E3: Ubisoft’s Silliness
While it seems Microsoft grew out of doing circus and bringing kids on stage, Ubi feel right at home with flooding the room with dancers. Even though this seems cringeworthy they still had a lot of great looking games...at least while they aren’t released to the world.
Far Cry 4
Revealing Far Cry 4 a little under a month ago, today at E3, Ubisoft has seen fit to tease us with a bit of “gameplay” footage, which, in terms of trailerspeak, typically means that it's a rendered cinematic, though whether that's in-engine or otherwise, it's hard to tell. Regardless, in the footage during their press conference, you, an unnamed American traveling to the Himalayas, appear to take a visa from a fellow passenger on the bus, which is then stopped and raided by border guards. The main villain, seen in previous cover art, arrives, ruins the day of one of the border guards, and appears to recognize you. Now, as no details about the plot have been revealed aside from the basic teases, there's no indication of what exactly your relationship with this blonde-haired maniac is, but it's likely to be a tumultuous one, as you find yourself navigating the intelligence and cruelty reminiscent of Vaas from Far Cry 3. Regardless, as more footage of the game may surface during the show, we shall see just exactly how the game plays, compared to previous entries in the series.
Tom Clancy's The Division
Oh Ubi, what are you doing to me? On the one hand, I really want to roll my eyes and scoff at how, honestly, farcically dramatic you’re being...but dayum, y’all know how to make an engaging trailer. Because we haven’t seen enough of The Division at E3 already, now we have a whopping four (almost five) minutes and some seconds cinematic trailer. Charting the early days of the mysterious infection through to the desolation of the city and on to the existing state of turmoil it now finds itself in. The whole time reminding us how desperate everything has become, how society is right on the brink of falling apart completely, but those noble few...yeah, I want to laugh and accuse them of laying it on too think. But somehow, even though it’s aiming to be a very loosely story based multiplayer game...somehow it just works. I expect that is helped out, significantly, by the fact the CGI is fucking amazing! Either way, I need this game.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, I make no secret of my distaste for driving games. But when this first showed up back at last year’s E3, it actually rather caught my eye. I think it’s the fact that it’s doing something genuinely fresh for the genre. Several games have played around with the idea of a living world, with rival crews and the like. But it’s always been a single player game with the other groups used as a flimsy excuse for a story, such as the Need for Speed games. But this, an MMO populated by other people driving all over America, now that’s a damn good idea.
Aaaaaaaaaanyway, this year’s trailer doesn’t really show us much of anything in any real sense. But it does firmly reinforce that sense of openness and, dare I say it? Freedom. It’s an oddly reflective, almost maudlin, approach to the setting which, nevertheless, works extremely well. Backed up by a multitude of locations, vehicles and weather effects, all rendered in game and all, inevitably, to be available in game. It may still be nothing more than a fancy driving simulator, but the potential for emergent experiences is undeniable.
Assassin's Creed Unity
Speaking of emotionally resonant trailers, I feel about ready to launch myself out the window and start a bloody revolution of my own after this one! Featuring a startling new interpretation of Everybody Wants to Rule the World that wavers back and forth between sheer awesome and “dafuq is this shit?” The assassins have come back out to play. Driving home to us just how turbulent the time of the French revolution really was. With the four assassins (all of which will be playable this time, but more on that in a moment) taking out the guards...but leaving the leader to the tender (not so) mercies of the baying crowd. Nasty.
But, again, the real star here is the co-op. Even though we’ve actually been given seven minutes of single-player footage, showcasing some interesting, and much needed, refinements to the gameplay mechanics. Including, but not limited to, a more rapid descent mechanic that doesn’t rely on scaling a wall or looking for a haystack, but sits somewhere in the middle. Far more importantly, we see a dizzying amount of NPCs on screen at one time, as well as randomly generated events in the world, which are not limited to silly little side missions like catching a thief. Even the narrative events are left open for engagement at, it seems, any time you choose. A little like how it was with earlier games, but without tying you into a specific series of events by starting up a cinematic. Just things happening in the over world, a lot like we’re seeing in Watch Dogs. Yet...somehow, all I could think of, the entire time I was watching this, is how much more interesting all this will be in co-op.
During the 100 year anniversary of the First World War, Ubisoft will be releasing Valiant Hearts on June 25th. Valiant Hearts is another game on the UBIart framework (much like Child of Light and it tells a story of ‘crossed destinies and a broken love in a world torn apart by the First World War. Four unsung heroes will try to rise above the tragedies strewn across Europe and band together with their trusty companion dog, Walt, in search of their loved ones.’ Yes, you may very well be in tears by the end of this trailer so be sure to have some tissues at the ready before you check it out above (at least the dog survives until the end...). This is another game which we’re looking forward to getting teary over.
Rainbow Six Siege
It’s been six years since a Rainbow Six game saw release and now Ubisoft have revealed that Rainbow Six Siege is under development. The news was broken with over six minutes of obviously heavily scripted but still very pretty gameplay footage from a multiplayer match concerning a hostage situation. It remains to be seen how true to the final product what you can see above will be but it does look very impressive nonetheless and like it’ll be a fuckton of fun too.