In 2011, PC Gamers Will Regain Their Place In The Sun

Let it be known that 2011 will be the year that console gamers will be jealous of their PC gaming brethren. (As if that matters, but whatever.) Red Orchestra 2, Crysis 2, and the mighty Battlefield 3 will be best experienced on the PC, and if you’re sitting there on your couch, controller in hand, you’re really not getting the full experience. Sorry.

Take Battlefield 3. It’ll be released for all platforms, yes, but Dice, the game’s developers, recently told Game Informer that the PC will be the “lead platform.” An engine built from the ground-up to take advantage of the raw power of your fancy Nvidia or AMD GPU. A nice change of pace from the Call of Duty games that were merely designed not to explode the meek Xbox 360 first and foremost, then tossed over the to PC as afterthought. It’s more than graphics, of course, with PC gamers having exclusive access to a 64-person multi-player mode. The console versions will be limited to 24 players. Battlefield with only 24 players? Why even bother?

Red Orchestra 2 won’t even be available on consoles, with PC Gamer saying that the game arrives at a time “when even the best multi-player shooters on PC consider mouse and keyboard support or a server browser to be a feature worthy of being printed on the back of the box.” John Gibson, the president of Tripwire Interactive, the game’s developers, says:

all these games being developed right now are great achievements for a console, but they’re not pushing what’s possible on the PC…. For too long I feel that multi-player shooter designers have only been trying to give players joy. Now is the time to stop feeding FPS players only cotton candy, and give them some steak and potatoes along with the sweet stuff.

In other words, too many of today’s console-derived shooters have zero substance to them. Am I right in thinking that the latest Call of Duty all but plays itself? Where’s the fun in that?

There’s no reason to think that Crysis 2, despite being mutli-platform, won’t be best experienced on a PC. Cevat Yerli, CryTek’s president and creative director (whom I talked to for all of 8 seconds at least year’s big Crysis 2 reveal) told Edge that the game “will have a PC version that’s a PC game. We’re going to push it as much as the engine can take.” The PC version also benefits from the increased budget, courtesy of EA freaking out and needing a hit that’s not called Madden or Fifa.

It’ll be at least as beautiful as Crysis, but the context is different. It’s New York. Not a jungle, but an urban jungle. You have to understand that the budget for Crysis was much lower than for Crysis 2. We could spend much more on Crysis 2 because we expected to sell more through multiplatform development. So PC gamers will get a better game out of that; it isn’t just take, it’s also give. The gameplay has received much more research about accessibility, streamlining and making it more fun, but also making it deeper. So every angle is improved. The amount of diligence and production volume we’ve spent makes it so much better than Crysis.

There’s so much potential for PC gaming that it hurts to see slapdash port after slapdash port. I’m just happy to see studios give the PC more than 15 seconds of thought.