PC Gaming Show E3 2017: eSports, VR, PUBG, and Much, Much More
As newcomers to the E3 conference, PC Gamer is insistent on pushing PC gaming to the forefront alongside console powerhouses like Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo. After awkwardly stumbling in 2015 during their "talk-show" style presentation, the conference last year was more focused on the games rather than the presentation itself. This year, the show presented a slew of games releasing this year -- with a focus on VR, eSports, and PC optimization.
Keep reading below to stay updated on all of the new announcements from the conference.
XCOM 2: War of the Chosen
2K Games and Firaxis lead the conference with the announcement of the highly anticipated XCOM 2 expansion, War of the Chosen. Jake Solomon, the designer for the XCOM games, said that this is the biggest expansion in the series to date. War of the Chosen will feature new weapons, new soldier classes, environments, and a system similar to Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor's famous nemesis system.
The main enemy in War of the Chosen is none other than the Chosen -- the ultimate enemy of XCOM. The Chosen consists of ultimate enemies with different personalities and fighting styles. These champions will be challenged repeatedly, and they will continuously become stronger and gain new skills as the game progresses. There are also three different factions that can be recruited to fight against the Chosen, each with their own specific fighting styles and advantages.
The story in the new expansion takes place 20 years after the original alien invasion. With that, major cities across the world were decimated and all of its civilians perished -- that is, until their bodies have been transformed into alien, zombie-like creatures. These enemies, known as The Lost, are heavily mutated humans who are mindless and will attack anything in their way, including enemy aliens.
The expansion releases August 29 for PC, Xbox One, and PS4.
DoubleFine Studios has a reputation for taking risks and supporting innovative and obscure indie games -- and Ooblets is no exception. Constructed by Glumberland Studios, a team of only two people, Ooblets is described as "Harvest Moon meets Pokemon meets Animal Crossing meets the weird awkward people we are."
This title immediately catches anyone's eyes with its vibrant colors, adorable creatures that grow like plants, and quirky characters. Through the video, it's clear the game has a wide variety of tasks the players can tackle. The Pokemon-like creature capturing aspect meshes with the crop-growing simulation of Harvest Moon. There's also a robust village filled with bizarre and cute characters to interact with.
And of course, it wouldn't be a Pokemon-inspired game without a turn-based battle system. For those who have played Nintendo's monster-catching games in the past, the system will be familiar right off the bat. The only difference is rather than immediately catching your Ooblets, you must retrieve the seeds enemies drop and plant them to grow new creatures.
The end of the trailer showed a slew of customization options such as decorating your house, dazzling out your own characters, and showing off a number of groovy dance animations. Ooblets is set to release in early 2018.
The world didn't just want a turn-based tactical game based on the Battletech tabletop games -- apparently they needed it. After raising $2.8 million on Kickstarter, Jordan Weisman and Mitch Gitelman of Harebrained Schemes showed off a sneak peek at the single-player campaign in Battletech.
The game takes place in the Battletech universe, where giant mechs go head-to-head in this highly strategic and tactical game. To begin, the trailer for the game shows a brief look at The Argo, a base where you can repair mechs, choose where to travel next, and more. The developers emphasized on the biggest problems mercenaries face, like spending less money on repairs than what you earn. This will clearly encourage more strategic planning rather than going guns-blazing into every battle.
After briefly going over The Argo, the game's combat got a highlight. It showed the movement range of specific mechs, how far their range of view is, and of course, how they engage in enemy contact. Each mech is designed differently, with different layers of armor that protect critical components inside the mechs. Rather than being giant "hit point sponges", each enemy must be attacked in different ways either to penetrate armor or disable certain weapons.
Battletech is slated to release sometime this year, and you can sign up for the beta now at the official Battletech website.
Mount & Blade 2: Bannerlord
Taleworld's original massive sandbox army simulator game was a huge success, and with Mount & Blade 2 releasing, they plan on pushing the bar even further. Although only a few minutes of gameplay was shown at the conference, the differences are immediately apparent. The graphics are improved, the game can handle a massive number of enemies at once, and there's a fluid combat system where soldiers rush at each other with spears and swords on horseback.
The developers were not present at the conference to give more details; however, Taleworld's press release gave us some snippets of information on what to expect in the new entry. Advanced Formations allows players to control each individual unit's movement, form, and behavior. AI commanders borrow heavily from their actual historical counterparts, so expect powerful cavalry forces from Alexander the Great
The game is expected to release later this year.
Total War: Warhammer 2
The second title in the already announced trilogy of this crossover series, Total War: Warhammer 2 developers Creative Assembly plan on doubling down on what made the first game so great. In addition to improving gameplay, graphics, and AI, there will be four new Warhammer factions to play with -- including the High Elves, Lizard Men, Dark Elves, and one unannounced race.
The game is slated for release on the September 28, and will feature an early adopter bonus in the form of free DLC for the original Warhammer game.
Shadowverse: Wonderland Dreams
Although CCGs have been around for decades, the release of Hearthstone threw the genre into the forefront of the gaming community. Developed by Cygames and heavily influenced by Hearthstone, Shadowverse is actually designed by some Magic The Gathering competitive players. The game is developed with the idea of focusing on mechanics more than luck.
This fourth expansion shows off new cards and character types, along with wowing the audience with pristine anime portraits. Coming out on June 29th, the Wonderland Dreams expansion will add 104 cards to the game -- most of which have fairy-tale themes to them.
A game about a tiny fox in a giant world, Tunic resembles everything we love about old-school Zelda games with a spirited artistic style and soundtrack. Developed by Andrew Shouldice, there were not too many details revealed other than the fact that the game will release sometime next year on PC, Mac, and consoles. For more, watch the trailer below.
Day-Z has been in development for God-knows how long. H1Z1 just split into two games. But the survival game that has everybody screaming in terror and excitement is none other than PLAYERUNKNOWN'S BATTLEGROUNDS (PUBG). Consistently on the top of Twitch streams and forums, PUBG has sold millions of copies in early access. With that being said, developer Brendan Greene stated that this month's main priority is server stabilization. However, that's not the only thing up PLAYERUNKNOWN's sleeve.
Greene showcased a number of gameplay improvements guaranteed to increase the intensity of each battle royal match. Previously, jumping over fences or objects was incredibly difficult, and could end in a number of unfortunate deaths if you lost focus. In the next update, players can now vault over a number of objects, each with their own animation and length of time it takes to do so.
Weather is being expanded as well. Rain was already a weather effect that drastically changed the game -- and while that is being improved, PUBG will soon feature fog and sunset weather as well. Greene showcased a new gun, and spoke about more game modes and maps that will be coming as well. A desert map and a snowy, mountainous region were briefly mentioned.
Lastly, Greene continued to show that he will support the game until it is completely done, and is looking forward to adding more features such as custom games and 3D replays.
Tripwire Interactive is a very busy studio. The team just released Rising Storm 2 a few weeks ago to immense praise. And while the developers are busy working on new content for it, they have not forgotten about their gross, bloody baby, Killing Floor.
To begin with, Killing Floor VR: Incursion was announced. The game is a first-person hardcore horror game with single player and co-op options. Tight corridors, terrifying enemies, and motion controls are guaranteed to scare your pants off, just like Resident Evil 7 did earlier this year.
But wait, there's more! Tripwire listened to its fans and decided to bring back more seasonal events for Killing Floor 2. Starting tomorrow, players can not only download the game for free for a week, but can participate in the Summer Sideshow. The event takes place in a worn-down creepy carnival, full of mini games, disgusting creatures like Mr. Pukey and Monkey Man, and weekly outbreaks. These outbreaks are different gameplay modes that will be playable each week, such as a headshot-only mode. The Summer Sideshow will only last for one month, and players can accrue up to 50 different cosmetic items for free.
Forza Motorsport 7
One of Microsoft's flagship titles, Forza, is finally getting a proper PC release after over a half-dozen iterations. The game will support 4K, have over 700 cars, and supports mouse & keyboard options. More importantly, for racing game enthusiasts, Microsoft Studios ensured that any USB powered racing wheel will work with the game, along with other controller options like a Guitar Hero controller (not recommended for sanity purposes).
Forza Motorsport 7 is slated to release on October 3 of this year -- and players with computers from budget to extremely overclocked will be able to zoom through this optimized PC title.
Sea of Thieves
If you haven't heard what Rare has been up to for a while now, you may have been living under a rock. Sea of Thieves, the ultimate pirate MMO experience, is being developed from the ground up, for PC and Xbox One.
The game, heavily influenced by the wonderful Sid Meier's: Pirates, is looking to do everything that made the 2005 title so revered, and pushes the limits even further -- like letting you blow yourself out of an actual cannon.
Similar to Forza, the game is looking to be extremely optimized for PC gamers, featuring an unlocked frame rate and 4K resolution. The game is in technical alpha and gamers can sign up to play at the official Sea of Thieves website. Expect to see this title in stores in early 2018.
The Last Night
French developer Odd Tales showcased its new, aesthetically-pleasing game at Microsoft's conference yesterday -- but today at the PC Gaming Show we were given our first look at the actual gameplay for The Last Night.
The first thing that instantly hits any viewer is the incredible art direction. If you're looking for some incredible wallpapers to woo your nerdy friends, taking any snippet from the trailer today is guaranteed to make you the cool kid on the block.
The game is a platformer, but not in the same sense as a Mario title. Tim Soret of Odd Tales described the game as a "cinematic adventure game". He mentioned that the game's story is that of a futuristic dystopian society, in which AI controls every job, and all humans have left to do is consume as much as possible. A release date was not revealed for The Last Night.
When you hear about a game from Bohemia Interactive, one would expect a hyper-realistic war game or a survival game like Day-Z. Y-Lands throws all expectations out the window by showing off artistic, polygonal graphics in a giant sandbox environment. Think Minecraft, but less blocky.
The game starts you off on a deserted island where you can gather resources, build your own home, and eventually sail away to new lands. The game looks massive right off the bat, and can be played with others online as well. You can do anything -- from becoming knights in shining armor, to catapulting people, to creating an entire city.
In contrast to Minecraft, Y-Lands is described as building experiences rather than structures. So although the game has a heavy focus on exploration, the in-game editor is available at all times in order to open and modify existing games, or create your own within the game.
The game's alpha can be accessed at the official Y-Lands website, and the full game is expected to hit Steam's Early Access later this year.
Brought to you by the developers of Shank and Don't Starve, Klei Interactive is looking to change the indie game scene with more excellent hand-drawn animations and style. Grift Lands appears to be a turn-based RPG focusing on exploration, comradery, and betrayal. The gameplay shown was limited, but emphasized that "everything is negotiable" -- from money, loyalty, to morality. Whether these negotiable terms affect the overall story is yet to be determined, but with developers Klei Interactive hard at work, the game is definitely one to keep on your radar.
It's coming to PC in early 2018.
Lone Echo/Echo Arena
Briefly discussed during Intel's portion of the conference, Lone Echo is Ready At Dawn's new foray into the virtual reality landscape. Acting as cybernetic AI, this VR game allows players to interact with the environment around them in zero-gravity. Players must use their arms to move around space, grabbing different objects and propelling themselves forward. The game will have Troy Baker as one of the voice actors for the story.
A separate multiplayer game is also in development. Echo Arena will use the same physics as Lone Echo, but will be a multiplayer-focused game similar to Rocket League in space (and without cars). Players will move around the map and throw discs into opponents' goals in this "Sportsball" rendition.
Both titles will be released separately on July 20, with Echo Arena releasing free of charge for Oculus Rift owners for a limited time.
Cliff Bleszinski, best known for the Gears of War and Unreal Tournament series, has a new child to foster and show his loving care to. Lawbreakers is the newest entry into the arena shooter genre. The game, already past the alpha phase, had a successful closed beta and will be entering open beta on June 30th.
This portion of the conference focused on a number of Twitch Streamers who had a chance to get their hands on the game. With buzzwords like "fastest game ever", "real twitch shooter", and "the best part is how difficult the game is", the game is already garnering some great reception before release.
Bleszinski announced the release date of the game for August 8, and that the game will only be $29.99 -- "none of the $60 multiplayer-only game bullshit."
Although Nintendo has heavily focused on its Fire Emblem franchise and pushing its popularity, they seem to have forgotten about their counter-franchise, Advanced Wars. Another popular tactical strategy RPG, Wargroove is looking to modernize that beloved series.
Similar to Fire Emblem, Wargroove puts players on a chess-like battlefield and has them command their units across the tiled map. Throughout the battle, you will move units around, build resources, and eventually ambush the enemy base to take their territory. There are a number of different types of soldiers, enemies, and even dragons.
Wargroove's main means of modernizing this type of game is by including online and local multiplayer, along with 12 single-player campaigns. The game will also feature a map editor -- the same one the developers use to make the campaign themselves. The game also includes an overworld map editor, where missions can be linked together and create branching paths.
It's expected to release sometime in 2017 for PC, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.
Middle Earth: Shadow of War
This sequel to the heavily praised Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor is one of the most anticipated titles of the year. The primarily story-based trailer revealed today showed us the Blade of Galadriel and her interactions with our previously fallen hero. Although the game is not released, the first DLC was announced to feature Galadriel herself as a playable character in her own arc.
Although not much else was revealed, the developers noted that the game will build upon the combat, the nemesis system, and titanic full-scale battles that made the first game so great, but ultimately, the story is the biggest focus.
The game releases October 10, and will be featured in several more live streams throughout the rest of E3, from June 13-15.
Age of Empires: Definitive Edition
The last announcement of the conference left gamers in awe, as we celebrate the 20th anniversary of one of the most important RTS games in history -- Age of Empires. After the success of remastering Age of Empires 2, Microsoft is ecstatic to announce that Age of Empires: Definitive Edition is built from the ground up as a whole new game.
The game will support 4K resolution, new zoom levels, and a fully remastered soundtrack. The gameplay will remain mostly the same, with some modernization introduced in later games in the series.
The game is scheduled to release later this year, and a beta signup began immediately. Adam Isgreen of Microsoft said this is just the beginning of the celebration, and to expect more Age of Empires news to come at Gamescom later this year.
Intel sponsored the PC Gaming Show, and had its own conference less than an hour before. But self-titled Software Guy Doug Fisher came out to the stage to talk numbers, Intel's cooperation with ESL, and the future of virtual reality.
Fisher promoted the new Core i9 Extreme Edition by discussing Intel's vision of creating fluid hardware that optimizes gaming and content creation all at once. Intel is also personally working with a number of developers, such as Bungie, to ensure their games run the best on PC. Full-time Twitch streamer TeftyTeft talked about Destiny 2 on PC and how the game will run at an uncapped framerate in 4K.
Fisher made sure to emphasize how massive eSports are really becoming, saying that they will soon surpass the NBA, MLB, and more. With that, Fisher discussed the merger of virtual reality with eSports by showcasing the game Echo Arena. The game, developed in conjunction with Lone Echo, is an anti-gravity sports game played in VR. Players use their hands to drag themselves through space, and try to throw a disc into their opponents goal. The game will have a competition called the VR Challenge, with the finals held at IEM Poland 2018.
The PC Gaming Show at E3 this year decided to blow its previous conferences out of the water by focusing primarily on the games themselves, and showing a slew of titles scheduled to release within the next year. Although there were still some awkward moments with hosts and minor production infractions, this looks like an amazing year to be a part of the PC gaming community.
What did you think about the PC Gaming Conference? Did it live up to your expectations? Are you planning on throwing your $1K+ monster out the window for a PS4 or Xbox One X? Sound off in the comments below!