In a previous wrap up on Square Enix, I criticized the fact that they showed very little content on the IPs that they actually had and opted to show most of their hand at Microsoft. Ubisoft ironically had the exact opposite problem. Their conference felt as though it dragged on for far too long for the amount of content that they ended up showing. Many of the titles that shown looked good, but the ten titles stretched out to an hour and a half show when an hour would have worked perfectly and led to a far more memorable time.
Just Dance 2019
Of the many games shown throughout the event, Just Dance 2019 is by far the most forgettable despite the boisterous dance number at the beginning. It’s good to get the game out of the way, as it is an Ubisoft staple and popular even though it is generally poorly received at E3. There were a couple of different songs and remixes played throughout the performance, but at the end of the day it is Just Dance 2019 and everyone knows exactly what that game franchise is about at this point.
Beyond Good & Evil 2
Following one of the most drawn out sections of the conference, Ubisoft dropped one of the most anticipated trailers from their entire conference. Beyond Good & Evil 2 got a brand new trailer going deeper into the characters and universe, and the trailer did a much better job of grabbing my attention than the one last year ever did. Despite not knowing much about Beyond Good & Evil, the trailer still did a great job of creating an intriguing world that is sure to be plenty interesting.
In a shocking turn of events, Ubisoft also provided brand new pre-alpha footage of BG&E2 to let fans get an idea of how the game will play. While the game obviously looked a bit rough around the edges, the core of it looked fun and exciting — jetpacks seem to be a running theme this E3 and it’s great. Ubisoft also partnered with Joseph Gordon Levitt in order to present Hit Record, a website which allows fans to contribute to the projects they love and get compensated for it. Thanks to Hit Record, fans of BG&E2 are able to get their art or music into the game and even attain proper compensation, a fantastic move on Ubisoft’s behalf and generally a cool move for gaming.
Rainbow Six Siege
The momentum of Beyond Good & Evil 2 came to a grinding halt once Rainbow Six Siege came on stage. Much of this section focused on discussing Siege’s numbers, as well as upcoming esports tournaments across the globe. There is some mention of the brand new content patch, Operation Para Bellum, but that is not exactly brand new content so it leaves little-to-no lasting impression. This section closed with a sneak peak to a brand new documentary on Rainbow Six Siege’s professional players, which is an interesting prospect for anyone into Siege and its players. However, if you are someone who does not care about esports, the Rainbow Six Siege section of the conference was nothing more than a four minute snack and bathroom break.
The next segment of Ubisoft’s conference starts off with a crash — literally, as creative director Antti Ilvessuo crashes into a monitor setup in order to announce the new Trials. This immediately cuts to a brand new trailer for Trials Rising, which looks to be more of the same racing fun as the previous Trials entries. Many different setpieces were shown throughout the trailer, with the player going all around the world to famous landmarks on their motorcycles. Had they ended this segment after the trailer and a small explanation of Trials, it would have been perfect. Instead, the presentation shifted to an explanation of ‘Trials university’ and a confirmation of the closed beta. The segment explaining what Trials university is bloated the entire Trials Rising portion, leading to the demonstration losing much of its momentum and ending on a sour note of a second, unnecessary trailer.
The Division 2
The Division 2 is yet another segment that went on for far too long, with a four-minute CG trailer that didn’t do much to impress considering we’ve seen gameplay of TD2 at the previous Microsoft conference. The presenter goes on to explain the plot of TD2, as well as point out that the story is much more focused, contrary to the first game. He then goes on to talk about the post-game of TD2, in which players must pick a specific class that their entire build will be based around. The information is nice, but it seemed like something that should have been reserved for when players actually got their hands on the game. The Division 2’s portion ended with yet another CG trailer that felt largely pointless and added even more bloat to an already long presentation (sensing a pattern here).
Not all of the news on The Division 2 left an average impression. The most noteworthy moment came when it was revealed that the game would include raids, presumably similar to the raids found in Destiny. If Massive can match the caliber and polish of Destiny raids, then it’ll be guaranteed to create a memorable and engaging gaming experience. Ubisoft also announced that all of their DLC would be free for year 1, This is undeniably good news for both the players who want content as well as potentially getting back some of the player base that was lost after the middling launch of the original.
Mario + Rabbids
Unlike the other, longer sections in the Ubisoft conference, the Mario + Rabbids portion felt genuinely cheerful and energetic. Mario + Rabbids: Donkey Kong Adventure was announced as DLC for the game, which is great news for fans of the surprising hit strategy game. To accompany the DLC release, Grant Kirkhope performed on stage for the audience, which was a wonder to see as Kirkhope is still incredibly musically talented.
Skull & Bones
One of the most intriguing games that Ubisoft showed off last year was Skull & Bones, and the intrigue continues onto this showing. Skull & Bones looks genuinely entertaining and engaging as a multiplayer pirates game, with the gameplay evolving on many of the aspects that players loved about Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. The graphical fidelity and aesthetic of Skull & Bones is certainly something to behold, with the islands and great sea looking absolutely stunning when in motion. Some of the customization and depth was also explored briefly, and I can’t wait to get my hands on this fantastic-looking game.
Starlink has definitely had an odd and turbulent E3 history. The game generally seems quite well-made, with the exploration around planets on your ship looking very fun and immersive. Not much is known about the core gameplay loop or structure, but not much of that matters since a lot of the hype for the game dies down when taking into consideration the ‘toys to life’ element. Having to craft your own ship in the real world is neat until one considers the fact that it’ll likely cost a pretty penny to get it going, and it may be a better idea to simply allow players to unlock customizations through gameplay. The concept itself is interesting, but the reality is that it won’t be as cheap as a simple sixty dollar purchase and customization will likely be gated as a result. One particularly noteworthy addition is that the Switch version will include the Arwing and Fox McCloud, with a special appearance made by Miyamoto that is sure to warm the heart. As a whole, the best approach for Starlink seems to be caution as to avoid a potentially poor monetization plan.
For Honor has had an interesting life cycle that has led to it unfortunately being largely forgotten by the general gaming populace. As cool of a concept as the game was, the launch was plagued with many issues that led to its abandonment. For Honor: Marching Fire is an expansion that promises to further improve upon the game and bring players back. The update includes a brand new faction to the game, four new warriors, as well as new gamemodes and fixes to the game on a technical level. Alongside the new update, Ubisoft also announced that the game shall be free until June 18th through Uplay, which is definitely a great way to stir up interest in the game again. Marching Fire will be released October 16th, but now seems like the best time to get into the game since it is free for all who may have been cautious in the past.
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey
For the past few entries, Assassin’s Creed as a whole has felt as though it has gone through some sort of identity crisis. Assassin’s Creed has been moving further towards the RPG genre, and what was shown of Odyssey proves that the series has gone full Role-playing game. Odyssey seems to take many queues from last years Origins, with the combat and movement mimicking the game heavily compared to prior entries. The combat seems further refined and entertaining, with the gameplay snippet highlighting the more personal, one-on-one style as opposed to the mobs faced in the numbered entries. There are also skill trees to focus on and special, magical skills that can be used to give the players an easier time as they progress through the game.
Perhaps the most stark difference from the other games to Odyssey, however, is the ability to choose your own dialogue when speaking to characters. These features further cement Assassin’s Creed as a more traditional combat-oriented RPG, but whether or not that is the direction that is favorable for the series is debatable. Stealth, one of the most iconic features in the Assassin’s Creed franchise, was completely absent and the only inkling of it in the game was a skill tree that hinted at stealth gameplay. It will be hard to tell whether or not Odyssey is the right direction for the franchise until we get our hands on it, but at the very least it is different and that’s not always necessarily a bad thing.
Even though Ubisoft had a handful of games to show off this year, none of them truly had the wow factor that was necessary for them to stand out from other fantastic conferences. The most exciting game was one that was unveiled last year, and even other game shown never went beyond simply looking good. That coupled with the fact that the conference felt 30 minutes too long meant that for the most part Ubisoft had one of the worst conferences they’ve had in a long while, and definitely a contender for worst conference of E3.