title="Permanent Link to The week’s highs and lows in PC gaming">
Each week PC Gamer s writers meld minds until the most significant events of the previous seven days have been chosen. It s honestly amazing anything gets done around here.
Tim Clark: Bewitching footage
A couple of weeks ago, in this very column, I extolled the virtues of Dragon Age: Inquisition using actual gameplay footage for its promotional videos. ( Let them watch the actual game we want them to buy? I dunno, it sounds crazy ) It appears the team at CD Projekt RED took this as a direct challenge to their honour.
The only response? To release more than half an hour s worth of in-game The Witcher 3 witchery. Watch it here. Things I particularly liked in the video. 1) Johnny the Godling child having a West Country accent when his voice returned. 2) One the Welsh crones using the word bollocks . 3) The combat. 4) Everything else. A splurge like this, arriving a long way out from the February 2015 release date, only comes from a developer supremely confident that what it s making is going to be very good. I can t wait to find out if they re right..
Ben Griffin: Oculus Rift DK2
Oh my God. I ve just tried the new Oculus Rift and now my mind is full of fabulous swears. I was on a fairground ride, a sort of whirling, spinning big dipper that tumbled me arse over tit repeatedly while my legs dangled over some brilliant city skyline. I honestly think it s the most fun I ve ever had in a videogame. Just sitting there, howling with laughter. I love Mass Effect 2, but it never once made me happy.
You don t need to hear yet another overenthusiastic report of the Rift s brilliance, but between me and you, I wasn t sold on the first one. The picture was never quite in focus, and stepping into its screen door world for more than a few minutes made me queasy. Not DK2 though. DK2 is amazing, an across-the-board upgrade boasting higher-resolution, lower-latency, optical head tracking, and greater comfort. Where the first model felt every inch the specialist prototype it was, this feels official. The One. As I write this, our production editor Tony is now wearing the Rift, and he s staring at his crotch and giggling like a maniac. Videogames: they re amazing.
Samuel Roberts: Play Dishonored for free, now!
This might rank as the best free Steam weekend ever. You can absolutely get through Arkane s brilliant Dishonored by Sunday (if not definitively, given the detail of the environments in Dunwall and potential for replay value) and I would consider that a damn good use of a weekend. The massive Borderlands 2 is also free on Steam this weekend, but here s a game you can actually beat in a reasonable amount of hours for nothing a very generous move on Bethesda s part if you ve never played it before. Hopefully this bit of profile-raising precedes an announcement of the long-awaited follow-up project from Arkane. Even if it doesn t, free game!
Cory Banks: WoW memorializes Robin Williams
Robin Williams passed away on August 11, and the comedic actor left a long legacy of films to enjoy. But Williams was also, like us, a gamer he even named his daughter Zelda. One of his favorite games, reportedly, was World of Warcraft, so it s fitting that developer Blizzard has plans to pay tribute to Williams in Warlords of Draenor, the MMO s upcoming expansion.
Code from the newest build of the expansion shows three NPCs based on Williams characters: my favorite is Robin the Entertainer, a genie reminiscent of William s role in Aladdin. They re small touches, of course, but for fans of the actor who are also fans of WoW, it s a nice touch. Good job, Blizzard.
Phil Savage: All of the indies
I'm one month away from officially being old (ie. 30), so my memory isn't what it used to be. To pick each week's winning high and/or low, I need to browse through the past seven days of news, opening a new tab for each potential contender. This week, I was left with multiple tabs of cool upcoming indie games.
There's Binding of Isaac: Rebirth, which is a known quantity given that I played 125 hours of the original; Super Time Force Ultra, an excellent looking action-platformer; Fistful of Gun, an exciting remake of a cool, free Western shooter; Enemy Starfighter, a space combat sim with an outstanding trailer; and Due Process, the tactical FPS with an emphasis on planning. As I look towards the end of the year, I see a lot of RPGs vying for my attention. It's heartening to know that my time in those deep, complex worlds can be interspersed with plenty of quick-fire, skill-based action.
Tom Marks: Gang Beasts is now twice as fine
I ve had a major crush on Gang Beasts ever since the I first laid hands on its early preview build, so to hear it has been picked by Double Fine as part of its Double Fine Presents series has got me grinning from ear to ear. The game is quirky, nostalgic, and already extremely fun which leaves me hard pressed to think of a better fit for it than under Double Fine s wing. The game will be arriving to steam early access on Aug. 29th with a big ole update, and I can t wait to see what else the developers can add now that they ll have the support of a veteran studio.
Phil Savage: On the clock
Time. Time is my low. I'm really not a fan of it at the moment.
There are 168 hours in a week, and from that, you've got to subtract sleep, work, dicking about on Twitter, and having pointlessly heated internet arguments with friends. Then, with what's left, you can squeeze in time for gaming.
Right now, in preparation for Dragon Age: Inquisition, I'm replaying Dragon Age: Origins, and will follow it with my first playthrough of Dragon Age 2. (What can I say, I'm interested. I hear it reviewed pretty well.) There's also Divinity: Original Sin, which I'm barely even started; Risen 3, which I'm mildly curious about; and Wasteland 2, which, from the few Early Access hours I've played, could be very good indeed. Then, at some point before next February, I'm going to have to do The Witcher 2, too.
So thanks a lot, time. You jerk.
Samuel Roberts: Pigeon romance has to wait
I ve enjoyed every single showing of pigeon-based romance adventure Hatoful Boyfriend, mainly because unlike most of mankind, I think pigeons are quite entertaining and not just flying vermin. How can you not appreciate creatures that make themselves temporarily fat to woo a mate, or eat absolutely any filthy carbohydrate you drop for them on the floor? With that in mind, I ll have to wait another week before beginning my first semester at the well-regarded St. PigeoNation's school for birds.
Tim Clark: Left cold by the Mountain
I very much enjoyed Tyler s piece looking at why critics seem to love Mountain but the players don t. However, in this instance I have to come down on the side of the paying public. Having shelled out my own hard-earned, I was left pretty cold by the glorified spinning snow globe. And I say that as someone who considers himself a giant pseud who likes all manner of artsy interactive nonsense.
I dunno, if I wanted ambient gaming, I'd stand around outside the building in Hotline Miami. Maybe I m getting old. Or my diet of AAA megabusters has rotted my brain. But basically I was bored after about two seconds and didn t see that changing anytime soon. Still, if nothing else Mountain can surely lay claim to having some of the most entertaining reviews on Steam.
Tom Marks: Indie before it was cool
I don t think anyone has told Activision what the term indie means. It s true that indie game is a concept not everyone agrees on the definition of, but I m pretty sure most people would agree that resurrecting a studio with the intent of them being your ticket on to the indie bandwagon does not fall under that definition. ...I think it would be a miss if we didn t look at the indie movement as well, said Sierra s MacLean Marshall, as he looked at the indie movement the way a cheetah looks at a gazelle.
Ben Griffin: The Witcher 3 s gameplay demo
Not to be contrarian or anything, but the new half-hour gameplay demo meant to make me excited for The Witcher 3 actually did the opposite. I don t see a vast world brimming with possibility, but a job to do. A mountain to climb. It s the biggest one yet, they say. See that thing in the distance? You can walk to it you can. I don t know if I want to. Have I grown out of these epic, sweeping, lose-yourself RPGs?
Don t get me wrong. Obviously it s a tremendous feat - just one I want to appreciate from afar. When I think back to the 50 hours I sunk into the last one, how much do I really remember? How much fun did I really have compared to, say, Towerfall: Ascension, a game I played for 30 amazing minutes? A game I could pick up in five year s time and play for another amazing 30 minutes? When I ve got access to dozens of games ready and waiting to give me the insta-jollies, I m not sure there s room in my life for an experience defined by letting me walk to the horizon.
Cory Banks: Sacred 3 dev slags his own game
Okay, say you re a developer at a company hired to make a game. It s probably not your dream game, but you do your work and move on. No need to reopen the experience, right? Now imagine that game is Sacred 3, which has not been well received by Sacred fans because, well, it s apparently not really Sacred. Rather than move on, former Keen Games developer Sascha Wagentrotz decided to apologize to fans on Steam s forums for the final product and then blame the publisher s marketing department.
I don t know if Sacred 3 is good or bad, since I haven t played it. But I don t think Wagentrotz helped matters with his post. Not that I don t appreciate his transparency we need more of that in gaming. But it s the fingerpointing that worries me most. Games are complex products, and are rarely the sole creation of one person, or even one department at a company. There were likely some mistakes made during Sacred 3 s development process, but I sincerely doubt that it s as simple of a problem as, Marketing wanted our game to be a brawler. Transparency in the development process works best when we have enough information to tell what s happening, and we don t have that here, even with the follow up information in the post.
On the plus side, Wagentrotz says that the new company he s working for is great, and he s excited about his next game. Hopefully he feels like he has more of a say in its direction than he did with Sacred.