Yesterday’s Bethesda conference was the first chance for the company to bring it at E3, and they did indeed bring it, pulling robust demos for Fallout 4, Doom, and even a Fallout vault-management title reminescent of Farmville (although much more promising for those outside the Facebook demographic). Today, Ubisoft rose to the challenge with Aisha Tyler as their host, certainly surpassing the CEOs and directors that had been on the stage, but did their games measure up? Judge how you feel, but try not to be too mean to CEO Yves Guillermo.
Right on the heels of South Park: The Stick of Truth and its long journey out of development hell, South Park: The Fractured But Whole promises another chapter in Matt Stone and Trey Parker’s saga of crudity. The duo took to the stage to promote the game, explaining that their upcoming title would be superhero-themed and focused on that unskippable comic book arc, the origin story. Beyond that, details were scarce, with Stone offering that “they’ve had some regrets” over the way the last adaptation was handled.
Ubisoft creative director Jason Vandenburg, a medieval enthusiast in the vein of Daniel Vavra, announced his own take on the era in the form of For Honor, a brand new, never before-seen IP exploring the ways that samurai, Vikings, and sainted knights would have been able to creatively resolve their differences. It seems clear that the game has taken a certain inspiration from the MOBA genre (and what hasn’t, nowadays) with its opposing waves of NPC warriors. Beyond that, however, For Honor has a clear way to distinguish itself from competing arena team game Battlecry: a commitment to realism. Nowhere were the acrobatics, gunblades, and Team Fortress 2 analogues that characterized the latter title. In their place, Ubisoft developers have doubled down on period-accurate war axes and a slower, heavier, combat style with long one-on-one duels and detailed, satisfying finishing animations.
For Honor is set to be released on the Xbox One, PS4, and PC trifecta on an undetermined date. So far, Ubisoft seems to have the most original of the upcoming TF2-inspired crop.
There were few details available from the short gameplay montage afforded to The Crew‘s expansion pack, but “massively multiplayer” was one of them. Look for more rally-racing, monster truck mayhem on November 17th, 2015.
The expansion pack to motorcycle racer Trials Fusion warranted an even sparser presentation than The Crew‘s—a cinematic trailer was the most Ubisoft offered. However, the trailer did feature a tomcat potshooting with a gold-plated deagle whilst riding a fire-breathing unicorn. Trials Fusion: Awesome Level MAX would indeed seem to deserve its title. Release date: July 14th, 2015.
The Division has long been a much-anticipated entry into Tom Clancy’s universe of professional spies and professional doorkickers. The location – a snowy dystopia stricken with a virus and ridden with unfriendly gun-toting barbarians. The hook – a massively multiplayer open world in which squad-based teamwork is paramount and yet every individual player is capable of assuming free agency. Yes, that means you can backstab your teammates for loot, as one nefarious fellow demonstrated in The Division‘s highly scripted, but nevertheless actual, gameplay demo.
Some innovations to the tried-and-true Tom Clancy 3rd person tactical shooter formula include “seeker mines” (rolling, autonomous grenades) and suitcase-sized remote turrets. The game is due for simultaneous release on all capable platforms—Xbox One, PS4, and PC—on March 8th, 2016.
Ubisoft opted for another cinematic sleight-of-hand for this spacefaring simulation, leaving the details of its city-building up to viewers’ imaginations. The setting is near-future, with significant colonization of the moon already accomplished, as well as hovercars and routine space travel. Any planned story is clouded in mystery; based on the trailer, we could be looking at anything from Simcity with rockets to a sweeping narrative of unrestrained technocracy, et cetera. Anno 2205 is scheduled for a release date this year, on November 3rd.
The centerpiece of the newest Just Dance title was another celebrity, Jason Derulo, who skated around the stage in white sneakers and skated the edge of the male register in wild falsetto. Lesser Jason and Ubisoft frontman Jason Altman was mum about most of the game’s details, but offered two concrete announcements. First, camera peripherals will no longer be required to play the game; instead, smartphones may be substituted. Second, a subscription-based service called Just Dance Unlimited will enable members to stream new tracks to their device all year long. Just Dance 2016 is scheduled for release on all three legacy consoles, as well as all three next-gen, on October 20th, 2015.
This game would appear to be Ubisoft’s take on Counter-Strike. The live gameplay demo revealed that almost anything in the close-quarters environment is destructible, opening new avenues for 3rd-person tactical shooter staples like breaching charges and cover. Teamwork is more important than ever—the pace of the squad was far more methodical than any cooperative shooter has been so far, unless you count Splinter Cell titles in that category. From the looks of it, Rainbow Six: Siege has the potential to permanently alter the dynamics and the limits of realism in the its genre. Beta starts September 24th; release is October 13th—Xbox One, PS4, and PC.
The presentation for Trackmania Turbo furthered the series tradition of throwing Formula One cars onto Sonic the Hedgehog tracks. There are five promised difficulty modes and 200 designed tracks in total; however, a new feature uses random generation to create a completely new track with each instance, if that’s what you desire. Trackmania Turbo is scheduled for release on Xbox One, PS4, and PC on December 1st.
The cinema-gameplay montage for the latest Ghost Recon entry was a little more cinema than gameplay, but the setup could be promising. If hunting down narcotraficantes floats your boat, you might want to take a second look. As with Rainbow Six: Siege, teamwork and multiple possible approaches are the name of the game. Ghost Recon: Wildlands does not have a release date at this time.
Here we have it, the sequel to Unity. Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate releases on PS4 and Xbox One on October 23, and PC at an unspecified date in the fall.