What can PC gamers expect from E3 2013?

7 Jun 2013  by   Peter Parrish
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With a pair of new consoles all set to dominate the stage at E3 2013, the PC might look as if it’s in a weaker position than previous years. The Xbox One is touting a collection of fifteen exclusive titles, and Sony’s PS4 will inevitably be trying to match that. So will that leave much in the way of new game announcements for PC users?

If evidence from the current generation is any indication, the answer is yes. The new consoles are closer in architecture to PCs than ever before. Plenty of the titles announced at E3 will be multiplatform, and those billed as ‘exclusive’ don’t always remain as far out of reach as that term suggests. Consider titles like Alan Wake, which took its time to reach the PC but did so eventually (and paid for itself within one day of its release on Steam.) Sure, console stalwarts like God of War and certain selections from the Halo series remain unavailable, but most of the time the PC gets its port in the end.

Hell, the PC is even getting a couple of Castlevania titles this year. Console exclusivity isn’t what it used to be.

Castlevania: no longer filled with fear when it hears the word 'port.'

Castlevania: no longer filled with fear when it hears the word ‘port.’

There’s also the question of whether we even want all of the exclusive stuff. Microsoft shows no signs of relinquishing the dream of a world where everybody controls games by jumping around their living rooms, so there are sure to be some Kinect-only titles announced. Even that won’t necessarily preclude them from a PC showing, since the new Kinect will be compatible with our boxes before too long.

Let’s not forget the hold-outs from the current generation either. E3 might be just the right venue in which to learn that some of these titles are going to be tempted over to the land of 1080p, 60fps and proper Field of View settings.

Both Bungie and Rockstar have made vague noises about wanting to bring Destiny and Grand Theft Auto V respectively to the PC, but haven’t yet committed to anything. Its hard to imagine either game being anything other than a money-spinner if they made the jump, so its probably time their developers stopped flirting with the platform and just gave it a big, sloppy kiss. Then stop doing that, and port the games.

While we’re at it, Metal Gear Solid V would be another strong contender. It’s already been revealed that the Fox Engine footage shown from the game so far was rendered on a PC. May as well make it official.

Come on Rockstar, we've even forgive you for the ropey version of GTA IV.

Come on Rockstar, we’ve even forgive you for the ropey version of GTA IV.

Of course, the PC can do exclusive games just as well as anybody else.

Few titles take advantage of the system’s capacity for modding like the Arma series, so it’ll be interesting to see what Bohemia Interactive presents from Arma 3 at the show. Those involved in the alpha test have already seen much of what the smaller island in the military sim has to offer, but there’s no doubt a fair bit that we haven’t seen yet. As well as plans for entering beta.

Along similar lines, perhaps E3 2013 will teach us more about Arma 2‘s most famous mod spin-off. The DayZ standalone has seen its release date slip on a couple of occasions, but is currently in alpha testing and is said to have a playable version ready for E3. What better time to lay out some dates for public alpha and beta access?

From the killing fields of Chernarus to the battle-scarred landscape of Europe for another thoroughly PC-centric title. Creative Assembly will want to keep the hype levels bubbling away for Total War: Rome II’s September release date, so next week should bring us more details from the latest in that strategic series.

Total War: Rome II

Enterprising E3 attendees get around the stage floor horse ban.

Of the multiplatform titles that we already know of, it’d be nice to see South Park make a reappearance after its publisher transition from THQ to Ubisoft. It had a pretty high billing at last year’s E3, even popping up in the main Microsoft press conference, so hopefully Ubisoft will take this opportunity to slap a new release date on the Obsidian-developed RPG.

While we’re dwelling on Ubisoft, an extended look at Watch Dogs and the piratical hijinx of Assassin’s Creed IV will be welcome too.

After learning that Deus Ex: The Fall is just an iOS game, it seems concerns about Square Enix’s intent to move away from their strategy of funding major ‘Western’ titles is well founded. That would put Thief (Thief 4) in an even more perilous position. Already fending off insider rumours that the Eidos development team has been in constant strife, and that the recent ‘hands off’ demo is all the studio has to show for the last ten months of work, the game needs to impress at E3 in a major way.

More details about CD Projekt’s open-world The Witcher 3 may emerge too, but probably at a later date as the E3 demo is already lined up as a ‘behind closed doors’ affair. Only publications with a robust enough chequebook to get to LA (and an appointment) will see that.

Will the open world make for a Witcher experience?

Will the open world make for a Witcher experience?

That still leaves room for plenty of surprises. Some of the best E3 announcements are those which come out of the blue.

Mirror’s Edge 2 is unlikely to be one of those, if only because it appears to be an open secret at this point. It’s almost certain to be revealed next week, but the question from a PC point of view is whether it’ll be up for a release on our systems. One of the ‘big two’ might have paid top dollar to keep it exclusive. At least for now.

The true surprises will be just that. Perhaps there’ll be another glimpse of an indie delight like Bastion from E3 2011, a reveal by Bethesda of Fallout 4, or even something from Valve about Half-L … you know what, there isn’t even any point finishing that thought.

So, with a smattering of the usual multiplatform releases, the selection of PC exclusives we already know about, and whatever glorious game surprises await an unveiling in LA, the system should be in rude health. There’s plenty to look forward to.

IncGamers will be cutting through the hype and bluster as best we can, covering all the PC news and games from E3 2013 in our dedicated section.

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