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A new age of games at the E3 2016 PC Gaming Showcase

Hosted by PCGamer.com and AMD, the PC Gaming Showcase at E3 is quickly becoming a mainstay at the conference, highlighting some of the best of what’s coming to the seemingly boundless PC gaming landscape. Today’s showcase, peppered throughout with a few misguided but well-meaning attempts at humor and pandering to PC gamers, was admirably hosted by famed Starcraft commentator Day [9], in a sort of interview trailer interview format highlighting a variety of games– from world premieres, expansions packs to older games, gameplay trailers, and several quick interviews with developers around the PC gaming landscape. Below is a short compilation of all the news mentioned throughout the show. There’s a lot coming, and although none of it really grabbed my attention, for fans of these franchises, it’s sure to wet their appetites.

Dawn of War 3

The first guests brought on stage were a few developers from Relic Gaming to introduce their new sequel to their popular Warhammer series, Dawn of War 3. They showed new footage and discussed their desire to create new experiences for fans that combine the best of both previous titles in the franchise. Dawn of War comes with a solo campaign involving three heroes from three different factions. Gameplay showed large mechs falling from the skies, and intense RTS battles with large armies facing off with particles and effects flying across the scene. For fans of the franchise, I think this new title is right up their alley.

Ark Survival Evolved

Studio Wildcard then came up to talk about new content for their game Ark Survival Evolved. New dinosaurs— the Titanosaur lets you build bases on its back—and new biomes and settings are coming to the game. The developers also highlighted some of their favorite mods and emphasized how important the community was to the creativity of the game. Some mods are actually becoming official parts of the game, including one popular mod where you can play as any animal within the game, living their lives from birth to death.

Mount and Blade 2 Bannerlord

TaleWorlds Entertainment came on to introduce another entry in their popular franchise, Mount and Blade 2 Banner lord. The gameplay trailer highlighted the new siege gameplay, bringing environment destruction and siege mechanics to the table. Gameplay is influenced by real history, and will take into account economics, politics, diplomacy, and much more in addition to warfare. Even more interesting, the developers mentioned that players will be able to combine mods in the future.

Lawbreakers

Famed developer Cliff Bleszinski came onto the stage next to show a new map from his upcoming title, Lawbreakers, called Promenade. Modeled after a post-earthquake-yet-futuristic Santa Monica California, Promenade gives its players ample space to fly and swing around while fighting other folks with its Overwatch-esque arena FPS gameplay.  Public Alpha Sign ups are coming soon, but the game is still unbalanced and Cliff emphasized the need of the community to help balance it. On the 18th of June, pcgamershow.com/law will give away limited amount of tickets for the beta , and then early access will come later.

New Products from AMD

The CEO of AMD Lisa Su was the next guest brought up. She talked at length about the new Polaris chips, and AMD’s desire to offer the enthusiastic-market level of experience, to as many people as possible, “Lower price points with super high performance.” She showed three cards in the Polaris line, the RX480 (a premium VR ready chip available on June 29th), the standard RX470 card, and the RX460 (which she emphasized as being for eSports). AMD also showed their VR backpack concept powered by the RX480 to let users run VR on the go. And finally, Serious Sam VR was announced to showcase AMD’s Liquid VR development platform, to help developers create content for VR more quickly.

Killing Floor 2

Tripwire Interactive came up next to talk about a new content pack coming to Killing Floor 2. After being in early access for the past year, a new content pack, Bullseye, will be available to players. They followed the announcement with some gameplay footage of Bullseye, highlighting an expanded player versus zed mode, a new sharpshooter perk, as well as new characters and community maps. They also announced a free weekend for all players starting this Thursday. But Tripwire decided to end with a bang. The Bullseye pack was released to all players right then. And they brought up a guest from Oculus Touch to announce a new VR game, Killing Floor Incursion, a horror atmospheric experience.

Arma 3 Apex Expansion

Bohemia Interactive was invited to stage to talk about their anticipated Arma 3 expansion, Apex, after a long time in development. The new trailer showed new weapons, vehicles, gameplay mechanics, and new locations for players to play in. Boehmia also emphasized the importance of mods to Arma 3, which are coming in the near future. Apex will be released on July 11, 2016. And for players who have preorded the expansion, a special demo build was being released during the conference.

The Turing Test

Square-Enix came up to briefly talk about their new game The Turing Test. They showed a video with a mix of developer interviews and pretty gameplay, emphasizing the “functional but beautiful aesthetic” that overlays the entire game. It is a first person puzzler, that reminded me heavily of Portal. It will have a linear story line, but the developers mentioned elements underneath the story that will change what the player believes as they progress through the game.

Dual Universe

One of the newest games shown was brought by developer Novaquark, the very ambitious Dual Universe. Set in a beautiful sci-fi world, Dual Universe is a sci-fi MMO, that has an editable universe that allows players to seamlessly travel from place to place, similar to the much anticipated No Man’s Sky. IN Dual Universe, players can rebuild civilizations, space ships, houses, and space stations within the entirely editable universe. It’s a single shot universe, meaning everyone plays in the same world at the same time, with no loading screens or zones. The game will rely on what Novaquark calls emergent gameplay, where players can change the world around them by creating their own political factions, economies, and much much more. A closed alpha is expected for 2017, with a community website  being launched in the future to let players create characters early and start community aspects like building factions and recruiting players within the next few weeks.

Halo Wars 2

343 Industries came up next to showcase a new title in the Halo Universe, Halo Wars 2. It’s coming to PC and Xbox One on Februar 21st, 2017. Like its predecessor, it is an RTS game, with several classic multiplayer modes common to competitive RTS’s, but also brand new multiplayer modes thet they will announce closer to launch. 343 Studios are planning on treating RTS veterans different from more casual RTS gamers with the various gameplay modes and mechanics offered to each group.

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

Eidos Montreal then came to the stage to show the first level of the Deus Ex title, Deus Ex: Mankind, called Dubai. They showed a new cover mechanic to offer players even more ways to play the game. Like previous entries in the series, players can play the game with lethal or nonlethal combat or stealth, and Eidos is hoping to increase the options for players. Players can also change the narrative with their choices, even how various people will interact with the player based on how they respond. As an example, in Dubai, a sandstorm is coming, so if the player takes too long to finish the level, the player can get caught in the sandstorm.

These are the major stories and interviews to come out of the PC Gamer show, however, there were several other quick teasers and world premieres that should attract the eye of most PC enthusiasts:

  • Klei Entertainment, the creators of the Don’t Starve series, introduced their new title, Oxygen Not included
  • Giant Cop is a new VR game coming from Other Ocean, where players play as almost God-like cop who watches and takes care of the various residents in often comical ways
  • Deck13 debuted their new game The Surge, with lots of fighting mech suits, coming to PC, Xbox One, and PS4
  • We saw some exclusive footage of Vampyr, a new game from the developers behind Life is Strange, showing off abilities and gameplay, reminding me heavily of Bloodborne
  • Superhot VR is bringing it’s interesting aesthetic to Oculus
  • Famed developer Obsidian Games revealed a trailer of their new game Tyranny, where seemingly evil has taken over the world, with the RPG asking the question “What if Evil won?”
  • Observer is a new game from Bloober Team, where players are tasked with hacking into target’s minds and memories to use their fears against them, all within a dystopian cyberpunk setting
  • Dropzone is a new RTS-esque game from Gameforge, with gameplay seemingly combining MOBAs and RTS
  • Overland Survival is a survival strategy game from Finji, where players road trip though a highly stylized post-apocalyptic US, with a possible first access code being released on their website: overland-dash.com
  • New World Interactive showcased Day of Infamy for steam early access next month, a new WWII shooter taking place over a variety of environments
  • Torn Banner Studios revealed Mirage Arcane Warfare, highlighting the mix of physical sword attacks and magical attacks that underline the combat of the title, as well as the unique art style influenced by Arabian and Persian arts and architecture. It will come out this fall, with a beta planned for end of summer
  • Borealys Games showed more of their title Mages of Mystralia, a 3rd person isometric puzzle and adventure game where mages can make their own spells to help them through the world
  • And finally, Digital Extremes showcased a new sports game mode for their popular Warframe game, titled Lunaro, similar in concept between a cross of Quidditch and Basketball, with teams trying to score a ball into two goals

At the end of the conference, venerable game designer Warren Spector came to the stage to offer a sort of career retrospective within the PC industry over the decades. He talked about the past, present, and future of PC development, and apart from some flat attempts at jokes, spoke very poignantly of the importance of PC gaming. I especially liked the idea he floated of PC development being a truly democratic platform for anyone with an idea to create their own game. Well said Mr. Specter.

Well that’s it for the PC gaming show! Have fun learning about the rest of the E3 conferences, and stick with Top Shelf Gaming for all your E3 related news!

Written by Yasir Malik

Trying to find a purpose in his life, Yasir Malik is a graduating MBA student with way too many games to play, but not nearly enough time on his hands. He spends most of his time living in nostalgia, always telling way-too-long stories about “that one time… ” Always looking for a coop partner, he will never pass up the opportunity to play some Super Smash Bros.

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