The week's highs and lows in PC gaming
Each week PC Gamer’s writers gather around a seance table and ask the previous seven days to reveal themselves. Not like that.
Tim Clark: What kept you, Snake?
I’m mostly not much one for boss battles, but the fight with The End from Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater is, by a distance, my favourite. It’s funny, tense and startlingly creative—essentially everything that’s good about Hideo Kojima’s stealth series. [Spoiler: if you couldn’t beat him conventionally, you could kill him with old age by altering the PS2’s internal clock.] Kojima’s detractors inevitably point to his narrative excess and his games’ debatable interactivity but, honestly, screw that noise. Metal Gear Solid V coming to PC, in the form of both The Phantom Pain and its Ground Zeroes prelude, is great news. As Tyler pointed out in his
rousing piece earlier this week, this is an interesting, systems-based game running on a powerful engine. The PC version will likely be the definitive one. Now we just need Konami to confirm P.T. next...
Phil Savage: Craving curation
Steam is changing. Today saw the release of some new library upgrades, and, thanks to the dataminers of SteamDB, we've got an idea of the upcoming improvements to the service's store. This is all good news. Few things this week excited me more than realising I can now select multiple games in my Steam library. No, don't look at me like that. I own a lot of games and have a need to categorise them all.
Okay, fine, the potential store changes are more notable. Specifically, the idea of following individual and group curators for personalised front pages. It's a necessary move—the continued sale of games like Air Control proves that Valve aren't interested in running a curated platform. Here's the thing: they never were. For years, they allowed unmitigated shit onto the store because they had deals in place with the publishers who shat them. Being on Steam is not, and has never been, a guarantee of quality. But being on the recommendations list of some reliable curators could be.
Tyler Wilde: Shadow Realms
Last week, I was griping about BioWare’s live action ‘You’ve Been Chosen’ teasers. I’m skeptical of any game revealed by not telling us what the game is. This week, however, we’ve all begun forgetting about the teasers in favor of having thoughts about Shadow Realms, the game they were teasing. And Shadow Realms sounds pretty cool. It’s a 4v1 episodic RPG, where the ‘one’ is the Shadowlord, who’s essentially a dungeon master. The Shadowlord attempts to stop the party “haunting them, setting traps, casting spells, summoning monsters, and controlling any monster in the level." And despite last week’s cryptic marketing, which usually suggests there’s nothing real to show, alpha invites are going out next month. Find out more in our interview with BioWare Austin General Manager Jeff Hickman.
Samuel Roberts: Metal Gear? It can’t be!
I have to echo Tim’s enthusiasm for Metal Gear Solid V coming to PC – I’m a huge fan of that series and I’ve completed all of them multiple times (except MGS4, since life’s slightly too short for me to sit through its ludicrous hour-long closing cutscene again). I now want Konami to take it further. Some PC players would like an education on Metal Gear and why it’s been so critically and commercially successful on consoles for such a long period of time. Konami already ported the original to PC years ago. Why not bring it out on Steam? Likewise, a few years ago, Konami employed port specialists BluePoint to remake MGS2 (eh), MGS3 (amazing) and PeaceWalker (very odd, but with a lot of connections to MGSV). MGSV is a great start from Konami, and I’m glad it’s not being seen as an afterthought release-wise like Revengeance was, but I think re-releasing the older games on PC could see that series be even bigger on Steam than it is on consoles. As Andy pointed out a few months ago, Metal Gear Solid has always belonged on PC.
Evan Lahti: Go, go, go!
I’m so happy to see CS:GO gaining more popularity as an e-sport. On Thursday, during only the group stages (the seeding rounds) of the ESL One championship in Cologne, Cloud9’s match against Titan peaked at 270,000 concurrent viewers. Those aren’t Dota 2 or League of Legends numbers, of course, but that figure exceeds what CS:GO drew during the grand finals of its last tournament. Valve made some improvements to CS:GO’s spectating experience in a recent patch, and its comment during The International indicates that they might be throwing more of their support behind the game—on most days the second-most popular on Steam—in the future. It’s inherently tougher for FPSes to catch on as e-sports because perspective-swapping between players isn’t necessarily a great experience, especially for non-players, but continued support from Valve would have a huge impact on the scene.
Tom Senior: Rise of the PC
PCs are everywhere at Gamescom. They're pushing Ryse to 4K monitors in Crytek's booth, rendering 4 vs. 1 battles in Evolve and Shadow Realms. They're powering Firaxis' Civ: Beyond Earth demoes, sitting under tables in Paradox' booths and enabling huge League of Legends and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive contests on the show floor. The Metal Gear Solid 5 announcement is the big news of the week, but it's symptomatic of the quiet ascendency of a platform that wasn't taken seriously by some publishers five or six years ago. There are a few holdouts, sure. I reckon Rise of the Tomb Raider will make it over late, and we may never see a PC version of Destiny, but these instances are proving increasingly rare. Hopefully in future, if we're lucky, we'll see more simultaneous PC/console releases for more big budget games, but let's not go too crazy.