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E3 2017: Ubisoft Showcase
Post by KostaAndreadis @ 05:08pm 13/06/17 | Comments
Where Ubisoft managed put on an impressive E3 showing. Even after it’s big holiday title, Assassin’s Creed Origins, made its debut on-stage at the Xbox E3 Briefing.

With Assassin’s Creed Origins making its debut on the Xbox stage to showcase Microsoft’s upcoming Xbox One X, going into Ubisoft’s conference this year we were a little worried that perhaps some of the hype-steam had been released a little too early. Because after all Origins represents the franchise’s triumphant return after a yearlong sabbatical, and represents the publisher’s biggest release for this holiday season. But, those worries were soon quashed after a string of surprise announcements and first looks at several impressive games.

Yeah, Ubisoft kinda owned it this year.

And what better way to start a show than to bring Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto to the stage to introduce a new game developed by Ubisoft starring both Mario and the Rabbids. Called Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle, the Nintendo Switch exclusive has been in development for the past three years. And is essentially a turn-based tactical game, ala Fire Emblem, set in the Mushroom Kingdom. Throw in some classic 3D Mario-style exploration, detailed animation, and clever use of the environment and this quickly went from “oh, this will probably be a pretty simple novelty game” to “oh, this looks brilliant and I want to play it now!”. The game will feature both a campaign and a co-op multiplayer mode. Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle isn’t far away either, as it’ll be available for Nintendo Switch on August 29.

Next up came another look at Assassin’s Creed Origins with game director Ashraf Ismail taking the stage to introduce the next chapter in the Assassin’s Creed franchise. Set in Egypt, it looks fantastic. And even though we didn’t get all that much new info, there was no chance that Ubisoft wouldn’t spend a few more minutes talking about the game.

Announced prior to E3, we got our first look at The Crew 2 which looks to improve on the original in many ways. Firstly, by adding more means of transportation in the form of bikes, boats, and planes. And secondly, by removing the whole undercover cop infiltrating a gang story from the first game in favour of a more cheerful ‘hey, try and become the best racing person in the country!’. Yeah, country. Because just like with the original The Crew 2 will feature a digital representation of the entire United States of America packed with events, races, and so forth. By the sounds of it the RPG-like progression of the original won’t be making a return, instead players will be able to explore the open world freely ala the Forza Horizon series. The Crew 2 has a tentative release window of 2018 for PS4, Xbox One, and PC.

After getting delayed a couple of times, where it now has a release date of October 17, 2017 for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC, South Park: The Fractured But Whole made another hilarious E3 appearance in the form of a new trailer. One that cemented our original feeling of ‘yes please’. Sure, we’ve been waiting a while for this but we’ll happily wait for as long as it takes to ensure it’s the best, and funniest, it can be.

After a look at an interesting interactive movie-meets-VR project called Transference, a psychological horror game that features the design input from Elijah Wood, came another surprise announcement in the form of Skull and Bones from Ubisoft Shanghai. Now judging by the title and the fact that it was the Shanghai studio that created the fantastic ‘sail the high seas aboard your very own pirate ship stuff’ from Assassin’s Creed Black Flag, you can probably guess that Skull and Bones looks incredible. Set during the early parts of the 18th century, this will be an online game set in a shared open-world (or, open-seas) where players will either roam solo or in a pirate gang as they loot rich merchant trade routes and partake in epic naval warfare. Due for release in the second half of 2018 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC, we’ve still got a while to wait before its released. But in the meantime, Ubisoft will hold a few closed alphas and betas for it. And when you combine it with Rare’s Seas of Thieves, 2018 might as well be called The Year of the Pirate.

Next up came another surprise announcement in the form of a new sci-fi action adventure game called Starlink: Battle for Atlas where you’ll get to create and import real-world toy spaceships into a vibrant sci-fi universe. The game seems to be built around either physically or digitally building and customising you own spaceship and then exploring the in-game universe. Even if you were to separate the ship-building aspect of the game it still looks incredibly solid with fantastic looking space and planetary battles. Like with Skull and Bones this has an expected release date of late 2018, but this time alongside a Nintendo Switch version.

After marking the return to the world of extreme sports last year, Steep is back with Steep: Road to the Olympics. An Olympic themed expansion out December 5. Which, if nothing else, strips the game of its extreme sports cred in favour of athletes in colourful tights racing for their country.

Next up came the gameplay debut of Far Cry 5. And it didn’t disappoint, thanks to the introduction of multiple characters and co-op that looks to amplify the freedom that you associate with the name Far Cry. Talking about freedom, or the lack thereof, the digital recreation of a Montana where a fanatic religious cult has taken an entire town hostage looks like a refreshing departure for the series. Plus, we get a glimpse at the dog companion in the game that can not only attack enemies but also retrieve their assault rifles and drop them at your feet. Good boy.

Closing out the Ubisoft showcase this year was the surprise appearance of Beyond Good and Evil 2 alongside series creator Michel Ancel. Who, prior to E3 this year announced that the game wouldn’t be making an appearance. Now, normally that might be something that we’d be angry about but hey, the surprise worked! Although we didn’t get a slice of gameplay we did get a very cool cinematic trailer, and word that the game will be a prequel that takes place in an entirely new solar system.

Overall, even though most of what we saw at Ubisoft’s conference won’t be out this year it was hard not to be impressed with its line-up of games. From a new Mario crossover that we actually want to play, to pirates, to Far Cry 5, to a brand new sci-fi game, it was impressive that there was so much good stuff in addition to Assassin’s Creed Origins. And even though Ubisoft still made time for on-stage dancing to showcase the next game in the Just Dance series, it’s still safe to say that they put on one hell of a show.

Check out the entire Ubisoft pre-show and conference below