This week's highs and lows in PC gaming


Andy Kelly: Bloody good

Reviewing Kingdom Come: Deliverance put me in the mood for more medieval role-playing fun, so I've started a new playthrough of The Witcher 3. And man, The Witcher 3 is good as hell. I bounced off it a few times when it was first released, but now I’ve completely clicked with it and every hour I'm not with Geralt I'm yearning to be back in Velen slaying ghouls. I just finished the Bloody Baron's story (you can read my making of here) and it remains one of the most thrilling series of quests in any RPG. The writing, characters, monsters, twists... it's all perfect. Just disgustingly good. And Kingdom Come looks really creaky and low-rent compared to it. I'm excited about Cyberpunk, of course, but I honestly just want CDPR to make The Witcher 4. Geralt is the best boy, and I never want to stop adventuring with him.

Tim Clark: Talk like an Egyptian

I'm still trying (and failing) to wean myself off Destiny 2, but I've already stopped playing Kingdom Come: Deliverance on the basis that, for now, it needs more polish for my taste. But I have been belatedly enjoying another historical epic. Assassin's Creed: Origins is just about everything I hoped for from the next game by the team that made Black Flag. Which is to say a genuinely likeable lead with an interesting story to explore and a sumptuous world to provide the backdrop. It's also more sweary than I expected, with an early use of the C-bomb that I assume doesn't feature in the recently-added edutainment mode.

This week also saw Ubisoft simultaneously announce and delay the next DLC. I'm miles off needing to worry about that yet—Bayek's skill tree is still lousy with unfilled bubbles and the Egyptian map absolutely groans with question marks. I'm enjoying taking it slow, though. Just wandering around those sand dunes offers a feeling of sweet antiquarian loneliness unlike anything I've played on PC. Factor in his tragic backstory, and I can't help but think more big budget games would benefit from a more melancholy mood.

Joe Donnelly: Prickly beat

At last year's Gamescom, Final Fantasy 15 game director Hajime Tabata discussed how mods will change the scope of the JRPG's incoming Windows Edition. At last week's PC Gamer Weekender, Square Enix teased what we're in for by way of adorable civilian Cactuars. With its PC launch just weeks away—March 6—I can't wait to see what the game's modding community has in store for us. I reckon we'll be following the FF15 mod beat for quite some time.

Jarred Walton: Discrete Intel graphics

We’ve talked about this in the past, but Intel has intentions to return to the discrete graphics card market at some point in the future. That would be great, especially since GPUs are currently overpriced—the more competition the merrier! But what would the future GPU look like?

Intel presented a research paper discussing some possibilities, using its current Gen9 graphics products as the basis. So let me help with a bit of speculation on what Intel could be doing for its future dedicated GPU.

First, forget about the entry-level stuff. The integrated HD 630 is already fine if all you need is basic graphics support. What I want from Intel is about ten times (or more) the performance of the HD 630. Sound too greedy? Try this on for size.

The current HD 630 is about one third of the Kaby Lake die, which pegs it at roughly 750 million transistors. If Intel increased that by an order of magnitude, that’s 7.5 billion transistors. It might sound like a lot, but that's in direct size competition with Nvidia’s GP104 (7.2 billion transistors), which is in the GTX 1070, 1070 Ti, and 1080. Now increase clockspeed to the 1.5GHz range and give this hypothetical Intel chip a 256-bit GDDR5 interface.

If all goes to plan, a graphics card using this chip could be 15x faster than the current HD Graphics 630. In theory, that would put it right in contention with the RX Vega 56 and GTX 1070. Then all we need is a reasonable price. Intel, please make this happen!

Samuel Roberts: Making waves at the Weekender

Our UK-based Weekender event ended up being a hotbed for games news last weekend and early this week—from a first look at Final Fantasy XV mods to new Two Point Hospital footage to tons more about the new open world game, Biomutant. We also announced a new game on-stage for the first time: Mavericks: Proving Grounds, with its bold 400-person battle royale mode. 

For the people there, too, the response to Julian Gollop's X-Com successor, Phoenix Point, was amazing, and the show was busy all weekend. It was great to see people enjoy the event, whether they were there in person or not. Now I'm going to have a long sleep, because it tired me the hell out. 

James Davenport: Hello teens

PC Gamer is finally getting with the times, and I couldn't be happier. As a longtime 'grammer myself, kickstarting our official Instagram has been a nonstop thrillride. What I really mean to say is that it's been fun and I'm excited to share some totally irrelevant stuff through the mouthpiece of a globally recognized brand. But besides sneaking in pictures of my cat son Charlie, we'll be sharing everything from pretty screenshots to videos from behind the scenes of big videogame events, like The PC Gaming Show for instance. 

If you like what we do, but want to see a more personal, candid side of PC Gamer, give us a follow. We'll steer clear of inundating the feed with photos of brunch, I promise. Spamming pictures of prominent game characters in tubs though? We got you.

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