E3 2020 might not have happened, but some of the best parts of it are still going ahead. One of those is the eternally charming, if a bit awkward and quirky, PC Gaming Show. This year’s edition is an all-digital edition thanks to COVID-19, but as always, there were plenty of new games announced.
The list of announced developers beforehand was sizeable: the Escape from Tarkov developers, Atlus with Persona 4: Royal (which leaked thanks to Denuvo and whose Steam page went live before the show began), Life is Strange makers DONTNOD, Elite: Dangerous and Planet Zoo creators Frontier, Tripwire Interactive, DayZ maker Dean Hall’s New Zealand-based studio Rocketwerkz, Funcom, Humble Games, 2K, Amazon, SEGA, and more.
The show came after the back of Sony’s grand PS5 showcase on Friday morning Australian time, where we saw the console for the first time and several new games, including the Demon’s Souls remaster. Hours before the PC Gaming Show, there was also the Guerilla Collective showcase with a string of big PC games, including the early access announcement for Baldur’s Gate 3:
System Shock Redux also appeared hours before the show began, and Torchlight 3 went on sale on Steam for $42.95. When the show eventually began, Sean “Day” Plott — sporting a shorter haircut this year — and Frankie Ward began the sixth anniversary of the show by addressing the “ongoing situation in America”.
“There are many, many people fighting for something far, far more important,” Plott said, calling out the NAACP legal defence fund, the itch.io racial justice and equality bundle, and mentioning other ways fans could support protesters.
The first game was a Viking survival game featuring procedurally generated landscapes, Valheim.
It’s been on Steam for a couple of years, but this is the world’s first major showing. After some fresh gameplay for Ooblets, Torchlight 3 was up.
You’ll have a customisable fort that can benefit yourself and other players, and you’ll run into other people’s forts and any recipes they’ve unlocked to help enchant your own items.
There’s also some unusual classes like the Railmaster – who summons trains – as well as a steampunk robot, a dustmage and a sharpshooter. Defeating bosses will give you more pets, importantly, although the devs didn’t confirm whether you could pat the pets. It was confirmed that the game is available now, although that had already been spotted by bots on Twitter (and reposted on social media) before the show began.
Elite: Dangerous followed, showing off the Odyssey trailer that’s not due out until next year. Its appearance was more of a chance for the Elite devs to pitch to a more mainstream gaming audience, explaining all the features that Odyssey will add to the Elite experience when it’s released.
No new information was revealed outside of what was shown last week, however.
Greg Miller and the Guerrilla Collective then hijacked the show temporarily for Persona 4: Golden, which is a decently priced $30 on Steam.
No word about Persona 5, sadly, and the rumours of a Persona 3 port also didn’t pan out.
In Sound Mind, a psychological horror game that’s launching on PS5 and Xbox Series X as well as PC, was next. The Steam page was already live for that game as well, revealing a 2021 release date. The official announcement trailer went live as soon as the PC Gaming Show began, and you can check it out properly below.
The stunning Airborne Kingdom followed. An Epic Games exclusive, the game is a city builder where you cross the world to connect kingdoms from the ground.
New Blood Interactive introduced some new shooters via a montage. DUSK is coming to the Switch and has mod support on PC. AMID EVIL has received RTX support, while there’s more levels released for MAXIMUM Action. Unfortunate Spacemen, a 16-player co-op shooter, is free-to-play (after being a normal premium game).
There’s also a new retro, Devil May Cry-inspired shooter called Ultrakill.
Beautifully, all of New World’s websites for each of their games is completely ridiculous:
Amplitude was the next cab off the rank, with their 4X, Civilization-inspired Humankind. While they announced a new community-driven development feature, a new demo for Dwarf-centric RTS was also announced during the show: DwarfHeim.
It was then time to check out Icarus, the new survival game from DayZ maker Dean Hall. Set on an alien planet, there’s crafting, cute animals, someone dying from a lack of oxygen (probably) and someone getting out of a drop pod.
Hall talked about having time-limited drop times: you could have a survival session where your drop runs for only 20 minutes, but Icarus also can support multi-day drops. The key failure clause is time: if you run out of time on your drop, you lose that character, all that equipment.
If you run out of oxygen, you can be healed or revived. But if you run out of time, that’s it for that character.
Icarus will be out “sometime next year” and will be free-to-play. “We’re acutely aware that a number of our former staff are ex-Grinding Gear Games … we’re very cognisant of how much content we need to provide gamers,” Hall said.
A new gameplay trailer for Evil Genius 2: World Domination then rolled, showing various ways you could dispose of pesky corporate espionage. Or state-based actors. The game wasn’t really clear. Either way, you can lay a trap in a wall that punches spies to death.
Godfall‘s first PC trailer then rolled. It was then followed by a retro-inspired sci-fi shooter, with a UI interface eerily reminiscent of STRAFE.
The game was Prodeus, which goes into early access this spring. “Prodeus is the first person shooter of old, re-imagined using modern rendering techniques,” the official Steam page says.
Fae Tactics then appeared with a very Final Fantasy Tactics looking isometric RPG. We were then given two more Humble Games titles, a gorgeous top-down puzzler and the return of the Western Australian-made Project Wingman, which I didn’t know had official publisher support. So that’s excellent news.
Project Wingman is launching “Summer 2020”, so presumably in a month or so for Australians. The Kickstarter demo I remember playing years ago had tight controls, so the full version should handle just as well.
Kane took over the broadcast again to re-advertise Command & Conquer: Remastered Collection. Blanko’s Block Party then introduced its brand of sandbox co-op enjoyment, with Splatoon-esque colours, the promise of being able to make your own mini-games, and just a lot of colour.
In an interview after, it was explained that you could make your own shooters, races, races with guns in it, and a string of flexible tools for community creation. Blankos is launching a beta soon ahead of a launch at the end of the year.
Everspace 2 then showed off some alpha gameplay, with Rockfish’s sequel featuring more combat in the atmosphere of planets (instead of just procedurally generated galaxies).
Great looking game. Fighting in planets is also a hell of a lot more vibrant and fascinating than just duking it out in space.
We then got a Kickstarter trailer for the sort of game you’d expect from the PC Gaming Show: Inkulinati, a hand-drawn turn-based strategy game with medieval animals.
Total War: TROY had some WIP footage to show off. There were some intriguing features, like the Wrath of Poseidon that generates earthquakes and destroys city walls. That one’s still out in 2021.
A quick promo for a TROY-inspired PC with an absurd amount of copper tubing and RGB fans followed. Remnant: From the Ashes Subject 2923 was then revealed, along with an August 20 release date (for all platforms).
2K’s turn, then, with a CG trailer for the full remake of the original Mafia. No direct shots of gameplay, but the models are a step above from the Mafia 2 and Mafia 3 re-releases recently.
Hangar 13’s CEO explained that all of the main cut-scenes and VO was re-shot and rebuilt, instead of relying on a straight upscale from the original 2002 game. The game’s main story beats remain, but the game has been largely redesigned outside of that. It’s a bigger and wider city that’s easier to drive around, too.
Mafia: Definitive Edition is looking to launch on August 28, although the studio “still have a ways to go”.
Next up was a roguelike turn-based strategy featuring the Devil. Out this October is Roguelords, a neatly animated game that actually lets you cheat in difficult fights by just … deleting health from enemy’s health bars.
You’re the devil, after all.
Unexplored 2: Wayfarer’s Legacy introduced a neat concept: what happened if your playthrough of a game then re-wrote the rules for future playthroughs? Dauntless was next with a new trailer.
Nature took centre stage afterwards in Among Trees. It’s a indie survival game that looks less like DayZ and more like Firewatch. It’s out on the Epic store now.
Xseed’s Potionomics then put you in a nice spot: a PC game where you’re trying to keep a struggling potion shop alive by negotiating and bartering with would-be adventurers.
The first new Souls-esque game of the show, Mortal Shell, then appeared. Grim, dark, lots of torn robes, some reapers, a dude missing eyes, you know the drill. It’s out sometime this year.
The show then followed up with Mortal Shell‘s first in-engine gameplay, showing off a boss fight and some of the HUD. It’s very minimalist, down to the audio: there’s only the barest hint of ambient sound in the background, and the area around you in almost completely obscured in fog. Or YouTube artifacting. It’s hard to tell.
Affter the boss fight ended, a giant serpent then came and swam through the area, swallowing the player character. There was no sound with it, which is a bit worrying.
Back to remasters, and this time it’s one of the biggest studios. Night Dive are remastering Shadowman from the ’90s, which I remember getting a sort-of-OK reception at the time. I always wanted to play it, but could never find a copy in my local store. (Also, despite the protestations of Plott, Shadowman was absolutely on PC back in the day.)
It’s not the first re-release of Shadow Man: Night Dive Studios re-released it on Steam back in 2013. It’s interesting that they’re going back for a full remaster now.
Tripwire Interactive then resumed for their regular segment to talk about Killing Floor 2, something that feels like has been part of the PC Gaming Show longer than most sponsors. There was also a small update on Chivalry 2, which has cross-play with the next-gen consoles. Tripwire’s president didn’t announce a new game afterwards, although he indicated that the studio was looking at “community feedback” on what they can add into Maneater.
A segment for the Epic Games Store then rolled, showing off some release dates, mostly for the games that were just announced. Super Meat Boy Forever is still due to launch this year, as is Dontnod’s Twin Mirror. Surgeon Simulator 2 has an August 2020 release date, and the Scythe-driven RTS Iron Harvest is aiming at a September release.
Blightbound then introduced its 3-player co-op dungeon crawling, featuring the mage, assassin and warrior. It’s a side-scrolling dungeon crawler, hitting early access sometime this year. A quick montage then featured 8 more indies: Shadows of Doubt, a pixellated murder-mystery through a sci-fi noir city; The Forgotten City, the standalone game from the Aussie-made Skyrim mod; Paradise Killer, a cheerful open-world murder mystery due out in the next couple of months; Haven, an RPG about two lovers fleeing to a lost planet to stay together; Cartel Tycoon, a drug empire simulator; Trash Sailors, a co-op adventure about surviving the great flood with a fantastic, storybook artstyle; Cris Tales, an adventure about experiencing multiple timelines simultaneously, which is also hitting the PS5 and Xbox Series X, and the ARPG Alaloth, which is also getting help from Chris Avellone.
Weird West, the game from the ex-Arkane directors, then appeared. Still largely a cinematic and environmental trailer, though. Raphael Colantonio explained Weird West still shared a lot of the spirit of past Arkane games like Prey and Dishonored, but it was a game from an isometric perspective.
Afterwards it was time for some JRPG farming. XSEED’s Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town is coming to PC, in case you’ve had enough of Stardew Valley and Animal Crossing: New Horizons. The weddings look a lot cuter in this game, mind you. It’s out on Steam on July 14.
Remember Amazon’s New World MMO? Well, it’s having a beta in late July ahead of a full release on August 25. A new trailer for DONTNOD’s Twin Mirror played. We know that’s still coming out this year – thanks to the Epic montage before – but what’s interesting is that host Frankie Ward mentioned the game had been reworked since its original reveal.
A heavy metal rhythm FPS was next, with creative director David Goldfarb introducing Metal Hellsinger.
Kill demons in time with a heavy metal beat. I’m not really sure it needs more of a pitch than that. It was first revealed a couple of days ago, so here’s a 10 minute gameplay trailer for you. It’s out in 2021.
Felicia Day then introduced a new isometric co-op game, The Amulet of Chaos. It’s a turn-based tactical combat RPG, with a humour that’s – unsurprisingly given who introduced it – very The Guild. Red Sails was up next, showcasing some rather lovely sand dunes.
Surgeon Simulator 2: you can walk around on two feet. You’re able to walk around a medical “facility” and mess around with other things. It’s described as the Willy Wonka of hospitals, with automatic patient dispensers and a cannon that fires limbs and organs to surgeons.
Sounds about right, really. It’ll have Creation Mode as well, which is the same thing Bossa Studios used to create the levels for the game’s studio mode. The game is out in alpha already, and fans have already recreated the Surgeon Olympics and a bottleflip challenge in-game.
The game’s coming out in August, as mentioned before, as an Epic exclusive.
It was time for The Last Campfire, the next game from No Man’s Sky makers Hello Games. It’s a cutesy adventure that’s totally different territory from the space sandbox, featuring a dark creature wrapped in a blue cloth who wanders around and brings people back to life. It’s out in “summer 2020” on the Switch and the Epic Games Store, which means the next few months for Australians.
Escape from Tarkov was next, showing footage of a player going through an abandoned apartment that reminded me a little of The Last of Us 2. Patch 12.7 will add the Customs location, growing the in-game size by “about 30 to 40 percent”, as well as adding a new boss called The Senator.
Next up was The Outlast Trials, the horror series but with co-op. You’re trying to survive a series of brainwashing experiments. The trailer has the sounds of surgical drills going through your face that is literally making me clench while writing this sentence.
It’s out next year, if you love that stuff. I will never play this game.
Nope. Nope. Nope. After the show had “officially” ended, a trailer for New Blood’s Gloomwood played, a heavily inspired Thief game with an art style very similar to the low-poly DUSK.
What were your favourite games from the show?