Ubisoft E3 2015 press conference roundup

E3 2015 Ubisoft Press Conference
After a year pocked by disastrous launches and questionable DLC plans, Ubisoft needed to make a good impression with this year’s E3. After all, 2014 saw Ubisoft poised to supplant EA as the Worst Company in the World. Thankfully, their 2015 press conference went swimmingly, anchored by consummate performer and apparently annual host Aisha Tyler. The big games that were expected showed up, and there were even a few surprises.

For Honor

forhonor

One of the few new titles Ubisoft announced, For Honor is a multiplayer melee combat game in which players can play as Knights, Vikings, or Samurai. The mechanics of melee combat will be critical, and Ubisoft promises that players will have full control over their weapons.

Watching your opponent’s stance and predicting which side they will swing at you will be important, and you can change your own stance in order to counter them. The developers emphasize the importance of quick thinking, saying “If you attack someone while they are defending, the attack won’t hit. Defense beats attack. Guard break beats defense. Attack beats guard break. You’ll need to be on the lookout for any move your opponent makes.”

South Park: The Fractured But Whole

A follow-up to the shockingly successful South Park: The Stick of Truth, The Fractured But Whole (hereby abbreviated as TFBW, because the writer has no patience for puns) will finds the boys of South Park trading in their fantasy garb to dress up as superheroes. No gameplay was shown, but it will ostensibly be similar to the first game, although, as Cartman notes in the trailer, “the combat sucked! We’re going to do it bigger!” What that means for gameplay, if anything, has yet to be revealed.

The Crew

The Crew will be getting a new expansion titled Wild Run, which will feature off-road racing as a core component. Whether this will draw people back to the game after its ignominious launch is a question for another day.

Trials Fusion Awesome Level Max

An upcoming piece of DLC for Trials Fusion, Ubisoft was fairly mum about what it entails. Going by the trailer, it would seem to involve riding a unicorn and shooting lasers, so its certainly the most amusing game they showed off.

Tom Clancy’s The Division

Announced a couple years ago, The Division is a massive multiplayer squad based shooter. Players can tackle missions and fight enemies in a persistent world teaming up with or attacking other players they encounter. The demo Ubisoft presented this year showed a team of three people preparing to fight a group of enemies, when another two different players showed up. The two groups decided to work together to take down the AI characters, but once the battle was done the three-man squad decided to kill their erstwhile allies and steal the loot. The final twist came when one player abandoned the group to kill his two teammates and make off with the entire haul.

The Division seems to allow and perhaps even encourage this sort of ruthless behavior or, as host Tyler put it, “huge dick moves,” so you might want to play with people you trust.

Anno 2205

anno

The latest in the Anno series, Ubisoft showed a trailer and not much else. Like its predecessors, Anno 2025 is presumably a city-building game with a heavy emphasis on trade and industry. It takes place further in the future than any other Anno game, and it seems that colonizing space will be one goal to pursue. The game is slated for release on PC November 3, 2015.

Just Dance 2016

The biggest music game in the world, as an Ubisoft representative proclaimed during the conference, Just Dance returns with some convenient new features. Most notably, you will no longer require a console camera to play the game: instead, you can use your smart phone to track your movements. Ubisoft also announced that Just Dance 2016 will feature a streaming subscription service, giving you access to a huge selection of songs. Also, Jason Derulo showed up, so that was a thing.

Rainbow Six Siege

Ubisoft is resurrecting the Rainbow Six brand and taking it in a radical new direction with Siege, a PvP game built around asymmetrical play. The bulk of the game shown so far is the Hostage Rescue mode, in which two teams of five play against each other. One side plays as terrorists who want to hold on to the hostage, while the other team wants to infiltrate the defenders’ base and rescue the hostage. Before combat starts, both teams will have a chance to plan, which for the defenders might involve setting up traps and defenses while the attackers scout and plan out the best route of attack. Environments can be destroyed, so players have to be aware of weak points in walls and such.

Ubisoft announced that the popular “Terrohunt” mode from previous games will be returning, in which players can team up to tackle missions against AI enemies. Actress Angela Bassett made an appearance in the trailer and on the stage, indicating that the game will have a more robust story mode than previously imagined. The beta for Siege starts Sept. 24.

Trackmania Turbo

The latest entry in the Trackmania racing series, Turbo promises 200 tracks and five difficulty levels. In addition, the track builder mode will create randomly generated tracks, so players will never run out of things to do.

Assassin’s Creed Syndicate

syndicate

Last year’s big entry into the franchise, Assassin’s Creed Unity, had a notoriously disastrous launch, with game-breaking bugs that prompted Ubisoft to offer customers a free game as an apology. As such, a lot is riding on Syndicate to reignite interest in the franchise.

In keeping with the franchise’s tradition of exploring various time periods, Syndicate takes place in Victorian England, as the Assassins attempt to thwart Templar control of industrial London. One of the biggest changes to the series is that the player will control two protagonists, brother and sister Jacob and Evie Frye, each with their own set of weapons to match their personality. Ubisoft also promises a greater emphasis on stealth and subterfuge this time around, so it may be that they’re finally putting the “Assassin” back into Assassin’s Creed.

Syndicate’s time at the conference mainly consisted of a trailer that showed no gameplay, but did give the impression that building a gang of followers will be an important part of the game. The series experimented with similar concepts in Brotherhood and Revelations, so it will be interesting to see how they expand on the ideas this time around.

Ghost Recon Wildlands

Ghost Recon Wildlands

Probably the biggest surprise from Ubisoft, and the one they saved for last, Wildlands is a squad-based shooter like earlier entries in the Ghost Recon series. Unlike earlier iterations, it features an open world (a concept which will seemingly never go away), and players can team up to go on missions. The footage shown indicates that missions will entail thwarting drug cartel operations, and that players will have multiple ways to approach their objectives.

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