We love PC gaming. Stay up to date with the latest PC game gossip, news and reviews from around the world with The Game Channel’s PC news.

26th June 2017
New Trailer Introduces Us To The Bombshells

New Trailer Introduces Us To The Bombshells

Today we've got ourselves a new Agents of Mayhem trailer, and it's just as ludicrous as we've come to expect. 

The Bombshells are the most volatile and explosive agents of the bunch, and they come equipped with big weapons and even bigger personalities. The first is Joule, a fashion model who also has a penchant for engineering deadly robot turrets. Next up is Rama, an immunologist who wields a powerful and precise armor-piercing bow. Rounding out the bunch is Redcard, a soccer-obsessed lunatic who blasts away foes with a gun called the Hooligan. 

(Please visit the site to view this media)

We recently got our hands on Agents of Mayhem at E3 2017, and had quite a bit of fun. You can check out trailers for some of the other agents and their sweet rides here and here.

Agents of Mayhem will be releasing on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on August 15.

20th June 2017
Five Reasons Why Hunt: Showdown Could Be The Next Big Survival Hit

Five Reasons Why Hunt: Showdown Could Be The Next Big Survival Hit

Three years after Crytek originally debuted The Hunt: Horrors of the Guilded Age, the project has re-emerged looking quite different. Now titled Hunt: Showdown, the game retains the gothic-horror-shooter motif, but through many iterations, the game has found a unique niche in the "winner take all" competitive survival genre currently dominated by games like PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds and H1Z1: King of the Kill. 

Rather than mimic the popular battle royale formula beat for beat, Hunt remixes concepts like Evolve's monster hunting, The Dark Zone's unsteady alliances in The Division, and the horror setting to create a game unlike any we've seen before. Here are five reasons why fans of the survival genre should pay attention to the Crysis creator's new shooter:

Rounds Begin By Tracking Monsters
Hunt begins with a central goal shared by all 10 players in the map – hunt down one or many A.I. controlled monsters across its sandbox map. To do so, you need to use detective vision to track down clues that may reveal the location of the monster. By touching one of the dark-energy pools you find, you get a brief glimpse of the monster's whereabouts via a momentary vision. If you still haven't pieced together its location by the third clue, the monster's location is marked on your map. Since everyone is searching for the same targets and stumbling across the same set of clues, you occasionally run into other players while tracking. This creates uneasy moments similar to The Division's Dark Zone, where you're not sure if you should trust the other team. Do you keep to yourself and slide by undetected or take them out before they have a chance to train their sights on you?.

You need to use caution when engaging other players or the legions of A.I. monsters littering the map because sound carries far. The second you fire your weapon, other players will have a rough idea of your location, so sometimes it's smarter to use stealth kills. 

Players Team Off In Pairs
Rather than leave you to your own devices during the monster hunting, Hunt pairs you off into five teams of two. This creates an interesting new dynamic, as you can coordinate flanking moves, create diversions, and better defend entrenched positions should all hell break lose. If one of you goes down in combat, you have a window to revive them as well. This is especially important because the rounds are permadeath. Once you lose your hunter, you lose all their weapons, gear, and skills. Escaping with your partner also imparts a valuable team bonus. Crytek says you could try to play solo as well, but it's much tougher.

Once The Monster Is Vanquished, The Round Becomes PvP
After locating the target, the team we watched in our demo made its way to a barn where the monster was holed up. The gigantic tarantula scurries quickly, darting through windows and climbing along walls to avoid gunfire. After the frantic battle, the players made the killing blow. But vanquishing the monster isn't the end game of Hunt: Showdown, it's just the appetizer. 

After killing the monster, players must banish its evil spirit. Once this timed process starts, a beacon goes out that broadcasts your location to every player on the map. The incentive for other players to hunt you down? They can grab the bounty from you and claim the reward. Some may choose to engage head on, but others may just booby trap the doors to take you out if you try to flee. After the banishment concludes, then it's time to head toward one of the exit points on the map. This chaotic skirmish is ripe for stream broadcasts, as the high tension is palpable whether you are playing or viewing. 

The Atmosphere Drips With Tension
Using the excellent CryEngine, Hunt: Showdown is gorgeous, leveraging its high-resolution textures and lighting system to create creepy swamps, forests, and villages in the one-kilometer map. Set in the darkness, it's hard to know whether that movement up ahead is simply the wind blowing foliage, an A.I. zombie, or a team of players tracking the enemy. Because sound carries far in this world, players are encouraged to stay in the shadows. For instance, if you accidentally brush by a chicken coop, their clucking may alert enemies and other players to your position. 

Hunt Is Permadeath, But You Don't Lose Everything
Knowing you're going to lose your beloved character, weapons, and skills during a survival game amps up the tension, but that doesn't mean it's not frustrating to start from scratch every round. Hunt: Showdown introduces a "bloodline" concept to alleviate some of this irritation. Any passive skill that you have unlocked with a hunter (like speed shooting, being able to carry more supplies, and dual wielding) can be passed down to your new hunter as a purchasable skill using the in-game currency. You can also keep a stable of hunters with different skill loadouts.

Hunt: Showdown has no planned release date yet, but Crytek plans to involve the community in fine-tuning the game. Whether that means early access, closed alpha, or pubic beta is yet to be known, but expect to hear more in the coming months. 

18th June 2017
Cliff Bleszinski Talks LawBreakers And Standing Out In A Genre Of Juggernauts

Cliff Bleszinski Talks LawBreakers And Standing Out In A Genre Of Juggernauts

The first-person shooter genre is about as crowded as it gets in the video game industry. Cliff Bleszinski is best known for his work at Epic Games with properties like Unreal and Gears of War, but since his departure from the studio, he's been looking for more. We sat down with the creator of Gears of War and the director of the upcoming shooter LawBreakers to chat about the game, his thoughts on the genre, and how he thinks the upcoming title stands out in such a busy segment of the industry.

For more on LawBreakers, check out our recent hands-on preview.

 

So the big news about LawBreakers right now is that it's coming to PlayStation 4.

[Sarcastically] Oh yeah, because I hate Xbox.

Oh yeah? That's the reason? [laughs]

No! Fanboys have a hard time being objective and Xbox fanboys are particularly salty. From a business standpoint, I have 65 employees. The majority of them have families and I don't want to re-retire. I would get bored. So I'm enjoying what I'm doing and I want to keep the lights on and I need to keep the coffers full. We took a surgical look and we looked at the install-base of PlayStation vs. Xbox and we're like, "We're doing PlayStation first because Microsoft f---ed up the launch of the Xbox One. They doubled down on Kinect and their messaging on "Always Online" was s---ty. Everybody's always online now and no one cares right now because it was the frog in the boiling water. We slowly started tuning all those things and lo and behold here we are. But they're catching up, which is cool! And the thing is, I wouldn't rule out an Xbox, or Xbox X, or XOX or whatever the hell they're calling it these days... eggplant emoji, peach emoji [laughs] But I can only do so much, so we're hoping to do some of that Rocket League magic where we launch on PC and PlayStation 4 at the same time, maybe get the zeitgeist, and then maybe later come out with an Xbox version with added features and class 10 and whatnot. But one thing at a time. I can only do so much.

It seemed like you initially had other concerns about a console version beyond the scope of your team.

So if you play the game on PC, it's bats--- insane. That actually might be a bit much for people. The console version is still pretty crazy, but it's about 85% as crazy. So it's one of those things where you can only have an FPS be so crazy with a controller. That's where the crossplay question comes up, because for an action game, I think crossplay is stupid. I don't see the benefit of it, I think it's a waste of resources, and actually the negatives outweigh the positives. I've seen other action games like, "We're going to do crossplay!" and I'm like, "Why?! Why waste your money and time to make sure that controller players are dumpstered by keyboard and mouse players?" It's going to be Floyd Mayweather versus f---ing Conor McGregor boxing. Come on. It's physics, man!

What do you think about how you decrease that craziness for consoles?

Like I said, it's about 85% as crazy, but sometimes that's a good thing! Because if you're leaning back in your sofa, relaxing at the end of the day, and you just want to shoot some s---, then it's that. But if you want to lean in and have a hardcore experience, PC is the one you want. It's one of those things that, $29.99, and fun, hardcore, gravity-defying combat... all the marketing terms... we just wanted to make something fun that doesn't have the fuzziness and cheesiness that a lot of the shooters have these days.

Games like Overwatch are completely blowing up and there will obviously be parallels drawn to LawBreakers. How do you differentiate your game from a title like that that's currently dominating?

Overwatch is a great game. My wife mains Mercy, I main Pharah. It's fine. Overwatch did a lot of things to deliberately expand the market with regards to allowing a more casual user to get in. A lot of the ultimates feel like "Press 'Q' to win." Ours you actually have to aim. It's one of those things where I'm not going to freeze the player, I'm not going to have Roadhog's hook, I'm not going to have Hanzo's arrow collision. We're very much a one-to-one ratio where what you see is what you get. What I like to say is that this is a shooter that also has abilities and characters, and Overwatch is a great game that has characters and abilities that's also then a shooter. We are very much gunning for the Counter-Strike crowd.

Something that makes Overwatch so successful is the personalities of the characters. How are you cultivating these personalities so that players fall in love with them?

There's always multiple ways to do it. There's the barks - the character sayings game - when you select them, there's also the animation that's played. We have this Japanese character Kintaro who's on the Breakers and his weapon, the Aerator, has a spherical magazine and when you select him, he pops out the magazine, you see the magazine roll down his shoulder and go to the other side, and then he pops it and puts it back into his gun and [makes an arrogant face]. Just that little character moment alone, you're like, "This guy's a Dick. I like him!" You have that with other characters like Takki, our Korean battle medic. She shows up, her little battle spheres show up looking all cutesy and everything like that. I believe in our Blur trailer if you've seen that with the remix of "Spirit in the Sky," it shows off a lot of the personality of the characters. We also have lore that you can read up on, as well as we're working on some other videos, maybe motion comics and whatnot, that'll basically tell you the story of these characters.

There's basically two levels that you want: There's the person who's like, "Oh that character's kind of funny or cute. I like them," and then there's the "Did you know that Feng is the principal scientist for Shirocorp and that's why he's so cocky. He experimented on himself and that's why he has the robotic jaw and the prosthetic arm!" And you're like, "Jeez, dude, calm down with the nerd s---!" [Laughs] You want that kind of stuff, right?

Also, tonally, Overwatch works for what it is, but it's got a kind of Pixar kind of look. We're gunning very much for the Call of Duty, Battlefield, Halo crowd. We're going for less bright colors, characters that are slightly more sinister. And also, of course, we have blood and gibs and a little bit of swearing once in a while.

What kind of post-release support are you planning?

I've already played class 10. We're shipping with nine, but that's the thing: When game developers ship games, we sometimes get bummed. It's, "All the excitement, all the excitement... it's out!" and then we're like, "Okay, now what? Oh, time to nickel and dime people for some s---ty DLC." So what we're doing is we're going to release the game with nine roles, 18 characters, Law vs. Breakers, then there's going to be another role coming out in a couple of months. They're already working on it. I've already played maps that aren't yet released, they're just going to show up one day. We'd also like to do what we call the Test Kitchen for servers. What if we had a game mode that's 2v2, Cronoses vs. Kitsune? A lot of games have been doing that and we want to get in on it and kind of iterate on it. We know the balance of the game is going to be utterly f---ed on launch and it's up to the community to help us fix it.

Are free updates to keep your community engaged the future of your post-release support?

Well, you know, we do have a crates system and cosmetics. That's kind of become the standard with this sort of medium-priced game. My main thing is I want people to play the game... hopefully buy it, hopefully spend a little bit of money on the crates. We have a very generous price-point at $29.99. I keep seeing games coming out that are multiplayer only at $60. I saw [founder of Titanfall studio, Respawn Entertainment] Vince Zampella last night and he was like, "Oh, that $60 multiplayer-only bulls---," and I'm like, "Yeah, Vince, that's why you made the campaign." [laughs] You've got to justify the $60 because gamers aren't stupid. They can smell value, so we have our $29.99 price-point, and then we also have a $39.99 price-point if you want some more sweet skins. You can get in at a very, very reasonable price, which I hope makes it sort of an impulse buy.

We've been hearing about LawBreakers for a long time now. Now that we finally have a release date, what do you think is the biggest lesson you've learned over the course of the game's development?

We wanted to be very transparent with our development, however we found out that's not very good for PR and press beats. If I could go back in time, I would have the alpha that we did not be public because it was okay, but it wasn't really what the full game turned out to be. But we did learn a lot of things from it. [... Now] the game really feels like it's hitting its full stride. That's one of the problems. I wanted to be fully transparent, but the problem is the game looks too good; we look triple-A, but you can't act like you're indie at the same time. It's that kind of dichotomy of what Boss Key is. If I could go back in time, I'd be a little bit more closed and kind of wait for the beta to get the word out. The good thing is that our publishers are finally only now getting behind the game marketing-wise, so a lot of people who only heard inklings of the game are like "Oh my god! I saw that advertised on my YouTube page! It looks great!" and people on my Twitter feed are not talking about chainsaws, they're finally talking about this f---ing game. [laughs] You have no idea how good that feels.

So now more "What was on your mind when Gears of War 1 was in development?"

I get "Please fix Gears!" and it's like, "Yes, let me abandon my company of 65 employees and their families to come back for your nostalgia." [laughs]

Alright Cliff, when you were developing Gears of War 4 [laughs]

You'd be surprised how much your average person doesn't understand what an intellectual property is and how ownership works. Stan Lee was a contractor when he made Spider-Man, who later had to sue to get the royalties that he deserved. It's basic business, you know?

I feel like I still see you on Twitter saying, "I don't make Gears of War anymore!"

You know, I'm not an actor, but I have a lot of empathy for actors who have had an iconic character who are like, "Hey! Say the thing! Say the thing!" Like, really dude?

"Alright, alright... I am the danger."

[Laughs] Yeah! Exactly! Exactly. You see Liam Neeson, and "I don't know who you are, but I'll find you..." [laughs] "I have a very special set of skills." For me, it's like... to back up for a second... This is my studio. This is my IP. I'm doing it on my own volition. It's not [Epic Games co-founder] Tim Sweeney's company anymore. For me to build this company with a bunch of badasses and to see the logos around the [Los Angeles] Convention Center, to see the banner, and to see people lining up and hear them hooting and hollering, this is seriously a huge career milestone for me. At the end of the day, I get back to the hotel with my wife and I do a thing I just savor this. And I tell my employees who are here that this doesn't happen very often. I tweeted a photo earlier, and I don't know if you were outside of the Convention Center earlier, but looking at the banners, this is the only new IP that's outside of the Convention Center on a banner. Everything else is a f---ing sequel. Gamers say they want new stuff, but it comes back to South Park's Memberberries. "'Member Marvel vs. Capcom? 'Member Call of Duty?" Like, yeah, that's fine, but try something new for once! We have an open beta on the 30th. Give the game a go. What do you have to lose?

How many laws can you break in one match?

That's a very obscure question... [laughs] All the laws of gravity and physics, essentially.

And murder. [laughs]

Well, yeah, but my whole thing is this game kind of represents where my mindset is because I hate repeating myself and I'm very impatient and I'm just like "Go, go, go, go, go." That's for me, hanging around programmers my entire life, I'm all about being efficient. I don't care about your bulls---. I don't want you to cry because of a cinematic. Give me verbs. I'm sliding, I'm jumping, I'm grappling, I'm jump-jetting, I'm rocket-launching, I'm rocket-jumping. I'm doing all these crazy things that lead to a game that I believe is fundamentally watchable. I find myself going to the kitchen and getting a glass of water, and I find myself where I get caught watching and then like, "Oh yeah, I gotta get back to work," because the game is really, really fun to watch. [...] The game has this amazing sense of flow. I've had so many years of working on Gears where it's stop and pop, and stop and pop, and it's like, "No, I want to roll around all the time," and "I want to wall-bounce." Gamers want to, in that 3D space, continue to have that flow, which is why, as much as I like Overwatch, I think Mei is the dumbest character ever. You never freeze somebody in a first-person shooter ever. Just kill me. I'd rather be in the spawn queue. Or put me to sleep like the other character does.

Something you said was it's "fundamentally watchable." Do you feel that's something that's just necessary with games these days thanks to the prominence of streaming culture?

That's the esport question, right? The only MOBA I ever liked was Smite because it has this cohesive fiction. There's gods, there's a phoenix, and titans and all this stuff. Okay, I get it! Every other MOBA is like, "This is slappedy slap from fluppy flu, and he's a catfish with a tophat on..." What the f---?! [laughs] And you know, hey, I would kill to have one-tenth of the success of League of Legends. Far be it from me to criticize them, but I watch League and I'm like, "I have no idea what's going on." And I talked to [Riot Games founder and CEO] Brandon Beck some years ago and he was like, "Yeah, we've pretty much accepted that League of Legends players are going to be the ones watching League." I'm hoping with our game, we kind of have the equivalent of American football, where you don't necessarily need to know what a two-point conversion is, but you can understand "big-guy-throw-ball-get-tackled" and understand. You cross the line, you score. It's that simple, right? So for us, it's "guy or girl shoots each other, takes ball across goal and scores." There you go, you don't need to understand the nuances that the Starfall creates a zero-g pocket that you can blindfire through and what your acceleration is and how you can bunny-hop out of it.

Do you think that kind of desire for an understandability translates to the way your modes and their objectives are set up?

The mantra I gave them was "Don't make the same exact game modes everybody else did." Don't just do payload. It's like, "Why? Why don't we come up with our own stuff?"

So are we going to have straight team deathmatch?

Nope. We're a class-based game. Each class makes sense depending on the section of the level, depending on the context of the match, depending on the timer and everything. So we may introduce a mode that's kind of like TDM, but I've challenged our design team to find our own twist on it. Don't just do the same s--- everyone else does.

What have you learned from creating games like Gears of War and Unreal Tournament?

For me, it's movement. I went back and I studied the movement of Quake 3 and Team Fortress 2, and I went back and I played the new Unreal Tournament and the old Unreal Tournament. One of the mistakes I made back in the day was when you move in Unreal Tournament, you go from not moving to full acceleration immediately, and then you stop immediately. In Quake and TF 2, you accelerate a little bit, then when you stop, you glide a little bit. And also, the walls are very, very smooth in those games. Whereas the default code in Unreal Engine, when you hit a wall in Unreal Engine, you hit the wall at a slight angle, you still rub up against the wall slowly. The only time you stop in LawBreakers is if you're perfectly perpendicular to the wall; if you're at all at an angle, you just glide along. All that little stuff, as well as maintaining your momentum when you jump, gives a little bit of that movement feel. Like I said with Gears, I wanted to create a stop-and-pop game, but players didn't want that. They wanted to roll around and shotgun people because they wanted to be as efficient in movement as possible. So I said, "Alright, let's design an entire game around movement being as efficient as possible." So you take out the enemies, you can see the health above their heads, and you can actually gib people again, which people forget that gibbing is fun.

In the past, when you've talked about your regrets about Gears of War, you've spoken about wanting it to have been more serious and thought-provoking from a narrative perspective. Do you think you'll ever want to do another story-driven game after LawBreakers?

Not anytime soon. You have no idea how much work it is to make a campaign. If I were to do something that is somewhat story-driven, it would be a lot more procedural. I was talking to a journalist yesterday, and one of the random game ideas I'd love to do is a game about a lost dog. It's one of those things I've wanted to get around to, because I have a 12-year-old Australian Shepherd who's slowing down, I have a five-year-old American Eskimo and they are just like my therapy. When I come home, they treat me like a Marine who just came home from Afghanistan every time. It's amazing. It's one of those things where that would be the game I'd love to do. When you think about verbs and my game, dogs have a lot of verbs; they can sniff, they can nibble, they can bite, they can bark, they can wag their tail, they can move their paws, they pee, they poop... they do all these crazy things. There's a lot you can do with a dog and how the dog interacts with humans and I think that would be a really compelling thing to do. Hopefully somebody Kickstarts is and makes it for me. I'll do it in my spare time! [laughs]

Did you have a chance to play Gears 4?

Yeah, I played through the campaign with my wife.

What'd you think?

A lot of my old ideas were in there. I'm flattered. I ran into [Gears of War series producer] Rod Fergusson in the hotel bar the other day and gave him a big hug. We caught up for 15 minutes. There were some things I wanted in that game that didn't quite come through. I think they've pumped the brakes on some of the things I wanted to see in that game. But they're kind of bootstrapped because they have to make this game that's about big, buff badasses for a new hipster generation of millennials, and that's why the new cast of Kait and J.D., they're kind of the younger crowd like, "We're not quite as gruff as you are, old man," which is kind of the metaphor for Rod, myself, and Gears trying make a game to appeal to a new generation of gamers, right? I enjoyed it, but Gears is going to continue to suffer from innovators dilemma. I'm so happy that I can make a new IP and put whatever the hell I want in it. I'm not going to have someone saying, "You ruined it!" or "This isn't the core game anymore!" or "You're not innovating!" It's always that catch-22, right?

 

LawBreakers launches on PlayStation 4 and PC on August 8.

18th June 2017
The Jump To PS4 Looks Like A Smooth Transition

The Jump To PS4 Looks Like A Smooth Transition

When I first played LawBreakers last year, I thought it was a fun shooter that I wasn't certain would hook me over the long-term. I had a chance to play the recently announced PS4 version, and came away more positive on the experience.

I played the Blitzball mode, which is a similar mode to Capture the Flag, but with one flag that teams must fight over. The object is to escort the ball to the enemy spawn point into their goal. If you kill the ball carrier, they drop the ball. It's a simple mode, but when you combine the two teams comprised of the various classes, it's a fun and frantic experience.

I enjoyed the different characters I played, but I gravitated toward the gunslinger class, which gave me two different kinds of pistols (one revolver and one burst-fire gun), as well as a blink ability like Tracer's speedy maneuver in Overwatch. I liked using the right trigger to fire my revolver for precision shots, while using the left to layer on the damage with the burst-fire. When my character's ultimate comes ready, both of his pistols turn into machine guns for a short period, dealing massive damage to anyone in my path.

While the comparisons to Overwatch are inevitable, director Cliff Bleszinski says that there are a number of differences between his hero-based shooter and Blizzard's. "Overwatch is a great game," he says. "[It] did a lot of things to deliberately expand the market with regards to allowing a more casual user to get in. A lot of the ultimates feel like 'Press 'Q' to win.' Ours you actually have to aim. It's one of those things where I'm not going to freeze the player, I'm not going to have Roadhog's hook, I'm not going to have Hanzo's arrow collision. We're very much a one-to-one ratio where what you see is what you get. What I like to say is that this is a shooter that also has abilities and characters, and Overwatch is a great game that has characters and abilities that's also then a shooter. We are very much gunning for the Counter-Strike crowd."

Of course, one of the selling points of LawBreakers is its leniency with the laws of gravity. The center part of the map I played had very little gravity, which means characters fly through the air, providing unique gameplay moments rarely found in other shooters.

Initially, Bleszinski was concerned about how gamepads would handle this, but he has since figured out ways to make it work. "if you play the game on PC, it's bats--- insane," he says. "That actually might be a bit much for people. The console version is still pretty crazy, but it's about 85% as crazy. So it's one of those things where you can only have an FPS be so crazy with a controller."

While I was not particularly hot on the game at first, LawBreakers has slowly won me over more with each time I've played it. Bleszinski says that this was the impression many players had due to the team taking the game too public too early. "We wanted to be very transparent with our development, however we found out that's not very good for PR and press beats," he says. "If I could go back in time, I would have the alpha that we did not be public because it was okay, but it wasn't really what the full game turned out to be. But we did learn a lot of things from it."

Though other hero-based shooters make it so LawBreakers has an uphill battle, I'm excited to get more time with the game when it launches on PS4 and PC August 8.

16th June 2017
E3 2017 – Highlights And The Complete Recap

E3 2017 – Highlights And The Complete Recap

Much of E3's appeal is centered around surprises. What games will be announced? Will we see any exciting new hardware? Will someone catastrophically melt down on stage? Although there are a lot of uncertainties going into the show, you can count on one thing when it's over: There's a lot of coverage to sift through. Fortunately, we're here to help. We've compiled every E3-related story we've posted over the past several days into one massive recap, and also provided some solid starting points for those who are easily intimidated by massive lists.

There were hundreds of games to see at the show, but not everything was worth your time. If you're looking for an easy way to sort through the noise, we've got a few roundups to browse through. Our list of the Five Most Promising New IPs is a great place to start, as well as our list of the best indie games and a look at what's new in VR.

Super Mario Odyssey was one of the show's highlights, and it was a near-constant presence on Nintendo's Treehouse Live stream. You can check out our hands-on impressions on the game here, and also get answers to some of our admittedly silly questions about the game in our video interview with Shigeru Miyamoto. And if you're in the mood for more silliness, take a look at our video that counts down the Top Three Skyrims from E3 2017.

Ubisoft revealed a new CG trailer for Beyond Good & Evil 2, and while there's little – if anything – to see from the actual game itself, we spoke with the developers about what they're hoping to do with the eagerly anticipated sequel. On the subject of Ubisoft, we also announced that Assassin's Creed Origins is our next cover story. We've already posted several in-depth features based on extensive hands-on time with the game.

One of the more interesting reveals from the show was that Monster Hunter World was coming to consoles and PC in early 2018. The series has amassed a cult following over the years, but our preview looks at the game from the perspective of a newcomer. Is it a good place to start if you haven't been playing all these years?

State of Decay was another cult favorite, though its fans had to look past a host of technical issues to get to the fun inside. Does the sequel address those issues? It sure looks that way.

There's not enough time to highlight everything that we saw and played over the past few days, but those should give you a nice place to start. Check out the second page for our complete list of the show, with links to watch the press conferences in their entirety and read through dozens of hands-on previews, features, and special podcasts from the show. 

PaginateGrid();
16th June 2017
Five Things You Need To Know About Dishonored: Death of the Outsider

Five Things You Need To Know About Dishonored: Death of the Outsider

Rather than trickling out a series of smaller downloadable mission packs as it did with Dishonored, Arkane Studios is thinking bigger for expanded content for Dishonored 2. Death of the Outsider is a standalone adventure placing players in the shoes of Billie Lurk (a.k.a. Meagan Foster), the apprentice to Empress slayer Daud. The duo is attempting something many believe to be impossible – to assassinate the meddlesome deity who originally bestowed Daud, Corvo, Emily, and Delilah with supernatural powers. We spoke with Arkane co-founder Harvey Smith about how this expansion differentiates itself from its predecessors. Here are the biggest takeaways.

You Do Not Play As Daud
Given that the last game featured two playable protagonists, many speculated or assumed that Daud would join Billie as a playable character in Death of the Outsider. This is not the case – this is Billie's mission. Daud still plays a critical role in the tale, but he's more of a mission giver.  

Billie Bears No Mark Of The Outsider
The three characters we have controlled in the Dishonored series so far – Corvo, Daud, and Emily – all bore the Mark of the Outsider, which bestowed unique supernatural powers to each. Already a formidable assassin without access to these otherworldly skills, Billie instead gains an edge on her opponents with an arsenal of powerful artifacts. The knife she wields is the same blade that originally sacrificed The Outsider. She gains the Foresight ability to scout the surrounding area with an artifact called the Sliver of the Eye. This is a fragment of the Eye of the Dead God, which Arkane implies is the divinity that came before The Outsider.

A talisman from her childhood sweetheart Deirdre gives Billie the ability to hear the whispers of rats. A powerful artifact gives Billie the Displace power. After placing this marker anywhere in the environment, she can snap back to the location instantly provided she is still in the marker's line of sight when she activates the power. She also has the Semblance skill, which lets Billie assume another person's identity, and a Void Strike charge attack that knocks enemies back.

Once you complete The Death of the Outsider, you unlock Original Game Plus, which grants you Blink and a couple other classic powers from the first two games for subsequent playthroughs. Contrary to some speculation, you do not get access to the full trees of Emily and Corvo; you get three to replace Billie's powers.

Visit New Areas Of Karnaca And Beyond
Taking place roughly six months after the events of Dishonored 2, Death of the Outsider returns to the southern island city. This time, however, you can look forward to seeing new parts of the city. In addition, you may return to some familiar parts of the city, but Arkane is changing the time of day and putting in new details that communicate the passage of time. Smith says players will journey to new locations outside of Karnaca as well that the studio isn't talking about just yet.

Don't Expect Corvo Or Emily Cameos
Having successfully reclaimed her throne, Emily Kaldwin has a lot of work to do to restore public confidence in her and wipe any last trace of Delilah's scourge from Dunwall. With so much on her plate, don't expect to see Corvo or Emily join the fray in Death of the Outsider. "From our perspective, they are off stage," Smith says. "They're dealing with the reconstruction of Dunwall." That said, the duo won't be unaffected by the outcome of the story. Should Billie vanquish The Outsider, anyone who bore the mark will lose their supernatural gift.

This Tale Wraps The Jessamine Kaldwin Story Arc
Killing off the deity who bestows the main characters with the supernatural powers that make Dishonored such a joy seems like a strange move if Arkane and Bethesda have future plans for the series. So I asked Smith if the Death of the Outsider is the final chapter of Dishonored. "Going all the way to the end with the Outsider, who's kind of a sad figure, and letting players deal with him one way or another way and resolve that whole arc, it does feel like the book is closing on at least this part of Dishonored," Smith says. "Now there may be another part, or not – I don't know. And I don't know whether I'll be involved with it."

Dishonored 2 is coming to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on September 15.

16th June 2017
How The World Reacts To Your Actions

How The World Reacts To Your Actions

Actor Terry Crews headlined Crackdown 3's showing at Microsoft's press conference (he will also play a character within the game), but star power isn't the biggest thing that this open-world game has going for it. Freedom is front and center, since Crackdown 3 gives players a variety of weapons and skills, then places them in a world that rewards their choices. During my demo of Crackdown 3, I saw how the game responds to what you do, but in ways that can vary from one player to the next.

Gangs Fight Back
The gangs of New Providence don’t take kindly to being systematically weakened and killed. As you destroy their infrastructure and shoot your way through their hierarchy, they generally respond in one of two ways. First, they might go on the attack, sending strike forces after you that can result in intense firefights at just about any location across the city. Second, they might fortify their existing strongholds, which would naturally amp up the game’s difficulty as your progress. These events don’t happen after every single thing you do, but still give you something to consider as you prepare an offensive push.

A Changing Skyline
One of the first features of Crackdown 3 we learned about was the extreme, cloud-supported environmental destruction. However, that’s (disappointingly) only present in competitive multiplayer. According to the Crackdown 3 team, you can’t fulfill the campaign’s goal of saving the city and citizens if you are toppling buildings and obliterating city blocks. Even so, some structures will change based on your progress in single-player or co-op. For example, the gang kingpins’ hideouts might change in various ways after you take them out, leaving a permanent reminder of your exploits in the skyline.

(Please visit the site to view this media)

“Skills For Kills, Agent”
Your agent’s actions within the world it are what produce skill orbs – your key to progression. Performing kills with different skill categories (like guns, explosives, and strength) earns you more experience in those particular areas. As you use them, you unlock greater capabilities in each field. So, how you choose to tackle objectives may not directly impact the world, but it does affect your ability to interact with it.

Chipping Away
Crackdown fans should be familiar with the idea of gradually wearing down their enemies’ defenses and exploiting openings. That is also part of Crackdown 3; the more gang leaders you take down, the better your chances of survival become throughout the city. For instance, my demo focused on eliminating Liv Sorenson, the head of the city’s enforcer squad. If you successfully take her out, her force will be left without a strong leader, making it easier to take out other bosses and strongholds.

Territory Interactions
The bosses’ territories in Crackdown 3 aren’t neatly split into distinct sections of the map. Instead, various structures and objectives are scattered across the city, and each one is associated with a particular boss. For instance, monorail stations are under the supervision of an A.I. named ROXY. However, right next door could be a depot controlled by Sorenson’s forces. The advantage here is that you can play these forces against each other. I saw an agent take over the monorail station first, then establish a mobile turret on the track – which just so happened to pass above a depot. When the agent went to assault Sorenson’s asset, the turret provided assistance from above. So, before you go charging toward an objective, make sure you scout around to see what advantages you can establish.

Crackdown 3 release on November 7 for Xbox One and PC.

16th June 2017
Building Upon The Personality-Driven City Management Sim

Building Upon The Personality-Driven City Management Sim

With Tropico 6, Limbic Entertainment is bringing back fan favorite features and combining them with their own personal touches in hopes of creating the most fully featured entry yet. As with the previous entry, you play through four eras (Colonial, World War, Cold War, and Modern) in this city-builder with a totalitarian twist. I checked out an early build of Tropico 6 and came away impressed by what the developer is doing with the title.

In Tropico 6, you once again assume the role of El Presidente as you build your fledgling nation up. The goal of the game is to stay in power long enough to complete 1 of 15 single-player missions or to see your nation become a powerhouse.

You can accomplish this through either acting as a benevolent patron or a ruthless dictator. Do you hold elections? Do you only open them up to the wealthy? Do you try and attract tourists? Do you invest in the weapons industry? Do you test nuclear weapons? These factors all affect how your citizens view you and how much they'll tolerate your reign.

This time around, you control an entire archipelago rather than just one island. The grouping of islands I saw featured one that was rich in agriculture, while one was host to a massive volcano, and the other was a beautiful beachy island. Each area varies with resources, with accessible overlays showing where you can find resources like oil, fish, and iron. One island was rich in coal, so we built a coal mine and a port so that boats could transport it to the other islands.

At the mid-way point of my demo, a message pops up that my citizens are demanding an election. I can choose to appease them or test their patience. We decide to give them what they want and hold an election. Prior to the vote, you can give your speech with promises and even point the blame at other variables for your shortcomings. Once you reach the election, you can opt to let the votes speak for themselves or you can try and manipulate the vote after the fact.

A new aspect of Tropico allows you to perform raids. Each era requires you to build a specific landmark before you can complete raids. Raids are missions you send to neighboring countries. You can perform tasks like espionage, manipulate the stock market, or intimidate your neighbors. Instead, we decided to steal the Statue of Liberty. We sent special ops off into a plane and they went off on their mission.

After some time passes, a dialogue box pops up saying my team needs more support. I can send them oil, give them more time, or do nothing. My choice affects their chances for success. The mission ends a complete success and four planes fly in shortly after hauling the Statue of Liberty. It was a goofy moment that sticks out in my mind as the exact kind of tongue-in-cheek moments that sets this apart from the other city-builder titles.

I've never been a massive Tropico player, but this sixth entry looks promising. I'll be keeping my eye on Tropico's development as we get closer to its 2018 release.

16th June 2017
Building Upon The Personality-Driven City Sim

Building Upon The Personality-Driven City Sim

With Tropico 6, Limbic Entertainment is bringing back fan favorite features and combining them with their own personal touches in hopes of creating the most fully featured entry yet. As with the previous entry, you play through four eras (Colonial, World War, Cold War, and Modern) in this city-builder with a totalitarian twist. I checked out an early build of Tropico 6 and came away impressed by what the developer is doing with the title.

In Tropico 6, you once again assume the role of El Presidente as you build your fledgling nation up. The goal of the game is to stay in power long enough to complete 1 of 15 single-player missions or to see your nation become a powerhouse.

You can accomplish this through either acting as a benevolent patron or a ruthless dictator. Do you hold elections? Do you only open them up to the wealthy? Do you try and attract tourists? Do you invest in the weapons industry? Do you test nuclear weapons? These factors all affect how your citizens view you and how much they'll tolerate your reign.

This time around, you control an entire archipelago rather than just one island. The grouping of islands I saw featured one that was rich in agriculture, while one was host to a massive volcano, and the other was a beautiful beachy island. Each area varies with resources, with accessible overlays showing where you can find resources like oil, fish, and iron. One island was rich in coal, so we built a coal mine and a port so that boats could transport it to the other islands.

At the mid-way point of my demo, a message pops up that my citizens are demanding an election. I can choose to appease them or test their patience. We decide to give them what they want and hold an election. Prior to the vote, you can give your speech with promises and even point the blame at other variables for your shortcomings. Once you reach the election, you can opt to let the votes speak for themselves or you can try and manipulate the vote after the fact.

A new aspect of Tropico allows you to perform raids. Each era requires you to build a specific landmark before you can complete raids. Raids are missions you send to neighboring countries. You can perform tasks like espionage, manipulate the stock market, or intimidate your neighbors. Instead, we decided to steal the Statue of Liberty. We sent special ops off into a plane and they went off on their mission.

After some time passes, a dialogue box pops up saying my team needs more support. I can send them oil, give them more time, or do nothing. My choice affects their chances for success. The mission ends a complete success and four planes fly in shortly after hauling the Statue of Liberty. It was a goofy moment that sticks out in my mind as the exact kind of tongue-in-cheek moments that sets this apart from the other city-builder titles.

I've never been a massive Tropico player, but this sixth entry looks promising. I'll be keeping my eye on Tropico's development as we get closer to its 2018 release.