E3 2012 continues to roll on for the rest of the day, with pretty much the same schedule as last year’s. With Microsoft’s and Electronic Arts’ less conferences already in the books, I imagine Ubisoft was raring to go to finally show off what they’ve got cooked up their sleeves.
The conference kicked off with a lively dance routine featuring women scantily clad in shorts and tank tops, as well as Flo Rida rapping his collective butt off to tell us that Just Dance 4 exists. Keeping the rather awkward Mr. Caffeine from last year in mind, we were introduced to a new host—actually, two new hosts (that’s right, two!) to do Ubisoft’s latest press conference: The Talk’s Aisha Tyler and Tobuscus (real name Toby Turner), who you may or may not know from Youtube.
Ubisoft then showed a few announcement trailers for some of their new IP. A CG trailer for Avengers: Battle for Earth was revealed, which featured heroes/villains like Spiderman and Magneto, and finally, the live action movie adaptation’s crew consisting of Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, Black Widow, and Hawkeye. The game is scheduled to be released this fall on the Wii U and Kinect.
A trailer for Splinter Cell: Blacklist (previously demoed in Microsoft’s briefing) was also shown, with creative director Max Beland confirming a co-op mode similar to SC: Conviction; Blacklist will be released in spring 2013. The third trailer teased a Wii U exclusive called ZombiU, which is set in London during an ensuing zombie outbreak. It’s also worth noting that Killer Freaks from Outer Space ended up being replaced by this game.
So it’s practically obvious that Ubisoft is illustrating their enthusiasm for Nintendo’s latest hardware, and the publisher wasted no time in doing so. Right off the bat, a new Rayman game (Rayman Legends) was shown that demonstrated some gameplay mechanics utilizing the Wii U touch pad/controller. The demo featured a new character named Murphy and with the touch pad, he would grab various items from the environment while another player (with a regular Wiimote) played as Rayman. I have to say, visually it looks impressive, and there’s finally a Wii U game I’m interested in. They ended the Wii U segment with a trailer montage that included new games such as Rabbids Land and Sports Connection.
Not only is Ubisoft supporting Nintendo, they’re also doing the same for eSports. To help best express that support, the publisher announced the new title in the Mania series, the first-person shooter ShootMania. They then welcomed Counter Strike/Warcraft world champions to put ShootMania to the test. One team, Tobuscus Railgun All-Stars, were up against another; Aisha & the Rocket Angels in a classic boys vs. girls matchup. Tobuscus’s team won, 3-1. They ended the demo to encourage people to sign up for the beta (register at shootmania.com), and will have another live demonstration in the Ubisoft booth on June 6th via TwitchTV.
Of course, the real meat of the conference was the game demos. Far Cry 3’s single player looked good, and has me curious as to how the recurring insanity theme will play out for protagonist Jason Brody. Brody himself has experienced a change in personality, and now instead of the main antagonist Vaas hunting him, he’s the one hunting Vaas. The demo had Brody going around performing melee kills to unsuspecting guards and using his trusty bow & arrow to snipe enemies from a quiet, safe distance. If you already don’t know, Far Cry 3 is a first-person shooter with an emphasis in open world and a variety of weapons to choose from. Other than story bits, the demo didn’t offer anything remotely new, though I was intrigued by what I saw.
Easily one of the best—if not the best—showing at E3 so far is the highly anticipated Assassin’s Creed III. The demo presented a healthy amount of content, showcasing free running on trees and Connor’s assassin skillset. And if it’s not evident already, I loved the demo. Not only was it visually appealing (the facial animations are definitely the biggest enhancement), so were Connor’s new moves/counter moves. The gameplay seems like a giant leap of improvement from what I saw, and it’s more fast-paced and fluid in motion. I was plenty skeptical of jumping back in the Assassin’s Creed franchise after a disappointing Revelations, but after seeing that awesome demo, all of that went away. I can’t wait to play ACIII this October.
Then, Ubisoft managed to surprise us with a new IP called Watch Dogs. It’s a third person shooter that focuses on hacking various electronic devices to complete objectives. These include accessing people’s personal information to hacking traffic lights to cause a diversion on the road. Watch Dogs revolves around Aiden Pearce, a man who has the ability to hack and control various things through a powerful electronic device. Hacking and cyberterrorism may not be the most original gameplay idea, but the way Watch Dogs plays and looks have us hooked. Ubisoft hasn’t confirmed what platforms it will be out on as of late.
It might not be a press conference I would describe as excellent, but at least Ubisoft was more honest with what they offered onstage. Once again, Ubisoft continues to prove their status as one of the biggest gaming publishers right now, evidenced by their ambitious push for innovation and a fairly solid AAA lineup. They should probably stop hiring celebrity/Youtube sensations as hosts, though.
David Gabriel, NoobFeed.