This week's highs and lows in PC gaming

Each week the PC Gamer team assembles in the kitchen until the takes are so hot someone has to leave.

THE HIGHS

Phil Savage: Platinum treatment
Only a month after Bayonetta's PC release, and Sega has announced yet another Platinum port. This time it's Vanquish, the absurd, slippy-slidey shooter that, at the time of its original console release, felt like a breath of fresh air amid the seemingly endless procession of third-person cover shooters. And it may prove to be an even better port than Bayonetta. As well as unlocked resolutions and extra graphics options, Vanquish PC will offer uncapped framerates. As for future PC ports, Sega’s John Clark claimed that, "There's more to come from Sega in this space, so stay tuned for further announcements." There's a couple of possibilities—I've still got my fingers crossed for Yakuza. Whatever they have planned, it's great to see Sega’s commitment to preserving their back catalogue on PC. 

Andy Kelly: Hide and sneak
Oh boy, I’m addicted to PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. Whenever I have a spare half hour I find myself parachuting down to that damn island. I was deep into DayZ around the time it transitioned from the mod to the standalone version, and this is the most fun I’ve had in an online game since. But while some players love getting into firefights and trying to rise to the top of the food chain through violence, I prefer cowardice.

I play Battlegrounds like it’s a giant game of hide-and-seek, carefully edging my way around the map as quietly as possible while the bodies pile up around me. And although I haven’t come first yet—my personal record is 6th—I still find the thrill and nerve-racking tension of sneaking around hugely entertaining. Like a stealth game, but with actual thinking humans in place of AI-controlled guards. Its preposterous success is well deserved.

Samuel Roberts: Assassin's return
The next Assassin's Creed supposedly leaked this week via an off-screen photo, and this new game has apparently got the subtitle of Origins—Eurogamer verified the authenticity of both the screen and the name with several sources. It’s entirely my own speculation, but I do wonder if this screenshot was leaked on purpose. Here's why I believe that: it actually tells you a lot about the game. It gives you a timeframe for the Ancient Egyptian setting, it reveals a sailing element similar to the well-received Black Flag, and the world looks pretty amazing just from that one shot. The reaction to this leak could offer Ubisoft useful information on how to reveal the game to the public.
Taking my tinfoil hat off, it's been enough time now that I'm just about ready for the series' soft reset. That year off will give the next game some extra goodwill, I think, even if they still released way too many of them in the run-up to the hiatus that followed Syndicate. I guess it doesn't even count as a year off if you consider the deeply average movie that came and went in 2016.

James Davenport: Breadwinner
I don’t have much more to say that I didn’t already write about in my piece on the rise of videogame bread. Games use bread a lot. Bread has changed. Some bread is better. Some bread has regressed. The future of bread is uncertain. But the one thing I know for sure is that bread is good. It makes me sleepy—seriously, I can’t eat sandwiches anymore without needing a nap—but thanks to videogames, I know that the more bread I eat, the higher my hit points are. I cannot die, bread is my armor. 

Wes Fenlon: Fantasy inspiration
Last week I had the pleasure of interviewing Chelsea Monroe-Cassel, the author of the World of Warcraft cookbook. It was fun to hear about her process of converting game foods into real recipes, and I have to admit I got pretty hungry looking at photos of Warcraft-themed cakes and brownies and salmon while we were talking. But the thing that really stood out to me in our talk was what inspired her to start cooking otherwise imaginary recipes in the first place. For her, the cooking doesn't come first. It's the inspiration of a well-realized fantasy world and the hunt for treasure within it. Treasure, in this case, being rylak claws and chimaerok chops. That's a pretty cool passion to turn into a career.

Tim Clark: Mass Effect is Andromedone for now
This is going to come across as tremendously mean-spirited of me, particularly on such a lovely sunny afternoon, but I have to confess I felt a rush of relief earlier at the report claiming Mass Effect is going on hiatus. I haven’t finished Andromeda, and at this point I don’t expect to. Even the combat, which most people seem to have held up as the best thing about the game, left me cold. The lack of snap-to cover, the sponginess of the enemies, and their tepid reaction to being blasted with hot laser justice, all gave me no encouragement to return. And that’s without even mentioning the slog that is the story, or the largely unloveable characters who provide your accompaniment along the way. 

I blame myself for setting expectations too high. It never really sank in during the long run up to release that Andromeda was being made by BioWare Montreal rather than Edmonton, the studio which gave birth to the series. Montreal had previously worked on Mass Effect 3—mainly the multiplayer mode, but also some campaign stuff and the Omega DLC—but with hindsight Andromeda looks like a project that Montreal wasn’t ready for. If the suggestion Montreal will now become a “support studio” is true, that must be rough for those affected. But equally I doubt anyone at EA imagined its glittering sci-fi series would be in need of another reboot after just one game, so perhaps it’s all for the best. Meanwhile, my thoughts turn to the entirely new project BioWare is working on, which we now know won’t arrive until a little later, but presumably will be coming from the brains at Edmonton.