Microsoft kicked off the so called “Day Zero” action at E3 2014 earlier today with their media briefing and were quickly followed up by Electronic Arts. Ubisoft took the stage today at 3PM Pacific Time in the third major briefing of the day to introduce some of their best upcoming titles. Below you’ll find a quick rundown of some of the highlights of Ubisoft’s presentation and my reactions.
Far Cry 4
Ubisoft started off with a sure-fire hit by offering the first look at Far Cry 4 since the announcement of the game earlier this year. The previous entry in the game was a ton of fun and benefited greatly from its setting on a remote island. Ubisoft showed off the new Villain with an in engine cinematic showing how your character gets into a terrible situation after what was probably the world’s worst bus ride. This time around we have another psycho for the villain to deal with although he’s certainly seems to be much more stylish than Vaas from Far Cry 3.
Just Dance was up next with an announcement for Just Dance 2015 with a neat little trailer featuring Pharell’s hit song “Happy” but the real news was Just Dance Now. Ubisoft brought out a team of dancers place all around to room to debut Just Dance Now and show how the new app transforms any compatible phone into a controller for a game of Just Dance. The presentation was a little confusing but my understanding is that the app will sync with an online interface and use the accelerometer in your phone to track your dance moves similar to a Wii remote. While this announcement wasn’t particularly exciting for me personally, the series is hugely popular and having another way for people to get their Just Dance on is a smart move by Ubisoft.
Next we took another look at The Division with Ubisoft building on the footage shown earlier during Microsoft’s media briefing. Their “Take Back New York” trailer served as an introduction to the world of game and set up the story. This was a solid trailer giving gamers context for the shoot-outs and other action seen earlier in the day. The trailer reminded me of the debut trailer for Dead Island in the way it quickly established a specific tone and setting. Let’s hope this trailer is more indicative of the type of experience we have to look forward to in The Divison than the Dead Island trailer was for that game.
The Crew seems like Ubisoft’s answer to the Forza: Horizon series. It’s a more casual driving/racing game with the major selling point being a huge map of the US that you get to explore. The announcement trailer gives a nice laid back vibe and the developer promised that you could drive coast to coast and mentioned taking part in 2 hour long missions moving from city to city. I don’t know how I feel about 2 hour long missions but the game certainly has me curious to see more. A limited closed beta was announced and will start on July 23. Keep your eyes peeled for more details about that soon.
Assassin’s Creed Unity
One of my most anticipated games was up next and it did not disappoint. Assassin’s Creed Unity was announced earlier this year after a batch of images was leaked and Ubisoft had the grand unveiling of all the new features today. Four player co-op was announced during Microsoft’s media briefing and Ubisoft followed that up with a full cinematic trailer introducing the game. I’m always a sucker for these trailers even though I know they are pretty much never a true representation of gameplay. That being said, I’m a long time fan of the series and I’m excited about the setting of the French Revolution. Ubisoft also played up the improvements made to the core gameplay of the game citing the game’s retooled controls and the scale of detail present in the game’s version of Paris. The single player demo below gives a rundown of all the improvements made by the Assassin’s Creed Unity team.
Shape Up was a fun little surprise from Ubisoft. The game seems like a strange, but fun looking, mix of Wii Sports and Dance Dance Revolution filtered through a Kinect. The obvious goal is to make exercise fun. I can see this becoming a hit with families and kids if they have enough living room space.
Ubisoft showed off their indie sensibilities with Valiant Hearts: The Great War with a fantastic trailer. This 2D platformer is built on the UbiArt Framwork and is from the same developer that gave us Rayman Legends and Rayman Origins. The game has a great look and tone set in the trailer is something we rarely see in the industry. I was blown away by the sincerity and earnestness I felt from the trailer and can’t wait to try the game out. Luckily, I’ll be able to do that very soon. Valiant Hearts arrives on consoles and PC on June 25, 2014.
Rainbow Six Siege
Ubisoft closed out their briefing with the surprise announcement of Rainbow Six Siege. As host Aisha Tyler reminded us, there hasn’t been a new Rainbow Six game in over 6 years. They showed multiplayer action of the new Hostage Rescue mode that has 5 on 5 matches with one team dropping into a small map in and around a house and attempting to rescue a hostage from another team of players. I’m not a huge shooter fan but I do enjoy squad based shooters more than the free for all madness of certain titles.
All in all it wasn’t a bad showing from Ubisoft. They had a lot of key titles to show off and I was happy to see their presentation include games that will be out later this year. It’s always fun to get caught up in the E3 hype but it quickly wears off when you realize it will be months and even years before we get our hands on some of these titles. What did you think of Ubisoft’s media briefing? What games are you looking forward to the most? Sound off in the comments!