Over the past few years, Ubisoft has developed a cadence for their press conferences. Aisha Tyler has become the standing host for the event, there’s your typical ups and downs, and they really like to focus on gameplay. That trend continued this year with some huge demos including one of a brand new IP. Let’s get into it…
Just Dance 2017
This game’s existence isn’t too much of a surprise, but the list of platforms it will release on is. Just Dance 2017 was announced and will be releasing on XBOX 360, xBOX One, PS3, PS4, Wii, Wii U, PC…and Nintendo NX. That’s right, we got our first NX game announcement!
Ghost Recon Wildlands
Next up was Ghost Recon Wildlands. This was last year’s big surprise announcement and it was shown off with a full gameplay segment this year. The demo showed off a co-op mission that started as two players before another pair joined int (the game is capped at 4 player co-op). It’s easy to see Metal Gear Solid V‘s influence here just based on the amount of freedom players are given in approaching the encounter. The players are spotted while sneaking into an enemy compound in search of their target, prompting the enemy to jump into a getaway vehicle and flee the scene. Rather than failing the mission for spooking him, our players all race towards vehicles of their own and an enormous car chase breaks out leading to the group apprehending their target.
Everything looked fluid even moving from helicopter to on foot before ending up driving a car. Ghost Recon Wildlands comes out on March 7, 2017.
South Park: The Fractured but Whole
South Park: The Fractured but Whole showed extremely well in this press conference in my opinion. After a ridiculous trailer about crime in the world and a joke about how that’s just what the Snowdrop engine outpus, Trey Parker and Matt Stone came on stage once again to take us through the game. The Fractured but Whole takes place the day after The Stick of Truth with the kids of South Park switching from fantasy role playing to super hero role playing. After a blowout over which heroes will get their own feature films, the kids decide to skip straight to their own civil war moment.
South Park: The Fractured but Whole comes out December 6, 2016 for PC, PS4, and XB1 and includes a digital copy of The Stick of Truth.
The Division: Survival (Expansion 2)
I was surprised to see The Division making an appearance at Ubisoft’s show after they had just showed off the Underground expansion at the XBOX press conference. At their show, however, Ubisoft took the opportunity to give us a peek at their second expansion, Survival. We saw a storm come into New York, making post-apocalyptic life even harder for players, but overall details are short right now. No specific release date was given.
VR Segment – Eagle Flight & Star Trek
Next up was a pair of VR demos. Eagle Flight took the stage first with a live four-player demo that looked a bit shallow, but fun. Then a Star Trek VR trailer came on and promised to put you on the deck of the Enterprise. One of the strange things to me is that both experiences look like they’d make for some great local multiplayer. While that could be a cool aspect of VR in the future, I imagine it will be a long time before VR is that widespread.
For Honor has created a lot of buzz since it was announced at E3 last year, but we got a lot more info this time around. Soldiers in For Honor‘s world have been at war over resources for a thousand years. Knights, Vikings, and Samurai battle one another in a full campaign that looks like it will bring players to of a revelation about what is keeping them at war with one another. For Honor launches on February 14, 2017.
This was probably one of the more unexpected announcements this E3, but Ubisoft announced a sequel to Grow Home. Grow Up will release this August on PC, PS4, and XB1.
Trials of the Blood Dragon
Trials of the Blood Dragon is a crossover between the Trials series and the Far Cry spinoff, Blood Dragon. This was Ubisoft’s big “available now” moment as the game is now available on PC, PS4, and XB1 for $14.99.
Assassin’s Creed Movie
We got a new trailer for the Assassin’s Creed movie as well as an interview with studio head Frank Marshall. If I’m being honest, this was a pretty big lull in the press conference. The interview went on a little bit too long and we weren’t given a ton of new information on the film. Ubisoft seems pretty confident in it though, as we also got an announcement that this next game franchise is also being developed into a movie…
Watch Dogs 2
Yep, an official Watch Dogs film is in the works with Ubisoft and Sony Pictures Entertainment as we learned after a pretty great demo for Watch Dogs 2.
The demo showed the game’s main character, Marcus, breaking into the offices of a corrupt politician in order to steal files. It was a great blend of stealth gameplay, firefights, and melee combat. While the gameplay looks similar to the original Watch Dogs, the theme and story of Watch Dogs 2 looks like a huge improvement. The release date was confirmed to be November 15, 2016 on PC, PS4, and XB1.
As has become standard for Ubisoft, the show was closed out with a surprise game announcement. This year, a new IP called Steep was announced with a trailer as well as gameplay demos.
Steep is an open world action sports game set in the Alps featuring sky diving, base jumping, skiing, and snowboarding. While there will be at least some competition in the game, the developer’s true passion seems to center around giving players a large playground to do some cool stuff and share it with their friends. Speaking of, there’s a replay tool that allows for full camera control that should let players create some awesome videos and screen shots.
Surprisingly enough, Steep is scheduled for a December 2016 release, although an official date wasn’t given.
I have some mixed feelings about Ubisoft’s press conference. On one hand, I love the emphasis on gameplay and the desire to surprise viewers with a big announcement at the end of the show. On the other hand, the show’s pacing was definitely an issue and segments like the Assassin’s Creed movie and the two VR games didn’t play very well in the format. Overall, I liked the conference and thought that Ubisoft showed off some interesting games with variety. This demo probably sold me on Watch Dogs 2 and I was pretty surprised at how well South Park showed as someone who didn’t play The Stick of Truth. While not as strong as some of their prior conferences, Ubisoft put on an excellent show this E3.