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E3 - 2013 Coverage: Ubisoft Press Conference Overview

Ubisoft E3 2013 Keynote Overview


Rocksmith 2014 Edition



 

Ubisoft kicked off their private conference this year with Alice In Chains guitarist Jerry Cantrell, who demoed the Rocksmith 2014 Edition. It wasn’t exactly an inspirational opening; we got to see him using Kinect to navigate the menus and set up a virtual band to play with him. He then rocked out a bit, but not too much (this is a games conference after all).


The new Rocksmith will feature a session mode which allows people to create their own music from within this virtual band setting. It’s a nice idea that’s supposedly fun and addictive and looks to make guitar playing accessible to a wider audience. “The fastest way to learn guitar”, Aisha Tyler remarks; our host for the rest of the show.


Splinter Cell Blacklist



 

Moving away from the dying music genre; Splinter Cell Blacklist is next on the agenda, despite it only being a few weeks from release. It’s noted as the biggest Splinter Cell ever with an engrossing single player campaign, multiple co-op missions as well as the return of spies vs mercs.


A rather generic trailer followed with your typical combination of drones, night vision and all the futuristic shenanigans. There’s no doubt this’ll be a hit with current Splinter Cell fans, but I doubt it’ll do much to entice new players in before the end of this generation. As mentioned, we’ve only got a few weeks until we find out.


Rayman Legends



 

The forced-comedy of Aisha Tyler brought us into Rayman Legends, home of Ubisoft’s headline character. A really neat CG trailer conveys the craziness that is Rayman; following a chick with a giant axe we get to see the world-hopping that will take place in-game. The classic Rayman humour is on show, making for an all round great trailer.


Thankfully, though, Ubisoft also gave us a glimpse at some gameplay. With platforming levels from all over the Rayman universe including volcanic worlds, jungles and mountainous regions. The enemies seem to have become even more bonkers over the past 18 years of Rayman. Interestingly, they also revealed that the game will feature 20 player online in competitive environments. The only example was a short shot of what looked like some kind of football related game. Definitely the best game from Ubisoft so far.


The Mighty Quest for Epic Loot



 

An interesting one this, with the talk led by head designer Louis Pharand. The Mighty Quest for Epic Loot is a dungeon crawler that spoofs games like Diablo, using cartoony visuals and a cheeky sense of humour to bring something a little lighter to this typically rather niche and serious genre. You’re put in charge of a dungeon which you have to keep safe from other onlne players. This is achieved by placing traps and enemies which will thwart their attempts. Of course, you can also play the role of attacker and attempt to take down other player’s dungeons.


The game is now officially in open beta and can be downloaded from their site right now. A funny little trailer closed the presentation featuring a ‘hero’ showing the viewer around his castle.


South Park: The Stick of Truth




Not a lot shown for this highly anticipated title, which many expect to be better than originally believed. With Fallout: New Vegas devs, Obsidians, on the job, there’s certainly a lot of potentially for the open world title. A new trailer had your typical array of South Park sharp humour, as well as some snapshots of what looked to be a battle scene of some sort. No look at gameplay, unfortunately, but a release date of this holiday season.


The Crew


Ubisoft boss Yves Guillemot took the stage next to introduce the first new IP from Ubisoft, an open world racing title called The Crew. A reveal trailer gave us a look at some nice shots of Japanese sports cars tearing through an American city, being chased by police, only to go offroad and attack a bank vehicle, Fast and Furious style. The actual trailer was nothing we haven't seen before, but the grand concept for the game is a lot more interesting.



 

The Crew will feature the largest open world setting ever featured in a video game. What looks to be the whole of the USA (probably condensed a bit) will be available for players to roam in their customised vehicles. The current trend of making driving games all about connecting with friends takes the next big step with The Crew, which will be a constantly online multiplayer game in a persistent universe. The phrase ‘Driving MMO’ comes to mind.


A live demo of the game in action best conveys how it works; it kicks off with one driver in New York, who’s started a street race with other online players. The game looks good running on one of the next gen consoles, but not fantastic. We then hop over to the Rockies where another driver is completing checkpoint challenges off-road. Then, just to emphasise the scale of the game, we’re taken to Nevada where yet another player is trying to outrun an off-roader ghost by using the tarmac route in a sports car. It’s a quick buzz stop tour of what’s on offer in The Crew and culminates in a showdown in Miami where all of these previous players join a crew to take down a vehicle.


Certainly an interesting prospect that’s worth keeping an eye on, even if you're not a racing game fan.


Watch Dogs


Tyler comments that Watch Dogs is “the game that’s come to define next-gen”, a remark that’s actually difficult to deny. This session was more of a tease than a big reveal of new info, it seems that Ubisoft are well aware that they’ve got people on the edge of their seats with this one.



 

A new trailer, although unfortunately leaked earlier in the day, gave us an insight in Aiden Pierce, the game’s protagonist.; setting him up as a sort of ‘superhero without powers’. Batman with an even greater grasp of technology, if you will.


Another pre-rendered trailer, it must be said, but a great one nonetheless. “You’re not anonymous, I’ve seen your kind before,” says Aiden. “You think you’re untouchable, I’m here to shatter your illusions.” There’s an undeniable appeal in playing a righteous vigilate, as the Batman titles showed us; so it’s great to see Ubisoft playing with this concept, even before the game is released.


Senior Producer Dominic Guay closed the presentation with a small hint that we could be seeing more in the Sony Press Conference.


Just Dance 2014 & Rabbids Invasion



 

A quick pitstop followed these two great looking games (or toilet break match for the wrestling fans out there). Just Dance 2014 was spotlighted, but didn’t really present anything new. Even Ubisoft seemed as though they didn’t really want to show it. An interactive TV show (I know, that dangerous term), called Rabbids Invasion was also put on display.


A small trailer gave us a look at the frankly annoying Rabbids in TV form, which looked like nothing more than the characters in question acting like idiots. The more interesting aspect came in the form of interactive segments in which viewers can actually get involved with the programme. Examples included pointing at the screen to make choices for the characters. In reality, though, it looked more like TV with little (rubbish) gaming bits inserted in the middle.


Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag


Ubisoft called in the big guns to reclaim the rep they’d just lost on those last two games in the form of Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, for which we got to see two new trailers.



 

The first was shot with yet more pre-rendered footage set within a tavern where we see our protagonist, Edward Kenway, get into a scrap with the law. Cool little moves like Edward catching a bottle and smashing it over an enemies head highlight features that could make it to the actual game. Outside the bar, Kenway and his crew set sail in their galleon but are pursued by the navy/templars (although it’s unclear at this time what group these bad guys represent). Then it’s all cannon fire, gun smoke and sliced throats as the two ships collide and engage in hand to hand combat. A really nifty point of interest is Edward flying up to the crows eye taking people out from above. The trailer ends on a cliffhanger with Edward holding a strange crystal that looks as though it’d fit better in the modern setting than the 17th century.


Developer Jean Guesdon took to the stage to emphasise just how perfect the pirate setting is for the AC franchise. The sense of rebellion and freedom associated with the whole era is certainly a good match for such an open gaming experience.


A final gameplay trailer sees Edward walking the rooftops of what could be Havana, as well as some clips of naval combat. It’s nothing we haven't seen before, but will do a great job of building up the hype even more. Also; giant whale!


Trials Fusion & Frontier



 

A weird trailer depicts a dirt biker falling through the sky in a futuristic city, only to land on a ramp and flip into the air once again. A fitting introduction to the ever wacky world of Trials. Taking the success of the two previous titles on board, Ubisoft have gone all out and are bringing Trials Fusion to all consoles and a mobile counterpart Trials Frontier to mobile devices. Few details were released on what would actually be new for these versions, but expect a degree of integration between the two versions.


Tom Clancy’s: The Division



 

Ubisoft closed their conference with a big new IP set for release on next-gen consoles, called The Division; an open world online RPG from Massive Entertainment, developers of the multiplayer from both AC: Revelations and Far Cry 3. An opening trailer gave us a bit of background on the setting, which looks to have a sort of ‘Earth on the brink of destruction’ theme. It’s very much reminiscent of The Last of Us, only without zombies.


The gameplay itself, of which a nice long trailer was shown, looks a lot more original. The typical 3rd person action style is blended with an MMO world in which players work together to fight NPCs and PvP battles. The gameplay demo looked brilliant, both visually and in gameplay terms. A point of interest comes when a drone controlled by a player on a tablet device enters the battle and helps out the featured team of players.


This one looks like it’s got real potential, and it’s a great way to close the show for this year.

RGDfleet | 12th June, 2013
Ewok's picture
Great roundup there. I didn't manage to catch the Ubisoft conference but you seem to have covered everything well and told me everything I need to know - in less than half the time it would have took me to watch it!

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