Ubisoft had a great year at E3 2018. Most of their announcements were interesting, conveying coveted information about highly anticipated titles like Beyond Good & Evil 2 and Assassin's Creed Odyssey. It might not have revealed anything completely unknown, but the info it had on upcoming projects was extensive and interesting.
The Ubisoft press conference opened with a marching band and dance routine heralding the return of Just Dance 2019. The dancing title will be released later this year on pretty much every console that people might conceivably still use outside of retro enthusiast crowds. That explains why the title will be released for not only the Wii U, but also the original Wii, which is pretty freaking incredible.
Beyond Good & Evil 2 made a huge splash at last year's press conference where it finally demonstrated its existence to the world. This year we got to see more pre-rendered cutscenes that doled out information about the pirate crew with whom players will presumably be bouncing around the galaxy. It also revealed that Jade, the hero of Beyond Good & Evil, will serve as the antagonist for this sequel-prequel. How that will work remains unknown, but intriguing.
The Beyond Good & Evil 2 presentation didn't stop at cutscenes, though. We were finally show snippets of gameplay demonstrating vehicles and aerial/space combat along with jetpacks and melee combat. And, yes, it looked fantastic. Keen observers might have noted that certain segments of the environment looked suspiciously barren. It turns out this was because Ubisoft has teamed up with Hit Record, a crowd sourced work platform that aims to bring artists together to do collaborative freelance work. The idea for Beyond Good & Evil 2 being that artists could contribute their work to the game, get paid, and have it become part of the in-game universe. This led to something of a backlash from fans and industry pros alike calling out the use of speculative labor (spec work).
Ubisoft also took the time to announce new DLC for Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle. Titled Donkey Kong Adventure, players will be able to journey through a tactical adventure with Donkey Kong joining the crew to face off against his ferocious Rabbid counterpart. The music will be composed by Grant Kirkhope with all of the appropriate Donkey Kong flair fans have come to love and expect. It releases later this month on June 26.
The popular biking/stunt game Trials will be returning early next year with Trials Rising. Ubisoft worked together with over 20 longtime fans of the original to shape its content. One community member even oversaw the creation of all the tutorial content for Trials Rising. Rising will bring players around the world for wacky stunts and impossible courses. It releases sometime in February 2019.
The Division 2 hopes to surpass its predecessor by offering long term support for players who have finished the main campaign. Those who finish the story set in Washington DC will be able to specialize into one of three classes and pick a signature weapon. Over time, these roles will evolve to have special abilities that synergize with the abilities of other players. This will lead players who have mastered everything else into the new eight player raids.
In Rainbow Six Siege news, Ubisoft announced that the game would be receiving the documentary treatment. A film crew followed eight members of the Rainbow Six Siege community, including professional Rainbow Six Siege players, as they partake in the game's rich competitive scene. ESports are becoming more and more mainstream, so it's always interesting to see what documentary film crews do with the subject matter. Another Mindset is no exception. The film will release at the Six Major Paris that runs August 13-19.
Skull and Bones still looks incredibly polished, but weird. Even though we saw more of it this year than ever before, I can't tell if it's something that stands on its own or if it will live and die by its online community. The gameplay on display this year depicted pirates teaming up to take on a giant warship in the Indian Ocean following the sinking of a merchant vessel. The game emphasizes the accumulation of wealth, but it's a bit cagey on what players can use that wealth on in-game aside from ship upgrades and aesthetic flourishes. Is there more to the game than piracy for piracy's sake? Only time will tell.
One of the more fascinating reveals Ubisoft had in store for E3 2018 definitely belongs to SpectreVision's VR horror/thriller title Transference. SpectreVision's founder and creative director Elijah Wood (yes, that Elijah Wood) took the stage last year to announce the game existed. This year, he took the stage to elaborate more about what exactly Transference will be.
From the explanation, it seems that Transference tells the story of the Hayes family, a father, mother, and son, who have all had their minds joined and their memories simulated. However, something has gone wrong and the memories are corrupted - players will have to jump between the perspectives of each family member to figure out exactly what happened and discover what entity stalks them through the memories. It looks rad as heck, combining live-action and digital environments very effectively. Oh, and it launches later this fall!
Starlink: Battle for Atlas has come a long way since we last saw it. The cartoonish space odyssey seemed to take many people by surprise with gameplay that appears tight, responsive, and more diverse than shooting all the things. Players will be able to construct their spaceships in the real world and bring them into the game world, which is still an amazing feature that doesn't seem to have reached its full potential just yet.
In a surprise twist, Starlink will have a Nintendo Switch exclusive: Fox McCloud. Those who pick up Starlink on the Switch will be able to zoom around space in one of the classic Arwings from Star Fox. It's implied that Fox McCloud will be a character within the Starlink universe, too, though to what extent he will affect the game's narrative remains to be seen.
Finally, Ubisoft spilled the beans on the upcoming Assassin's Creed. It turns out that it's no longer too expensive to create female character models as Assassin's Creed Odyssey allows players to decide whether they'd like to play through the game as Alexios or Kassandra. Whichever players decide to make their avatar, they will take on the role of a mercenary fighting in the Peloponnesian War between Sparta and Athens. Using a shattered fragment of a legendary spear, players will navigate the events of ancient Greece, rub shoulders with some of the titans of modern history textbooks, and probably do some assassin stuff. Although, it should be noted that the trailer and gameplay on display distinctly lacked a lot of the sneaky, assassin-y stuff for which the series has been known. Overall, it seems like an interesting and fun direction to take the long running series.
What did you think of Ubisoft's E3 showing this year? Let us know in the comments! As always, feel free to watch the entire Ubisoft press conference below.
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