Ubisoft's E3 press conference will be going live this evening, at 3PM PT / 6PM ET / 11PM BST. It's been a bit of a shaky year for Ubisoft, but the two or so hours at E3 2015 when it's got the show floor gives them a good opportunity to wipe the slate clean. Forget about the downgrade controversies. Forget about the performance issues. Forget about Arno's terrifying eyeballs. Now it's all about the games.
Ubisoft knows a thing or two about a show-stopping trailer, and we'd expect a few more this time around, with one or two unannounced games expected to crop up. All eyes will of course be on Tom Clancy's The Division, an E3 veteran by now. This is sure to get to some serious airtime, and we might even find out what the heck you even do it. That's not to gloss over Assassin's Creed Syndicate, Rainbow Six: Siege, and who knows what else which could see the light of day. Beyond Good & Evil fans, step right this way...
Ubisoft never disappoint, and often 'win' E3. So let's take a look at what they're offering up today!
South Park: The Fractured But Whole
First up, more South Park! It's all about the gags with South Park, and pmaking a game that looks exactly like the cartoon. So it's easy to hit reasonable system requirements. Because if the games looked any better, it wouldn't be South Park any more.
Trey Parker and Matt Stone are around to tell us that it's the next chapter of the Stick of Truth. Interesting, if perhaps not entirely surprising.
It hurts to type "For Honor" without the 'u' it so richly needs. A new IP in a new genre from the sequel-masters at Ubi? This is intriguing! It looks like a medieval setting with vikings versus knights. It's a big sword-and0shield brawler with a nose of Paradox's War of the Roses / Vikings about it. No gameplay footage at the moment (either that or gameplay footage so amazing it looks like a standard CGI demo).
Once we're introduced to the game, we're promised that we'll "feel the weight of the weapon in our hands", and seems to actually feature samurai, knights and vikings.
We're treated to some gameplay footage, and it seems that players take the roles of heroes in an army of scrubs, like in Dynasty Warriors. Nameless footmen go down easily, but other heroes take a little more swordplay. There are some pretty savage finishing moves in there, and graphically it's a mixed bag.
For Honor is ready to play at E3 this year, so we'll probably have a release date that's not a million miles away.
The Crew: Wild Run
Ubi have done pretty well with The Crew, and with a new expansion pack Wild Run there'll be new cars and races (called 'summits'). The demo shows off a slew of monster trucks, performance cars, dragsters, motorbikes and offroaders mucking about throughout the USA.
Trials Fusion Awesome Level Max
Another expansion pack, this one all we really know is that it's cashing in heavily on the internet's love of all things awesome, with a cat riding a unicorn through an explosion with a triple rainbow overhead. Honestly, this stuff is almost getting boring.
Punters are definitely ready for some more information about The Division. We're being introduced to 'The Dark Zone', an area in Midtown Manhattan where you as the player get the option to betray your friends... or not. They're really trying to inject some suspicion into the gameplay, which sounds fun and interesting, and maybe reminds me of the Kane and Lynch heist multiplayer.
The game is looking creepy and evocative, and the suspicion of other players maybe reminds one of DayZ. The betrayal shown in the video is really clever - if multiplay Division can create experiences like this, I'm all about it.
The Divison betas kick off next year and the release date is March 8, 2016 simultaneously on all platforms.
Blue Byte, probably best known for The Settlers series but also the acclaimed Anno games, are announcing a sci-fi builder called Anno 2205.
While the first demo shows lunar colonies, apparently that comes later in the game, after futuristic cities have been built on the Earth. Rocket platforms need to be built for space travel, which then opens up the possibilities of lunar mining colonies. It certainly looks pretty interesting.
Just Dance 2016
I don't know. I'm unable to sit through a Just Dance E3 showcase without grinning and giggling like a child. Now, you can play with your phone as well as your console. Whether this means the game's coming out for iOS and/or Android or whether you'll need a proper console to play it isn't really clear yet, though.
It's available on Wii Xbox 360 and PS3 in October, as well as current gen consoles, of course. Just Dance Unlimited is going to bring a streaming service to console so you can stream tons of new tunes to their XBox Ones or PS4s.
Rainbow Six: Siege
A mysterious terrorist unit, who is going to stand against them? Rainbow, of course! Rainbow Six: Siege is on its way, bringing close quarters combat, destructible environments and permadeath to the franchise.
Six, the leader of the group, is going to be played by Angela Bassett. Which is all well and good I suppose, but what we want is more information about the game, of course. Interestingly, Genevieve Forget is glad to announce that Terrorhunt mode is returning to Rainbow Six, and can be played solo or co-op. There will be four Terrorhunt modes including Terrorhunt classic.
We're treated to a 'live demo' with a five-man team defusing bombs in a French Consulate. Rappelling up a building to the roof, two agents infiltrate the building through upstairs windows, working as a team to eliminate targets simultaneously. They make judicious use of the drones that we've seen in other demos. Characters bust through walls to make new paths, and breach doors. Enemies with shields pose a significant threat to the counter terrorism teams, it seems, and whilst it all seems quite fun the multiplay is really probably where RS Siege is at.
The Rainbow Six Siege beta opens on September 24th, and will include PvP and Terrorhunt.
It's not really like Trackmania is back, because it never really went away. It's becoming another of those EA Sports-style every-year announcements, and this time round it's certainly fast. Trackmania' more about building and sharing than anything else, really, and the track we saw in the gameplay demo is suitably bonkers, with the ccar spending more time upside-down than right-way-up, really. The new game also has a track randomiser, so you can have infinite different tracks, computer-generated, whenever you like. It's all a bit like driving a roller coaster track a la Stunt Car Racer (if you remember that old classic!)
Assassins Creed Syndicate
Perhaps the flagship Ubi title, we already know a fair bit about this game. Gangs of London led by a top-hatted assassin dash around the place causing mayhem. Chases on horse-and-traps, and across the rooftops of steam trains... it's all suitably industrial revolutionary. Ubisoft's characteristic fatfulness to historical accuracy with a huge dollop of conspiracy nonsense stirred in seems to be alive and well. The story looks like a cross between Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Gangs of New York, although it no doubt ends up in a videogame studio in the modern day. They all do, these days, you know.
Marc-Alexis Cote, the Creative Director on the game, proudly announces "the first modern Assassin's Creed game", and makes it actually sound more Robin Hood than Lock Stock. Masters of the sort-of-soft-launch, Assassins Creed Syndicate isn't just playable at E3; it's also going to be available at a few key locations worldwide.
Ghost Recon Wildlands
And finally, the big reveal. Featuring South American drug cartels, we see a crack team parachuting into a mountainous stronghold village to intercept a cocaine dealer. The action switches between sniping and jeep pursuit to stealth assault to full-on firefight to capture a dealer codenamed 'White Hat'. In the final option, the team steal the drugs, leaving the dealer to the tender mercies of his own bosses. We're promised a massive open world and tons of vehicles as well as diverse scenery and visceral team combat. You can never have too much Tom Clancy!