E3 2015: Ubisoft Conference

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Those cheeky chaps at Ubisoft immediately threw us a curve ball at the beginning of their E3 2015 conference. Hitting the ground running with a sequel to the one game we knew there wasn’t going to be a sequel to – South Park.

That’s right, South Park: the Stick of Truth is getting a next gen sequel in the form of South Park: A Fractured But Whole (hehe). Trey Parker and Matt Stone took to the stage with the conferences host Aisha Tyler to discuss their new game. Details are scarce for the new South Park game, but avid fans of the show will see Kyle, Stan, Cartman, Kenny, and all the other kids take on their superhero alter egos this time around. No release date was given for it though. Boo.

Next, Ubisoft revealed a brand new IP by the name of For Honor, very little detail was provided but we did get a rather nice gameplay trailer which showed three factions; Vikings, Samurai, and Knights battling with all the blood and gore that comes with it. It looked solid and fun and I can’t wait to have a play of it.

Moving onto the current games in Ubisoft’s collection, Tyler took to the stage to reveal a brand new expansion to Ubisoft’s massive online racer The Crew. The Crew: Wild Run will feature new content such as motorbikes, monster trucks and other vehicles which will also come with a wide variety of new events to take part in. Personally, I liked The Crew. Sure it’s a little rough around the edges but the gameplay is fun and there is a tonne of things to do to keep you busy for weeks on end so this new expansion is welcomed. No release date was given for The Crew: Wild Run, but expect it to come out pretty soon.

The next expansion DLC had me checking to see if I had took my medication yet. The video on the main stage saw a cat holding a gun riding a unicorn in a field of rainbow and fire..literally. Turns out this was for Trails Fusion: Awesome Level Max. No indication to what is actually in the DLC and what you can do with it. So hold tight for any details to it.

More satisfyingly, The Division’s co-op gameplay was finally shown. Now, there are certain things that you have to expect with every E3 conference; CGI trailers, well-groomed people in business suits, and really scripted, unfunny multiplayer chat. Unfortunately, the latter was featured during the gameplay demo of The Division. I know it’s unavoidable but I would expect Ubisoft to push the envelope and have some genuine commentary during the footage. But I digress.

The gameplay takes us to a place called The Dark Zone in The Division. You and I will know that it’s Time’s Square and the surrounding areas in New York City. It looked stunning and felt weird that it was so quiet and empty. The aim of the game was to take out another team, take their loot and get the Hell out of Dodge, simple. But then another team showed up and you have the choice of either taking them down and winging it with your main target, or choosing to team up to take down your main target together. The latter was chosen obviously.

Towards the end of the gameplay trailer we were introduced to another, slightly more dickish feature of The Division, the ability to turn on all of your team mates, take their loot and escape. Whether or not this will be popular in the final game I don’t know. But I liked it. It was a refreshing twist on standard multiplayer. Expect The Division to be finally released March 8th 2016. A beta for the game will take place in December and early January.

If you like Sim City or Civilisation, the next game will be right up your alley. Anno 2205 is the new game in the Anno series which see’s you, obviously in the future building all your futuristic cities with the hope of leaving Earth, to build a city on the Moon. The trailer shown was a mix of CGI intertwined with gameplay footage shown off with a free roaming camera. It looked really nice, clean in fact. Anno 2205 will be released November 3th 2015.

Just Dance 2016 was inevitably introduced at the conference. A game, much like EA Sports in EA’s conference has to be a standard feature because they sell for the company. A new feature of the game however, is the fact that you don’t actually need a camera to play the game anymore. All you need is a smartphone and you’re sorted. Neat, if you’re into that sort of games. Mind you, we didn’t need someone called Jason Derulo taking to the stage to break out a song in promotion of it. Oh well, add it to the E3 weirdness bin for 2015. Just Dance 2016 is out October 2015.

Woah, wait. What’s this? Angela Basset? Angela Basset in Rainbow Six: Siege?! Colour me intrigued. I will say this for the current generation of games; the facial animation used in games nowadays is utterly incredible. We were treated to yet another gameplay trailer which showed of ‘Terro Mode’ (cause using the word Terrorist is frowned upon). It was nice, it was fun looking, and what’s more, Ubisoft had LIVE players on the stage playing it. A real bonus cause up until this point in E3 2015, live gameplay was scarce.

Keeping the ball rolling with the live gameplay demos, the developers of Trackmania came to the stage to show off the game which is now coming to current gen consoles. Naturally, we had some hiccups along the way but it added to the authenticity of the game play and showed us what to expect when we play the game ourselves. Typically for Trackmania it’s fast, furious and will make you sick from the speed. Looked fun!

One of the bigger Ubisoft games then took to the stage, Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate. “Here we go” I thought “a chance to finally see some gameplay for the game”. In the words of Aisha Tyler’s character Lana from Archer: NOOOOPE. Another CGI trailer that showed nothing new.

To wrap up their conference, Ubisoft decided to pull out something new from their bag to wow the audience. This time around: Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands. A mix of gameplay and CGI in the trailer, you take on the drug cartels of South America. The world looks huge and you and your buddies can choose how and when you take down a target. Looks rather fun. No release date but don’t expect it to be out for a while yet.

On a whole, Ubisoft’s E3 2015 conference was one of the stronger ones. Sure, it had its low and weird points but you have to take that for a given. We did see a lot more gameplay for their games compared to other conferences throughout the day and that wins them huge marks for me. Oh, and Aisha Tyler, long may you and your enthusiasm for gaming present Ubisoft’s conferences.