Every year in June, the video game industry heads to Los Angeles for a week of showmanship at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3). Companies debut their upcoming software and hardware, allowing the press and those with industry credentials to get a sneak peak at what they have to offer.
The highlight of every E3 is undoubtedly the press conferences that kick off the show. Publishers and platform holders typically each hold a 1-2 hour press conference packed with announcements and live stream them to fans around the world.
Armed with Aisha Tyler and an assortment of big-budget games, Ubisoft has found a surprising amount of success at E3 in recent years. Their strategy has been to show one big surprise announcement at the end of each conference, hopefully winning over the crowd. It’s a strategy that brought us Watch_Dogs, The Division, Rainbow Six Siege, and Ghost Recon: Wildlands. Although these games haven’t been without their flaws, they’ve all generated incredible hype starting with their respective announcements. Can Ubisoft replicate that success in 2016?
With no Assassin’s Creed game coming out in 2016 and the franchise’s first feature film coming slated to release at the end of the year, I believe Ubisoft will take this opportunity to show off the next entry in the long running series, currently slated for a 2017 release. Each new Assassin’s Creed game has been leaked ahead of its announcement over the past few years, something that has clearly drawn the ire of its publisher. Without the pressure of an annualized release schedule, this seems like the perfect time to blow the lid off the next game 18 months early and tell people why they should care about Assassin’s Creed again.
The Division has been a series of ups and downs since its launch. With immediate comparisons to Destiny based on the social nature of the games, The Division‘s campaign story immediately created a positive buzz around the title, causing many fans to believe Massive Games had solved a number of the problems Bungie struggled with in Destiny‘s first year. Unfortunately, a repetitive endgame and a number of exploits have soured some of that good will and put The Division at a crossroads. With much of the game’s DLC yet to release, I believe Ubisoft will dedicate some time at E3 to the game in an attempt to further right the ship. I imagine this will rely heavily on a demo of the upcoming Underground expansion.
In true Ubisoft fashion, Watch_Dogs 2 has been one of the worst kept secrets in gaming. While a sequel was obvious given the success of the first game, a variety of sources have already confirmed multiple details about the upcoming sequel. We know that it will feature a new main character (shown above), be set in San Fransisco, and launch in 2016. If that’s the case, Ubisoft will have to go all out with a reveal this E3 to prep for launch this holiday season.
Splinter Cell Blacklist took a bit of a new direction in 2013, leading to one of my favorite games of that year. While it underperformed in terms of sales, the franchise still has strong brand recognition and a high potential that Ubisoft would be foolish to ignore. I think this E3 will mark the return of the franchise, but with a new direction and main character. It would make for an excellent surprise closer to the conference. If that’s not enough of a surprise for you…
Beyond Good & Evil 2
I mean, it has to be time right? This was originally announced back in 2008 and development has been seemingly off and on since then. Recently though, series creator Michel Ancel confirmed that a sequel was still in the works. If Ubisoft really wants to bring the house down at E3, this is how they can do it. After Sony brought back The Last Guardian last year, anything is possible…