The PC Gaming Show is slowly becoming a tighter and more manageable affair with each successive entry. The first year was three hours long. Last year was more manageable. And the E3 2017 entry clocked in at just over 90 minutes. Segments were tighter and there was a smattering of games across genres to cater to all tastes. Here’s a round-up of 15 highlights from E3 2017’s PC Gaming Show.
An XCOM 2 expansion is dropping soon
On 29 August, to be precise. XCOM 2: War of the Chosen is bigger than any previous expansion: creative director Jake Solomon reckons its easily twice the size of expansions past. War of the Chosen will introduce new enemies, soldier classes, strategy systems, and locations. Players will be returning to cities where the inhabitants have been converted into mutated zombie-like hordes called the Lost. They’ll be an ever-present threat that’s apparently attracted to gunfire, which you can expect plenty of as you take on three new overlords bred to take you down. There’s an up-close Assassin, a long-range Hunter, and a mystical Warlock. You’ll get to cross ballistics with them multiple times apiece. Along the way you’ll have to curry favour with three other resistance factions to access some of the most powerful soldiers to join the XCOM ranks.
Battletech is MechWarrior reborn
Jordan Weisman, CEO of Harebrained Schemes and the original creator of BattleTech, was on hand to talk about the upcoming BattleTech game. According to Weisman, it’s faithful to the tabletop version and features turn-based tactical combat with hulking mechs. As a mercenary, you’ll want to minimise damage to your own mechs and maximise specific damage to your enemies if you want to make a profit. Battlefield salvage reportedly plays a big part in tactical decisions, as does heat management, and you can take enemies apart piece by piece, to disable weapon systems or expose their vulnerable innards.
Mount & Blade II continues to look sweet
Even though there was only a trailer on show this year, and no devs to talk about it. Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord is still on target to feature epic battles, and you can fight on horseback, or dismount to get all medieval on battling peasants. It looks like a heap of fun, and I wish developer TaleWorlds Entertainment would hurry up and announce a freakin’ release date.
Total War: Warhammer II rewards returning players
While the focus was firmly on the new High Elves and Lizardmen factions, Warhammer II is also set to include Dark Elves, and a fourth mysterious race. Any guesses, Warhammer fans? In terms of gameplay, it obviously looks very reminiscent of what was on offer in Total War: Warhammer, with a firm focus on the specific faction differences. There’s a couple of cool bonuses for those who own the original game, too. If you pre-order Warhammer II, you can have access to a new race for the original game. Also, when Warhammer II releases on 28 September, there will be a free update that lets you combine the campaign maps of both games into a single, playable space where you can play with any of the races you own. Very cool.
Intel loves eSports and, separately, Destiny 2
SVP at Intel Software Doug Fisher was on stage to promote some specific games and programs from an Intel software perspective. Intel is working with Bungie and Activision to optimise the engine for Destiny 2 so it’ll take advantage of all the cores of your (assumedly Intel) CPU. Intel is also the global technology provider for ESL, in both front- and back-end capacities, and Fisher announced the Intel Grand Slam Series, as well as the VR Challenge League. It’s great to see the competitive scene continuing to grow and receive the attention that it deserves.
Smaller games have a great presence, too
Even if they’re incredibly weird. Take, for instance, Ooblets. It’s described as Harvest Moon meets Pokémon meets Adventure Time, and it’s a game filled with dancing, exploring, and oddball customisation. CCG Shadowverse is getting an expansion called Wonderland Dreams, and it’s coming on 29 June. Then there’s a game called Tunic, which was formerly known as Secret Legend. It looks like (another?) PC answer to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and puts players in charge of an action-adventuring fox in a giant explorable world.
Even The Last Night continues to intrigue with comparisons to Oddworld, an emphasis on story-driven platforming and puzzling, and the revelation that the “real-time puzzles” are impacted by time of day and who’s around to see you puzzling. The devs behind Don’t Starve and Oxygen Not Included are making a sci-fi RPG called Giftlands, and it looks like a freakin’ playable cartoon, with striking art design. It has turn-based combat and encourages players to charm, battle, negotiate and even cheat their way through the game. Speaking of turn-based combat, Wargroove is incoming from the makers of Starbound and Stardew Valley, which will ship with straightforward campaign-building tools for a whole lot of turn-based map domination (created by devs or other players).
Battlegrounds has a bright future
Despite it continually kicking my arse, I keep going back to Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds for my competitive multiplayer fix. It’s definitely not the kind of game that you can feel confident with after long stretches between play sessions. But the good news is developer Brendan “Playerunknown” Greene and his team at Bluehole Inc. have some great plans for Battlegrounds. The focus for June is to stabilise the servers, which is a necessary step. In the future, Bluehole will introduce 3D in-engine replays, at least two new maps (a desert and snow map), and new weather settings. There was also a neat trailer for the improved jumping and vaulting mechanic, and the new gun, which Greene described as a beast. The OTs Groza is a bullpup 7.62-calibre assault rifle that’s reportedly good at all ranges, and will be found in crate drops only (when it releases).