Ubisoft Needs to Revive the Old to Win E3 2017

Published: June 9, 2017 11:00 AM /


E3 Preview Image Ubisoft

In the shadows of publishing giants like Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft, it's easy to forget about conferences from publishers like Ubisoft. However, Ubisoft continues to deliver on conferences year after year. If they keep this up, while they might not be able to beat out the big three, they could still out-conference other publishers like EA and Bethesda. Not only that, but when they announce something, there's a good chance that that game will come out within the next year. Last year, Watch Dogs 2Star Trek: Bridge Crew, Grow Up, and Steep were all shown off for the first time just before or during Ubisoft's conference. All four of those games have already come out.

However, there is still one high-profile leftover from last year's conference. Ubisoft showed off gameplay from South Park: The Fractured But Whole last year, but it still hasn't come out yet. While the game now has an official release date of October 17, 2017, I wouldn't be surprised if the game was brought up again during this year's conference. However, considering that this would be the third E3 in a row that The Fracture But Whole would make an appearance in, I doubt that Ubisoft will spend much time on it. I suspect it will be more of a "hey, please don't forget about this game," trailer rather than a full-length demo.

There are a batch of games that we know for a fact are going to be at this year's E3 for the FIRST time, however. First up on the list, Far Cry 5. Revealed just a few weeks ago, Far Cry 5 will take place in the fictional setting of Hope County, Montana. In the game, we know that you will be trying to take back the county from a violent cult. Also, airplanes were confirmed to be in the game. However, the game's big reveal did not feature any discernible gameplay, so I suspect that we will be treated to a full-length gameplay demo at the very end of Ubisoft's conference. Everything that we've seen from this game has been pretty promising, so hopefully a demo of the game could be the icing on the cake until this game's release.

While Far Cry 5's announcement made quite the splash, it was originally announced alongside The Crew 2, which hasn't been talked about nearly as much. Part of this may have to do with the fact that Ubisoft simply said that it was in development but hasn't released any other information since. So, I predict that Ubisoft will provide us with a trailer AND a gameplay demo for The Crew 2, possibly even throwing in a release window at the end of the trailer. I'm also predicting that this sequel will not take place in the U.S. like it's predecessor, but someplace else like Europe or South America. The original The Crew wasn't quite the success that Ubisoft was looking for, so I expect them to throw everything they've got at us to try to convince us that this sequel is worth our time.

Thanks to a tongue-in-cheek video released by Ubisoft on June 1st, we also know that Ubisoft plans to reveal a brand-new IP at E3 this year. What is that IP? We still have no idea. We do know that Ubisoft plans to release a new IP in the fiscal year between April 2018-March 2019, and there's a very good chance that they are referring to the same IP here. However, unless Ubisoft releases a trailer before E3 or something gets leaked beforehand, we'll just have to wait until E3 to see what this new IP is all about.

Speaking of leaks, that brings us to the upcoming Assassin's Creed game, rumored to be titled Assassin's Creed: Origins. While Ubisoft chose to take a break from the mainline Assassin's Creed franchise last year (if you don't count the movie), that has by no means put a stop to the seemingly endless flood of leaks. While Ubisoft really hasn't revealed anything about the game, we already pretty much know that it is going to be set Egypt and, thanks to some more recent leaks, we even know that the main protagonist is probably a character named Ba Yek. I expect this reveal to be one of the more substantial reveals of this conference, right alongside Far Cry 5 stuff. Because of this, I suspect we'll get a story trailer and a gameplay demo for the game, as well as a fall release date for Assassin's Creed: Origins. I wouldn't be surprised if they play a pre-recorded video where the developers talk about the process of making their game, too.

Now is where I get a bit more speculative, because other than what I wrote about above, nothing else has been confirmed for Ubisoft's E3 conference. However, Ubisoft sure does love showing off their upcoming Just Dance game at their E3 conferences, so I think it's pretty much a shoe-in that they'll do the same this year. Still, every year I hope and pray that they won't, so maybe this year my prayers will be answered and they can just skip to the games that really need proper reveals.

One game that could go either way is the rumored Mario + Rabbids Battle Kingdom. While this game could be revealed during Nintendo's event, Ubisoft's conference is the day before, so I believe there's a chance that the game could get teased during Ubisoft's conference, with the more substantial reveal coming the next day. But, if Ubisoft does get the chance to show off this game, and it ends up looking good, that could be a slam dunk for their conference.

I expect VR to have a large presence during all of E3 this year, Ubisoft's press conference included. Last year, Ubisoft revealed Star Trek: Bridge Crew and gave a demo for Eagle Flight. Both those games were received relatively well, so I see no reason why Ubisoft wouldn't continue producing VR games. I expect another VR demo similar to last year's demo for Eagle Flight for a new unannounced game, and possibly even announcements for a few more VR games, too.

Ubisoft has had a lot of success for their "indie" published games the last couple of years, too. Games like Child of Light and Grow Home were triumphs for Ubisoft, and I expect them to double down on this kind of publishing moving forward. That's why I am predicting them to announce one or two more of these smaller titles during their conference this year, possibly even a Child of Light 2.

Child of Light Ubisoft

So, up until now, my predictions have been relatively safe bets. To try and even that out, I'm going to go ahead and predict a new Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell game. While there haven't been many rumors concerning this game's possibility, Splinter Cell: Blacklist was released back in 2013, which leaves plenty of time for the studio to have developed a new installment in the series. Also, we all know that Ubisoft loves their Tom Clancy IPs, and if Splinter Cell isn't announced, there would be zero Tom Clancy games at their press conference this year, which would be borderline blasphemy. I could see Ubisoft showing  a trailer for a new Splinter Cell at this press conference with the promise of a more substantial gameplay demo in the future. As long as this potential game looks even remotely good, I expect it could create plenty of buzz for Ubisoft to coast through the rest of E3.

Tom Clancys Splinter Cell Blacklist

Now's the part where I break your heart and tell you the games that I know you want Ubisoft to reveal, but that they simply won't. Those games are Beyond Good and Evil 2 and a new Prince of Persia game.  We know Beyond Good and Evil 2 will not be at E3 this year, and as for Prince of Persia, I think it's possible that we might get a new game in the franchise one day, but platformers have only just started making a comeback now, and Ubisoft likely needs more time to catch onto this trend before they commit to a new Prince of Persia game.

Ubisoft's E3 press conference will take place on June 12th at 4 p.m. EST. TechRaptor will be covering all the conferences as they happen, so you can come back here for all your Ubisoft news during E3.

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