PC Gamer (US Edition) Holiday 2020

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United States
Future Publishing Ltd
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13 Utgaver

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1 min
“we poke and prod at the game’s technical foundations”

Specialist in Hi-tech solutions to low tech problems Twitter @robinlvalentine This month Pretended to understand how ray tracing works. Since its original announcement over eight years ago(!), Cyberpunk 2077 built momentum like nothing else—and just one more month from now, it’ll be time for it to show us all whether it can live up to nearly a decade of hype. But, we can’t wait that long. So we’ve headed behind the scenes to poke and prod at the game’s technical foundations, discovering the innovations powering CD Projekt Red’s unrestrained ambition. Turns out it’s not just the robot arms that are hi-tech in Night City. ROBIN VALENTINE PRINT EDITOR robin.valentine@futurenet.com The PC Gamer team FRASER BROWN Specialist in Big money This month Investigated the Bethesda acquisition—and narrowly avoided being bought by Microsoft himself. WES FENLON Specialist in Divine narration This month Explored the world of…

3 min
big game hunter

Microsoft has snared itself a huge acquisition, and is now the owner of ZeniMax Media, the parent company of Bethesda Softworks. This means The Elder Scrolls, Doom, Fallout, Dishonored, and Quake are under the Xbox umbrella. The deal set Microsoft back $7.5 billion, making it the second most expensive videogame acquisition in history—just behind Tencent’s purchase of Supercell for $8.6 billion. “Bethesda’s games have always had a special place on Xbox, and in the hearts of millions of gamers around the world,” said Phil Spencer, head of Xbox. “Our teams have a close and storied history working together, from the amazing first Doom, and its id Tech engine, innovating games on PCs to Bethesda bringing their first console game to the original Xbox, the groundbreaking The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind. Over the…

5 min
jagged nightmares

People have been wondering when indie games would move on from 2D pixel art for as long as people who hate pixel art have had access to comments sections on websites. The thing is, 3D art on an indie budget often looks incredibly rough and somewhat uncanny, where pixel art evokes naive, child-like wholesomeness. A 3D game made on a shoestring budget can look like it came out in 1996. In the 1990s, games with wobbling, low-res textures and characters restricted to jerky movements and freakish faces still seemed freaky to us—which made them well suited to survival horror. It was the era of Alone in the Dark, Resident Evil, and Silent Hill, games that were a perfect fit for their graphical limitations. Earlier this year, the Haunted PS1 Demo Disc collected…

4 min
green pastures

Some ideas are so familiar, so entrenched in gaming history, that it’s difficult to remember how strange they were. Take Age of Empires. Splicing the real-time battles of Command & Conquer with the grand strategy of Civilization was an experiment. “Back then, the studio was really enjoying the RTS genre, which was still nascent and growing,” says Patrick Hudson, who worked for several years as a producer at Ensemble. “There weren’t that many big titles established. There was an appetite internally to explore a historical setting.” Thirty million units later, Age of Empires feels as fundamental to PC gaming as turning on your monitor. But that success was also confining. Ensemble became trapped by its once-brave formula, unable to commit to new ideas as Age of Empires sucked attention and resources. A…

7 min
evil genius 2: world domination

NEED TO KNOW RELEASE Early 2021 DEVELOPER Rebellion PUBLISHER In-house LINK evilgeniusgame.com This is a direct sequel to the cult classic 2004 lair builder of over-the-top spy-fi comedy and action. Evil Genius is strategy management unlike any other, and the team at Rebellion knows that. It’s more lavishly made, with a more ’60s retro flair than the first, but it retains and updates the best parts. FIRST LOOK I watched a live gameplay demo and spoke with two members of the EG2 team: Producer Ash Tregay and lead designer Rich Edwards. Edwards is an EG superfan, so this is his dream design. He’s so enthusiastic that when interviewed for the then-secret project he puzzled out what Rebellion was doing and asked pointblank, mid interview, if it was Evil Genius 2. In Evil Genius 2 you dig into the…

3 min
immortals: fenyx rising

NEED TO KNOW RELEASE December 3, 2020 DEVELOPER Ubisoft PUBLISHER In-house LINK bit.ly/3cmudUE Game design is as incestuous as the Greek gods. Ideas are constantly borrowed and remixed, and for its part Immortals Fenyx Rising pulls heavily from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Then it adds in RPG-lite systems, burying Zelda’s inspiration under a mountain of stuff to do. Basically, it’s a Ubisoft game. But it’s a very cute one. PLAYED IT For those confused—yes, this is the artist formerly known as Gods and Monsters. It’s a dreadful name change, but the rebrand does also reflect that it’s changed a fair bit since it was first revealed. In a three hour demo, I got to strike out and explore a chunk of the open world with a welcome lack of guidance. I found puzzle dungeons,…