After the relentless insanity of Microsoft’s conference, and EA’s hit-and-miss effort, it was the turn of Ubisoft to soak up the spotlight. In their hour-long media briefing, Aisha Tyler acted as compère, with France’s leading video game giant holding nothing back in their sixty minutes of stage time.
Last year, Ubisoft’s conference was the surprise smash of the show, with Watch Dogs being the mindblowing talking point coming out of Los Angeles. The big question Ubisoft had to answer this year was whether they could do it again. With all things considered, it’s safe to say that they damn well could. Here’s how they managed it.
- Ubisoft aren’t one for conventional starts to a conference, and 2013’s opening sees Jerry Cantrell of Alice In Chains giving a live demo of Rocksmith: 2014 Edition. Rhythm games live on despite Rock Band’s winding down, and Ubisoft have put together a very good-looking one in the new Rocksmith. Aisha Tyler arrives to hype up the game with Cantrell, before turning her attention onto Splinter Cell: Blacklist. Advice to any game developers reading this: a great way to get me excited for your games is to not have Aisha Tyler making awkward jokes about them. Just saying.
- The new installment to the Splinter Cell series doesn’t look half bad, but its confirmed release date is one already occupied by Saints Row 4, which is a daunting opponent for the game to go up against. It’s certainly playing to its strengths, though, and you can always rely on Splinter Cell to be a blast. It drags on a bit though, and with little to no gameplay shown, the change of pace going into Rayman Legends is a blessing. Origins was a very well-received title, and early signs are pointing to Legends setting itself up to emulate this reception. Rayman Legends does show gameplay, and the competitive multiplayer shown off looks to add a new element to the title
- It’s not all big name games, of course. The stage is taken over by The Mighty Quest For Epic Loot, a free-to-play (minus inevitable microtransactions) PC game accompanied by a cheesy Pixar movie-esque trailer that does nothing to make me personally want to consider signing up for their closed beta. The saving graces from this lull would appear to be Trey Parker and Matt Stone, bringing South Park: The Stick of Truth to consoles later this year. Previously a THQ title, it’s great to see the game coming along under Ubisoft’s guidance.
- After South Park, Ubisoft shift the spotlight onto the next generation. The Crew is introduced as what seems like a massive open-world driving game in some insane combination of Need for Speed: Most Wanted, Test Drive Unlimited and MAG, claiming to boast the entire United States of America as playable in-game. The game itself is a persistent open world, and is hyped to include mobile integration, which no other game at E3 is doing.
- On to what many people had considered the main event going into the conference, and Watch Dogs gets a short but sweet CG trailer, with very little time really spent on delving further into the details of the title. For a game which seems to claim that no information is private, and one person can know (and do) everything, it certainly seems to be intent on keeping its own secrecy, and the exact limits of the game remain to be seen. It’s captured the attention of the masses, however, and it’s hard to sit back and wait for more information to drop.
- Not showing any signs of letting up on the big guns, it’s Just Dance 2014. Offering music from One Direction, Pitbull, Nicki Minaj and Psy, the game will be likely to continue th- wait, Psy? Still? Okay, this has gone too far. I’m done.
- …or I would be, if not for the onslaught that followed. Rabbids Invasion was unveiled as an interactive TV game to enter the Raving Rabbids franchise. Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag got a sublime bit of CG showing off time, before the typically excellent song choice of Half Moon Run’s ‘Full Circle’ accompanies our first glimpse at gameplay footage. Two new Trials games – Trials Fusion for PC and consoles and Trials Frontier for mobile – get announced, ensuring that Ubisoft go into their grand finale with a strong showing already in the bag. Avoiding the pitfalls that hindered EA, it’s becoming increasingly easy to trust Ubisoft to set the bar for third party showings at E3.
- Last year, Watch Dogs stole the show at E3, leaving the world clamouring for more. Today, The Division was the surprise new IP reveal, the first new Tom Clancy IP since 2009’s H.A.W.X. launch. Centered in the aftermath of a bioterrorist attack on the United States on Black Friday, the trailer was one to leave jaws on floors, proving that Ubisoft had managed to – inexplicably – pull the rabbit out of the hat two years running. The Division is an open world, online third-person shooter, and another strong addition to the growing next-gen lineup. It’s another one that we’ll have to wait a little longer to learn more about however, but right now it looks huge. Ubisoft deployed the Division and with it ended their 2013 conference on another massive high. Your move, Sony.