Monday evening brought us one of E3’s less-hyped events, the PC Gaming Show.
While it lacks the grand ceremony of the console-focused shows, there’s always a lot to love for PC gamers, particularly fans of the unusual indie titles the platform does so well.
But there’s no shortage of big hitters either – and these are a few of my personal highlights from this year’s show.
The first game of the show was, for me, one of the most exciting: Satisfactory by Coffee Stain Studios, the developers best-known for surprise indie smash Goat Simulator.
The first seconds of the trailer show a game resembling a slightly glossier version of No Man’s Sky – but before long it pulls back to reveal the full scope of the game. You won’t just be visiting an alien planet – you (and perhaps a team of co-op buddies) will be converting one into a vast open-air factory, not unlike the great Factorio.
The difference here, of course, is the immersive first-person perspective and the ever-reliable thrills of co-op gameplay. I can’t wait to build continent-wide heavy freight railroads with my pals… and then ride them!
The devs expect the game to be out “probably this year”, but you can sign up for the alpha over on the website. See you there.
The Sinking City
The Sinking City, from Ukrainian developers Frogwares, is an open-world third-person adventure game with a Lovecraftian detective theme.
For some gamers, those words will stir fond memories of the late lamented Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth, an excellent yet flawed first-person adventure from 2005 that flopped commercially and bankrupted its developers. While Frogwares didn’t come out and say it, to me this struck me as something of a spiritual successor to that fondly remembered title.
It strikes all the usual notes with the game promising “no handholding”, as well as a focus on investigation and adventuring over brute violence. That said, the footage at E3 did seem to show quite a lot of combat.
While it may not be the most original showing, The Sinking City has the makings of a great horror game. Let’s see if it lives up to them.
As the clock ticked towards midnight, this was one announcement that really made me sit up and pay attention!
Sega’s Yakuza series is a long-running and much-loved franchise at this point, but PC gamers have always had to resort to the shady world of emulation to get a taste. But now, the critically acclaimed Yakuza 0 is coming to PC, following on the heels of a few recent Sega ports.
Yakuza 0 sees protagonist Kazuma Kiryu punch, kick and dance his way through a fictionalised Tokyo district in 1988. Expect highly technical brawling and a compelling story in a compact, detailed open world – and a hefty serving of deeply odd minigames.
The game was a critical smash around the world on its initial release, so there’s no secret we’re in for a treat here. You can pre-order the game now on Steam, and it hits the virtual streets on 1 August.
Another personal highlight from this year’s show was Sable, a gorgeous adventure game from two-man development house Shedworks.
The trailer showed haunting landscapes and effortless flight, with an ethereal indie-pop soundtrack – but the most striking thing is its incredible cell-shaded visuals.
The developers nod to Studio Ghibli and European comic book artists like Moebius as inspirations, while the gameplay draws on the “solitude and isolation” of Journey. It’s definitely got a similar desert vibe, although the art style is all its own.
The trailer hints at substantially more complex gameplay, but we’ll have to wait until 2019 to get our hands on it. Find out more over on the Shedworks site. Apparently, they really are based in a shed.
Lastly for me, the trailer for Neo Cab passed by without too much attention from the hosts – but the interesting concept and shameless indulgence in the blue-and-pink cyberpunk aesthetic caught my eye.
It’s pitched as an “emotional survival game”, and sees players taking on the role of a cab driver for an Uber-esque rideshare service. You’ll need to ferry passengers through its dystopian streets, trying to earn tips and high passengers ratings – while also helping a friend who’s in too deep with a dangerous corporation.
With all the hype over Cyberpunk 2077 this year, it’s interesting to see a quieter take on the genre, a kind of low-key mood piece to Cyberpunk’s sci-fi blockbuster.
In any case, Neo Cab seems to offer something different, and I’ll be keeping an eye out for it when it’s released early next year.