E3 2012: Lack of next-gen consoles showcases power of PC

Watch Dogs and Star Wars 1313 highlight what high-end machines can do
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Some say this year’s E3 conference has been something of a disappointment so far – given that rumoured next-gen consoles from the likes of Sony and Xbox have failed to appear – but there are incredible new games out there, and they are running on PCs.

Presumably unable to make mention of any new console their games might appear on, firms such as Ubisoft and LucasArts are running new games on high-end PCs during demonstrations.

Ubisoft’s Watch Dogs made a huge impact on Monday. According to sister site MCV: “Things to note: the dynamic lighting, the incredible cloth physics, the highly detailed facial animation, the lack of NPC repetition. That’s simply not possible on 360 or PS3 if, as Ubisoft insists, the demo was real-time.” Which means it can only currently run those graphics at that standard on a PC.

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Talking about which formats the game would appear on, Ubisoft president Yves Guillemot commented: “PS3, 360, PC and… we’ll see…”

The game will also use Microsoft’s new SmartGlass technology that utilises an additional tablet or smartphone whilst playing the main game.

LucasArts’ Star Wars 1313 has also impressed the E3 crowd. Games site CVG saw it up close. "[The] game was undeniably next gen, and was produced in cooperation with Nvidia,” it said. “It was running on a PC with a 360 controller, and looked like Uncharted running in the Star Wars universe, but with facial animation, lighting, and physics well in advance of anything on current gen platforms. The facial animation alone is incredible.

"LucasArts said the game was in 'pre production'. They didn't even use the word 'alpha', so it's very, very early. There's no way it could run on current gen hardware, but even if it could, I'd guess it'll be out after November 2013 – in other words, after the next gen consoles launch."

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MCV editor Michael French revealed on Twitter that he’d seen high-end product from four companies that suggested they’d been awaiting a next-gen console reveal.

They didn’t get one.

So in the meantime, the only machine that can play these games to their potential will be the humble PC. It'll be interesting to see whether any of the games are released before the next generation of consoles arrive, or whether the PC gaming crowd with the high-end machines will be forced to wait...

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