Ubisoft at E3: Belly-First, Ass-Out into Next-Gen

Ubisoft at E3: Belly-First, Ass-Out into Next-Gen

Ubisoft's E3 press conference was somewhat muted compared to past years, but that doesn't mean there wasn't some interesting stuff on show.

Ubisoft's press conference was the third of the "big four" conferences happening today, following closely behind Microsoft and EA. The show was relatively light on truly meaty content, but it provided a bit of an update on a number of highly-anticipated titles.

According to the show's host Aisha Tyler, Ubisoft is jumping "belly-first, ass-out into next-gen." What on Earth does that mean, though? Let's find out.

Splinter Cell Blacklist

After an unenlightening Rocksmith 2014 demo, the first title of any real note in Ubi's session was the next Splinter Cell game. According to Ubi it is the "biggest Splinter Cell ever," featuring a full single-player campaign, a selection of co-op missions and the very welcome return of the excellent Spies vs. Mercs asymmetrical competitive multiplayer mode.

Rayman Legends

The presentation on Rayman Legends didn't really tell us that much, but it was presented in a rather attractive claymation style, and there was a hint of possible online co-op and competition seen in the gameplay trailer. The new game looks set to introduce some new characters and send them hurtling through a variety of weird and wonderful environments.

Mighty Quest for Epic Loot

You can read Jeremy's recent impressions on this free-to-play game here, but here's the rundown: Mighty Quest for Epic Loot sees you building up your castle with various traps and monster guards and then attacking enemy players' castles in an attempt to steal their treasure. Meanwhile, at the same time, other players are trying to do the same to you.

The game is presented in a rather irreverent style with a cheeky sense of humor, somewhat similar to Deathspank.

South Park: The Stick of Truth

South Park's appearance was primarily to show us that Ubisoft is the new publisher of Obsidian's upcoming romp through the imagination of Matt Stone and Trey Parker. The trailer, while both offensive and amusing in a very, very wrong way, told us precisely nothing about the game itself, which is a shame.

The Crew

This was the first of Ubisoft's "next-gen" titles on display, and it looks like it has the potential to be a ton of fun.

The Crew is an open-world driving set in a somewhat stylized depiction of the United States. Players travel around the large game world and attempt to take over territories by completing missions. The twist is that the game world is persistent, so you'll run into other players driving around and can even team up with them on cooperative missions.

As you complete races and other missions, you'll improve your skills and be able to upgrade your vehicles. The car customization is taken to a frankly ridiculous degree, as you can strip pretty much every part out and rebuild it completely from scratch.

There's a lot of promise in this one; it remains to be seen if developers Ivory Tower and Reflections will deliver on it.

Watch Dogs

Ubi showed off a new trailer for Watch Dogs, but no real gameplay footage. The game is on the show floor, though, so doubtless some more interesting details will emerge over the next few days. Watch this space; what would you like to see from this promising-looking game?

Just Dance 2014

The 2,014th entry in this interminable motion-control party game series brings with it some of the very worst music in the entire world plus a wealth of new game modes, many of which are clearly designed more for having silly fun with friends rather than having a particularly structured "game."

The game supports up to 6-player dance sessions, and also allows you to "mix" the music using your body.

Rabbids Invasion

Rabbids Invasion is the work of Ubisoft's motion pictures division, and promises to be an interactive TV show compatible with Xbox One. The demonstration showed children interacting with the show through various minigames - pelting the Rabbids with eggs by pointing at them; finding hidden objects in various scenes; and screaming as loud as possible in an attempt to break the camera. A game that encourages children to make noise? Just what the world needs.

Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag

The Assassin's Creed part of the presentation kicked off with yet another CG trailer that, while impressive, tells us very little about what the game will look or play like. This was followed by some other footage that appeared to be rendered in the game engine, but still showed very little in the way of actual gameplay. We've been seeing teaser footage for this for a long time, now - it's about time Ubi showed us something a bit more interesting.

A few new details have been emerging regarding the "online single player" mode - apparently, players will be taking on the role of researchers in the game's modern-day sections, and will be able to share information with other players. The online play will, however, apparently be completely optional - speaking with our sister site Eurogamer, game director Ash Ishmael noted that that he was well aware "people have misgivings about being forced to be connected."

Trials Fusion and Trials Frontier

Next year, there will be not one but two new Trials games.

Trials Fusion will be available on Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and 4 and PC. Trials Frontier will be available on mobile platforms.

Trials Fusion takes place on rollercoaster-style tracks high above the clouds and features a new tricks system for pulling off outlandish stunts. Trials Frontier, meanwhile, is set in a somewhat more conventional desert environment but allows you to take your broken bones on the go with you. Both versions will apparently interact with one another; from Frontier, for example, you'll be able to review the leaderboards and see whose times you need to lay the smack down on.

Tom Clancy's The Division

This was probably the biggest surprise of Ubi's press conference. The Division is an online open world RPG in which players cooperate with one another to complete various missions, with a focus on being stealthy and cautious rather than charging in all guns blazing.

The game demo showed a squad of players infiltrating a building and taking down various enemies. At one point, they were supported by another player guiding a drone using a tablet device - the drone was able to mark targets and provide support to the troops on the ground, which was a nice touch.

The Division's setting is a dystopian near-future where the constant passing-around of infected bank notes one fateful Black Friday caused a worldwide pandemic. The titular Division appears to be a sort of peacekeeping force, though it became clear at the end of the trailer that there's an element of competition with other players as well as the cooperative gameplay.

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