This week's highs and lows in PC gaming

Each week PC Gamer’s writers are infected by the HT-virus, wherein HT stands for 'hot takes'.

The highs

Samuel Roberts: The Evils Within

With Resident Evil 7 coming up next week, I joined my fellow PC Gamer staff in ranking the entries to date on PC. Turns out it has a pretty illustrious history for a survival horror series commonly associated with consoles—you'll find more Resi games on PC than any other format. When I first discovered the series as a kid, I bought Resi 2 on CD-ROM with my Christmas gift money, and had to convince my dad to go buy it for me as it was 15-rated (my mum wasn't happy). Shame you can't buy that particular entry on Steam or GOG, really, but it is being remade at least. 

I'm pleased to see Resi continue, even as it's had more low points than a series containing at least one of the greatest games ever made should have—Resi's been subject to too many bad spin-offs over the years, a couple of which made their way to PC. It was nice to give Operation Raccoon City the kicking it deserves, but I'm very optimistic about the seventh game, and how closely it mimics the design ethos of the 1996 original.

Chris Livingston: A Little Confirmed

It’s vague news, but it’s still news, and it’s good news: Valve is still working on games. Gabe Newell participated in an AMA this week and said, yes, Valve is actually making games. While I personally have zero interest in VR, and there was predictably no mention of Half-Life 3, Newell revealed he was open to revisiting the shared Half-Life/Portal universe with a new game, and I’m down with that. The thought of a new singleplayer game from Valve, no matter what it might be, is a welcome one.
 

James Davenport: Super Mario Gotta See

I cannot stop laughing at this dumbass ragdoll Mario. Earlier this week, YouTuber CrowBCat used some mods (bless you, PC gaming) to recreate an uncanny Super Mario Odyssey trailer in GTA 4. He flips from buildings, off of taxis, runs from a gang, get’s into a drunken brawl, and does it all with a dopey smile while the Odyssey theme narrating the action in bright, booming orchestral swells. It’s dumb as hell. 

Now I’m worried. I can’t imagine playing a new Mario game without a ragdoll system. (Still, not going to cancel my Switch preorder.) We’re spoiled on the PC.  

Joe Donnelly: Tangiers looks to the future 

After running a successful Kickstarter campaign back in 2013, abstract indie stealth game Tangiers has had a tough time of it. After two major sources of investment unexpectedly pulled out at the last minute in 2015 (money which was set to cover unforeseen late development expenses), lead developer Alex Harvey reckoned he could just about "scrape by through to release". An update last year suggested things were worse than first thought and then things went quiet. 

This week, Harvey returned with another update saying development had all but stalled due to resultant personal issues, however the new year would allow him to "rectify" things and move forward. "I'll skip on a sob story and finer details, but the stress of pulling the project back together, getting by with minimal funds and of some very difficult life challenges on top of that led to, for all practicalities, a very prolonged breakdown. I've not been able to maintain much functionality, and accordingly I've been doing a rancid job of everything," he said. "But it's a new year now, so that makes a good a time as any to try and rectify things. I haven't let go of working on the game, though things have moved very slowly indeed. I have got a bit of breathing room now, and we can get to moving things forward a bit more competently."

Harvey also teased some new screens and a snippet of in-game footage which look lovely. It's not much, but Tangiers still looks incredibly stylish and I for one am as excited for it now as I was then. Fingers crossed Harvey and his team are now able to move forward—professionally and personally—as I'd love to see this one reach the finish line. 

Chris Thursten: A life less dangerous

The high point of my week has been dipping back into Elite Dangerous. When I reviewed the game way back when, I said that I felt it was a brilliant platform to be built on. I love Frontier's UI and sound design work in particular: they create a phenomenal sense of place that keeps drawing me back despite the slow and repetitive pace of the game itself.

I think I like the repetition, actually. My Keelback Hauler carries guns but it’s geared for cargo and passengers. I like to pick up contracts and to discover where they take me, from canyon-scarred moons to dazzling binary systems. It's like Truck Simulator for people who would rather go to space than to a depot outside of Slough. I love the emptiness—it's a peaceful place to hang out after a long day or a bad Dota match.

The coming of the Thargoids adds spice to Frontier's world, but I'm not too bothered that I'm not likely to see them for a while. It's cool to know that they're out there, somewhere—but I'm happy feeling small in my slice of space for now.

Tyler Wilde: Don’t Die

Today I discovered David Wolinsky's great series on labor issues in the videogame workforce, and it's well worth a read. Wolinsky also runs a Patreon for website Don't Die, where he's published some revealing interviews—some strong weekend reading. My highs are lowkey highs this week.