Tuesday was the night that PC gaming got to take its turn in the spotlight, with both a Twitch PC Gaming show and the PC Gamer Magazine and AMD PC Gaming Show as well. Both streams showcasing up and coming games for the PC platform. The PC Gamer show was hosted by Sean Day Plott and featured a massive number of walk-ons from various game developers and studios devoted to PC gaming. While the roughly two hour long show only featured one traditional MMORPG there were still some definite surprise announcements, from the ever expanding massively multiplayer gaming genre.
Leading up to the PC Gaming show Tuesday night, we were treated to a number of PC gaming demos on Twitch. Of these the most interesting was when Gearbox Software President and CEO Randy Pitchford popped by the stream to show off their latest game Battleborn. The premise of the game is that it takes place at the end of space and time as the remaining races of the universe coalesce around the final star after an event known as the “Heat Death”. All of these disparate races have different viewpoints on how to treat their situation. Some what to study the star and try and find a way to save it, and potentially reignite the galaxy. Others want to protect the star at all costs, and others still want to destroy it in an attempt to usher in their races beliefs in the afterlife. This fertile ground gives them a reason to populate this setting with all manner of imaginable creatures from every possible timeline.
The game is slotted for a Winter 2015 release, and will feature not only a single player campaign mode but a vast number of multiplayer gameplay modes as well. There will be loot to earn and gear to equip as well as a skill based leveling system that allows you to customize the way you build each character. Pitchford said that the amount of time that is going into each character for Battleborn is roughly four times the amount of effort spent on each individual existing Borderlands character. This makes it all the more impressive that the game is planned to ship with twenty five different characters and more to be released after the launch. Pitchford mentioned that the thing he is proudest of is that they are returning to their roots as a company. Since they were the folks responsible for the original network code behind Halo, he is happy to see them return to their rich competitive gaming past. This is definitely a title to watch as it gets closer to release.
James Phinney Creative Director on from Motiga games showed up to talk a bit about Gigantic. We have talked at length about this game and its interesting blend of MOBA and FPS, and for the most part the demo reel he brought to the show didn’t really give us anything new that we have not already covered. However towards the end of the discussion he did drop a few interesting dates. It appears that Closed Beta access will begin in August 2015 and they are hoping to open the gates a little wider than have been currently available with the Alpha program. Similarly Gigantic is expected to enter an Open Beta phase towards the end of 2015, allowing all the players who have been chomping at the bits for this one to get their hands on it.
One of the hot things this year from all of the vendors has been Virtual Reality, and the longest player in that market so far has been the Oculus Rift. One of the most talked about titles targetting the Rift is of course Eve Valkyrie. Ryan Geddes of CCP dropped by to show off some in game footage of this upcoming multiplayer space combat game. He talked about how Valkyrie was designed from the ground up for Virtual Reality, and the challenges this presented. Apparently they had to rethink every aspect of the game including the user interface elements, and how they would look at different focal lengths to the gamers that were in the environment. The question that has been on everyone’s minds for some time is if this will ever be linked to the living Eve Universe, but sadly the answer is no. They want Valkyrie to be a game about the thrill and intensity of combat, and as such a completely separate multiplayer experience.
Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns
While the MMORPG representation thus far at E3 has been pretty minimal, I was excited when Colin Johanson Game Director with Arenanet took the stage. He unveiled the brand new Guild Wars Heart of Thorns Guild Halls trailer, and fleshed out some of the details. The Guild Hall is essentially an entire map that the guild has control over. The map begins owned by the jungle dragon and its army, and the guild will need to band together to defeat these forces in order to claim it for their own. From there they have control over the look and feel and can choose to build a number of buildings. The Arena for example allows the guild to participate in large pvp battles, and they have complete control over the layout. This means they can add walls, or other obstacles to change the feel of the gameplay even in the middle of a match. You can read more about it in our E3 demo later today.
Another building highlighted is the Workshop that allows the players to access a special guild crafting profession. This will allow members of the guild to craft gear for other guild members and then take that out into the world. The War room is a special kind of building that allows the guild to craft tools and then use them in the WvWvW pvp modes. In the demo Colin shows a battle where a guild has taken control of a castle objective, and then calls down air support in the form of an airship built using the War Room. The most impressive announcement however is that as of this show pre-orders are now open on the ArenaNet page, and these will grant access to all of the upcoming beta weekend events.
Heroes of the Storm – Eternal Conflict
Dustin Browder and Chris Sigaty showed up to talk about the brand new expansion for Heroes of the Storm called Eternal Conflict. This represents a package of Diablo themed content adding a brand new Battlefield of Eternity play map as well as a bunch of new champions. The Butcher previously announced was the first of these featuring a melee assassin playstyle, but Tuesday night we also got to hear about Leoric the Skeleton King. When King Leoric dies on the battlefield he takes the form of a wraith allowing him to move around the map freely and attack the player. Instead of dealing damage each attack reduces the respawn timer, allowing him to respawn where his wraith form is standing. He features to interesting heroic abilities, the first of which is called Entomb which creates a wall around an enemy hero trapping them in place. The second heroic ability is called March of the Black King which is a powerful melee attack that propels the champion forward swinging his giant war mace. Each swing deals a large amount of damage and also heals Leoric as well.
The other champion highlighted was the Monk, but Browder mentioned that the details were still being worked out. He will however represent the first Diablo support champion, but this comes in a slightly different package than we have seen before. The Monk will apparently be able to pick his starting passive trait, with one making him a traditional support champion, and the other turning him into more of a brawler role. All of this content releases on June the 30th and features other interesting surprises like the Treasure Goblin. The Goblin can be found in the battle field for the first 30 seconds of the battle, and players who are able to defeat him before he disappears into his portal will earn their team some much needed experience. Finally as a last thing before leaving they stage they announced that the Beta for Starcraft II Legacy of the Void would begin during July 2015.
No Man’s Sky
Sean Murray of Hello Games was the final guest of the night, once again showing off the trailer for the upcoming sandbox multiplayer scifi exploration game No Man’s Sky It was refreshing to see a dose of humility as he joked that the trailer was really full of itself will all the quotes flying on screen. He talked a bit about how you beta test a massive scale procedurally generated world. Apparently they have designed these bots that mimic player characters, and send them off into the world to explore. While exploring they log everything they see and record video, so that the developers can then go back and view the footage to make sure everything is going well. The big announcement of the night however is that while they have not quite announced a release date as they had originally planned for E3, that they were happy to announce that it would be coming out on both PC and PS4 at the same time.Related: Alpha, Battleborn, Beta, E3, E3 2015, EVE Valkyrie, Expansion, Gigantic, Guild Wars 2, Heroes of the Storm, No Man's Sky, Pre-order, Press Conference