Each Friday PC Gamer s editors venture into the opinion mines, hoping to chisel out nuggets of raw, shining, truth. Ugh, you ve got truth all over your hands…
Chris Livingston: Sky-O-Stocked: Infinite One of my favorite early-access games, Space Engineers, is planning to take the "space" portion of its title a bit more seriously. Much like actual outer space, Space Engineers is eventually going to be infinite, practically. In a blog post by Marek Rosa, Founder of Keen Software, he lays out the details of an upcoming Exploration feature:
"The exploration feature will add a practically infinite number of ships and stations to the game world, so there will always be something new to discover, explore, acquire and conquer. You can imagine it like this: you are traveling in some direction and there is an asteroid, so you decide to check it and see if there s something in its tunnels, in its proximity or on its surface. Or you just fly through empty space and boom, a lost wreck shows near you."
It would take quite a hefty PC to render countless ships and asteroids, so they'll only be generated if you're in their vicinity, and drop out once you've moved on. What's more, Rosa is asking the community if they'd like their custom-made ships and space stations to be used in this infinite universe in exchange for adding the creators' names to the game's credits. They're polling the community now to see if they players are on board, and at the moment, more than 90% of players are currently in favor of using community creations rather than procedurally generated ships or hiring new designers for the task.
Personally, I'd say combine all three of the options: hire the best builders from the community to make new ships and see if they can also come up with a solid random ship generator. Either way, the idea of getting in a ship and doing unrestricted space exploration sounds exciting to me. My current space station is such a shoddy, poorly-planned embarrassment I wouldn't mind rocketing away from it and never returning.
Evan Lahti: Epic gets busyFortnite is real! Seemingly. Alpha sign-ups for the game were being offered all the way back in April, and Epic has finally opened up its ambitious Minecraft-like survival and building game up to testers. It's been so long since we've had something new from engine-maker Epic, and with this an a new Unreal Tournament on the way I think we'll have at least two highly-moddable games on the horizon for next year.
Tim Clark: Sir, when a man is tired of London… Earlier this week I found myself reaching for an appropriate image to convey extreme leakiness. A collander? Too obvious. The roof of my old flat which used to gush during any major rainstorm which, living in Bath, meant always? Too personal. I needn t have bothered. I should have just said leaky like Ubisoft , because right now, among major publishers, there are none more leaky. And so it was that with Assassin s Creed: Unity still being frantically patched into respectability, news broke of the next game, Victory, which we now know will be set in Victorian London.
To which I say hurrah and huzzah. I ve been banging on about how a fog-shrouded London—all stovepipe hats, Hansom cabs and Jack the Ripper slayings—would be an amazing backdrop for the series for years. Will the game be any good? Probably. I say that on the basis that whilst III was a dull old drag, IV was one of my favourite games in recent years. Given that Unity has been a dip on the graph, it ought to mean Victory is a glorious upswing. If only for reasons of nominative determinism. As to whether Ubisoft leaked it on purpose, I would say absolutely not. I don t think hinting at a brighter (and, uh, foggier) future while people are struggling with what they ve just bought in the present is likely to mollify anyone. Nonetheless, for London alone, Victory s loose-lipped reveal is my high.
Samuel Roberts: Syncing on Big Ben This is a contentious one, because the reaction I ve picked up on to the Assassin s Creed Victory s announcement is either, not another one! or fix Unity first! Both fair points, there are too many (I tend to skip years with the series) and Unity is still subject to ongoing updates. But as someone who lives in the UK and is familiar with the Victorian era through a) boring school history lessons in which I was likely daydreaming about Civ II instead of actually working and b) Alan Moore s From Hell, I thought that Ubi s interpretation of London looked amazing in the leaked screens for Victory.
The smoke rising above the skies, the slightly exaggerated colour palette so it looks ever-so-slightly steampunk-y. And hey, environmental design and art direction are elements of Unity that most people agree are still pretty impressive, so I see little reason to doubt Ubisoft s ability to get London right here. The rest of the game? Not sure I can vouch for that just yet.
Phil Savage: Keep on Shovellin According to its developer's Twitter account, Shovel Knight has sold over 300,000 copies. I'm pleased because, coincidentally, I started playing it this week. It's brilliant; almost surprisingly so. I'm usually pretty cool on 2D indie platformers. There are over 70-gajillion available, but only a handful I really like, let alone feel compelled to complete. Braid, Super Meat Boy, Bit.Trip Runner 2, Spelunky, and now this.
It's great because the controls are perfect—as precise as is necessary for a Duck Tales-inspired pogo-ing platformer. It s also great because the challenge is pitched just right. Die, and you lose gold. But rather than lose it permanently, it'll float around the site of your demise—giving you the chance to go and get it back. It's one of those clever Dark Souls lessons that desperately needed to filter into other genres. Death isn't a thing to be punished; a lack of progress and improvement is. Great, too, is its size. Shovel Knight is filled with secrets and hidden surprises, inviting you to keep pushing further into the world map. I think I will.
Chris Thursten: ML-GG WP GO NEXT MLG's return to Dota 2 amounts to more than just another tournament. It's a subtle but significant recalibration of the competitive scene, and unlike most of these announcements it affects amateur players too. They're incorporating the MLG Pro Point system with JoinDOta's own ladders, creating a coherent way for teams to measure their progress.
While those big prizes will almost certainly go to top-tier teams, a system like this allows for greater upsets and more mobility. The lower tiers have needed something like this: a bit of money and muscle behind the concept of a year-round ladder. Dota's in-built team matchmaking doesn't amount to much, and community-generated equivalents are low-impact and isolated. This deal marks a step towards something more permanent, and I'm pretty excited to get my team involved.
By 'involved' I mean 'languish in the starter bracket for another season', but hey. It's still good news.
Chris Thursten: What s going on, strip lights? Are you okay Sure, sure. Deus Ex has a new engine. There s a new game on the way. It looks pretty. I get it! I m excited too. No series represents PC gaming quite like this one, and so on. We asked for this.
I look at that single screenshot, though, and I think: what s up, strip lights? Why are you hiding in the corner like that? Are you okay? Are you nesting? That s not a very orderly way to arrange yourselves. Oh god. Is somebody else nesting in you? Because that sounds like something that a Deus Ex protagonist would do. Did a cyborg gather you all up, stack you in the corner, and then squat in you, brooding like a big motherly trenchcoated cyberpunk partridge? This seems like the most likely explanation for why you re like that. I hope you re okay.
This is the most significant videogame problem I have had this week.
Samuel Roberts: GTA V pulled by Target, K-Mart in Australia Two Australian retailers have pulled GTA V from shop shelves this week—I should point out these are the next-gen console versions, though I expect the PC version to get a similar reaction when it releases. This comes in response to a petition about violence towards women in the game. I don t endorse all of the horrendous things you can do in GTA V—indeed, some of the first-person kills added to this new version in particular are brutal to the extreme and even make me uncomfortable, but I don t see how pulling it from shelves solves any kind of problem. I should also point out that these first-person murders can be, on occasion, hilarious.
Raising awareness about objectionable elements in a game like GTA V is more than fair enough, and indeed, is healthy in that it educates consumers about parts of the game that they may not be comfortable with. I don t think taking it off shop shelves is the best response, however. Not that it will matter on PC—most people will just download it on Steam anyway. But this is what ratings boards are for, and consumers should be trusted to make their own decisions.
Chris Livingston: Broken For Ages The second half of Double Fine's Broken Age adventure game has been pushed from 2014 to early next year. While I'm all for games to be released when they're ready, rather than being rushed out the door to hit an arbitrary date, I suffer from what I like to call "A Stupid Forgetty Brain," in which details of games I play quickly begin to slip from my memory into a soupy, indistinct fog. Already, I've begun to forget what I did in the first half of the game. There was a spaceship, or something? And I ran around in the clouds for some reason? I'm worried that by the time the second half of the game is finally released, I'll have absolutely no memory of the first half, and I'm starting to wish I hadn't begun playing until the whole thing was finished. Yet another peril of paying for a game before it's done.
Phil Savage: This is a low Not really. This is totally a high that, through a bit of linguistic trickery, I will magic into a low. Shhh, don't tell the others.
We've recently had three great gamejams: the Procedural Generation Jam, 7DFPS and Indies vs PewDiePie. Between them hides a ridiculous selection of delightful things. Nothing this week has made me laugh as much as Infini-Quest did. Not even Super Wolfenstein HD, although that did come pretty close. Then there are games like Photobomb—a well executed game mechanic and a pretty effective statement of the potential dangers of trial by social media. Or the endless investigative challenge of The Inquisitor.
Oh yeah, this is supposed to be a low. So: there are too many of these experimental delights to reasonably try. Who knows how much great stuff we've missed?
Tim Clark: Elitism Uszaa, Riedquat, Diso, Orerve… Lave. If you re old as balls, like I am, then those names will mean something to you. They re planets on the short range map of the system you arrive in when you boot the original Elite. I was reminded of them, and my own decrepitude, at a pre-release event for the new Elite this week. There I got to play the game on both a 4K monitor, and using a DK2 Oculus Rift. Why is this a low? Certainly not because of any issue with the game, which feels like a worthy modern spin on one of the most important games in the canon. No, my sadness, is based on the fact it reminded me that, unlike Wes, I still haven t sampled the newer Crystal Bay prototype.
That sadness was compounded by the fact that I m unlikely to anytime soon. Elite: Dangerous goes into full release on 16 December, whereas Oculus Rift s production model has a tentative release date of 2015 . Which feels pretty loosey goosey whichever way you look at it. What I am certain of is that the Rift is how I want play the game. In my hands-on/eyes-in time with Elite I didn t experience the dreaded nausea, but did feel the deliciously Cronenbergian rush of the new. It feels like something properly different, which even an ultra hi-res monitor can t hope to compete with. So my low is also really a high, which means, like Phil, I ve cheated. Unless you count my own rapidly failing body as a low. Which I probably should.
Evan Lahti: Sad birthdaysOn its 15th anniversary, Quake III needs some love. Not every game can live forever, and we shouldn't be too rough on id for Quake Live's underwhelming history—if anything, it suffered from being one of the early adopters of free-to-play among FPSes. Still, with the resurgence of competitive games in general, and CS:GO specifically, you have to feel like there should be more excitement around a classic like Quake III getting a content boost.