E3 2017: Ubisoft Conference

by Matthew Roud

Following on from the Bethesda conference, is the Ubisoft conference. Let’s dive right in and see what they announced this year.

The conference started with a short teaser for the new Mario and Rabbids crossover followed by a speech from Yves Guillemot, the co-founder and CEO of Ubisoft. He explained that they had always dreamed of making this game and that today they were proud to announce it had become a reality.

He then invited Shigeru Miyamoto from Nintendo on to the stage to a standing ovation from the crowd. The two then talked about the close friendship that has developed between Ubisoft and Nintendo over the development of this game. It was a genuinely nice moment, and the stream cut to one of the developers of Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle who looked really emotional. It just shows how much time and effort go into making these games, and how much they mean to the people who create them. We were then shown some gameplay from the game.

The game itself looks fun and full of character, with the gameplay being a mix of exploration and XCOM style turn-based combat in which Mario and his friends team up with the Rabbids to save the Mushroom Kingdom. Better yet, it’s out this year on August 29th.

Up next was Ashraf Ismail, the Game Director of Assassins Creed: Origins. He spoke about how ten years ago he fell in love with the first Assassins Creed game and that over the past three years Origins has been under development. Once again he spoke about how much it meant to reveal the game to the crowd, and how much passion had been put into the game. We were then shown a short trailer taken from in-engine.

The game itself looks stunning, and I for one can’t wait to explore Egypt to discover the origins of the Assassins Brotherhood. For more information about Assassins Creed: Origins, check out our article on the Microsoft conference here. It will be out on October 27th.

Following Origins was a pre-rendered trailer for The Crew 2, a sequel to Ubisoft’s open-world racing game The Crew. The sequel appears to be bigger and better than its predecessor, allowing players to race motorbike, cars, boats and even planes across America. What followed was some gameplay of street racing, off-roading, boat racing and stunt planes. A large variety of vehicles were shown, and if the game is as exciting as the trailers make it out to be I could easily see this becoming one of the best racing games ever made.

The next major announcement was for Skull & Bones, which is about pirates Obviously. First we were shown a pre-rendered trailer of a treasure ship trying to outrun a pirate ship before being stopped, the pirate ship was then attacked by two pirate hunters, and was sunk. This was all set to a slowed down version of Crazy by Seal. The gameplay itself appear to be the naval combat from Assassins Creed IV: Black Flag but with all the Assassins Creed stripped out.

It promises to give players a single player experience, or the chance to team up with friends to form a gang. This game is something I’ve been waiting for ever since the launch of Black Flag. We were then treated to one more snippet of footage which appeared to show the Kraken attacking a pirate ship.

Up next was Starlink: Battle for Atlas. For lack of a better term, I’m going to use the word interesting to describe this game. It appears to be a spaceship combat game, in which you attach a device to your controller. Mounted on this device is a model of the ship you fly in-game, and its modular. When you change the weapons on the model it updates in the game, allowing you to change your ship to suit the situation.

The only problem I can see with this is perhaps the price. Considering the game will probably cost around thirty or forty pound at launch, if the models aren’t included and have to be bought separately the price could begin to creep up. Consider me interested though, and I’ll be keeping an eye open for this interesting concept.

After that was a short pre-rendered trailer for Farcry 5. Set in the state of Montana, the game is set in a county that has been taken over by a fanatical cult and they’ve shut down the roads, and are rounding people up and killing them. The following gameplay footage showed us an attack on a cult roadblock.

Farcry 5 appears to be building on the previous games “guns for hire” system, allowing you to build up a small band of resistance fighters. A couple are shown in the footage. A follower armed with a sniper rifle is sent to the top of a nearby water tower in order to provide support and once the attack begins a follower in a plane flies over, shooting up the roadblock. The best follower though was Boomer the dog who runs in, kills a cult member then brings the player character the dead man’s gun like a game of morbid fetch.

So, game of the year then?

The rest of the footage shows clips of the different vehicles, weapons and followers available, including some footage of a cult member being run over by a small combine harvester. Better still was the announcement that the entire campaign can be played in co-op mode, something Farcry fans have wanted for a while now. I love everything about this game I’ve seen so far. Visually, it looks amazing and the characters seem well written and thought out. The choice of setting is super interesting, and has raised some controversy.

As a long-time fan of the Farcry series though, I’m very excited to play this game when it launches.

The final game announced was Beyond Good and Evil 2, the prequel to the 2003 game. I’ve never played the first one, but it was clear that the crowd at the conference was extremely excited by this announcement.

After another pre-rendered trailer the creative director of both games, Michel Ancel, came out on to the stage, and it was clear how much it meant to him to be making this game. He thanked everyone who had helped to develop the trailer, he thanked Yves Guillemot and he thanked the fans for sticking with the series for almost fifteen years. Ancel and the narrative director, Gabrielle Shrager, explained that the characters would be memorable and interesting and promised that the world would be large and diverse.

There was no release date announced but I will definitely have to go back and play the first Beyond Good and Evil before it is launched.

The conference closed with everyone who had been on stage tonight coming back on to all congratulate each other as Guillemot closed the show. There were some other minor announcements during the show, such as a South Park game for the mobile phone, some DLC for Steep and a VR horror game called Transference. 

I would have liked to have seen some more gameplay footage from the Ubisoft conference, as I feel like they relied too heavily on pre-rendered footage. However, I really enjoyed all the games that were shown off, and it was obvious how passionate the developers were about their games.

You can watch the whole conference here and for more E3 coverage stay tuned to Air3 Radio.

Thoughts? Opinions? Stipulations?