Each Friday PC Gamer’s writers pick the bones out of the previous seven days. This time they’re doing it while also launching a new site. Expect more tears than usual.
Andy Chalk: League of Legends closes the jerk store
I don't play League of Legends, but even so I was pleased to read that Riot Games is dropping the hammer on "toxic players." I'm all for freedom of expression and, yes, things can get heated in the midst of fierce competition, but there are lines that are too easily crossed by too many people. Maybe a meaningful clampdown in a popular game will help get out the message that there are some kinds of behavior that are simply unacceptable, and maybe—dare to dream—that will eventually have some small impact on the wider online audience.
It's wildly optimistic, of course, and even I have to acknowledge that the odds of a sudden outburst of better behavior as a result of Riot’s efforts are somewhere in the neighborhood of zero. But it's a nice idea, isn't it?
Phil Savage: Bringing Saxxy back
The The Saxxys are back! For the uninitiated, the Saxxys are like the Oscars, only with cartoon murderers. I'm not sure what the TF2 version of Wolf of Wall Street would look like—but it would probably contain more punching, and therefore be better.
This year, Valve has provided additional assets from Portal, The Stanley Parable and Blade Symphony. With a bigger canvas, there's no telling what the community of talented Source Filmmaker animators will do. But judging from the thing with the chickens, much of it will be fresh, funny and surprising.
Tom Senior: Vaneglorious
My high of the week is Vane. I mean, look at it . It’s like Journey with Ico’s colour palette, which is amazing for PC gamers, because we missed out on Journey and Ico’s beautifully abstracted landscapes when they launched on PlayStation. The only way to enjoy their introspective ambience would be to somehow use a PC to emulate them at extraordinary resolutions that their native consoles could never match, but that’s far too naughty, so let’s go back and watch that Vane video over and over again instead. Mmmm, meditative.
Tony Ellis: An out-of-date PC
This week, it finally happened. That little toggle-switch in my head flipped from 'Have adequate PC' to 'Do not have adequate PC'. And this is a good thing. Finally, finally, my brain is going to let me buy some new kick-ass computer hardware.
It's been a long time coming. Three years. Three years since I bought that cursedly efficient GTX 560 Ti, and that stupidly future-proof i7 2700K CPU. Three years of having a good-enough PC. Three years since I've known the borderline sexual pleasure of prising a new and pristine piece of hardware out of its plastic packaging, and marvelling at its shiny newness. How was I to know that I was buying just before a three-year plateau in videogame evolution? That the once proudly climbing graph would be dragged flat by the dead weight of ageing consoles?
Thank you, Bethesda, for the excessive hardware demands of The Evil Within, and for your elitist refusal to supply a minimum spec list. Finally, I have an excuse to buy PC hardware again.
Wes Fenlon: Heat Signature still looks cool, and now it looks pretty, too
Since Tom Francis released the successful Gunpoint and left PC Gamer for a life of round-the-clock caviar, I’ve been following his new game Gunpoint. I love the concept of boarding randomly generated spaceships, using stealth to steal from them or commandeer them, relying on systems rather than scripting to tell a cool story. Until now, Heat Signature has been ugly. Its spaceships are just bland, chunky gray blocks. But now Francis has hired an artist to work on the game! And a composer! And Sam played it, and confirmed that it is quite nifty indeed. At this point, I want to forget Heat Signature exists for six months or a year, so that when I see it again, it’ll have sprouted from an ugly duckling prototype into a gorgeous space roguelike stealth game.
Tim Clark: We’re making a new website
I’m excited. Next week, barring any last minute The Graduate-style intervention, will see the launch of the new look pcgamer.com. Hopefully it’s not too impolitic of me to say that this redesign is a while overdue. This site originally launched on a version of the Wordpress platform, and it’s fair to say its explosive growth caught people here off guard. (Never underestimate the power of PC gamers, eh?) Nowadays it’s more than a little creaky and doesn’t really fit out needs. The new site will house the full variety of stuff we make much better.
I’m also scared. Each time my favourite sites have unveiled a new design, my initial reaction has invariably been: ‘What the hell have they done?’ However, a few weeks down the line I usually can’t remember what the old thing I loved so much looked like. (Which is probably one of several reasons I’m not good at making and keeping friends.) So, yes: Excited and scared, but also fairly confident that after the kinks get smoothed out you’ll feel at home here. Our intention is to iterate on this site much faster than we did on the old one, so, as ever, feedback is welcomed. *braces for impact*