Ubisoft sticks with what it knows at E3
Ubisoft is one of the most consistent video game publishers in the world, but part of that consistency comes from playing it safe and rotating familiar games in and out. That’s a safe, and probably even smart way to work, but it also makes the company predictable.
That predictability was very much on display during the Ubisoft E3 2015 press conference.
The publisher trotted out several cool looking games, even a few new ones, but nothing that really stole the show. The closest thing was probably the new title For Honor, a hack and slash online action game based around melee combat.
Maybe this is a bit unrealistic, but there was an easy way for Ubisoft to set both the crowd in attendance and the people watching at home on fire. The Assassin’s Creed movie is currently filming under the Ubisoft Pictures banner. One five second clip of Michael Fassbender in costume simply walking down a street would have gone over like Oprah giving away cars. Even a few concept stills and a brief synopsis would have gone a long way.
It’s a high profile movie based on a video game, so where better to show it off than E3? Oh well. Maybe Ubisoft can show something the next time a readymade audience in the thousands, potentially hundreds of thousands online, all get together again. Happens all the time.
What Ubisoft did have, however, was a show with the always delightful Aisha Tyler, some predictably awful sketches, and some really cool looking games that should feel familiar to most.
Here are the highlights (as we saw them) from the Ubisoft E3 2015 lineup:
Assassin’s Creed Syndicate
The Assassin’s Creed series is beginning to hit that point where annual releases feel as much like an obligation as a treat. Unity was an ambitious, but ultimately flawed game that didn’t really add much to the series. Even the much hyped co-op seems to have been left behind. The series needs some new tricks.
Still, Syndicate offers a new setting and a pair of new protagonists. There are also some new movements and combat mechanics that will hopefully generate excitement in the fanbase again. That’s all stuff that won’t make a difference until we actually have the game in out hands though. In the meantime, have a cinematic trailer to get a sense of what to expect.
One of the few completely original reveals from Ubisoft is a melee based online action title, with sword play taking center stage instead of gunplay. You and your friends choose one of three classic warrior factions: knights, vikings, and the out-of-place-but-cool samurai. You then fight your way through NPCs to engage in sword battles against other players.
There has only been one, short clip released showing a domination like game, but For Honor is noteworthy just for its originality. The four on four gameplay will likely have a lot more to it, and we’ll hear more leading up to its 2016 release on PC, PS4, and Xbox One.
South Park: The Fractured but Whole
Ubisoft and Obsidian’s 2014 RPG South Park: The Stick of Truth was a surprisingly awesome game, so it’s no surprise that a sequel is on the way. What is surprising is how quickly they will be able to get it out for PC, PS4, and Xbox One.
Then again, part of what made The Stick of Truth so great was the integration with South Park’s art, which is kind of capped. The new consoles can make the game bigger, but there really isn’t any need to try to make it look better. This title is being developed by Ubisoft San Francisco, but in theory it should be able to use most of the same code Obsidian developed. The writing will be done (at least in part) by creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, and the big change is that it will feature superheroes rather than fantasy characters. There’s no reason to think it won’t be great, even if it is out quick.
Tom Clancy’s The Division
The Division was announced two years back, so its presence was expected. The big news from its appearance though, was the reveal of the release date – assuming it isn’t delayed again. The Division will be released for PC, PS4, and Xbox One on March 8, 2016.
The trailer below also shows a bit more about the game, which is set shortly after a disease causes a near total collapse of society. As a member of The Division, your job is to shoot a lot of people and blow stuff up. For freedom and such.
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands
Although a new Ghost Recon wasn’t specifically expected, its appearance is no surprise. If you ever have to guess what games Ubisoft is about to announce, just pick a Tom Clancy title and you probably won’t go wrong. There were three at this E3 show alone.
Wildlands takes the Ghost Recon concept of four player teams, then throws it into an open world. You can complete objectives in multiple ways, ranging from stealth to kill ’em all. It’s tough to know how that works from just a preview, but there should be plenty of time to find out before the game is released for PC, PS4, and Xbox One some time next year.
Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege
Rainbow Six is another game that has undergone many changes and several delays, but it’s tentatively on track for an October 13, 2015 release, making it Ubisoft’s next major release.
Because of that, we already know a fair amount about the game, but there will be more to come. To begin with, the big news is that Angela Bassett will lend her voice! Yay? Check out the new trailer below.