The week's highs and lows in PC gaming

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Every Friday the PC Gamer stares the previous seven days in the face and refuses to blink. Find out what we loved, and what we’ve tried (but failed) to blank out…

THE HIGHS

Wes Fenlon: About to wade into Witcher lore
The best news of the week, for me, is that The Witcher 3 is coming out in early 2015. Not spring or summer. February 24, 2015. And, no surprise, the game looks stunning. It has an almost impossibly high bar to live up to, at this point: a vast, beautiful open world, 100 hours of story and sidequests, and the Witcher's traditionally excellent morally grey choices. I'm pumped to go after the Wild Hunt, the horsemen of death we've mostly only seen in Witcher backstory. I'm almost excited enough to start reading the Witcher novels. Dangerous territory.

Tim Clark: FIFA finally gets with the programme
It’s fashionable to beat up on EA, and this year the company will have been pleased to have avoided completing a hattrick of consecutive ‘worst company in America’ awards. I’ve always thought that level of hatred was ludicrously hyperbolic, though. EA makes some pretty good games and, notable exceptions like the Sim City launch apart, does a decent of bringing them to PC. However… The decision last year not to bother using the new Ignite engine for the PC version of FIFA 14 was pretty contemptuous of our audience. So I’m delighted that it’s now been confirmed that this year’s game will be on par with the next-gen consoles. Expect more info very soon, but I’m confident you won’t be disappointed.

Phil Savage: It's a Wild world
The only thing I've played this week is Wildstar. Sure, I probably had time to squeeze in a quick game of Minesweeper, but why would I want to? It's Minesweeper. At this point, it's a definite high—Wildstar, not Minesweeper—but I've written loads about it already, so let's pick something else. My other highlight of the week was this Source Filmmaker short. It's the Hotline Miami 2 trailer, only done with the cast of Team Fortress 2. It's everything that's great about the Source Filmmaker's flexibility: exciting, fluid and of an unbelievably professional quality. It's just a shame TF2 isn't really like this.

Cory Banks: The One pad to rule them all?
I love gadgets. I love to hook up a whole mess of peripherals and see how they work with my PC games. Yes, the keyboard and mouse is great, but so are joysticks, keypads, and even controllers. So I’m thrilled that Microsoft finally released PC drivers for the Xbox One controller. It feels pretty good in my hands, and the idea that we’ll have PC games using the controller’s trigger rumble is pretty cool. More gadgets on my PC is a good thing—here’s hoping Sony releases an official solution for its stellar controller next (though you can make the DualShock 4 work on PC now with some tinkering).

Sam Roberts: Cops and robbers make a comeback
I can’t say Battlefield has traditionally captured my imagination, but I’ll play the absolute shit outta Hardline, which this week got its first trailer after a number of extraordinary leaks. Say the word ‘heist’ to me and I think of three things: Heat, Payday and GTA V (still not on PC, boo!). Hardline is the Battlefield interpretation of a multiplayer cops vs robbers game, and it looks like big, stupid fun, and looks like it features the kind of ludicrous crime scenarios that have never been documented in the history of man. Can’t wait to learn more about it next week when someone awkwardly plays it on stage at E3.

Tom Senior: I want to hack into a wolf
I was peering over Sam's shoulder as he played through Jordan Thomas and Stephen Alexander's indie project, The Magic Circle. It buries its lede behind a series of in-jokes laser targeted at experienced gamers and game designers, which is all good fun, but I'm really excited to play it for the AI manipulation. You can tunnel into NPCs and objects and give them items or change their behaviour, which lets you roll through the world with a posse of sentient bricks and vicious wolves. There are some very neat moments that take a sledgehammer to the fourth wall, but to mention them would only spoil things. It's clever, it's funny, and worth getting excited about.

Andy Kelly: Vanishing's potential is easy to spot
The first proper trailer for The Vanishing of Ethan Carter was released this week. I’ve already seen a bit of the game—you can read my preview here—but this looks way more polished. Their ‘photogrammetry’ tech has created some really impressive environments, and I’m a sucker for anything set in American forests (Alan Wake, Twin Peaks, The X-Files, etc.) Who could have imagined that the minds behind Bulletstorm, a game whose hero says things like “Son of a dick!” as he blows peoples’ heads off, would create something so seemingly subtle and thoughtful.