Ubisoft Press Conference Wrap-Up - Article

By Daniel Share-Strom, June 5, 2012
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After a lackluster Microsoft conference and a by-the-numbers EA show, Ubisoft came out of nowhere to pull off one of the more impressive shows we’ve seen so far at this year’s E3.  Here’s a quick round-up of what they showed off.

JUST DANCE 4

Flo Rida and a bunch of sexy babes danced to what gamrReview contributor Alex St-Amour correctly dubbed “generic inoffensive rap.”  This new entry in the series will be launching this October for Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, and Wii U, with the latter receiving undisclosed exclusive content.

 

Far Cry 3:

Boobs.  Your character begins Far Cry 3 by groping them.  The jungle island setting is back, but show host Aisha Tyler warned us that Far Cry 3 is “…no day at the beach.”  Once finished getting his virtual hard-on, your character turns and gives a motivational speech to the rest of the tribe, who… apparently just like to watch.  Evidently, your character used to be a tortured victim of a man named Vos, and has now broken free and rallied the local natives against him.

That’s it.  That’s the whole game.

Ok, there may have been some pulling enemies off ledges from underwater, firing bows and arrows, escaping from burning buildings, jeep driving around a fully-navigable archipelago, parasailing, villains urging you to kill them before transforming into superpowered monsters, and people dancing around on psychedelic TV screens.  I’m not too sure.  I lost interest after that first bit.

 

SPLINTER CELL: BLACKLIST

“Welcome to Fourth Echelon.”  Wait a minute—what happened to Splinter Cell’s iconic Third Echelon?  Splinter Cell: Blacklist promises to answer that question.  Sam Fisher is back, and after going civilian in Conviction, in this game he is sporting all his three-green-eyed spy stuff again in all its glory.  As the trailer began, he stabbed a guy on a rooftop in some unknown Middle-Eastern country before sending a walking drone inside to spy on some terrorists who happened to be interrogating a hostage.  Sam busted in, did his action-hero thing, saved the hostage and tossed him a gun.

The trailer closed on fellow agent Grimsdottir uttering, “No program, no secret spies, no hidden agenda.  Any questions?”  It’s no wonder that show host Aisha Tyler got self-described ‘girl-wood.’

Oh, and this game gets extra points from my Canadian self for being developed by the newly-formed Ubisoft Toronto.  The game has thus far been announced only for the Xbox 360.

 

AVENGERS: BATTLE FOR EARTH

Ever wanted to see Spider-Man swing at high-speed to kick Magneto in the face?  That’s what we’ll be getting in Avengers: Battle for Earth.  The trailer, which also showed such fanboy treats as Venom chucking Wolverine through a wall, showed a graphical style that was very dark and reminiscent of the comics.  Little is known about the plot thus far, but it seems to basically involve a large troupe of superheroes and villains trashing a city, with cars flying everywhere and journalists salivating.  The end of the trailer showed the titular Avengers, including Iron Man, Captain America, Hawkeye, Hulk, and Black Widow, surveying the chaos from a nearby rooftop.  Doubtless, they are waiting to dive into the epic carnage that is soon to ensue.

The game will launch for Kinect and Wii U sometime during the latter’s launch window.

 

RAYMAN LEGENDS

Even though last year’s hit Rayman Origins launched on many platforms, its sequel, Rayman Legends, is being developed exclusively for the Wii U.  The gorgeous hand-drawn sprites return, along with the lush, rolling green hills, fiery pits, and every environment in-between.  Some new highlights that got me really excited included using a slingshot to fling the characters into the background, and flying into the distance while avoiding fire in a style reminiscent of the space levels in Earthworm Jim.

Oh yeah, and that touchscreen.  The game one-ups its predecessor’s four-player co-op by allowing up to five friends to play together at once.  Up to four can use Wii Remotes or the new Wii U Pro controller, while a fifth plays on the Wii tablet.  While the others all play identically, this player uses the touch-screen to control a diminutive fellow named Murphy, flying him around to hit enemies, grab objects, and otherwise manipulate the environment.  It looks like an insane amount of fun, and there is no shortage of intriguing ideas that could come about as a result of this.

 

ZOMBI U

Ubisoft is showing some serious support for Nintendo’s new machine.  A Wii U exclusive first-person survival horror game called Zombi U will give the system’s launch some much-needed M-rated goodness.  As the trailer began, we were greeted by the question, “Are you prepared for the future?”  As the camera zoomed out, we were greeted by a slow-motion scene view of a city that was pretty much effed.  There were trashed cars, papers floating in the air, a zombie pulling a woman out of a hotel window, and a man holding a gun in his own mouth.  Pretty hardcore stuff, though unfortunately no gameplay was shown.

More detail was provided later in a press release, however.  For one thing, when you die, you are really dead.  You take over the body of a different survivor and have to find and kill the zombie of your previous character if you want to get your things back.  The Wii U controller serves as your item inventory, allowing you to get supplies out quickly.  Rounding out the package is an asynchronous multiplayer mode in which one player plays a standard shooter while the other uses the Wii U tablet to send zombies after them.  Zombi U will be a launch window game when the system launches later this year.

 

OTHER WII U STUFF

OK, seriously, if you didn’t get it already, Ubisoft is loving the Wii U.  They have eight separate games announced for the launch window.  In addition to the above, they showed off Sports Connection, Your Shape: Fitness Evolved 2013, Just Dance 4, and a new Rabbids game called Rabbids Land.  Only small snippets were shown of these games, but all of them will be there on either launch day or soon thereafter.

Oh yeah, and there was Assassin’s Creed.

 

ASSASSIN’S CREED III

It’s rare enough to see a game set in the Revolutionary War era, let alone one where you actually play as a native and kill redcoats.  After using an eagle to spy on a battalion of troops, the main character galloped into the thick of them, jumped on one’s head and basically started decimating them single-handedly.  Bows and arrows were fired, tomahawks were lodged into heads, and basically lives were ended prematurely.

Later, a representative played the game live, after telling us that George Washington, Ben Franklin, and Lafayette will play prominent roles.  Deer were carefully stalked, hunted, and skinned by jumping nimbly through the trees.  Yes, Red Dead Redemption was evoked.  The animation in the snowy environment was impressive, with the main character having to lean in and really crunch down the packing snow as he walked.  He infiltrated a camp, strung a guy up on a rope, stabbed someone with a hidden blade, and showed off a revamped hand-to-hand combat system.  Eventually, a building exploded, giving him a chance to get the jump on his target, leap on him, and kill him dead.  Boom, done.

 

WATCH DOGS

Evidently, the blackout in 2003 was caused by a small vulnerability that allowed a man to unleash a virus that affected most of the country.  Now, if one person could do that to a grid that controls the lights, imagine what could happen if human beings themselves were networked together.  If a central mainframe processed their thoughts, needs, and feelings, selling them to advertisers and political parties.  Well, what if you were the man that hacked into all of this?

Well, now you are.  In Watch Dogs, Ubisoft’s bold new open-world adventure for undisclosed platforms, your character, Aidan, can read thought and control any piece of technology remotely.  Walking through downtown and need a distraction?  Short out the TVs in the store window.  Chasing down a mark?  Hack a nearby car and smash him down.  The characters in this world are well aware of how they have turned into data clusters—one man in a bar even wears a QR code on his head that, when followed, leads you to the developer’s website.  Aidan was in the bar to kill one Joseph DeMarco, ‘exposing him’ to the world in the process.  After being given a gun by his friend and locating the target, a dramatic chase ensued involving totaled cars and an epic gun battle.  Finally, Aidan caught up with DeMarco, pulled him out of the car window, and pointed the gun at him.  DeMarco begged Aidan not to kill him, and Aidan told him to deliver a message.

Then he shot him.

You’d think that would be the end of the trailer, but then we changed perspectives to a sniper cop who’s been spying on Aidan.  So it seems we’ll be playing both the hunter and the hunted in this game.  Watch Dogs is certainly a game to keep your network tuned to.

 

 

That’s about the size of Ubisoft’s conference this year.  “Come down to the booth and do that shit,” said Aisha Tyler by way of wrapping up.  We will, Aisha, we will.

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