This week's highs and lows in PC gaming

THE LOWS

Tyler Wilde: Duty calls
As a shooter fan, I’m glad Call of Duty is returning to World War 2, and I hope the shift means less focus on gadgets and more on basic level and weapon design. But as a person who regularly has to parse marketing speak, I’m exhausted. The reveal livestream was one of the more embarrassing I’ve seen in a long time, not because it wasn’t well-produced or Call of Duty: WWII doesn’t look good—though I haven’t really liked a Call of Duty for a while—but because Activision has pre-emptively decided that it’s a cultural achievement, a documentary of sorts with such attention to historical accuracy that it has the power to prevent future wars. I’ll call bullshit on that in more words elsewhere, but the short of it is: No, I don’t think Call of Duty: WWII is those things.

Tim Clark: Souls out
And so it’s over. My buddy Dave and I carried each other limping, crying, and arguing about strats over the line in Dark Souls 3’s The Ringed City DLC. Now there is no more. (For the record I landed the final blow on the boss both times, you’re welcome Dave.) The Ringed City  was a decent send off for a sensational game, even if the ending didn’t resonate especially deeply with me. I think the weight of having to wrap up such a big series was always going to hang a little heavy on what is, after all, an addendum more than an expansion.

For Dave and I, co-op play was primarily a way of catching up, because both of us prefer to talk on Skype while playing something rather than endure the awkwardness of actual phone calls. For me it also meant a relatively easy way into a game that prides itself on not babying new players. If Miyazaki is to be believed, and this really is the end for the series, (he probably isn’t, it probably won’t be), then I’m going to need a new game to stay in touch with Dave. Suggestions below, please.

(Hey everyone, it's James. Tell Tim to play Bloodborne already.)

Chris Livingston: Language, please
I played Pinstripe this week, an adventure platformer about trying to rescue your daughter from hell. It's pretty darn spooky in parts, and more than a bit morbid—I might even categorize it as horror. Mr. Pinstripe himself is unsettling and genuinely scary the first few times you encounter him, until he very suddenly isn't because he calls you, and I quote, "douche."

Douche? It's a weird thing for a hellish spectre who has stolen your daughter to say and completely deflates any fear I had of him as an adversary. Perhaps it was an attempt at humor—and there's nothing wrong with adding some levity to horror now and then—but it really shattered the mood and the moment. It's like if Anton Chigurh, instead of saying "Call it, friend-o" had said "Call it, fart-breath." Menace can evaporate instantly, simply due to a poor choice of words. Or, in this case, word.

Wes Fenlon: Net not so neutral
I have a feeling this is going to be a recurring low for me for the rest of 2017. The FCC recently rolled back privacy protections for internet users, and it's now proposing to kill net neutrality under the guise of a proposal named "Restoring Internet Freedom." What it really aims to restore is more freedom for the multi-billion dollar corporations that already have a stranglehold on the internet infrastructure of most of the US. The creator of the world wide web has already spoken out against the proposal. Hopefully thousands or millions of Americans adding their voice to hise might make the FCC reconsider. 

Tom Senior: How games die
How many virtual trees have been made by game artists in the history of the medium? How many brick wall textures? How many longswords? Imagine the millions of hours that people in different studios have funnelled into making the same objects over and over. It’s incredible how much work is repeated and wasted during the creation of the game worlds we enjoy.

So much of it ends up in the bin. This week Diablo 2 mastermind David Brevik worried that many of the original Diablo 2 assets may have been lost, making a remaster more difficult. It reminded me that for every little piece of art, modelling or music that makes it into a published game, more are lost to cancelled projects. Even in successful games, the original files vanish—why spend money to sustain legacy servers for assets that are unlikely to ever be used again? Digitisation has saved old film, music, television and literature from the degradation of physical media, but in the digital environment games can easily fade and die, becoming incompatible as software moves on. Perhaps one day all that will remain of the games we love today will be the words that celebrated them on sites like PCGamer.com. Hopefully not, though.

Joe Donnelly: Punch drunk
In this week's more bizarre-leaning news, it seems boxing kangaroo Roger Jr won't feature in the incoming western interpretation of Tekken 7. Why? Well, I'm not entirely sure. Speaking to VG24/7 it seems executive producer Katsuhiro Harada is preempting "animal activists" from complaining by omitting the fighting macropod, yet is leaving Kuma the bear in place because he’s "obviously stronger than a human being".

Here's Harada's rationale for Roger's removal: "There was a video of a man’s dog being headlocked by a kangaroo, and he punched it in the face. It turned into a big problem. People were complaining about him punching a kangaroo. It seems that in the last few years there’s a lot more animal activists—even though they probably wouldn’t play our game they would still hear about that, about a kangaroo in our game being punched, and would complain about it."
Now, I'm by no means supporting organisations like PETA's involvement in videogames over the last several years, but in their defence it seems Harada et al have jumped the gun in this instance. What's your take?