Chris Thursten: Exit stage right
This week I announced my departure from PC Gamer after almost five and a half years in our UK office. I'm off to pursue life as a freelance writer, and while I'll still be contributing words to PCG from time to time, I've only got a week left as a fully paid-up member of the team.
My last day is next Friday, but given that it's unlikely that I'll be contributing to Highs and Lows next week I wanted to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has read the website or magazine in the half-decade that I've been working on them. I started in 2011 as a staff writer specialising in arty games—Dear Esther was one of my first reviews—and after falling in love with Dota 2 in 2012 I started to focus more on competitive gaming. I left the magazine to launch our esports channel, PCG Pro, in 2015.
It's impossible to sum up succinctly how big a role PCG has played in my career, how much I'll miss this team, or how many stupid things I've been photographed doing in the name of videogames journalism (see above). Leaving is sad and exciting at the same time, but even so—it's my time. I leave PCG in extremely capable hands. It's been real, gang. Cheerio.
Tom Senior: Overbotch
I’m really bad at Overwatch. Normally, in day-to-day life, this is easily hidden. However at the PC Gamer Weekender I performed in a grudge match against a team spearheaded by PC Gamer Magazine deputy ed Phil Savage. Overwatch Collector’s Editions served as prizes for the Weekender attendees who made up our teams, and it became instantly clear as the match started that everyone else was really good at the game.
What to do? There’s no place to hide, so I fell back on my Team Fortress 2 instincts and opted for Mercy. She’s like the Medic, but can fly a bit—no problem, right? Wrong. Turns out that clutch use of her ultimate revival ability is vital in a properly competitive match. Someone politely shouted at me to swap to someone else so their mate could go Mercy. I switched to Soldier 76. The totally generic dude-with-machinegun character is designed to be an entry point for noobs. I can reliably place top-third in Titanfall 2, I thought, maybe I can pick off the flying rocket person so she can’t nuke the point repeatedly. I tried, but we still lost. As Phil and the winners had their photos taken I shuffled some papers and pretended to look busy as I fled the area. Maybe I’ll get some practice in, in the safety of noob matchmaking pools, so this doesn’t happen again.
Bo Moore: Pay2Lose
Earlier this week, Hi-Rez Studios announced a revamp to the loot and crafting system in Paladins, also known as the free-to-play Overwatch alternative. This would have been fine, except it effectively locked necessary gameplay features behind an expensive and RNG-fueled currency that would take a massive time commitment to unlock for free. Needless to say, the community was pissed.
Luckily, Hi-Rez heard the feedback loud and clear, and has walked back much of the new scheme's issues. The new system is still in place, but the currency costs have been adjusted to significantly fairer levels. It was a low 24 hours for the Paladins community, but thankfully the whole thing shows that the devs listen to feedback and are willing to budge on a game-shattering issue.
Chris Livingston: .exe Promises
I'm sick for the second time inside of three months, a definite low. And when I get sick I change a few things. Instead of coffee I drink tea, instead of eating garbage I eat good things, instead of sleeping soundly I become an ever-waking Sweat Golem, and instead of playing games I watch movies. I was sweatily watching David Cronenberg's Eastern Promises at like 3-goddamn-in-the-morning (it's from 2007, and if you haven't seen it, stop reading this now) and thought hey, that'd be a cool concept for a game, playing an undercover agent infiltrating the mafia.
We're used to playing anti-heroes in games—either a good guy who is kinda bad, or a bad guy who is kinda good—but it'd be neat to play an entire game where you're a good guy pretending to be bad from start to finish. You'd have to climb the ranks of the mob, but in a way that doesn't compromise your real, secret job (or morals, provided you retain them) and making sure the actual bad guys get locked up in the end. There are lots of games where you can lie to other characters, but a game where you always lied, all the time? Could be interesting. Okay, I'm gonna drink some tea and get back to sweating.
Joe Donnelly: Familiarity breeds contempt
Listen, I'm not against Chris Redfield appearing in Resident Evil 7: Biohazard's next slice of DLC, I'd just kind of hoped the series had moved on—even if momentarily. Named Not A Hero, the third portion of DLC is due this spring, is free-of-charge, and, as Capcom confirmed this week, will follow Redfield's story against the seventh main series game's lore.
Resident Evil 7 ending spoilers below.
While I'm yet to play any of Resi 7's DLC, its subtle throwbacks to its survival horror lineage were something I loved about the base game. The odd reference to past characters in magazine clippings strewn around the Baker estate, the photos of the Spencer mansion hung upon its walls, the incongruous puzzles, even the Barry Burton nod at the game's end—none of this felt on the nose or cheap to me. I could have lived with Redfield's inclusion at the end had it stood on its own, but the idea of this interaction being used to facilitate the incoming DLC feels forced. Why couldn't Not A Hero star a different mercenary, one we haven't come across before and one who'd uncover more of the game's wider narrative all the same?
If I'm made to eat my words when Not A Hero lands then so be it. I'm just not convinced we needed a returning character, shoehorned in to score nostalgia points.
Wes Fenlon: More Dragon Quest is nice, but...
The most surprising news of the week, to me, was that Dragon Quest Heroes 2 is coming to Steam in just a couple months. Most of the "musou" games like the first Dragon Quest Heroes and Berserk and the Band of the Hawk have been making their way to PC, so I guess I shouldn't be so surprised, but the relatively mixed reception to the last DQ Heroes somehow made this an unexpected day-and-date PC release. Still, it's nice! It's just not the Dragon Quest game I want to see on PC.
Where's Dragon Quest Builders, Square Enix? Reception for that one has been great on PS4, and you know there's a massive Minecraft audience on PC. At least a million of them would eat up a version of Minecraft with more RPG mechanics and charming Dragon Quest art. What's the hold-up?