PC Gaming Show news and announcements from E3 2016
Day 9 took the stage for the PC Gaming show this year to celebrate and praise all things PC Gaming, showcasing some of the latest and greatest accomplishments for this year's PC spectrum, along with a preview of what this year still has to come.
The livestream was massive and packed full of games and short interviews with developers large and small. So packed that they actually ran well over time for the E3 Twitch livestream, which required some quick keywork on our part as we jumped to PC Gamer's official Twitch channel to keep following.
Dawn of War 3
Dawn of War has been kicking ass and taking names in the world of RTS games for years, and now we have our first look at some of the good ol' space marine head crunching we'll see in Dawn of War 3. The gameplay features all the high-fallutin’ bolter fire you expect from a Warhammer 40K RTS, along with stunning visuals of some of the large-scale battles between each faction. It's probably the only in-engine gameplay we've seen that is undoubtedly in-engine gameplay, but it still manages to look fantastic even for early alpha footage. Expect even more gameplay to hit the net come June 24.
Oxygen Not Included
Klei Entertainment is well regarded for creating both Mark of the Ninja and Don't Starve, yet with both of these titles well supported and on their way into the annals of gamer history Klei is on to bigger and better things in the form of Oxygen Not Included. We only saw a short gameplay trailer for Klei Entertainment's new space colony simulator, but we're sure to suffocate with friends and enemies alike in the dark vacuums of space come late 2016.
Ark: Survival Evolved
The devs over at Studio Wildcard made an appearance to show off Ark's new Redwood Biome, as well as their massive new dinosaur the Titanosaur. The redwood biome is gorgeous, featuring massive trees and dense breathtaking forests, but more importantly the Titanosaur is so large that you can actually build a massive mobile base on its back. It's like they were able to see that one dream we all had in highschool and bring it to life in heartwarming dino-detail.
Studio Wildcard is also bringing a ton of mods into the fold as official content both in the form of Primal Survival, which gives players the chance to take first person control of Ark's numerous creatures to build your own dino pack, and Primitive+, which adds a massive number of primitive structures and shop mechanics for a more realistic early- to mid-game experience focused around building thriving in-game communities.
Not much to say about this one, Giant Cop comes from developer Other Ocean and uses the Oculus to place you in the shoes of a Giant Cop patrolling Micro City, a metropolis plagued by nudists, lawbreakers, and miscreants of all shapes and sizes. You'll be able to solve the problems pretty much however you want, including reaching down to pick up criminals and tossing them miles out into the ocean. It's a technique straight out of Hancock without all those pesky consequences of real life. You'll have an opportunity to get big in a small city this fall.
Mount and Blade II: Bannerlord
In one of my favorite segments of the conference we have our first look at the sequel to the numerous Mount and Blade games on the market. The gameplay trailer for Mount and Blade II: Bannerlord shows off siege engines, ballista, and all the overly complex melee combat you can shake a bloody hatchet at. Apparently the siege gameplay is the primary focus of Bannerlord moving forward, the new castles look high and mighty and have been designed with history and destruction in mind. The goal is to give you multiple avenues to attack or defend from, going as far as hurling flaming balls from catapults and even dropping ceramic pots of oil from murderholes and castle walls. The devs over at TaleWorlds also know that mods are a big part of their game, and following in the footsteps of giants they're promising a dedicated set of mod tools and multimod support for Bannerlord, so expect some big things to come out of fans once they get their hands on the title.
We were also treated in the form of a trailer from The Surge, a game in development by Lords of the Fallen devs Deck13. The game shows off a brutal science fiction world where mecha-enhanced humans duke it out using massive tech-powered melee weapons. There's no telling if it'll play like a sci-fi Dark Souls or something entirely different, but it's definitely caught our attention. We couldn't get our hands on the full footage they demoed during the conference, but there's a small amount of pre-alpha gameplay rolling around the net to give you a feel for what we're talking about. Just ignore the German commentary, unless you know German, in which case enjoy!
The devs over at Boss Key Productions are hard at work trying to make Lawbreakers a stand out hit compared to the huge number of arena-style shooters rolling out this year. To that end they demoed a new map titled Promenade, which is set on a futuristic Santa Monica Island directly under a small gravitational anomaly. The art style and overall look of the map seems to fall very close in line with much of the footage we have of the other Grand Canyon inspired map, but the gravitational anomaly means we have another meaty taste of Lawbreaker's Zero G gameplay, which looks like it'll be an insane twist on the traditional FPS experience. Watch the trailer below and let Ice T give you the rundown on the good, the bad, and the straight up ugly.
Cliff Bleszinski personally took the stage to give us a rundown of how he considers Lawbreakers to be distinctly Mortal Kombat brutality compared to Overwatch's softer anime style, promising that Lawbreakers will be brutal, fast paced, and full of comical levels of gore. He also announced that a small Closed Alpha will drop this week on the 18th to start the balancing process with a small group of testers from the community. You can sign up for the alpha on Lawbreakers.com
Lisa Su from AMD made a short appearance to show off some of the new tech rolling out of the Polaris line. We've already seen the R9 480, but they took the time to show it off again alongside the much smaller and also highly affordable 470 and 460 Polaris GPUs. AMD is less interested in creating the most powerful card in the world at this point but rather at maxing out the performance per dollar value in the sub $300 category to appeal to the largest portion of the PC gaming community. Lisa Su also showed a short demo video for AMD's new ZEN line of CPUs, which includes an example of DOOM running using what appears to be only the integrated graphics on the CPU.
As a cherry on top, we also got another look at Alienware's 480 powered VR backpack which seems to combine VR and portability into a single compact package. The concept of a VR PC small enough to fit in a camel pack is extremely appealing and could be the next step to bringing a VR experience to the masses, giving them a chance to try before they invest the weighty chunk of cash into their own VR setup.
In a bit of shift in gears for Life is Strange devs Don't Nod, they released some exclusive gameplay for their new game VAMPYR. The footage showed off a small battle between the main character and what appears to be a group of vampire hunters. The gameplay seems to be a pretty standard melee combat system with intermittent fang themed takedowns, shadowy dodges, and the ability to rip enemies limb from limb with the powers of darkness. No one's really managed to pull off vampires in popular video game culture, so we'll see if VAMPYR can bring the hunger to life for the masses.
Killing Floor 2
Killing Floor 2 has been in early access for the past year and it's managed to exist as a shining example of what early access should be, and Tripwire Interactive had some big announcements for everyone on the E3 PC Gamer livestream. Kicking it off, Tripwire's rolled out a brand spanking new content pack for Killing Floor 2 titled Bullseye, which adds the ability to take control of a number of ZEDs to go head to head against other players, a new Sharpshooter perk to improve long range gameplay, and a brand new character named Rae Higgins. The DLC dropped during the event so if you're a fan you'll be able to pop ZED heads with your new abilities as soon as the download is finished.
If any of this sounds like it's up your alley, Killing Floor 2 is also free to try for everyone starting this Thursday and going through the weekend. This is partly to encourage new players to get in on the action and also partly to celebrate the game's official release coming this fall.
As if that wasn't enough, Tripwire is also actively working with Oculus to develop an entirely separate VR experience set in the Killing Floor universe. Except this is less a rock 'em sock ‘em shoot 'em up extravaganza, and more a terrifying survival horror experience brought to life using the Oculus Rift and the Oculus Touch controllers.
Superhot made a surprise appearance during the stream by announcing a full scale port to VR, officially making it possible to take advantage of Matrix-level badassery in Superhot's unique world of guns and glass. If any game was almost tailor made for virtual reality it's Superhot, and we can't wait to give it a try.
Obsidian popped in to release a new IP titled Tyranny, which appears to be a top down RPG with a specific focus on the concept of surviving in an evil world where justice is paramount and held higher than all else. You'll rise through the ranks and take justice into your own hands, gathering friends and enemies along the way and making the choice between who lives and who dies in a dramatically realized world. It looks like we're getting another game with that nuanced and particularly interesting form of choice that Obsidian specializes in, which can only lead to the worst kind of good games.
The devs behind the recent horror masterpiece Layers of Fear are on the prowl with a new title labeled Observer, a game set in an eastern European cyberpunk setting with a focus on hacking, horror, and investigating your darkest fears. You'll take control of a memory hacking investigator known as an Observer as he hacks his way to the truth through the memories and darkest fears of people completely lost in this new world. Observers looks like it'll be one part Psychonauts, one part Condemned, and three parts absolutely terrifying. It's a disturbing look on how technology could shape our world, and worth checking out just to see the terrifying new world developer Bloober Team has in store for us.
Indie RTS developer Sparkypants revealed a new RTS take on a traditional lane system similar to what you'll see in the MOBA genre of games. In Drop Zone you'll take control of three pilots and assign them to a variety of custom mechs to go head to head against other players. Each match is apparently incredibly intense with games rarely lasting longer than fifteen minutes. Managing the hectic action of a MOBA on three fronts simultaneously could definitely make for a busy list of things to do in every match, but at least you'll never have to worry about your team letting you down or ditching halfway through the match.
ARMA 3 APEX
Arma 3 might be almost three years old at this point, but that hasn't slowed down Bohemia Interactive in the slightest and the road to APEX is finally at an end. The new expansion will go live on the July 11th and will feature new weapons, VTOLs that are large enough to haul entire vehicles, and a number of new lightweight vehicles to help you cruise around the new South Pacific jungle. The new weapons will include a number of old favorites to go with a new French faction, as well as a number of more futuristic variants so that everyone can find a favorite for any situation. As a special treat to early supporters Bohemia also announced that if you've already preordered the game you'll also get access to an early preview of APEX a full month before release.
The Turing Test
Ever wonder what life would look like on Europa? Well, apparently it's a concept that's been haunting developers over at Bulkhead and Square Enix for years now, which is where The Turing Test comes in. Bulkhead's new game will take you on a tour through Europa in a first person puzzle-action game meant to explore the fictional concept of life on a planet far, far away. The game is meant to be naturally intuitive with a special focus on being both fun and mysterious, which will hopefully be a refreshing change compared to some of the deep philosophical dives we've recently experienced in the puzzle genre. The only thing for certain is that we'll find out first hand come this August.
Overland is a procedurally generated survival strategy game surrounding the concept of life on a post-apocalytic roadway. Everything in Overland is stressful and has a distinct cost despite the adorable polyhedral art style. You'll need to scavenge, fight, and drive if you want to make it to the end game, but crossing the Overland is more complicated than you can imagine. If this game sounds like your long stretch of road, early closed alpha testing is available now on itch.io
Dual Universe is hoping to shake up the space simulation marketshare, despite the seeming dominance by titles like EVE and the looming No Man's Sky. Like the previous titles, they're creating a limitless galaxy, but they'll also be focusing particularly on player interaction and their online community, as well as the ability to create ships, structures, and even entire cities once you have the skills and the resources.
The whole game will be on a single server, “shard,” where every player will exist in the same online space, something that will allow for a particularly interesting dynamic as technology and the need to expand continually pushes the boundaries of space and time. Dual Universe is still in the very early pre-alpha stage, but early footage makes it look extremely promising and if there's any gap in what No Man's Sky is offering this game is sure to fill the void.
Halo Wars 2
Halo Wars is finally making the jump from the console to the PC, which is good news for fans of both Halo and using a mouse and keyboard to play an RTS. It's a good sign for Halo as a series because it potentially opens up the doors to a larger PC market for future titles, and hopefully it signals an end to the age of hard bitten Microsoft exclusives. Either way, for an RTS Halo Wars 2 looks just a little bit rudimentary compared to titles like Total War: Warhammer and Starcraft 2, but it has hopes to cater heavily to the competitive online community both casual and hardcore. We'll be seeing Halo Wars 2 on the Windows 10 platform come the 21st of February.
Day of Infamy
New World Interactive rolled out Insurgency to the hardcore fans of realistic damage and fast paced tactical gameplay back in 2014, and now they're taking that experience back a few years to the battles of the second World War as a full standalone expansion called Day of Infamy. Expect everything you've ever loved out of Insurgency in a whole new tactical setting, with weapons that are new to you but old to history. We'll be seeing Day of Infamy in Steam Early Access sometime in July.
Mirage: Arcane Warfare
Chivalry, for all its flaws, has dominated competitive medieval gaming for years, delivering a blend between realistic damage, balance, and satisfying crunch that's surprisingly addictive even when it gets utterly ridiculous. Now Torn Banner Studios is making the jump to a whole new title focused on blending the action and satisfying gameplay of Chivalry with a system of complex tactical spell slinging in Mirage: Arcane Warfare. Players will still bash and block their way to the top of the leaderboards, but now they'll also have all the forces of magic at their fingertips to shake up the formula.
We had a chance to see both the official trailer and a good chunk of the Mirage's gameplay during the livestream, and as long as Torn Banner avoids some of the mistakes that Chivalry became somewhat infamous for we can see ourselves bonking enemies on the head with staffs and slinging spells with the best of them when the game launches at the end of the summer months.
Mages of Mystralia
Stepping away from the brutal world of Mirage's murderous magical arena combat, Mages of Mystralia is a top down RPG revolving around magic as a force of wonder and hope. It features a unique art style and is just short of being familiar and nostalgic. The short look at Mages of Mystralia we have definitely makes it look like a refreshing break from the dark, gritty worlds of today's gaming market.
Warframe Update: Lunnaro
Warframe has a new update on the horizon. Teased at PAX East a few months ago, Lunaro is a chance for Tenno to leave behind the blood and sparks of the battlefield for a refreshing new game mode similar to a sci-fi ninja handball. Tenno are encouraged to use teamwork and coordination to deliver a ball to their prospective goal. There's no real details as to how the new game mode will play out or if there are any rewards or methods to the madness overall, but it should be a fun chance to dust off your favorite Warframes and try something new. After all, what sport involving science fiction, ninjas, and the ancient art of throwing balls into a goal could possibly be boring?
The PC Gaming livestream also released a unique weapon skin for the Dark Split-Sword Dulus to anyone that inputs the promo code PCGAMINGSHOW2016 on the Warframe official site.
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided
Square Enix closed out the event with a gameplay demo showing off Dubai, the first level of Deus Ex: Mankind Divided. The footage shows off everything from stealth and cover based action to adaptive weather in the form of a massive sandstorm that'll move in after a set amount of in-game time. Players can, as per usual for a Deus Ex game, approach the situation in an almost unlimited number of ways and the levels have been carefully crafted to shake things up based on how you approach the situation.
In the case of Dubai, a slow cautious approach will eventually lead to the sandstorm blowing through the environment, dramatically modifying NPC pathing and AI while also limiting player visibility. In contrast, a player that moves through the level quickly might be in and out before the sandstorm ever hits. It's the kind of level design that'll hopefully keep the gameplay refreshing while also layering in even more potential for replaying older levels in a new way. We'll get a chance to experience Dubai for ourselves when the full game drops on August 28.