10 Jun 2014

Ubisoft E3 Conference Round-Up

Live Conference Notes

- Far Cry 4 first look at gameplay/pre-rendered footage. The villain...wow, crazy evil guy! Looks great as usual, this is most definitely a continuation of the awesome showing Far Cry 3 gave us. The villain appears to be voiced by Troy Baker which is just perfect. Business as usual guys, this looks great with a release date near the end of the year!
- Dance Central Now announced, we've got a whole dance ensemble going here with smart phone inter-connectivity. A lot better than the 1-minute "eh shove it out there" presentation Microsoft did for the Harmonix games. Scores tracked for everyone involved in the dance, cool idea.
- The Division coming up now, new trailer showing off the infection that destroys the world, very emotional and CG, now showing the world descending into chaos, are those NAZIs!? We've got dark-shrouded dudes with flames and gas-masks guys! Releasing 2015.
- The Crew up next, visuals look great especially for a fully open-world MMO racing game. Locations look impressive, they weren't kidding about traveling across all of North America apparently. Full day/night cycle, hard to say anything about the driving as it was all in fast-motion. Game developer on stage and talking about a tournament run between six different countries' representatives. Closed beta July 23rd! Release date November 11th.

- Assassins' Creed Unity (lots of details leaked in the Microsoft conference), cut straight to some CG footage of a trademark eagle flying around Paris. Trailer showing some more French Revolution era combat with four Assassins - four player co-op - causing havoc. Release Date October 28th; by the by, the paid-for-cheerers are getting obnoxious here too.
- Live gameplay footage of Assassins Creed Unity coming up now, starting with a pre-rendered cut-scene. Animations look incredibly fluid, visuals are great. Lots of side missions popping up as the main character roams, including "catch the thief" and "murder mysteries". Definitely authentic gameplay as the player struggles to kill three enemies and exposes some classic combat flaws of the series. Stealth gameplay with a cover mechanic. The hugely expanded crowds are very impressive. Great demo!
- Shape Up - leaked before E3 started - is a fitness themed Kinect game for Xbox One. Well it is definitely a live demo with a loading screen! This is a fitness game that tries to make all the exercises more fun by turning them into music-driven mini-games. Seems like a neat concept and a lot more accessible than a generic fitness game. These kinds of games usually get everyone down but the crowd seems to be pretty excited for it; the game looks surprisingly entertaining.

- Valiant Hearts - a World War 1 game using the same engine as Rayman Origins and Rayman Legends. Very drab and unique art style that really captures the horror of World War 1. Tragic feel to the game, coming to both next-gen and old-gen consoles.
- Ubisoft CEO comes out for one more game....could it be? I think it is! It's Rainbow Six everyone! This is a pre-alpha multiplayer match all in-game. Classic insertion team versus terrorists over a hostage, folks! The footage is amazing with lots of destruction and the visuals are just great. Lots of back and forth, classic realistic gunplay where one or two hits are pretty much guaranteed death. You can blow through walls and the floor in this game! It's called RAINBOW SIX: SIEGE!

Overall Thoughts - Thank you Ubisoft! This one blew EAs out of the park by a mile, from start to finish this one was more energized, more focused on showing actual gameplay rather than just CG trailers/behind the scenes footage. Where EAs was saved by Battlefield: Hardline, Ubisofts' was fittingly capped off with Rainbow Six: Siege. All the stuff we saw looked great - the new Assassins' Creed, Valiant Hearts and especially Rainbow Six - while games like Far Cry 4 and The Division look awesome. Ubisoft capitalized fully on a great roster of games they've got coming out and weren't afraid to show off games that won't be out for a while with actual pre-alpha gameplay media rather than just proof-of-concept footage. While we've already seen some of these games quite a bit before, this is still cool stuff and definitely a far better effort than EAs.

I'll be doing a full review of the Microsoft/EA/Ubisoft/Sony press conferences later today.

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