Hot on the heels of what was arguably the most pointless E3 briefing in recent memory, Ubisoft has stepped up to the plate in an attempt to liven up the proceedings. This year, they find themselves in a bit of a bind, with nearly all of their games having been previously announced or leaked by Walmart Canada. Even so, Ubisoft managed to blow Square Enix out of the water with a showcase that was heavy on both silly gimmicks and details.
Ubisoft is no stranger to bizarre stunts. This year alone, viewers were treated to a menagerie of dancing randos backed by a marching band, a jumpsuit-clad man astride a motorcycle falling into a podium, and a strange musical interlude conducted by Grant Kirkhope. While mostly cute, these are the kind of distractions that tend to keep gaming firmly relegated to the “kid stuff” category in the eyes of many. Beyond this, however, Ubisoft brought a ton of details about their most anticipated titles and managed to sneak in enough little treats to distract people from the general lack of new announcements.
The breakout stars of the show were, without a doubt and in no particular order, Beyond Good and Evil 2 (which continues to be thrillingly ambitious, Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey (which looks like it may actually make some strides towards refreshing the series’ formula) and the bromance between Yves Guillemot and Shigeru Miyamoto (which remains the most purely delightful thing currently happening on planet Earth). Additionally, some more light was shed on The Division 2, Skull & Bones, and updates coming to For Honor.
The most intriguing trend on display was a newfound investment in community communication and contribution. Two of the games on display included in-depth assistance from community members, most presenters thanked fans for their feedback, and Yves Guillemot reaffirmed the value of the player’s perspective in the development process. It’s an atypical move for such a large publisher, and I’ll be interested to see where it leads.
Firmly nestled between Square Enix and Bethesda in terms of Publisher showcases, Ubisoft’s 2018 E3 presentation was unsurprising, but engaging nonetheless. If nothing else, it’s piqued my interest in The Division 2 (a game in which I was not at all invested prior to today), refreshed my excitement for the Assassin’s Creed franchise, and continued to build unrealistically high expectations for Beyond Good and Evil 2.
And hey, they even managed to sneak in a good keychain joke.
Just Dance 2019
- Release Date: October 2018.
- Just another Just Dance, no surprises.
Beyond Good and Evil 2
- Release Window: Still nothing, but more info and content will be revealed this fall.
- BGE2 will serve as a prequel to the original.
- Both Pey’j and Jade will return as characters.
- The game can be played alone or in co-op.
- Players will be able to transition between ground fights and space battles seamlessly.
- The developers teased a massive “open universe” for players to explore.
- By teaming up with Joseph Gordon Levitt’s company “Hit Record,” the developers are inviting the community to actively contribute elements to the game.
- This can take the form of music, dialogue, art assets, or anything else.
- Fans of all skill levels are encouraged to take part.
- This is meant to be a true collaboration, not a fan competition.
Rainbow Six: Seige
- The newest update, Operation Parabellum, is live now.
- Ubisoft announced six more months of active, large-scale esports competitions for Seige.
- An upcoming documentary, entitled Another Mindset, will tell the stories of eight Rainbow Six community members who “see more than a game.”
- The documentary will be screened at an event in Paris in mid-August.
- Release Window: February 2019.
- Players will tackle crazy tracks and perform insane stunts in “iconic” locations all across the world.
- During development, the designers sought active contributions from some of the most active members in the Trials community to ensure that the game was approachable for newcomers and challenging for returning fans.
- The series is coming to the Switch for the first time ever.
- There will be a closed Beta later this year.
The Division 2
- Release Date: March 15, 2019.
- Set seven months after the outbreak that caused the turmoil of the first game, players are tasked with protecting the citizens of Washington DC from militant factions seeking to gain control of the nation.
- Actions will have a clear impact on the lives of the residents.
- Post-campaign content will be robust and will feature an entirely new progression path, complete with specializations and signature weapons.
- The game will include eight-player raids.
- Ubisoft has promised “years of frequent, major updates,” beginning with three DLC episodes arriving for free throughout the first year.
Mario + Rabbids: Donkey Kong Adventure
- Release Dates:
- Season Pass holders: June 25th, 2018.
- Everyone else: June 26th, 2018.
- A new expansion to Kingdom Battle featuring Donkey Kong, surprising as that may be given the vague title.
Skull and Bones
- Release Window: TBA 2019.
- Set in the Indian Ocean, players will sail the seas in an open, shared world where “every player encounter matters.”
- Seemingly based on the naval combat introduced in Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag, players will be armed with a variety of powerful weapons, but will likely never leave their ships.
- Ships are fully customizable and can be outfitted to suit specific missions.
- Players can disguise their vessels in order to sneak past powerful fortresses.
- Gamers can ally with one another, or turn on each other to claim valuable loot and currency.
- Release Window: Fall 2018.
- A collaboration with Elijah Wood’s SpectreVision, Transference is a psychological thriller that blends the storytelling techniques found in films with the interactivity of games.
- The game will be first-person and will see players solving puzzles and shifting between the perspectives of their family members.
- Seems to combine live-action and digital elements.
- Will launch in VR as well as on traditional platforms.
Starlink: Battle for Atlas
- Release Date: Oct 16, 2018.
- An original IP where players control spaceships made of real-world, modular components. Think Amibos/Skylanders meet Legos.
- In a partnership with Nintendo, the Switch version will feature Starfox.
For Honor: Marching Fire
- Release Date: Nov 16, 2018.
- A brand new expansion featuring still-to-come story content, four new characters, and a 4v4 castle siege mode called Breach.
- In celebration of the expansion and E3, the starter edition of For Honor is available for free through UPlay.
The Crew 2
- Release Date: June 29, 2018.
- An open Beta will launch on June 21, 2018, and can be pre-loaded now.
Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey
- Release Date: Oct 5, 2018.
- Set in ancient Greece, players will have the option to choose between protagonists Alexios and Kassandra, and play as them for the duration of the game.
- The game will feature dialogue selection, and the developers promised that the story wouldn’t just be an odyssey, it would be “your odyssey,” shaped by player actions and choices.
- This is meant to be a true “role-playing journey.”
- Naval combat and traversal will return as the story pulls players between the Greek islands.
- The HUD, menu systems, leveling, and combat look very similar to those found in last year’s Origins.
- The gameplay trailer hinted at large-scale battles, famous historical figures, and unless my eyes deceived me, even the possibility of romances.
And there you have it; Ubisoft’s E3 conference for 2018. Next up, Sony at 9:00pm ET!