Let me open by saying that Ubisoft are their own entity. They have a style to their games’ that is their own. I adore Child of Light and the recent Rayman reboots but I have to admit that I despise most of what they’ve done in recent years. Their conference did nothing to alleviate that. Aisha Tyler is a wonderful presence at E3 each year but even her passion for what Ubi are doing cannot help what I think is a garbage developer.
No Assassin’s Creed in game form meant we got the most PR bullshit video from the team who are working on the movie. They trotted out the party-line and the less said the better.
Moving on. We got the most forced “gameplay” of Ghost Recon: Wildlands I’ve possibly ever seen at a conference. This is a developer who last year showcased Rainbow Six: Siege with players on stage genuinely running a mission. What Wildlands showed was, and on good authority, not the game that we will all play. Forced, overplayed, scripted “interaction” from the team pushed it into mortifying territory and nothing I have seen has suggested that the game itself will have any semblance of what we saw at E3.
Speaking of mortifying. My God. Watch Dogs 2 is supposedly fixing the worst of all the original’s problems. Well, they haven’t looked at their script or character team as the gameplay on stage showed a cutscene between protagonist Marcus and his masked mission-giver contained some of the worst dialogue I have ever seen in a videogame. “It’s going to be hard turning them all back into people” – response: “Fucking A dude!”. Not to mention the fact that this super-secret hacker is wandering around wearing a tee-shirt and hat combo displaying the logo and name of his “super-secret” hacking team. Way to be indiscreet, bro.
For Honour won some plaudits but to me it genuinely looks like a derivative Dynasty Warriors/Dark Souls crossover with shockingly bad graphics and gameplay. I have zero idea why this was their, or anyone else’s, focus for the conference as to be honest, it looks so dull I cannot understand how the amount of money being pumped into it continues to be pumped into it.
South Park was shown. Matt and Trey were marvellous as always but a game that focuses on taking pot-shots on the easiest target of all, the by-the numbers, boring fare Hollywood is churning out is neither big, nor clever. Just like FIFA though, it has its audience who will lap it up. This is not a shot at South Park. This is a shot at a developer who is increasingly alienating an audience to what good games are. People will buy these IP-driven cash-ins and give Ubisoft more money to create AAA games that undercut the talented games producers that have been showcased elsewhere.
I love that we’re getting another Grow Home, entitled Grow Up, but I realistically can’t say it saved the show in any way. I’m looking forward to getting another few hours with our little robot pal all the same.
Ubisoft finished up by celebrating their 30th year making games by announcing Steep, an open-world, exploration based extreme winter sports games. Yes, that did happen. I have no idea who the target audience is for this yet. While the mountains on show were very pretty, there wasn’t much variance in terms of landscape and it appeared to pull bits of their other games into one. There’s a little bit of Far Cry in the wingsuit for example. I think if a developer is going down the route of 2000’s throwback genre games, you have to go full SSX and give us open-world Tricky, not Shaun White Snowboarding. This could end up looking very nice however and if the exploration is fun, then I might be wrong. I just feel if people want to wander around beautiful ice-caps and mountains, they’ll still be doing so in Skyrim.
As a weird aside, there was no Beyond Good & Evil 2 though we know it’s being worked on and wanted and also no Wild at Sony’s show? Is that a thing still? It looked good…
Watch all of Ubisoft’s E32016 trailers right here:
Watch the entire Ubisoft E32016 press conference right here (Courtesy of Ubisoft US):
Words by Eoin Monaghan