Being the very last ‘conference’ of sorts means there’s not much hype left for ol’ PC Gamer’s powered show. That said, the show went on and was hosted by truly, the only one who I knew would do it justice: Sean ‘Day’ Plott. Doing a magnificent job hosting and presenting the show in a sort of ‘talk show’ way was a ballsy move as it was not only a first for PC gaming but a first for a ‘conference’ at an E3 show; and it’s caused a great divide of opinions.
The split comes from the differing mindset of people who want to see the heavy hitting games revealed, and people who respected and found interest in the developmental processes to the games that were being presented. What made this show so great to me was the engagement that these developers had with not just the host but the audience. That said, I can’t keep the facade that it was perfect, it did indeed drain a fair bit as 2 and a half hours to present 40+ guests (while understandable) is far too long to retain interest.
First off, I was happily surprised when it was announced that the host for the show would be Day as I had followed him back when I use to follow Starcraft 2 religiously. Watching his breakdowns of matches, watching his personality on air and seeing such a refreshing optimistic man who loves life and happily spreads it to others, it’s no surprise that PC Gamer UK voted him as Gamer of the Year back in 2010. Plott at a young age was vehemently addicted to Starcraft Broodwars, leading him to play seriously and in tournaments, even winning several. Eventually retiring from the Starcraft scene, he spent his life completing his degrees in Mathematics and eventually Interactive Media where he developed his love for game design and understood what made games so great.
When Starcraft 2: Wings of Liberty was announced and released, he made his return, being a distinguished streamer and e-Sports caster for his charismatic nature and love for Starcraft 2. He still streams to this day although not exclusive to Starcraft 2 anymore. He started working for Artillery Games, Inc. as a game designer as a day job while still retaining his stream for his beloved fan base. With someone who is at the forefront of promoting PC gaming and showing a genuine passion for its growth, it’s really a fantastic choice that he’s the one that talks to these developers and asks the right questions in the most interesting way to keep interests relevant for the audience.
Fanboying aside, the shocking amount of guest speakers presented were staggering. Developers such as RocketWerkz’s Dean Hall, Tripwire’s John Gibson and Blizzard’s Heroes of the Storm Game Director; Dustin Browder made an appearance. Among others included was the surprise guest: Xbox’s Phil Spencer. Spencer’s arrival on an entirely different show was his way of supporting the PC market; admitting that Microsoft had ‘lost our way with PC gaming’, wanting to show that PC gaming was indeed growing rapidly and that he doesn’t want to neglect it anymore by endorsing PC gaming on the soon arrival of Windows 10.
As a sign of good faith, previously Xbox One exclusive title Killer Instinct was announced to have a port being worked on for the PC. It was also suggested that it might have cross-platform play between both the PC and the Xbox One version. For more detail on that you can check here!
Another very neat port came from Rod Fergusson who is the head of The Coalition who revealed a remastering for the Gears of War franchise on the PC was in the works. Titled Gears of War: Ultimate Edition, it will be completely built from scratch with huge visual improvements, no framerate locks and support for 4k resolution and DirectX 12. Leaving no mention regarding the fate of Gears of War 4 on the PC, he promises to confirm or deny the possibility later on. You can also check this out in more detail here.
The ports don’t stop for the PC platform with the arrival of Hello Games’s Sean Murray getting on stage and having a jolly banter with Plott. Being one of the developers that the crowds were hyped to see at the Sony conference, his arrival pleased the crowds just the same at the show as he revealed that No Man’s Sky will definitely be released on the PC as well as the PS4; and at the exact time to boot! The fan pleasing game is slated to come out sometime in 2015; but no release date could be solidified for now according to Murray. For the trailer and extra information, check this out!
Obviously we don’t want just ports for PC, so developers like Tripwire have piped up and announced Rising Storm 2: Vietnam. Rising Storm 2: Vietnam is the sequel to an expansion of a mod (Rising Storm) for Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad. Like the sequel, this expansions will be standalone and will utilize the FPS mechanics from Red Orchestra 2 that made people very happy. The games are very tactical focused and for that I’m quite keen on giving this a shot. Even if it means I’ll be shooting digital countrymen from my native lands. Here’s the trailer if you want to take a look:
Speaking of expansions, Pillars of Eternity; the hit 2015 RPG Kickstarter successful game will be getting its first expansion. As part of pledge goals and public purchase, Pillars of Eternity: The White March Part 1 will contain new abilities, storylines, companions and an increase in the level cap. You can check out the trailer from here.
Of course the biggest announcements, especially conveniently tied in to the expansion talk is Blizzard’s appearance on the show. Heroes of the Storm’s The Eternal Conflict updated expansion dropped some information regarding King Leoric and the Monk from Diablo making their debut in the update. The Monk is described to be the first support character but also has options that allow him to be a solo sustainable character.
The two will be joined by the earlier revealed Butcher. And further, guest speaker Dustin Browder explained that a new quest system would be in place that involved players fulfilling certain goals like killing the Treasure Goblin who will spawn before gates are opened. These Treasure Goblins reward their killers with special portraits and premium currency gold. The trailer and more details can be read here.
Alongside the above, several other bits of news came out such as the announcement of pre-purchase for Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns now available, free Starcraft 2 Whispers of Oblivion prologue missions available to bridge the gap between Heart of the Swarm and Legacy of the Void expansions, DayZ creator’s next game Ion revealed and spiritual successor to Roller Coaster Tycoon; Planet Coaster: Simulation Evolved announced. All of which you can read up a bit more about in their respective links above.
Now that was a hefty amount of information to digest, and there are heaps that I haven’t mentioned due to fatigue throughout the very long enduring show. Lots of pretty great announcements and showings; sadly, placed last after an incredible E3 start with Sony and Bethesda, this conference is sure to not excite as many people as it ought to. Coupled by the very long presentation, it drew wind out of a lot of viewers, myself included. That said, watching these guests get up and just hang loose, cracking jokes and being themselves was an enjoyable watch, and the enduring Sean Plott, putting everything he has to be so full of life and enjoyable to watch as he got to meet so many members of the industry that he particularly loves; soldiered on and did a fantastic job.
The PC Gaming show was first and foremost a show. Not a press conference that the others were. The style it chose to present itself in is not a mere throw up of games to appeal to stockholders, it’s to present to the audience: Here you go, this is happening and we’re chuffed it’s here.
While two and a half hours is a long ask to get people to watch in the midst of E3 celebrations and festivities, it’s actually a fine presentation that would definitely have gone better had it been seperate and not affiliated with E3; or at least was before/after the show. Personally, I’d love to see this show come back next year in whatever iteration it needs to be in order to gain traction; and I hope that Day comes back; people love him and he knows his stuff regarding this industry!
Disagree with what’s said? Agree? Let us know how you felt about the first ever PC Gaming Show E3 2015 in the comments!