This year we at GamingExcellence had the pleasure to attend the Ubisoft E3 media briefing. Naomi Brown, mastermind of this article, and Daniel Acaba, Managing Editor of our glorious site, decided to give their thoughts on both the show and games therein. Naomi's work presents the bulk of this article and Daniel's can be found in the bold font.
Ubisoft hosted their media briefing today at the LA Theatre in Historic LA. As the media filtered into the theatre to take their seats, Ubisoft teased the audience with a green electric beam that swept over the audience, displaying information about the audience: The number of audience members, number of Facebook accounts in the room and Twitter profiles. It was an interesting interruption to the trivia playing on the screen while we waited for the briefing to start, though no one was quite sure what it meant.
The initial suspicion was that it was something related to Assassin's Creed as that was clearly one of the biggest things on the agenda today. This was proven wrong but in an amazingly glorious way. More on that later though.
Once the presentation got started, however, it started with a seat bouncing bang. Flo Rida came onto the stage with several dancers, singing his hit song "Good Feelin'" to promote Just Dance 4, an upcoming October release for PS3, Xbox 360, Wii and Wii U. Ubisoft has promised hot new tracks and a few new modes for this sequel to the popular dance game.
While I'm not necessarily the biggest fan of Rap, R&B or Pop music there was something phenomenally energetic about this performance. It really got things off with a bang.
In addition, they treated the audience to gameplay footage of Far Cry 3, due out September 4 this year for PS3, Xbox 360 and Microsoft Windows. As the lights dimmed and the game footage started, the crowd let up a raucous cheer as spectacularly animated full, uncovered boobage came into view. They didn't stop there, though. The audience was treated to gameplay showing a spectacular underwater takedown from the main character.
As it continued, the main character found himself trapped in a fire filled room before escaping out into the middle of an enemy compound. One moment the character was shooting at enemies and the next he was releasing tigers from cages to have them attack his enemies.
Nothing like having a tiger maul a bunch of soldiers for you and then taking it down before it turns on you. The action in this gameplay demo was beyond amazing. Normally you just get to see some gunplay featuring the main character performing a few cool moves. This entire demo was a huge chain of pure murder and destruction.
At the end of the game footage, Ubisoft showed a hint of what the game story had to offer with a cryptic 'Face Your Insanity' logo appearing on the screen. The last words we were left with were, "You are me and I am you." It promises to be an incredibly intense game with some interesting alternative reality sequences. It remains to be seen how much of the hallucination is real or not. Ubisoft also promised that Far Cry 3 would be a fully detailed game, focusing on exploration and freedom. Instead of a small, simple game world, there is an entire archipelago of islands to explore and discover.
Even though Ubisoft seems to be pretending that Far Cry 2 never happened the hallucinations mentioned above seemingly harken back to a few fan theories about that game. Look them up! They're far more interesting than that game was. Then come back and be ready to buy this if you love first person shooters.
Next up was a teaser of the newest Tom Clancy game, Splinter Cell Blacklist. In the trailer shown, Ubisoft showed off more of the fast paced action and intensive gunplay that has helped the series to grow. The trailer showcased a rescue operation with plenty of explosions and a hectic gunfight.
While amazingly hyperactive, the main problem with this Splinter Cell trailer is that it didn't feel like a Splinter Cell trailer. It was indeed awesome to see Sam and his backup tearing apart gobs of hostiles but it does make one worry that the game will be more action and less stealth. That said, the idea that the spy agencies like Third Echelon are being shut down and Sam Fisher is doing it for the government is somewhat strange considering how the last game ended. The plot is really intriguing and I want to see how this pans out.
Ubisoft also showcased a trailer for Avenger's Battle for Earth. In it, several heroes and villains battle it out in the middle of a city street. And while the trailer looked interesting, it was impossible to actually tell what kind of game it was advertising. My guess would be a competitive fighting game using Marvel characters, but it was a little disappointing that the trailer was so obscure.
Neither Spider-Man nor Wolverine were part of the Avengers movie so what's with them being in this game? This seems poised to be more of a Marvel universe fighting game than it is an Avengers game. It might be good but fans of the movie will have to check their expectations at the door.
Rayman Legends was also showcased at the briefing, with several gamers taking the stage to show off the actual gameplay. A new flying character named Murphy was added into the game with Rayman and Globox and the media was able to see the three of them playing a level cooperatively. Each of the levels features different challenges that the characters can face to help their team advance. One level that they showed in particular was pretty amazing, with the character of Murphy being able to see huge blinking eyes on the screen that the other players couldn't. When they were tapped on, they exploded to help eliminate obstacles and create objects that could be picked up by Rayman. All the while, the characters got to move through the level with an awesome rock song playing along with them as they moved.
The game seems poised to build on the excellent Raman Origins and then adding to it with Murphy. In some of the regular levels it seems as if Murphy is kind of light on things to do, moving platforms for the other players and stunning enemies. But the level with the huge eyes more than made up for any of those concerns.
Another teaser played at the media briefing was for Zombi U, a Wii U exclusive currently being developed. The trailer featured still shots of live action scenes of a zombie apocalypse. Devastated cityscapes and gut wrenching scenes of human suffering slowly rotated onto the screen with 'God Save the Queen' playing in the background. Ending the trailer was a still shot of red coated guard lopping off a zombie's head with the bayonet at the end of the rifle's they carry. The teaser for this upcoming survival horror shooter looked incredible.
Zombi U seems to be set in the UK which is a pretty interesting as that's a bit fresher of a setting than just another United States city. This is supposed to be a first person title that takes advantage of the Wii U so there are plenty of possibilities here for them to do something really interesting.
And of course, the big game that everyone was expecting and eagerly anticipating seeing: Assassin's Creed 3. Ubisoft was very proud to present a game that integrated history with gaming; showing how the real world and the gaming world can come together. When the gameplay footage for the game actually started, it was to show the main character chasing down a deer through the woods for a side quest, providing food for some of the Continental Army troops. As the character leapt through the trees, they showed off some of the acrobatics that the Assassin's Creed games are known for. The character leapt from branch to branch, in between huge branches and on top of stumps as they chased them down.
Later during the game footage, you could see the character striding through deep snow drifts as they sought to find a way towards their next objective. And the fight sequences were fast paced and brutal as our assassin used a tomahawk and the enemies own weapons against them. In between the furious combat and scaling of sheer rock cliffs, Assassin's Creed 3 was the most exciting part of the briefing.
Connor is clearly the most agile of the heroes to bless Assassin's Creed so far. The way he moves through snow, across and over trees, fallen logs and hopping over rocks it's almost beyond words to describe his movement. Since you could see what the guy playing the demo was doing (thanks to button prompts) you can totally see how simple it will be to do all of this. And the combat seems to have the same mix of pure awesome and completely brutal that the series is known for. But even then there's something awesome about seeing someone stabbed with a bayonet and then shot through the gut while the bayonet is still in them.
It seemed it couldn't get more exciting. Until Ubisoft revealed their new project: WATCH_DOGS. The same green scan from the start of the press conference once again swept over the audience, revealing a person of interest in the crowd: Jonathan Marin, Creative Director for the WATCH_DOGS project. The premise of the game is familiar enough in today's world: people are so interconnected with the various technologies that we use, that accessing any piece of private information has become laughably easy. In addition, because of the advances in automation, technology has progressed to the point where an entire major city is controlled by a computer system - CtOS.
The CtOS system controls every aspect of the city; traffic lights, surveillance cameras, subway systems. It's one giant computer system that links to every other computer system. And the main character of the game, Aidan Pierce has gotten into this system. He's a dangerous man on a mission and has the entire city at his disposal when doing it. The character models in the gameplay footage shown were incredibly detailed and varied, with the crowds of people looking very different from one to the next. There weren't five different character models endlessly repeated.
When the character started using his hacking abilities in game, it was pretty intense. With the touch of a button Aidan Pierce was able to shut off all cell phones in an area, check police records and personal information of bystanders by scanning an area and even better; change the traffic lights in a major intersection. It all ended with a major gunfight in the middle of a traffic accident caused by the traffic light change. By the time the gameplay footage was over, I was incredibly excited for this brand new game revealed by Ubisoft.
Speaking bluntly this game looks amazing. My associate didn't even touch on the hinted multiplayer where other people, aligned with Aiden Pierce's beliefs and also tapping into the system, can help the hero escape from the cops using the same talents he possesses. Between the chaotic feel to the gameplay itself, the potential for multiple ways to reach your goals and the multiplayer teaser this game is on my definite must watch list.
In all, the entire briefing was filled with exciting and interesting content. Their upcoming lineup promises to have great games for both the casual and more serious gamer. And for every casual gamer out there, the new games they have coming out look amazing enough that a switch to more intense games needs to be seriously considered. Likewise, any serious gamer who plans on skipping one of these upcoming Ubisoft titles needs to sit down and reconsider.