This year’s PC Gaming Show was neatly wedged between the Ubisoft and Microsoft conferences. But its presence was overlooked by many outlets and questions still remained as to whether it could shrug off the awkwardness of its inaugural year.
Partly in response, the show’s organisers responded with a brisk 100 minutes of trailers, interviews and gameplay footage.
The conference ran a little over time and ended up clashing with Ubisoft’s presser. That was a tad frustrating given that it ended with a meandering ten minutes of evangelism from Warren Spector, a complete 180 from the show’s snappy pace until then.
Otherwise, it was an improvement from last year. Developers seemed more comfortable, there were fewer technical glitches and Sean “Day” Plott continued to enhance his reputation as a host.
But you’ve come for the games — and hardware — so here’s everything that was announced.
The first pre-alpha gameplay footage Dawn of War 3 kicked off proceedings. Game’s looking like the Dawn of War everyone’s come to know and love. Cannot. Wait.
Klei’s latest IP is a space-colony simulator, Oxygen Not Included. I’m getting a little bit of a Fallout Shelter/FTL vibe.
Giant Cop was up next. As soon as I saw this, I started thinking of Jazzpunk. It doesn’t look like it’ll be as funny as that, but there’s something to it.
Mount and Blade 2: Bannerlord got a nice chunk of time after that, with a trailer and some siege gameplay. Lot of people will be very happy about this.
Focus Home Interactive are publishing a lot of games lately. This one’s called The Surge and it looks like a good action beat-em-up.
Lawbreakers and Cliffy B were next. I’ve gone with the gameplay footage and interview above rather than the cinematic trailer; gives you a better idea.
AMD, being the show’s main sponsor, then took command of the stage for a short while. AMD CEO Lisa Su is much like her NVIDIA counterpart Jen-Hsun Hsung: a first-class salesman and completely at ease in the spotlight.
Su showed off the entirety of the Polaris GPU line, showing the RX 460 and RX 470 for the first time. The RX 460 is aimed at “esports” — in other words targeting the same users NVIDIA aims to hit with the GTX 960.
They also played a promotional video for their Summit Ridge CPU. There was no performance metrics, no indication whether there was a discrete GPU, or any hard data. I’m guessing the implication is that a Summit Ridge CPU can play DOOM without a discrete GPU. But there’s a lot of wriggle room here.
The most powerful delivery of this segment was a video from id talking about DOOM running on a Vulkan renderer. “You’re not going to need a $USD700 video card to enjoy DOOM at fantastic frame rates,” id’s Marty Stratton.
In other words, you don’t need to spend money on a GTX 1080. There are going to be games far more taxing than DOOM in the next six months, but you have to expect a bit of creative messaging.
AMD also announced a reference design for a backpack VR device, powered by a RX 480. There was talk of taking VR outside, although I think anyone actually doing that is just asking to get mocked/bullied/mugged. And I’m not sure people are sold on the weight of backpack VR either, but we’ll see how that plays out.
Croteam’s latest work then got the spotlight: Serious Sam VR: The Last Hope. I’d rather see what Croteam is doing with a The Talos Principle sequel, and if I remember right the default running speed in Serious Sam is *really* fast. It looks like they might have turned this game into a static rail-shooter of sorts though. Have to wait and see.
Next was the Life is Strange developers with Vampyr. No presentations, just a cinematic and some gameplay footage. Looks like some inspiration has been taken from The Witcher 3/Dark Souls here.
It then became the Oculus-themed part of the show.
Killing Floor: Incursion was the first VR title, and that was followed up by the (unsurprising) announcement of a VR version of SUPERHOT.
Paradox and Obsidian showed off a largely cinematic — with a few snippets of gameplay — promo for Tyranny.
And then someone from the Layers of Fear devs, Bloober Team, came on stage.
The Bloober Team developer didn’t give the cleanest elevator pitch for Observer, but it looks interesting. There’s a good cyberpunk aesthetic that’s making me think of The Swapper, which is an entirely different game altogether. But anyway.
DropZone gave everyone another taste of PC strategy games, with a MOBA vibe for good measure. The styling of the UI and view gave me flashbacks to Heroes of the Storm.
Bohemia Interactive then came on the stage to talk about their upcoming Apex update for ArmA 3, as well as the four player co-op mode that’s being patched in on July 11.
We then saw the first footage of The Turing Test, which looked like nice, peaceful environmental puzzler. But the developer talked up its capacity for players to affect and change the narrative … which we saw none of.
Overland looks really, really cool. It’s a survival simulator about going for a cross-country drive. I’m excited to see how this pans out.
Dual Universe then came out looking like a cross between No Man’s Sky and an MMO. Seamless planet landings are the future, people.
Halo Wars 2 then got another run, after its appearance in Microsoft’s presser. The Insurgency makers then revealed their new World War 2 shooter with Day of Infamy, and then we went took a hard right to a more visceral style of combat.
It’s the latest game from the Chivalry: Medieval Warfare creator. Mirage: Arcane Warfare. Didn’t venture too far from the farm with the name, there. Thought of blasting someone with a fireball after slashing them in the legs though could be a lot of fun. Potentially a sleeper hit for LAN parties.
Mages of Mystralia took us closer towards the end. It’s all about crafting your own spells, but it looks like it’s more about combat and narrative than the comedic chaos Magicka relied on. Doesn’t come out until 2017, however.
Another playthrough of Deus Ex: Mankind Divided ensued, and there was a trailer for what seemed like a new sports mode in the third-person free-to-play Destiny rival, Warframe.
Warren Spector then closed out proceedings with his address to the livestream and those gathered, bringing the second ever PC Gaming Show at E3 to a close.