LOS ANGELES—Even as Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony hold events to promote games on their consoles at E3, a somewhat scrappier event to promote PC games takes place: the PC Gaming Show. This year’s too-long show was a barrage of trailers and brief developer talks. We basically lost count of the games, there were so many.
Battle royale? Check. Victorian steampunk settings? Check. Survival crafting games? Check. Crytek engine? Check. Lovecraft? Check. A lengthy plug for hardware from a gaming hardware company? Check. It was everything you’d expect from the PC Gaming Show.
The show is put on by PC Gamer, but it’s probably important to note that many of the games that were presented were presented because they were sponsors. In any case, here are some games and highlights we found noteworthy.
Insomniac’s next VR game: Stormland
Insomnica Games—arguably best known as the developers of the Ratchet & Clank series and the upcoming Spider-Man, both on PlayStation—has been living an alternate life as a PC VR developer for a while now. The studio already released Edge of Nowhere, The Unspoken, and Feral Rights for the Oculus Rift.
Now it’s detailing what might be its most ambitious VR title: Stormlands. In it, you play as a damaged robot that wakes up in an open world and must explore and fight enemies to piece itself back together. We saw combat, flying, climbing, and walking. It looks very much made for VR, and the graphics are solid.
As a robot, you can find a mechanical component on the ground, pick it up, and attach it directly to your arm. Neat.
Sega’s best Japanese games on PC
Sega announced that several classic games will soon launch on PC, including Shenmue and Shenmue II, Bayonetta, Shining Resonance Refrain, Yakuza 0, Yakuza Kiwami, and Valkyria Chronicles 4. Those are all excellent games, and the announcements went over well with the crowd. What we didn’t see: dates or details. Some of those games were already announced, but they’re welcome nonetheless.
Triple-A heavy hitters: Just Cause 4 and Hitman 2
It wasn’t all classics and VR titles, of course. We finally got some answers on Just Cause 4 that we didn’t get during the Square-Enix livestream. We learned that the classic weapon briefcase is making a comeback, you can kill people with a fish, and you can hide from angry guards in the crowd original-Assassin’s Creed-style. There’s also a picture-in-picture mode that lets you keep tabs on happenings in other parts of Hitman 2‘s sprawling levels.
A Square-Enix rep talked up Just Cause 4‘s features that will really show off your PC. The game supports HDR (they said it has improved HDR lighting on PC, but I don’t see how that’s really possible given that PC monitors are so far behind TVs in HDR implementation still), “unrivaled draw distance,” and increased destruction fidelity.
The rep also talked up Just Cause 4‘s physics-based aerodynamic models, which apply to everything from wind in the trees to flying vehicles to that giant tornado we’ve seen in trailers.
Star Control Origins
Star Control Origins has been gripped in a controversial battle between its developer/publisher (Stardock) and the franchise’s original creators. But it had a prominent spot at this show (note that Stardock was listed as a sponsor).
There weren’t a ton of new details, but we did learn that—unlike No Man’s Sky, which builds out its simulation of procedurally generated world as you explore it—Origins simulates the thousands of worlds in the game all the time, no matter where in the space you are. That means ships are doing their thing on far-off planets even if you’re light years away. We’re not sure how far this extends, but it does sound cool.
Stardock shared the release date, too: September 20.
Other noteworthy titles
We’re not going to list all eight trillion games that were shown at this event, but here are some other highlights we thought noteworthy.
- There are not one, but two narrative games that take place in a taxi cab! Night Call is a moody game with a noir aesthetic set in Paris.
- There were three battle royale games at the PC Gaming Show—Rapture Rejects, Mavericks: Proving Grounds, and Realm Royale. Frankly, I’m surprised there weren’t more.
- Park-building game and Jeff Goldblum vehicle Jurassic World: Evolution got a brief, Goldblum-voiced trailer.
- A shark simulator game called Man Eater was a big hit with the crowd. “You are the shark!” Enough said.
- Anno 1800 is shaping up nicely, if you haven’t played enough of those games already.
- A “Hamlet” expansion is coming to Don’t Starve. No, it’s not Shakespearian: it adds towns to the survival game.
- Two Walking Dead games were shown: the final chapter in Telltale’s take on the franchise, and a more action-oriented spinoff from Overkill, a Starbreeze Studio.
- There was so much more. Check out our liveblog for the full coverage.
Listing image by Ron Amadeo