Even in these traditionally slow weeks between E3 and Gamescom, there’s plenty going on in the world of PC gaming: important Steam developments, a G2A trash fire, and exciting developments going on in the world of Warframe. Collectively, that sure was some Computer Games. These were the news highlights of the last week:
• Valve says sorry for Summer Sale Grand Prix confusion, gives away 5000 more games
Valve attempted to make amends for its rather confusing Summer sale meta game. I was on Team Corgi, and I can’t say I ever understood what the heck was going on in the Grand Prix—it seemed like it needed one sensible outside observer to go, ‘what is all this, actually?’ Still, I bought a few new games I’ll never have time to play, and isn’t that what the Steam sale is really about?
• Steam’s new ‘Interactive Recommender’ uses machine learning, not tags or reviews, to tell you what to play
In slightly cheerier Valve news, you can now try out Steam’s new recommendation tool. I’ve often raised an eyebrow at the tenuously-linked games Steam has recommended to me based on tags in the past, but this already feels like a more useful system. Alongside this, Valve is also integrating microtrailers into Steam, which has been a handy Twitter tool for the likes of us for a long time.
• G2A offered 10 outlets the chance to publish pre-written advertorials without disclosure
G2A ended up in the headlines again, following on from last week when a group of indie devs made it clear they’d rather people pirate their games than buy them from the store. This week, an email from G2A about publishing advertorials without disclosure caused more controversy—and the retailer’s response was to, er, blame a single employee. I don’t remember learning that technique in management training. The week closed with G2A proposing the creation of a key-blocking tool, but only if 100 developers register by mid-August.
• Get your first look at Call of Duty: Modern Warfare’s 2v2 mode: Gunfight
The new Call of Duty multiplayer mode is a fast-paced deal where the rules change if no one is killed in the first 40 seconds. A proper reveal is coming in August, but Chris played it, and here you can read his thoughts.
• The 5 most exciting announcements from Tennocon
Here’s Warframe, doing its usual thing of expanding every year in exciting ways and threatening to make me download it and play for 400 hours.
• A third of Cyberpunk 2077’s digital preorders are on GOG
This is no doubt good news for the DRM-free retailer, which not so long ago was making layoffs.
• Sorry, but Final Fantasy 7 Remake is still a PS4 exclusive
There was some confusion and optimism this week after an official Xbox account suggested it was launching on non-PlayStation platforms, but it was a human error. It’s still PS4 first, unfortunately. But how many third-party games stay that way these days?
• No Man’s Sky’s Sean Murray says devs should be quiet after a rough launch
There are some interesting learnings from Sean Murray here on No Man’s Sky’s troubled release. I still think Hello Games would’ve avoided a lot of problems by launching the game in Early Access, where it could’ve improved with a bit less scrutiny.
• Ubisoft’s putting a stop to Assassin’s Creed Odyssey farming quests
I get why Ubi is policing some of these player-made experience-farming quests, since they obscure the hard work that goes into some of the other content available to players. Given how rigidly Assassin’s Creed Odyssey gates progress, though, it’s hard not to be a bit cynical about the reasoning behind this—especially when the game has a paid experience boost as a microtransaction.
• Psychonauts 2 has been delayed until 2020
Here’s what Chris thought of the E3 hands-off demo in the meantime.
• Pakistani politician mistakes a GTA 5 stunt video for real life, congratulates pilot
If PC Gamer was a regional news show, this would be our version of an ‘And finally…’ story about a local librarian who rescued a squirrel from a quarry.
Ace Watkins’ campaign to be the first gamer president continues. But is he promising more than he can deliver?
Around the office
Steven attended Tennocon, and yesterday published his piece on how Warframe is finally realising a 15-year vision. It seems like Mr Messner is always flying somewhere to spend his weekend hanging out with the passionate community of an online game I don’t really understand (see also: EVE Online, Final Fantasy XIV).
A sadly sick Jarred Walton has been reviewing AMD’s new graphics cards, so check those out, and wish him well (you don’t have to tweet him or anything—a simple positive thought will suffice). Chris wrote about a Maneater-esque GTA 5 shark mod, which contains some of his greatest gifs yet, a sample of which you’ll see above. And Joanna wrote about the messed up ways The Sims 4 captures real life, including the scary portrayal of Child Protective Services.
James investigated the world of Hollow Knight pornography—and yes, there is a world of it. “Hornet with a big ass was surprising when I started writing this, but now I’m a weathered Hollow Knight erotica person. Feminine Hornet is easy, predictable.” I think reading it is safe for work, but I advise consulting your office’s IT guidelines.
We’ve put all our favorite games from 2019 so far in one place for your convenience, which will make for some solid weekend reading.
I appeared on BBC Radio 4’s Food Programme last Sunday, which was pretty cool, even if they only ended up using a minute or so of our long conversation. You missed out on a hilarious anecdote about how I tried and hated Cup Noodle after seeing it in Final Fantasy 15. Without this comedy gold in the final edit, I would say the episode only reaches half of its full potential. But hey, I got on the radio, all without committing a crime.
Finally, Tyler interviewed several publishers to try to figure out how far the games industry is willing to go in its quest to stamp out key reselling, and then added this mention of his article, writing in the third person, because Sam is off enjoying the weekend due to time zones.