When you think of a Ubisoft press conference you think “man that was really French.” Yes, this year had it’s dose of awkward antics from France, but man, the rest of it was just stellar.
Exploding out the gate with the first footage of Far Cry 4. We saw the first five minutes of the game filled with guns, monkeys and just incredible facial animations. The villain of the piece also revealed himself to be a slightly effeminate and terrifying nutcase. Think of a kind of smarter, white haired, Vaas from Far Cry 3. People wanted to see that game, Ubisoft delivered in spades.
Then came the healthy reminder that Ubisoft still can’t quite run a press conference without an annoying moment. This came with the announcement of a new Just Dance game, Just Dance 2015. It’s a dancing game, you know what this is. The interesting aspect is the reveal of Just Dance Now, an app for mobile devices that let’s you use your phone as a controller for your just dance game. A cool piece of tech for a game I’ll never play.
We are then treated to possibly the most unappreciated creative geniuses at Ubisoft, the trailer team, with two absolutely incredible trailers for Tom Clancy’s The Division and Assassin’s Creed Unity. Amazing music and CG awesomeness from both, with The Division trailer actually showing how harrowing the premise of that game can actually be. These guys really need more money. For everyone involved. Get on it Ubisoft.
We also saw new gameplay from Unity, more focussed on some single player action. They are redesigning the entire moment-to-moment gameplay from the ground up to be more dynamic. This is excellent as the Assassins’s Creed formula of the same mission types is getting a bit stale. You can run around the cities and find missions in the street, or in side houses, and choose to do them or not. Instead of being static missions on a map, they will just appear as you explore. A really excellent showing for the game, and it makes me very happy for October 28th when the game is released.
Driving MMO The Crew showed it’s coast to coast driving, allowing players to conduct two hour drives across wide expanses of the USA with zero loading times. It’s another very pretty driving game with MMO style mechanics. If that interests you, you can sign up for the beta which starts on July 23rd.
Next was something a bit different. When I say fitness video game, most of you will sigh and turn off. What Ubisoft are doing with Shape Up is making a fitness VIDEO GAME. Gameification (as much as I don’t like that word) of fitness. Instead of running on the spot with a virtual trainer, you are playing a rhythm game much like DDR, feeding into a score, not a calorie count. The entire thing is also styling like how Hollywood thinks video games look. With pixelated faces, fire and bright colours and it`s all great. I like this idea. Make fitness fun, and people will get fit.
Things then took a slightly more serious tone with Valiant Hearts: The Great War, a Ubi Art powered 2D platformer set on the fronts of World War 1. The very demure trailer showed how we would, experience the story of 4 soldiers and potentially a dog. The game looks astounding, so I’ll be keeping a close eye on it.
Lastly, Yves Guillemot dropped his “one last thing” on everyone with the return of Rainbow Six, in Rainbow Six: Siege. The in game pre-alpha footage showed a SWAT team trying to extract a hostage from a suburban home. Lots of simulated communication between imaginary friends, that sounds like it would be super fun to do for real. The interesting thing, other than the fascinating planning system, was the apparent ability to blow nearly every wall up in that building. This would open up a huge variety of tactical options in hostage exaction. Keep watch on this one folks, it looks like it’s going to be a good one.
Ubisoft did well this year. Really well. A solid showing of their mainstream franchises and some interesting new ideas. As well as a healthy dose of the special “Ubisoft ambience.” Top marks.