The PC Gaming Show has always delivered some cracking indies, classic PC games and a touch of awkwardness to E3. And the E3 PC Gaming Show was similarly packed, with 9 more games than the Xbox-Bethesda conference jam-packed into a rapid-fire 90 minutes.
The show eventually began on a spaceship — one designed like a GPU and earmarked as a bitcoin miner. Technical hiccups meant the show began without sound, making for some awkwardness as hosts Sean Plott, Mica Burton and Frankie Ward went through the initial motions.
Naraka Bladepoint started proceedings, introducing everyone to its brand of Sekiro-inspired combat. It’s certainly the most iconic battle royale at the moment, and a trailer claimed that over 1 million players took part in a playtest on Steam recently.
An open beta for the game will go live from June 16-22, with the game’s full release on August 12. It’ll be on Steam and Epic Games Store.
Dodgeball Academia then followed with its high contrast RPG elements. The footage showed 1v1 matches and instances of team-based dodgeball, as well as what looked like dodgeball-themed takes on mini-bosses. It’s due out this year for PC, Switch, PS4 and Xbox One. This game has some strong Golf Story or Mario Tennis vibes — definitely keep an eye on it.
Medieval brawler Chivalry 2, which launched last week, was up next. After running through its 64-player combat, a small roadmap for the game’s post-launch combat was outlined. Maps will be developed into their own game modes of sorts, and post-launch updates will highlight different eras of medieval combat.
The food-based arena battler Rawmen — launching on PC and all platforms — then got a short trailer, but with no release date. It looks a little like Splatoon mixed with food, although there’s modes that are more about covering the walls with paint. (Or thick, goopy stock, in this case.)
Techland then appeared to show off some concept art and backstory for Dying Light 2: Stay Human, covering the origins of the universe and Aidan Caldwell, the protagonist of Dying Light 2. The game will launch on December 7, 2021 across PC, PS5, Xbox Series X/S.
Amplitude Studios then followed up with host Frankie Ward, who is being added into the studio’s 4X title Humankind as an avatar players can versus. The game is out on August 17, although the closed beta — featuring Ward’s AI persona — is live from today.
Next was a thoroughly vibrant cyberpunk 2D platformer, They Always Run. No release date yet, but with a combo of melee slashes, ranged weaponry and fluid combat, it’s worth following on Steam.
Orcs Must Die 3!, which was previously a Google Stadia exclusive, is now launching to platforms accessible in Australia from July 23. Vampire: The Masquerade Swan Song was next with a cinematic trailer, although there were a few moments of third-person camera. It looks like a narrative-driven affair, but no idea on what the mechanics or broader themes are. (Something like Vampyre wouldn’t hurt, though.)
A multiplayer brawler inspired by kaijuu, Gigabash, was next up. It looks like some good fun with mates and drinks, although there’s no release date just yet. (It’s launching on PC and PS4.)
The time-bending shooter Lemnis Gate was the next up. This one’s always been fascinating: it’s a strategy FPS stuck in a time loop, where players get 25 seconds to execute their moves, movement, or whatever they want to do. After the first 25 seconds ends, you move onto the next round, and carry on for a maximum of 5 rounds. Lemnis Gate launches on Steam on August 4 for Australians.
Next Space Rebels followed, a game that blends Kerbal Space Program-type rocket building with FMV segments. It’s due out sometime this year.
WarTales was the next title. It’s an open-world turn-based RPG adventure, where players search a medieval world for bounties, tombs and riches to survive.
Ixion was then unveiled for the first time with a cinematic trailer. The trailer didn’t explain much, but the actual Steam page revealed that you’ll be responsible for guiding a space station through the galaxy to find a new, safe home for humanity.
Far: Changing Tides was then announced, following on from the previous FAR title’s brand of exploration. FAR: Lone Sails was fully in 2D, but this is a 3D game now, and you’re doing a lot more traversal on the water.
To mix things up, Lakeburg Legacies provided some eye-catching village management gameplay. It’s launching on March 11, 2022, and it’s all about organising and creating the most efficient families to make sure your kingdom survives.
Killing Room: Floor 2 received a new trailer, and Mechwarrior 5: Mercernaries announced a new career mode and procedural mission types as part of its expansion, Heroes of the Innersphere. The DLC will let you import your previous campaign if you want, too. (The game has also gotten DLSS support a couple of months ago, as well as Nvidia Ansel support.
Silt followed with what looked like a combo of monochromatic underwater platforming, mixed with possession powers that the player can use to solve puzzles. A simple example: the player took control of a piranha, allowing the piranha to chew through some chains that’d allows the player to swim again. Silt didn’t announce a release date, but the Steam listing says it’ll launch “early 2022”.
After a cinematic trailer for Hello Neighbour 2 — it wasn’t named — we got a developer update on Jurassic World Evolution 2 and some lovely pre-rendered footage. The latter was the same as what was shown off at the Summer Game Fest on Friday morning Australian time, although the Steam listing notes that one of the new modes will include Chaos Theory:
Chaos Theory mode lets you play through key moments of your favourite films – with a twist. Experience “what-if” scenarios from iconic Jurassic World and Jurassic Park films, with each level set across eras and locations from all five movies. Immerse yourself at the heart of the Jurassic World franchise and see how things turn out when you are put at the helm of managing new challenges with unpredictable outcomes.
New Blood Interactive then took over proceedings with their slate of retro shooters and updates. First cab off their rank was a montage with Fallen Aces, ULTRAKILL, AMID Evil: The Black Labyrinth, Unfortunate Spacemen, DUSK ’82, Kyle is Completely Famous, Faith: The Unholy Trinity, Gloomwood, DUSK.
Valve’s Gabe Newell — still stuck in New Zealand — then introduced the Steam Next Fest, a virtual demo festival running through the Steam Client. Some of the demos playable includes Undead Citadel, Rogue Lords, Fallen Aces and GRIME, although hundreds of demos are expected to be available later this week when the festival goes live.
The next game shown off was Soulstice, which has a release date of 2022. The official listing pitches the game as a coming-of-age fantasy tale inspired by Japanese fantasy tales with combat that’s got a bit of a Souls vibe. What’s interesting, though, is that you actually manage two characters at once.
Chaos Gate: Demonhunters was the next title, adding another to the already never-ending abyss that is Warhammer 40,000 games. It’s due out in 2022, and a “full cinematic trailer” will launch sometime in August. No idea what type of game it is based off the trailer, but the official Steam listing says it’ll be a turn-based tactical RPG.
A Stalker-like FPS then followed, called Pioner. Due out in 2022, there’s a lot of different ideas and vibes going on here, including a nice modern take on a Pipboy.
There’s some supernatural elements with dialogue choices and a lot of sharp outlines. It’s an FPS with a very gritty look, although most of the trailer featured Russian voiceovers and text prompts. It looks like the game supports co-op, based on some of the footage.
The official Twitter account confirms that the game is actually an MMORPG, which wasn’t really clear from the full trailer. Still, it’s interesting as all hell – check it out.
EVE Online then made an announcement: EVE Academy, which effectively introduces career paths to help make the EVE onboarding experience a little easier.
A few short-fire trailers then dropped for different indie games. Lumberhill is a cute slice-of-life title, while Arboria is a dark fantasy rogue-lite that’s out in early access now. You basically grab your weapons and venture through The Hole to save your tribe, picking up mutations along the way to become stronger.
Tinykin, due out in 2022, is a little narrative adventure about catching Tinykin so you can restore yourself to your original size. It’s adorably cute.
Chernobylite then showed off some gameplay from one of its missions; it’s out on July 28 through Steam, with an Australian winter release for consoles.
Last cab off the rank was Sacrifire, a JRPG due out next year with music from Motoi Sakuraba (Star Ocean, Golden Sun, Tales series, Dark Souls). The same developers made Regalia: Of Men and Monarchs, but this title has a blend of turn-based and real-time combat to keep things interesting.
A new trailer for Icarus, the New Zealand-made survival simulator, then played. This one mostly showed a lot of the building progression, with houses and homes being built in different environments (and being torn or burnt down in different ways).
Icarus will launch on August 11 on PC.
Mechajammer was the next title, showcasing some fascinating action-RPG combat that has real-time and turn-based elements. There’s also team management, although the game doesn’t have any release date just yet. A demo is live now on Steam, however.
The Wandering Village then got a new trailer, following its showing at the Day of the Devs event on Friday.
Next up was a gorgeous isometric pixel-art twin-stick shooter with tons of occult themes. There’s a lot of blood, organ harvesting, and what seems like some rogue AIs that don’t think they can coexist with humanity.
It’s called Death Trash; it launches in early access on August 5.
Songs of Conquest helped close out proceedings, bringing more high contrast pixel-art action. Created by Lavapotion, the game’s style is almost like what you’d get if you mixed Heroes of Might and Magic 3 with Octopath Traveller style art. It’s due out early 2022 and it looks sick.
Citizen Sleeper was next with its brand of narrative-based dice rolls. Inspired by tabletop games, Citizen Sleeper relies on dice rolls and clocks to track the actions of yourself and others.
Retro shooter Project Warlock 2 was then announced, adding to the ongoing list of very good retro shooters that everyone should play. It’s launching on Kickstarter later this year, targeting a 2022 launch date. It’ll also have manual saves, quicksaves, auto saving, and verticality, apparently.