Ubisoft delighted gamers with a fairly impressive showing at this year's E3 conference for the beloved publisher. There were a few surprises, many expected showings from games already announced, and a plethora of colorful performances and characters to go around.
The conference hit the ground running as the introduction took off with a fun marching band style dance number to promote Just Dance 2019. It was a fun spectacle to watch as Ubisoft has been known to up the entertainment/show factors of their presentations to build momentum and audience engagement. It's a smart tactic. Regarding Just Dance 2019, if you're aching to get your groove on with one of the most colorful dance games on the market, the game is coming to a retailer near you in October for PS4, Xbox One,Nintendo Switch.... Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and the Wii U. Oh wait, let's go one step back even further as it's also coming to the original Wii! This is an odd choice, but clearly Ubisoft wants to give gamers from these previous generations something to sink their teeth into.
One of the most impressive cinematic trailers I've seen throughout the entire show came next as gamers have eagerly been awaiting Beyond Good and Evil 2. The trailer was harrowing and epic in scope. I, like many others, never had the pleasure of playing the original on the PS2, Xbox, or Gamecube. While I've largely been unfamiliar with these characters, the trailers we've seen between E3 2017 and E3 2018 have been extremely theatrical as if watching an epic summer blockbuster film. The characters are instantly likeable and simultaneously captivating as they are all extremely diverse, many of which are very funny looking. Talking pigs and monkeys always grab my attention! However, a major event occurs during the trailer which is harrowing for the space ship our characters seem to be on. As they collect themselves from the massive shake-up caused by what seems to have been some sort of space storm, the menace of the game is revealed. Fans of the original will recognize the character instantly, so I'll leave you to it. Check out the trailer on Youtube.
Trials: Rising brings all the pain and humorously insane courses for all the motorcycle mayhem you could ever want. While I've had very little experience with the series in the past, the over-the-top craziness of these obstacle courses feel like they could provide hours of entertainment to anyone who wants to try their hand at it. To take it one step further, the game is not only coming to PS4, Xbox One, and PC on February 19, 2019, but it is also hitting the Nintendo Switch as well. This is easily a game I could find myself playing on my Switch on the go. Game director, Antti Ilvessuo, introduced the game in proper fashion riding up to the stage on his bike. After hopping off of his bike, he made a great show of strutting up on stage while tripping into a podium with a TV screen on it. Of course, this was staged, but also hilarious. Trials: Rising seems exactly like the kind of quirky property that'd be born from this fellow.
The Division 2 already made an entrance at E3 by taking some time during the Microsoft press conference. However, this time around, we were given some more details regarding the game's future. The year 1 plan for The Division 2 includes 3 episodes each with new story engagements and areas. All of these releases will be 100% free. Perhaps, the most exciting component for me was the introduction of 8 player raids. That's right Destiny fans. If you're want to keep the raid action going but you're tired of looking at your guardian, The Division has what you're looking for. The game will launch on March 15th, 2019.
An interesting piece of news dropped in the form of another Nintendo crossover with Ubisoft. Starlink: Battle for Atlas is a new toys-to-life game that centers around dog-fighting in an open-world environment. The toys-to-life piece comes with a bit different spin that we're used to as players will be able to mix and match ship parts and pilots. To get to the Nintendo announcement, Star Fox will also be appearing in the game on the Switch only, of course. Ubisoft and Nintendo are cultivating a great relationship that I hope continues to extend into much more Switch content in the future. Not only are the companies cultivating that relationship but Yves Guillemot of Ubisoft and Shigeru Miyamoto, a Nintendo icon and legend, seem to garner a healthy respect and appreciation for one another as they've now shared the stage two years in a row. This is great news Nintendo fans! All we need now is for a Samus to make an appearance in Beyond Good and Evil 2. I'm kidding, of course, but just imagine.
The final major moment of the conference was the Assassin's Creed: Odyssey display. The game was announced prior to E3, but Ubisoft now provided an extensive look at the beautiful Greek world and characters that we'll come to know. In a twist for the Assassin's Creed franchise, players will be able to choose between two characters: Alexios and Kassandra. Whichever character you select will be with you the entire length of the game. The story revolves around these two characters being mercenaries who make a name for themselves in 431 BC, which is the beginning of the Peloponnesian War between Athens and Sparta. As a mercenary from Sparta, you'll engage in an adventure that is bent on diminishing Athenian power. Another surprising turn for the franchise is the idea of a branching narrative. As shown in gameplay footage, players can now make conversational choices that influence objectives and may have differing paths. Perhaps it won't be as extensive as a franchise like Elder Scrolls or Fallout, but this is exciting as an Assassin's Creed fan. Ubisoft learned the lesson that they have to keep reinventing certain aspects of the franchise in order to keep it fresh and prevent it from becoming old and repetitive release after release. This game also boasts the largest open world for an Assassin's Creed game ever. That is saying something considering the enormity of Assassin's Creed: Origins.
Ubisoft lived up to expectations. Overall, the conference didn't blow me away, but it certainly wasn't underwhelming either. There is a lot of info to chew on here and some great titles coming our way. Perhaps, I'm just slightly disappointed there wasn't a Splinter Cell announcement as most everything else was expected (aside from the Star Fox crossover).
There were also some other titles worth briefly mentioning such as Transferrence VR which is being developed by Spectre Vision (Elijah Wood's production studio) and Ubisoft. It's a bizarre game that promises to thrill you and make you think as you experience another person's consciousness. Additionally, For Honor is getting a new 4v4 mode titled "Breach" and we also saw some more footage of Skull and Bones and The Crew 2. These were all well and good, and while Beyond Good and Evil 2 was the high point of the conference for me, there weren't nearly as many "wow" moments that I experienced in the Microsoft and Bethesda conferences.