It’s day two of E3, which means everyone is probably hot, sweaty, extremely tired and no doubt coming down with some sort of horrible illness. There’s no better time for another day of non-stop gaming news, reveals and announcements, hurtling toward your brain like a cannonball fired from the stage.
We’ll be spewing out words and showing you trailers all day, as well as covering the conferences from the floor and in our tiny, dank offices. We’ll also be smearing our thoughts all over this here live blog, and whatever else we fancy posting. Maybe we’ll start finger painting. Who knows!
04:59 – Fraser:And that’s your lot. Go to bed, nerds.
04:58 – Fraser:Four hours. Four hours. Four hours. It’s been four hours, well, give or take 15 minutes, since The PC Gaming Show opened its doors. We’ve had trivia, a few announcements, a lot of repetition and some AMD ads. It’s ridiculous that it ended up being this long, like it’s overcompensating after all these years of PC being a pariah at E3.
But! There were actually a few exciting announcements, like No Man’s Sky’s simultaneous PS4 and PC release, Microsoft releasing a few games from their exclusive shackles and free stuff from Blizzard in the form of Whispers of Oblivion.
Here’s the thing: if the show had been an hour long, the big Blizzard announcements, the Pillars of Eternity expansion, all of the stuff we’ve just watched, I’d probably be singing the show’s praises. But it was so damn long. And filled with people chatting on a sofa, only rarely offering real insight into their games.
It’s a first attempt, though. And it’s nowhere near the massive cock up that certain shows have been in the past. The chat show was a misstep, the length definitely was, but ultimately, we got a few pretty big announcements, and surprises as E3 winds down it’s second day are rare.
04:57 – Nick:The PC Gaming show was sure a strange one. It’s not your average conference – you won’t find any big hype building mega announcements, but that’s not always a bad thing. For PC’s first E3 event, it was instead a rather casual get-together with some friendly conversations with PC devs.
There might not of been anything new, but there was plenty from games I care about. Planet Coaster looks colourful and fun, and Beyond Eyes looks colourful and interesting. I like colourful games. Guild Wars 2 is finally bringing Guild Halls back, and in a big way; it was my favourite feature of the original. Enter the Gungeon looks like my new couch co-op game, and I can’t wait to beat my head with its seemingly difficult but fun encounters. And finally we have new heroes for Heroes of the Storm – a MOBA I’m hopelessly addicted to lately.
Basically this show has been like the warm cosy coffee you have after a large three course meal. It wasn’t flashy or filled with spectacle, instead it was comfortable and more light-hearted. I hope they keep some of that tone if this is to become a regular thing – which I hope it does – but I also hope they’d position themselves towards the start of E3, rather than picking up the pieces.
04:56 – Rob:So this was a flawed first attempt from PC Gamer. And I think the problem is that they approached this like a media outlet. They’re covering these games, they are trying to advocate for PC gaming and its many sorts of developers and games, so they’re not going to turn around and say, “Hey, your game seems cute and all but it’s not a big enough deal for our stage.” So we ended up with this odd cross between a talk show and press briefing. And there wasn’t a whole lot that was new at this conference. It was more a chance for people who have already been showcased earlier this week to show the flag and say, “Yes, we’re coming to PC. Love you!”
When Fred Wester came out, I had the thought that THIS was what the conference needed. Not him, necessarily, but someone like him. Someone who is going to come out and actually say, “fuck it, PC gaming is the best gaming, and we’re going to show you why.”
PC Gamer, websites like PCGamesN, we’re all going to pursue these small games and fringe products. But tonight I wanted a big-tent revival, and I got a quiet after-hours talk show.
On the other hand, they did give a lot of time and space to games and developers who would be footnotes at a lot other conferences, and there’s value to that approach as well.
Final point: a lot of games press people were trash talking this on Twitter. I get why: it’s late, we’ve been covering this stuff for three days, we’re all tired. But I think a lot of us are probably out of touch on this. People I follow on Twitter who aren’t games press, but are die-hard PC gamers? They ate this up.
So, to sum up, the state of PC gaming is strong and nobody knows anything for sure
04:12 – Fraser:Hello. My name is Fraser Brown and I’m a Heroes of the Storm addict.
04:06 – Fraser:This is our life now. The PC Gaming Show. It will never end. We will look back, as we sit in our rocking chairs, and tell our children’s children about the days before there was nothing but the PC Gaming Show.
03:49 – Fraser:And here’s a Dirty Bomb trailer for your sweaty eyes.
03:47 – Nick: Beyond Eyes is a sweet looking game. A really neat idea, which is what indies are great at producing. More of this please.
03:35 – Rob:AMD loves PC gaming, and they want you to know that. But unless you are really into graphics hardware, I’m not sure they explained what their love means to me, Joe Gamer.
Maybe I’m an outlier, but I don’t follow graphics stuff as much as I used to. What I need, desperately, is for AMD to explain what they’ve done to get back in the graphics game after years of being pretty roundly thrashed by Nvidia on the price / performance front. Because for the last several years, literally nobody has suggested I put AMDanythinginto a new PC build.
03:30 – Fraser:Awww yes. Second round of ads from show sponser, AMD.
03:00 – Rob:Hey, there’s an American Truck Simulator. But in the trailer they showed, I didn’t see a single adult bookstore, much less 50. Simulation my ass.
02:44 – Nick: They still should have called it Total Warhammer. But I’m hyped nonetheless. WAAAARRGGGGHHHH!
02:40 – Rob:Total Warhammer hype traaaaaailer. Man, you forget how amazing this series has been, even when it stumbles.
Surprise griffin is the best griffin.
02:30 – Fraser:A history lesson! Hell yes!
02:18 – Fraser:AMD’s chief wizard scientist is all over the place these days.
02:15 – Fraser:First guest down, Tripwire Interactive, talking about the MEAT system and user generated content for Killing Floor 2. And then, Rising Storm 2 Vietnam. Oh yes! Also, David Braben said “hello!”
01:49 – Fraser:It’s almost been an hour of trivia, after a round of trivia earlier in the day. I dragged myself through university all those years ago so I’d never have to do a test again.
00:52 – Nick:Oh, hello there. It’s been quite the break between the last conference, but alas, another dawns. This time, it’s AMD and PC Gamer teaming up to do the PC Gaming Show. It’s already has more promise than all the conferences combined, denoted by the word “PC” in the event’s title.
So what can we expect. Well, a slew of PC developers are there: Blizzard, Bohemia Interactive, Cloud Imperium Games, Tripwire Interactive, Square Enix, Obsidian, Paradox, Devolver Digital and more. I’m hoping we get a couple of new things, and less rehashes of previously made announcements.
But if they announce a single mobile title, I’m going to murder my flatmate (sorry Fraser).
00:16 – Tim:So I’ve seen more of Deus Ex. And it’s superb.
The team are clearly proud of the improvements to combat, and some of what they’ve done is really interesting. The weapons are more interesting and way more modifiable that’s the first game, and there are more abilities that are more directly combat orientated: like Denton’s hilarious exploding arm mines.
What’s way more interesting is in the enemies. Mankind Divided is set in a time where augments are more common: so the enemies have a wider range of abilities. They’ll bounce around using bionic legs, vanish, and fight with purpose. That makes combat way more dynamic.
But the thing that impressed me the most was the art and world design. This game has done a superb job of making the future: stacking it on top of the past. One opening shot of the demo sees a bullet train passing through a suburb – vast electrical bridges cascading over European semi detached houses. Every space is filled with graffiti or rubbish or little incidental stuff. They’re dense with detail. I can’t wait to play it.
23:27 – Tim:Have just popped in to see Total War: Warhammer. The demo is exactly the same as the battle we covered here earlier this month, but it doesn’t make it any less impressive. One detail I hadn’t quite clocked at the time is just how well Creative Assembly have animated the non-human units. The little goblin spider riders won me over with their sheer enthusiasm in their charges. Expect Total War: Warhammer to win a slew of Strategy game of the show awards. It’s a shoe-in.
23:13 – Tim: Just had an absolutely hilarious chat with a producer on Just Cause 3. It’s a game about escalating, insane destruction and daft stunts. Things that they’ve added: a wing suit and a grappling hook that functions like Batman’s travel power, except the speed of the grapple is mapped to your left trigger. If you’re wing walking, you’re no longer restricted to fixed positions on the plane, you can wander freely on a wing. And, mysteriously, there’s some form of advanced explosions that are unlocked later on that they describe as “thematic”. No idea how that functions.
Best though: the Havok physics simulation that lets bridges, statues, gas stations and everything in between explode and break in beautiful, intricate ways. In one demo the team attached the ends of a retracting grapple to the hand of a statue and its face, and made it slap itself to death. VIDEOGAMES.
Now the bad news – it’s going to be left to modders to figure out multiplayer – although the debs are infusing the game with asynchronous leaderboards that will track everything that you do in the game. And, the infinite grapple hook mod that made the second game such a hoot hasn’t made it into the new one.
22:40 – Tim:Hmm. I’m not entirely convinced by the Deus Ex demo Square Enix have on the show floor. Apparently, the big problem with the original Deus Ex was that the combat options didn’t feel as fun or were as powerful as raw stealth – so the demonstration goes out of the way to show the violent option. You now have remote mines that can be fired into position from your hand blades, mad nano-shields that eviscerate those surrounding you, and are pretty handy with guns.
I’m not sure that’s really what I wanted from a new Deus Ex.
Something I found amusing, though, was that they’ve nicked whole Dishonored’s phase jump thingy – JC can now hop between ledges and outcroppings very, very quickly.
There’s a longer demo I’ll see later on today, and I’ll have an interview with the developers soon.
19:59 – Rob: There are two reactions that I have to the Square Enix press conference. The first is that E3 becomes so much about style over substance. What you say and what you show is less important than how you do it. I think if I weren’t a PC gaming guy, and I weren’t comparing this to stuff like the bonkers Microsoft presser, I’d be pretty happy. Lots of big games, renewed commitment to genre standbys, and a proud embrace of Japanese gaming tradition. Substantively, isn’t that better than anything EA or Ubi did yesterday?
Yet we were all bored to tears during the presentation. Because Square Enix put on a bad floor show. They basically tossed their trailers up there, and then came out and talked about the games with a sense of businesslike obligation. So it felt like a crap press conference.
But that also brings me around to my second reaction: this is a company that still firmly believes its future lies with PlayStation and handheld. Hitman, Deus Ex? That’s from the Eidos-portion of the company. But when it comes to the things that are clearly closest to the home office’s heart, Square Enix has absolutely nothing to say to anyone outside the traditional audience for Japanese games.
And I don’t know if that’s a bad decision. Clearly, EA have made a decision that almost all their sports games have to live on the consoles. PC gamers self-selected over the years to be an audience that largely ignored JRPGs. But I do wonder if that isn’t just a little too narrow in this day and age. I don’t think PC gamers’ tastes are as narrow as they were in the 90s or early 2000s. We are all PC gamers now. But Square Enix are still preaching to the same choir they always have.
19:55 – Fraser: Square Enix’s conference was the strangest of the bunch. Polite, professional and lacking any energy or much that wasn’t already covered in earlier conferences. It got particularly bizarre when they started talking about Final Fantasy VII. There won’t be a PC version of the remake, but the PS4 is getting the old PC version. That’s the wrong way around, Square Enix.
Console and mobile announcements made the bulk of the show, and anything that was completely new, so not Hitman, not Final Fantasy VII, not anything that was revealed at the Sony conference, essentially, but fairly disappointing. The Kingdom Hearts 3 footage looked lovely, though.
Really, though, this was just a repeat, and at no point did it seem like Square Enix needed its own conference.
19:50 – Nick:Square Enix have returned to E3 after quite a long hiatus. This should be great news, momentous in fact; I have so many titles to be excited about. The conference however was lackluster at best. The mobile platform dominated the entire show – I’d be gearing up for a PC announcement, just to hear “coming to mobile”. It was disappointing.
Yes, we saw Just Cause 3, Hitman, and Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, and a bit more Tomb Raider (which will come to PC eventually). But there wasn’t anything unique or exciting that we didn’t see last night. Hopefully we’ll have more to hear on them from our men on the floor in the coming days.
So overhaul, not the best of shows. It looks like we’ll have to go digging around ourselves if we want any new tidbits on the biggest and best Square Enix games.
19:21 – Nick: This sums up the Square Enix conference for me:
18:52 – Nick:I think I just let out the biggest yawn. Kingdom Hearts III looks fab, but it’s not coming to the PC. Come on Square – give us the meaty stuff.
18:30 – Fraser:Our reaction to Square Enix chatting about mobile couldn’t be called measured.
18:25 – Fraser:Square Enix is pretty chuffed about those eyelashes.
18:20 – Fraser:Oh hell, new NieR! PS4 only. NOOoooo!
17:50 – Fraser:10 minutes until the Square Enix conference, and we’re being fed trivia.
17:43 – Nick:AMD have just finished their initial unveiling of their new Radeon range: the R7300 and R9300 series. DirectX 12 support appears to be the focus, which is a smart move since Microsoft have Windows 10 out in just over a month’s time. The cards are powerful too, no matter which one you look at. The R7300 is obviously designed for those with a budget in mind, but will run most games – especially eSports titles – at 1080p and at a high frame rate. The R9300 however is for the big guns, but won’t actually break the bank; the best card shown will only set you back $429. Read more about it here.
17:17 – Fraser:Too many new acronyms at the AMD conference. They’ve floated in one ear and out the other.
16:37 – Nick:But lets look to tonight. First up is AMD with their conference. They’re slated to be revealing a brand new AMD GPU – one that will probably make your jaw drop and our heads explode. We’ve already had some leaks too. Expect something up on here momentarily, but you can also watch the stream here.
16:35 – Nick:So much happened last night, that I’m still trying to process it all. I still remember watching Shenmue III’s Kickstarter goal going up in thousands of dollars every couple of seconds. I left it at a mighty $600,000, and then when I woke up it had already well breached its $2 million dollar goal. Bonkers – but I hope this doesn’t set a trend with big publishers and future games.
16:25 – Fraser:Tim had a chat with Stoic about Banner Saga 2, the follow up to their gorgeous management and tactics RPG.
16:17 – Fraser: It’s day two, but I’m still thinking about day one. Okay, I’m mainly thinking that I desperately wish I’d seen more Mass Effect: Andromeda and that Pelé’s meandering chat with that EA man was really strange.
It was a busy day, where we got a Dark Souls 3 confirmation, Star Wars: Battlefront gameplay, another South Park RPG, and a whole pile of other bits of knowledge. But enough about yesterday, we’ve got Square Enix’s conference coming up next, at at 10am PT/6pm BST.