Ubisoft E3 Conference 2014 Summary
By: Jordan Barbeau
Ubisoft, the gaming company famous for Rainbow Six, Assassin’s Creed, Rayman, and much more, is one of the few companies that shared the E3 stage with gaming giants Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo (the only other being EA). As with every year, they had their fair share of announcements, surprises, and awesome reveals.
They kicked off the show with a cinematic trailer for Far Cry 4. There was no gameplay shown, but like they did several years ago with Far Cry 3, the trailer was an excellent introduction to the main villain of the game and what he is like (and the fact that he looks like a member of an Asian boy band).
For the third year in a row, Aisha Tyler hosted the panel. Ms. Tyler is an extremely charismatic woman, and is great on Archer, but this isn’t the first time she’s made the Ubisoft conference a little strange because she has tried far too hard to inject comedy into a show where people only want to see games. It’s better than a stuffy old guy with no personality, I guess, but the humor was just a little unnecessary. I don’t know. Call me stuffy.
Just Dance 2015 and Just Dance Now were then announced. Just Dance 2015 brings more of the same shitty music and LSD-level tripping visuals as the previous entries in the series, while Just Dance Now is a mobile app that allows people to use their phones to dance with a massive amount of people in public. They showed this off by getting a large group of people on the stage dancing (with the term being used very loosely) to Lady Gaga’s Applause.
After the train wreck was cleared, Ubisoft appealed to the fans by once again showing The Division. Sadly, there was no gameplay shown this year, but the cinematic trailer that was shown only furthered the excitement that millions of people already had for this game. The viral outbreak cannot come fast enough.
Ubisoft’s incredibly ambitious project The Crew was shown next. The Crew is a driving game where the entire United States, in all of its beauty, is your playground. Everything from the streets of New York City to the deserts of Nevada are fully rendered, and look absolutely breathtaking. Whether you like driving games or not, the fact that the entirety of the US is available to drive through is one of the most ambitious things a game has ever done. It was announced for a November 11th release date, with a closed beta coming in late July.
While Assassin’s Creed: Unity had already been shown at Microsoft’s conference, Ubisoft showed off a little more of what the fans can expect from the next installment in the (now annualized) incredibly popular series. It looks to be another fairly standard installment in the series, albeit this time taking place in the French Revolution. If you like Assassin’s Creed, chances are you’ll be lining up on day 1 to get this one. If you’ve never been a fan, it doesn’t look like there’s going to be too much here to change your mind.
The next game shown is a fitness game called Shape Up, that uses a large mat and whatever camera peripheral your system of choice uses (i.e. Kinect, PlayStation Eye) as its methods of input. It was described by its developers as a way for gamers to get into fitness games, by making the fitness challenges fun and something worth working towards, instead of simply working out. It does look to be a very interesting concept, and if it was given time on Ubisoft’s E3 conference, it has to be worth something.
The tone of the show shifted to significantly more solemn as Valiant Hearts: The Great War was shown. This incredibly beautiful game is based on real letters from World War I soldiers, and follows the stories of four people and their canine friend throughout the war. It is a sidescrolling puzzle/platformer, and the gorgeous art and extremely emotional story have been eagerly anticipated by fans.
The show closed with one final game being shown, one that had been rumored and that many people had hoped would show up: a new Rainbow Six. Titled Rainbow Six: Siege, the game showed a multiplayer match between two teams fighting to kidnap/save a hostage. Based on the gameplay shown, it is being toted as an extremely team-oriented first person shooter, with a heavy emphasis on using team work to accomplish whatever goal the mission lays out for you. It looked so good that Aisha Tyler walked back on the stage after the trailer was over half-laughing and half-crying (it was exactly as weird as it sounds).
Overall, Ubisoft had a fairly strong presentation at the big show. They effectively appealed to every type of gamer, from casual to hardcore, showing off some of their most eagerly anticipated games (Far Cry 4, Assassin’s Creed: Unity) while also dropping some big bombs on the fans (Rainbow Six: Siege). While things got a little silly in the middle (seriously, the dancing thing went on way too long. Save the dancing for the booth and use the conference time to show some fucking games), and Aisha Tyler is still an odd choice for a host, most of the games shown did not fail to disappoint, and have left fans (myself included) excited to see what the next year will hold for the company.