I remember back in the mists of time when a Ubisoft press conference at E3 would have been a laughable prospect, but it’s steadily built up a presence as one of the largest publishers in the world. The problem is, much like EA, everything Ubisoft typically does in fairly rote, struck down as it is with a serious case of sequelitis.
Ubisoft’s E3 2015 press conference was the opportunity for the French publisher to make up for the wrongdoings the past year, and on the topic of games it delivered in spades. Those just expecting a procession of Assassin’s Creed sequels will have been pleased to note a number of new games coming from Ubisoft, including a brand new IP in the form of For Honor.
South Park: The Fractured But Whole
We’ll start where Ubisoft started, and that’s with a totally unexpected sequel to last year’s South Park: The Stick of Truth. The first outing was equally parts sublime and downright filthy, and South Park: The Fractured But Whole continues right from where it left off. The name should give you pretty clear indicator of the puerile thrills we’re going to get from this one.
This one’s a new RPG, parodying superheroes rather than beardy fantasy this time around, and Obsidian has handed over development reins to Ubisoft San Francisco. These folks made Rocksmith and, erm.. The Smurfs 2, so they’re relative newcomers to the RPG arena.
A brand new IP from Ubisoft! For Honor looks to be a mishmash of all sorts of action games, with nods to multiplayer warfare like Chivalry, as well as a healthy dose of musou. Intriguingly, historical authenticity is thrown out in favour of a knights vs vikings vs samurai faceoff. At least, I don’t think those three have ever entered battle before.
Ubisoft has claimed a genre doesn’t even exist for For Honor to fit into just yet, preferring to call it a ‘shooter with swords’, whatever that means. The trailer Ubisoft revealed is a cinematic with a brief 4v4 multiplayer snippet at the end, but Ubisoft has reassured For Honor will also have a single-player campaign.
First things first, we’ve got a release date for The Division! Yep, read it and believe it, because The Division is coming on March 8th 2016, worldwide. And that’ll be on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
During the extensive gameplay demonstration onstage at E3, Ubisoft went a bit deeper into The Division’s multiplayer, as a squad moved into the ‘Dark Zone. So far so normal, I hear you say, but there’s also an element of paranoia being introduced, with squad members capable of turning on each other to steal crucial loot. This could be an interesting dynamic online, or it could just turn every mission into a painful deathmatch. Anyway, it’s like a videogame equivalent of the end of Goldenballs. Could be very intriguing, could be very annoying, can’t wait to get my hands on it and give it a go.
There’s something quite quaint about having a management game at a huge E3 press conference, but Ubisoft went and did it. Anno 2205 is from Blue Byte, the peeps who made the rest of the Anno series, and made its name with The Settlers. Anno 2205 launches the series nearly 200 years into the future, and into space. It’s time to get city-building on interplanetary locations, including moons.
It looks promising, at the least because it’s the sort of city builder no one’s really dared try before. Budding town planners and councilmen are no doubt already sitting up and taking notice.
Rainbow Six Siege is out pretty soon, so this of course got the live demo treatment from Ubisoft. We get to see a full match played out, this time attacking and defending the French Consulate. The fully destructible environments are present and correct, allowing players to blow through walls and manipulate the environments. There’s no denying it, Rainbow Six: Siege is looking incredible, this could be quite the multiplayer title when it arrives on October 13th for PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
Elsewhere, single-player fans aren’t being left completely stranded. Ubisoft confirmed there will be a Terrorist Hunt mode for solo players, populating the maps with AI opponents to blitz through. This mode is playable on your own or co-operatively, with a total of four variants to mix things up.
By now an Assassin’s Creed reveal has become commonplace at E3, and to be honest the trailer shown off really didn’t demonstrate much new above and beyond what we learnt from the game reveal. Assassin’s Creed Syndicate is the standard Assassin’s Creed template laid over Victorian London. Of course you can play as either of the twins, and there’s ‘vehicles’ in the form of horse and cart, but there wasn’t much here to rock the boat, so to speak.
Ubisoft likes to end a press conference with an absolute belter. This is the slot previously occupied by Watch Dogs and The Division, and I can’t have been the only one to let out a little snort of glee with news Ghost Recon is returning. It doesn’t look like those proper Ghost Recon games, but Ghost Recon Wildlands looks to be a visually sumptuous squad-based shooter, and it’s basically a trailer that just needs to be watched.
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For those who’ve got a more musical bent, the annual appearance of Just Dance 2016 will come as no surprise. It’s back, so gamers across the land can embarrass themselves in the privacy of their own homes, shaking their thang to the ‘hottest new tracks.’
If the thought of dancing makes your blood run cold, then petrolheads are covered with the news of an expansion pack for The Crew. Wild Run takes things off-road, or should I say more off-road, with the introduction of monster trucks and rally cars and the like. It’s going to be populating that massive open-world with all new challenges and races, specifically targeted to road-averse vehicles.
The final wrap-up included a new DLC pack for Trials Fusion, gathering some of the most popular internet memes into a track pack. Probably not the most exciting way for Ubisoft to make use of its stage time. This was followed up by the reveal of Trackmania Turbo, however, which is coming to PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. I haven’t played one of these in an absolute age, but Trackmania Turbo’s looking decent. Players can now randomly generate levels for endless variety, while there’s also the introduction of hell on wheels - a Double Driver co-operative mode with two players taking control of the same car.