H RT A N NO ERIC ION AM EDIT
HARDWARE BUYER’S GUIDE INSIDE!
How an obsession turned an EVE pilot into a war hero
The ultimate guide to EPIC’s Battle royale
23 pages of REVIEWS
PILLARS OF ETERNITY II BATTLETECH FROSTPUNK & MORE!
THE GLOBAL PHENOMENON RETURNS WITH A FOCUS ON PC
Get the best ram for your rig
“the long-running series aims to do right by PC gamers” Long term readers will know that PC Gamer hasn’t been a big Call of Duty advocate for over a decade now. So I was intrigued when Activision got in touch to tell us about Black Ops IIII—specifically, about how the latest in the longrunning series aims to do right by PC gamers.
PHIL SAVAGE Specialist in Voyeurism Twitter @Octaeder
Elsewhere, you’ll find another of Steven Messner’s fascinating EVE Online reports. For years CCP’s MMO has been entertaining players and casual observers alike. Long may these stories continue.
This month Took a break from watching writers craft copy to watch an AI play Crusader Kings II.
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A N D Y K E LL Y
F r a ser B r o wn
Specialist in Gatherings
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Specialist in Edicts
This month Wrote about games where you have to kill people at a party. This doesn’t bode well for our next office do.
This month Asked Activision difficult questions, like: “Does a shooter really need 50 types of grenade?”
This month Steven, a man who has written 14 features about EVE, has written a feature about obsession. In EVE.
This month Built an island full of people who didn’t like him. There’s probably a Twitter joke in this.
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08 THE TOP STORY 12 SPECIAL REPORT 14 IN FOCUS 16 INSIDE DEVELOPMENT
20 Tropico 6 24 Order of Magnitude 26 Two Point Hospital 30 Rend 34 SpyParty 36 Paladins: Realm Royale
Features 40 Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 48 The making of Arcadia 54 An EVE Online obsession
Reviews 62 Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire 68 Frostpunk 70 Swords of Ditto 72 BattleTech 76 Monster Prom 78 Murderous Pursuits 80 Conan Exiles
84 NOW PLAYING 88 UPDATE 90 MOD SPOTLIGHT 92 HOW TO 94 DIARY 98 REINSTALL 102 WHY I LOVE
104 GROUP TEST 108 TECH REPORT 110 BUYER’S GUIDE
Treyarch takes the reins for the latest Call of Duty, and this time the studio wants to focus on PC.
Andy sets sail on a quest to bring you the definitive verdict of Obsidian’s massive RPG sequel.
Strap in for a whirlwind tour of the best, fastest and hopefully cheapest RAM you can buy.
CALL OF DUTY: BLACK OPS 4
PILLARS OF ETERNITY II
MEMORY group test
M ONI T O R News | Opinion | Dev elopment
Staff combat features thanks to “badass biker “ Shani (center).
SNAP HAPPY Ubisoft is fleshing out our knowledge of Beyond Good And Evil 2
eyond Good And Evil 2 has been bobbing around on the tides of game development for ages. Announced in 2008 and intermittently confirmed as definitely-not-cancelled over the following years, we only started seeing evidence that the project might emerge after Ubisoft offered up a cinematic trailer at E3 2017. Gameplay footage has been even harder to come by—until recently. Ubisoft has shared a smattering of pre-alpha footage, giving fans a peek at both combat and ship maneuvering. This is not 8
only good news for those who want to know what this game might entail; it’s also an act of reassurance for people more accustomed to the game bumbling along in development hell. Beyond Good And Evil 2 is a prequel nowadays. It takes place a few generations before the events of
it looks to be a very different prospect to the original
the original, and is set to offer both singleplayer and online co-op. It’s a world of genetic hybridization, social injustice and piracy. The combat footage is staffcentric, which should please devotees of the original game. The leap in technology since the original came out in 2003, also means those twirls are now based on motion-capture data, so in-game actions are based on real-life expertize. “[It’s] a bit like the first BGE,” says creative manager Jean-Marc Geffroy of the staff combat, before talking about the character’s movements. “We are working on all the mechanics of locomotion, how the
e l e m e n tar y
Designer Hideki Kamiya says one of its new games will “turn the action genre on its head”. From anyone else it would sound like marketing speak, but I believe Kamiya when he says it. AK
t e mpt i n g f e t e
The Good Life
Superhot is getting a spin-off. It’s the work of GameTomo, which will bring the shooter’s unique game design to samurai castles, karaoke bars, and bullet trains. JD
I’m glad The Good Life has been funded. It sounds the right amount of bizarre: a sandbox RPG in which you explore a village where, once a month, everyone turns into cats and dog. PS
Highs & Lows
Highs Campo Santo
Valve acquires Campo Santo and In the Valley of Gods. Go back and read about the game in issue 316.
2016’s best meandering farm RPG now lets you play with friends. Get ready to maximize your parsnip yield.
The absurd GPU prices are finally starting to stabilize as manufacture catches up with demand.
ABOVE, TOP: Human/animal hybrids are a source of slave labor in the game’s universe. ABOVE, BOTTOM: Matching the right crew to the right ship improves your stats.
character is moving. We have the jetpack—it’s a good way to move in 3D. Actually, you can also board the ship.”
get in formation
At this point we switch to footage of the player’s pirate character being able to leap from a mothership, boost over to their own smaller craft and zoom off. “You can jump and escape and maybe come back to pillage after this,” explains content director, Julien Chevallier. These ships seem pretty nippy—they apparently need to be to traverse the large spaces of the game. But the developers discovered their speed can make it harder to keep track of teammates if you’re playing multiplayer. With that in mind there’s an armada system where you can lock into formation behind a friend as you play, making it far easier to stay together in co-op situations. “The design of the game is pretty advanced now,” says Geffroy. “We know where we are going so we’re in this phase of prototyping a lot of things today.” Judging by the official blog, the team is scouting for fan feedback to help guide the game. That said, it looks to be a very different prospect to the original, so I’ll be interested to see how much the prequel actually ends up appealing to people who loved the first game. Philippa Warr
Eidos Montreal confirms that the immersive sim series isn’t dead. For now, though, its on hiatus.
Valve is hoping to earn over $85 million from The International’s Battle Pass. $85 million! For hats!
“What if videogames, but blockchain,” is the subject of every third email sent to PC Gamer. Stop.
Special Report p c g i n ve s t i g a t e s
Look at me still talking when there’s science to do.
Caption goes in here x xx xx xx x xx x
How players are searching for real exoplanets through EVE Online.
’m squinting at a luminosity graph, scoping it out for possible signs of exoplanets. Technically I’m playing EVE Online, following assignments doled out by the NPC Professor Michel Mayor and earning in-game rewards. But the data comes from the University of Geneva, Michel Mayor is also a real astrophysicist, and the work I’m doing is contributing to the actual search for exoplanets.
the form of a minigame where players identified and categorized parts of subcellular structures. In-game this was positioned as helping an NPC faction called the Sisters of EVE to research the DNA of another faction. As with the exoplanet research, one of the scientists from the real Human Protein Atlas—Emma Lundberg—was incorporated as an NPC.
Project Discovery is a collaboration between EVE developer CCP Games and the University of Geneva, which is facilitated by a company called Massively Multiplayer Online Science (MMOS). MMOS want to make it possible to integrate scientific research tasks into existing games, and thus use their playerbases to conduct research. It’s a form of citizen science. Seeding research tasks into games taps into a volunteer workforce who can conduct types or volumes of analysis that aren’t possible with computers. One of the advantages of using games, say MMOS, is that a research project can take advantage of the game’s existing player retention systems to prevent high drop out rates after the first flush of curiosity passes. This isn’t EVE’s first foray into citizen science. Project Discovery’s first iteration tasked the game’s players with classifying images from the Human Protein Atlas. It took
Players embraced the challenge and contributed millions of classifications. Some even did their own research on the subject or took a course Lundberg offered via EVE University. Project Discovery was also responsible for identifying new examples of proteins which localize to subcellular structures called Rods & Rings. But while subcellular structures are interesting, exoplanets have an obvious affinity with the world and players of a space-themed MMO. In early July 2017, the second iteration of Project Discovery went live. In just two weeks players had submitted a staggering 13.2 million classifications. For perspective, MMOS notes that this total was “almost half of all the classifications submitted in the first Project Discovery over more than a year”. This time players see a light curve graph from one of the 160,000 stars monitored by the CoRoT telescope. The graph shows a star’s luminosity over time. By looking for
strange new worlds
Getting technical MMOS connects researchers with players and devs, so they also provide an API. On one side, researchers upload metadata and data as well as any info on scientific embargoes. When a player requests a task, EVE sends a request through the CCP servers and the MMOS API hands out a job. The result is then submitted via the API.
SPECIALS & GUIDES
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