Ubisoft's annual E3 press event brought the big news and strange happenings we've come to expect from the publisher's E3 outings. Things kicked off with a Just Dance performance set to Queen, which included, but was not limited to, a dancing giraffe, a panda, and a guy playing a huge, butterfly-shaped guitar. It was as goofy and over-the-top as we’ve come to expect from Just Dance E3 segments. Perennial host Aisha Tyler then took the stage to welcome us all, as well as confirm that Just Dance 2017 is releasing on all platforms in October and next year for Nintendo NX.
Ghost Recon: Wildlands got a new trailer setting the table for its narrative. Players assume the role of Ghost agents tasked with eliminating a Mexican drug lord, who has seized the majority of cocaine operations in Bolivia. With the motives established, a lengthy gameplay video showcased the four-player cooperative tactics. Players can plot their approach and work together to complete missions stealthily or barrel in guns blazing. The video provided examples of both scenarios unfolding in the same mission, as the quiet infiltration soon devolves into a raucous multi-vehicle car chase and shootout. Ghost Recon: Wildlands releases March 7, 2017.
South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone brought new footage of South Park: The Fractured But Whole, the superhero sequel to The Stick of Truth. The switch from high fantasy to costumed vigilantes runs deeper than just aesthetics. It also brings two new mechanics called Space and Time. Space lets players maneuver and position themselves in various parts of the field during combat (such as behind enemies) instead of remaining static. Time refers to the ability to alter the turn order using a fart so powerful, it tears through time itself. South Park: The Fractured But Whole releases December 6 of this year.
The Division took the stage next with information about its first year of DLC. The first major expansion, Underground, pits players against a new threat beneath New York City. It launches June 28 on Xbox One and PC and August 2 for PlayStation 4. To commemorate Ubisoft's 30th anniversary, three new outfits based on Splinter Cell, Ghost Recon, and Rainbow Six will be free to members of the Ubisoft Club at the release of Underground.
Ubisoft then teased the second expansion, Survival. This different approach to Division gameplay is centered around the idea of scavenging for scarce supplies while enduring harsh weather conditions. While there's no release date, Ubisoft promised Survival will arrive "sooner than you think".
And now for something completely different. Oculus Rift founder Palmer Lucky along with other designers stepped up to play a round of Eagle Flight, the first-person VR flight title that puts players behind the beak of birds of prey. On display was a Capture the Flag inspired mode called Capture the Prey. Teams of eagles must locate and secure designated prey while preventing the opposing avian team from doing the same. It looks very weird, but kind of fun. Like all VR games, it’s difficult to cast a verdict without trying it yourself.
Ever wanted to explore and interact with the bridge of the Enterprise? Star Trek: Bridge Crew looks to fulfill every Trekkie's dream using the technology of Oculus Rift. Demonstrated by Star Trek alumni such as Levar Burton and Karl Urban, players can assume the roles of Enterprise crew roles, such as Captain and Engineer, to maintain and pilot the ship while exploring the cosmos. Boldly go where no man has gone before in what looks to be the most immersive Star Trek experience yet.
For Honor has focused so much on the multiplayer side of things that some players may be surprised to know that there’s a story mode. A slick narrative focused video revealed what seems to be the antagonist of the game. Viking gameplay was showcased with a ten-minute gameplay footage of Viking raid of a Samurai-occupied fort.
Grow Home melted a lot of hearts in 2015, and now B.U.D. is back in Grow Up. This time, he’s free from the watchful eye of M.O.M. allowing him free rein across an entire planet. In addition to the plant growing mechanic, players can now use seeds to sprout plants used to bounce to incredible heights, even reaching the moon. Grow Up sprouts this August for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.
The minds behind the Trials series and Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon are combining their unique brands of zany to create a title filled to the brim with insanity. Trails of the Blood Dragon takes the classic motocross gameplay of trials and drenches it in the 80’s neon-colored paint of Blood Dragon. The result looks as ridiculous as it does fun. Don’t just take my word for it. Trials of the Blood Dragon is available now.
In case you weren't aware, there's an Assassin's Creed movie coming this December. While there weren't any gaming related updates about Ubisoft's historical juggernaut, Aisha Tyler did sit down with producer Frank Marshall to discuss the film's development. Capping off the chat was a behind-the-scenes trailer for the film that provides a glimpse into how the game adaptation is being assembled. Video game-based movies have an less than stellar track record, but Assassin's Creed has one of the best shots at being at least halfway decent.
Watch Dogs 2 hacked its way into the show, showing off one of its infiltration missions. New hero Marcus Holloway sneaks and hacks his way into the home of a nefarious social media CEO. With some Eric B. and Rakim banging in his earphones, Marcus crashes the party, displaying his combat prowess while backed by some technical support (literally) from his Dedsec allies. Watch Dogs 2 appears to be shaping up nicely and already displays significantly more personality than its predecessor. Ubisoft announced DLC for Watch Dogs 2 hits PlayStation 4 30 days before other platforms and that a Watch Dogs feature film is in the works. Watch Dogs 2 arrives November 15 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.
Ubisoft wrapped their event by unveiling a new IP called Steep. Developed by Ubisoft Annecy, Steep is set in the snowy Alps and is a multiplayer-focused sports titles.
Players take the roles of skiers and wingsuit fliers to compete in a variety of stunts and challenges across different areas of the popular mountain range. Skier tracks remain carved into the mountain, and can be traced and viewed in a menu. You can also use the tracks to view replays of your run, as well as pinpoint the tricky jumps or turns you pulled off and send them to friends as challenges. Annecy is planning beta periods for Steep before its full release this December.
Ubisoft didn't have any blockbusters announcements, but they did a great job of showcasing the titles we already knew about and making them look like must-play experiences. For Honor looks better with each showing, and Watch Dogs 2 seems to be steadily winning over naysayers of the original. We got a great look Ghost Recon and South Park in action, and players of The Division have a clear road map of meaningful content to look forward to. I'm not sold on Eagle Flight and Star Trek: Bridge Crew yet. They look cool on paper, until you realize their level of enjoyment largely depends on having several friends who live in close proximity who have also taken the ultra-expensive plunge into VR. That simply isn't a reality for a majority of players, so I don't know how exciting those projects can really be right now. Even still, this was another good, solid showing for Ubisoft.