Ubisoft’s press conference this year had a certain feeling of deja vu about it with a number of games either already out and receiving expansion or games we had already seen a glimpse of last year. The show started with what can only be described as a weird dance sequence with a marching band and a man in a giant panda suit dancing from outside of the hall and into the building and onto the stage to present Just Dance 2019 – weird!
Moving on we got to see much more of the space opera game “Beyond Good and Evil 2” which we saw a little of at last years E3. Its still in pre-alpha but the team could show us what looked like a huge sprawling futuristic metropolis where players can explore on their own or co-op. Ubisoft have made a big deal about their community interaction this year, it was a theme that ran through a number of presentations and Beyond Good and Evil 2 perhaps takes that to an all new level with the request from the development team for idea’s, artwork and music from the community to put into the game. This collaboration is going to be handled by a company called ‘Hit Record’ a social-collaborative company set up by actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Inception, 10 Things I hate About You and The Dark Knight Rises to name a few of his films) who took to the stage to introduce himself and his company.
Justin Kruger of the Rainbow Six Siege team took to the stage next to talk about how far the title had come from a pretty low key start. Since launch it has grown to over 35 Million players and has now spanned 10 seasons with 40 operators – not bad for an online only game that got some negative reviews at launch for daring to be multiplayer only yet still cost the same as any other AAA title. June 18th see’s the RB6 Pro League start and there will be a documentary released soon following some of the popular ‘stars’ from the online leagues and competitions run worldwide. The documentary is called “Another Mindset”.
Up next was Trials Rising – the next title in the hugely popular series that started out as an indie title on the PC but now spans several games across XBOX PC and PlayStation formats and across numerous generations and this year it will have its debut on Nintendo Switch. Release date is February 2019 with a closed beta later this year.
We got to see quite a decent preview of The Division 2 at Microsoft’s show yesterday and of course it featured heavily at Ubisoft’s event. The first game started out in New York with a strain of the small pox virus wiping out huge swathes of the population. Seven months on and the virus is starting to burn itself out leaving behind lawless cities where gangs administer their own form of justice with beatings and executions as people fight over basic things such as clean water. The sequel takes place in Washington D.C and todays trailer gave us a glimpse of this lawless city with people fighting over water and fortified settlements trying to keep the gangs out. As the trailer came to an end the team looked over the city and if this is any indication of how big the map is then its going to be much bigger than the first game.
The campaign will take players through the story and once completed the player can go on and chose from another 3 paths for their character. The team discussed their long term plans with what was described as “years” of updates that will add new content and most importantly this content will be free! Year one alone has three DLC packs planned for release which will include 8 player co-op raids for the first time. There’s going to be a playable demo at E3 but you can also sign up for the beta at the official site with the full release happening March 15th 2019.
Another game we saw last year was “Skull & Bones” – what some may see as a more grown up Sea of Thieves. Graphically it looked very impressive with the tall ships really highly detailed. Set for release in 2019 the trailer showed the start of a mission where the character roamed the dock in third person selecting their ship, crew and weapons for the mission ahead. The mission played out a mission tracking a merchant ship and disguising the pirate ship to evade the gaze of the authorities in the docks and their cannons.
‘Transference’ was a spooky looking adventure game that can be played in VR or using a normal controller. The game was introduced by the actor Elijah Wood who co-founded Spectrevision the company behind the game – so thats where Frodo went after Lord of the Rings!
Star Link is a space shoot-em up action game launching October 16th this year on XBOX, PlayStation, PC and Nintendo Switch. Ubisoft are continuing their long running collaboration with Nintendo with this game as it features one of Nintendo’s iconic characters – Starfox. Yves Guillemot appeared for the first time this year nearly an hour into the show to introduce Shigeru Miyamoto and presented him with a special model of the ship from the game before whisking him backstage to meet the team.
For Honor has developed a huge following online with many tournaments and competitions. Like RB6 Siege its developing a cult following so its good to see Ubisoft is expanding the game further later this year (October 16th to be precise) with an expansion called “Marching Fire” which will add four warriors from the Chinese civil war era. The expansion will also include single player content, improved visuals and a ew 4 vs 4 castle siege mode. Ubisoft also announced that a free ‘Starter Version’ of For Honor would be available for download between June 11th and June 18th.
Yet another “we saw that last year” game was Crew 2. The game launches very soon – June 29th with an open beta that you can start downloading now and runs between the 21st and 25th of June.
Last but not least – and it wouldn’t be an Ubisoft E3 conference without a mention of Assassins Creed and this year was no exception as we got to see Assassins Creed: Odyssey. Set in ancient Greece the game will let players choose between two characters – Alexios or Kassandra – decedents of King Leonidas and wielding part of his broken spear. The game launches on October 5th 2018.
And that was it for Ubisoft this year, Yves came back to the stage with all the dev teams who presented their games tonight but thankfully someone shot the Panda and he didn’t come back!