Cullen Plays LIVE stream:
- Tim Bowers (Tech Editor, So So Gay and freelancer [The Guardian])
- Mike Bithell (Developer, Volume & Thomas Was Alone)
- Ben Jones (Producer, OMUK)
This has probably been one of the best periods in Ubisoft’s history. Watch Dogs has become their biggest-selling game of all time and their best launch of a new IP in its history. So where better to start its press conference? A core showing, the proper unveiling of Far Cry 4, which set up the utter craziness of what to expect from that game. No gameplay shown – that would be saved for Sony that would follow Ubisoft – but what was shown was madness. And we wanted it.
We moved onto Just Dance 2015. Then we moved onto Just Dance Now, which showed off the same plan the new SingStar is using for PS4 by using your phone as a controller for the game. And later in the show, there was Kinect exclusive Shape Up, at which point, everyone realised Ubisoft was actually giving more air time to Kinect this E3 than even Microsoft did at its press conference (Harmonix announced Dance Central: Spotlight and mentioned Fantasia: Music Evolved, but that was it).
But beyond that, everything was tailored to the core: The Division trailer aired and was terrific, with some people – us on the CP Live stream included – debating if the trailer was running on the game’s incredible looking Snowdrop engine or in CG. A new showing of The Crew also looked in fine-form with the game’s trailer showing a road trip between Miami and Los Angeles, a fine promise to make. The opening of a closed beta and release date of November 11 were also confirmed.
Assassin’s Creed: Unity got its second demo of the day after its first earlier in the day at Microsoft but still looked in top form. Unity will be Ubisoft’s first sole PS4/Xbox One game and if this is what it has promised in terms of future publisher output on the consoles once it has the shackles of PS3 and Xbox 360 truly free, there’s massive promise.
Just a shame then numerous Ubisoft Montreal reps came out a day later and gave a horseshit reason to Videogamer and Polygon as to why you couldn’t play as a female in the game due to development. There’s some really good op-eds on it here that explain far better than I would by Brenna Hillier and Tim Clark, but put it like this: THERE ARE TEN STUDIOS WORKING ON THE GAME, HOW CAN YOU PUT IT DOWN TO A NUMBER OF RESOURCES!?
Putting that to one side and going back to Assassin’s Creed, where was the game planned for PS3 and 360, Comet? Surely Ubisoft aren’t going to leave it late in the day to announce it? Or has it been quietly canned to solely focus on Unity?
A new trailer for Valiant Hearts was shown ahead of its release next week and god damn you if your heart didn’t break even just slightly watching. The lovely art-style to it, powered by the UbiArt engine that powered Child of Light and recent Rayman games, seems like it lends itself well to the game, even in the horrid and bleak setting of World War 1.
Bah, dogs. Who needs dogs? (this maybe a defence mechanism set up to prevent heartbreak when the game ends with that inevitable scene of the dog dying – you know it’ll happen).
The show ended with its now annual one more thing from Yves Guillemot and the reveal of the return of Rainbow Six with Siege, out next year from Ubisoft Montreal. Not only does it look ruddy exciting, but as Mike Bithell said in the stream you can rewatch above, Siege could introduce the tactical shooter genre to a whole new generation of gamers the same way Wolfenstein: The New Order reintroduced the old-school shooter to a new crowd.
That said, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t slightly disappointed at two things related to the reveal: one, I’ve associated the ‘one more game slot’ to introduce new IP, like Watch Dogs and The Division, so for it to be an established IP this year is slightly disappointing. And secondly, I’m sad the Patriots concept is no more. After the conference wrapped up, reports filed in the Patriots concept – announced in 2011 as a Heavy Rain esque take on the genre, but went into development hell soon afterwards – was cancelled. I hope one day they return to it. It seemed to have some promise.
But otherwise, Ubisoft rocked it. A fantastic lineup that mostly comprised of core games, great trailers and demos and, best of all, no presentation issues. Ubisoft had it nailed this year.
And no girlwood references.
Game of the Conference: Rainbow Six: Siege (Special mentions: Far Cry 4, Assassin’s Creed: Unity, The Crew)