawbreakers would be opening up for a limited alpha this coming weekend.
Jean-Christophe Baillie of NovaQuark came on stage to introduce the world to Dual Universe, which bills itself as essentially the holy grail of both MMOs and science fiction games. Baillie claimed it would be single-sharded (meaning all players exist in the same universe), non-instanced, and entirely player created, from individual spaceships to entire economies and organizations.
Mirage: Arcane Warfare
The makers of Chivalry: Medieval Warfare debuted a game called Mirage: Arcane Warfare, which is essentially the same team-based medieval PVP game that Chivalry is, with the addition of magic and a wonderful fantasy art style. Steve Piggott from Torn Banner Studios indicated that this art style was very deliberately chosen to contrast the blood-spurting, body-burning violence of the gameplay, though whether that's for irony's sake or for some sort of message remains unknown.
Interspersed throughout the show/presser/event were a number of gongs and 'WORLD PREMIERE' notifications, typically to herald the arrival of short trailers. Here's a quick rundown of those, as well as any other games that featured prominently in the show:
Klei Entertainment, the makers of Don't Starve, debuted a new colony simulation game called 'Oxygen Not Included', to be available in late 2016.
Studio Wildcard came on stage to talk about the next steps for ARK: Survival Evolved, including the imminent release of a new biome (redwoods) and a new dino to tame (Titanosaurus). The Titanosaurus got a genuine reaction from the crowd as the footage showed an entire fortress build on its back. Studio Wildcard also teased the development of a new official mod for the game (being developed by Instinct Games, a studio in Egypt) wherein players could play as the animals of ARK, rather than as hunters.
Mount and Blade 2: Bannerlord had a trailer that looked very Mounty and Bladey, with medieval men hacking away at one another.
The makers of Life is Strange debuted a new Souls-a-like called Vampyr, in which you play a vampire, and looked more than a little like Bloodborne.
Tripwire Entertainment's President John Gibson came on stage, along with Anna Sweet of Oculus, to talk a bit about the current state of Killing Floor 2, as well as unveil the development of a new Killing Floor game for VR, called Killing Floor Incursion.
Also, SUPER HOT is coming to Oculus and looks like a perfect fit.
Obsidian's new CRPG, Tyranny, got a trailer that was very artistic.
The makers of Rise of Nations, SparkyPants Studios, debuted a new RTS called Dropzone, which carries the tagline 'The Most Intense 15 Minutes of RTS Ever' but looked a bit like a mobile game.
Overland, a turn-based survival game with a wonderful polygonal art style that has been on itch.io for awhile got a nice trailer.
Observer, a cyberpunk horror game in which the question 'What would you do if your fears could be hacked and used against you?' was premiered, featuring a very compelling art direction (very digitized sounds and shapes all around) but not exactly giving much away in terms of gameplay.
Jay Crowe, Creative Director for Bohemia Interactive, came out to talk a bunch about Arma 3's APEX patch, which will introduce a 4 player co-op campaign alongside more guns and vehicles and a new region to use it all in.
Warframe is getting a patch as well - but one that features no shooting. Instead, Lunaro is being introduced to the game as a teamwork-based sport that looks quite a lot like lacrosse.
Mages of Mystralia also got a trailer, showing an isometric action RPG with some charm to it, but not much else.
343 took the stage to show off a little more of Halo Wars 2, though far more information about the game was available at the Microsoft press conference.
And finally, Eidos Montreal devs Jean-Jacques Belletete and Jean-Francois Dugas took the stage to show off the newly revealed Dubai map for Deus Ex: Mankind Divided.
Before the show ended, however, Warren Spector was introduced to talk a bit about PC gaming in general. He shared a bit of his view on the industry, stretching back three decades now, and how happy he is that PC gaming is returning to the fore with the development of VR technology, as well as its continued position as "the only truly democratic" platform for games.
The PC Gaming Show is swiftly making strides and overcoming obstacles to become one of the 'big dogs' in the press conference circuit by ably filling a gap in the market - the PC game niche.