E3: Ubisoft Conference 2015
Yo jurors! Ubisoft held their E3 conference and it was just what you would expect. Lots of trailers with a mix of ingame footage and CGI, some celebrity star power...and release dates that I have no doubt will end up not begin simultaneous PC releases despite claims to the contrary. No much of the conference should be a surprise to anyone but let’s do a quick rundown just in case. The conference was run by actress Aisha Tyler who I know woefully little about...but thankfully my wife does! I didn’t have a reaction to her presenting either way but the missus saw her on the screen and screamed (in my ear mind you) “Oooh Aisha, I love her,” and watched the whole conference with me. Score one for Ubisoft! Now down to the games.
South Park: The Fractured But Whole
Out of the gate Ubisoft shows that they’re teaming up with Matt Stone and Trey Parker to release another South Park RPG. From the looks of things it’s a follow up to Stick of Truth but not a true sequel and could possibly be superhero themed this time around. You never know with Stone and Parker so keep your eyes on this one.
Now here’s a surprise...for me anyway. Ubisoft unveiled a multiplayer, third-person melee combat game pitting Samurai vs Vikings vs Knights. I didn’t see this game coming but I may have been just been out of the loop. Another shocker for me, after the CG trailer was that they had a live demo on stage and the game looked pretty good. The combat looked meaty with different stances, parries, slashes, stabs, interrupts and finishers. I particularly liked the sense of weight they’ve captured. I’ll have this one on my radar. Side note: I should have had a drinking game for every time someone at Ubisoft said “on console!” as though it were a shock or a selling point. We get it, it looks very good despite running on console. Trust me Ubisoft...after the 50th mention, we get it.
The Crew: Wild Run
Totally expected, nothing revolutionary to see here. Due out on November 17, 2015 is an expansion to Ubisoft’s racing MMO The Crew. They’re promising pretty much what you would expect: More vehicles, more events and...a graphical overhaul? Not sure it needed one but I’m never one to shy away from an overhaul if it means an improvement.
Tom Clancy’s The Division
One of several games shown this year to carry the Tom Clancy license was The Division. I’ll catch hell for this but it didn’t wow me. This game is set to be a near-future style open world action RPG/shooter. The demo showed a situation where three players on a team were getting ready to attack and loot some enemies when another team of two arrived. Tensions flared as no one was sure who was going to attack who until the two newcomers attacked the same target the initial 3 were after. Yay! Organic teamwork...until the betrayal at the end where the team of three decided to backstab the team of two for their loot at the extraction point. Looks interesting but I’m not as excited as many of my peers...yet. Come on Ubisoft, PC optimization issues aside, I tend to love your games, particularly Clancy games. Wow me again.
Popular city builder/strategy series Anno is getting another entry in the form of Anno 2015. Where will it take new players? Not sure as details are scarce, but one location is for certain. The moon. We’re looking at a November 3, 2015 release date on this one.
Just Dance 2016
Ubisoft was proud to announce that Just Dance is the top music game franchise of all time, so of course they're making another one with more of what the fans love and a few surprises as well. All of that last sentence was their words, not mine. I’m not at all in the loop on the series so I’m going to turn to our panel of jurors for help. Clue me in folks!
Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege
Another Rainbow Six game? Sign me the **** up. Co-op TerroHunt? Sign me the **** up! Angela Bassett will be lending her voice, acting skill and likeness to the game? SIGN. ME. THE **** UP! Yeah, I’m kind of jazzed up about this one for all the right reasons. There will be a beta, September 24, 2015 with launch set for October 13.
Another entry in the wildly popular TrackMania series. We’re looking at hundreds of premade tracks, a track editor and even a randomized track generator. I’m a sucker for procedurally generated and/or randomized content in my games to keep things fresh so that facet alone has me keeping an eye on this. Also on deck are some interesting co-op modes I won’t spoil for you…
Assassin's Creed Syndicate
This should come as no surprise and as such it’s mostly just a hype trailer with very little particularly taste new information. All I can say is this. I’m interested because it’s Assassin’s Creed and I’m skeptical because it’s Assassin’s Creed. Come on Ubisoft. Don’t pull an Assassin’s Creed: Watch_Dogs Unity edition fiasco with this one!
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands
Looks like we have ANOTHER Tom Clancy game in this conference. Looks like we have ANOTHER shooter in this conference. Looks like we have ANOTHER co-op game in this conference. Looks like we have ANOTHER open-world game in this conference. Looks like we have ANOTHER online focused game. Seriously, this was supposed to come off as a big exciting reveal, and in a lot of respects it was. But putting it at the tail end of the presentation after all other open-world and/or co-op shooters they showed just made it fall flat to me. I’ll buy it, I’ll play it, because it’s Ghost Recon. But I wanted to be ultra-hyped about this one...not feel like I was watching a trailer that combined bits and pieces of the other games I’d just spent an hour learning about. Felt like I was watching Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Division Siege Turbo: The Crew Fusion edition.
All in all, the Ubisoft conference was pretty rock soild. The only thing that let it down is the fact that since Ubisoft is such a successful company with widely known franchises almost anyone heavily invested in gaming already knew what titles to expect from. There wasn’t much “new” to get excited for but there was a lot of “old” being taken in new directions to get up for. Now I patiently wait to see how these games are going to look at release so I can compare them to pre-alpha trailers and find a missing pixel to complain about...because that’s all the rage these days. Get off my lawn.
What say you jurors? Did Ubisoft’s E3 presentation have you dancing the night away in excitement? Or did you find that the whole thing left your enthusiasm a little fractured? Let us know in the comments.
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