There’s been a ton of hype surrounding Ubisoft’s conference this year, mostly revolving around Beyond Good and Evil 2 and some new IPs leaking a few days ago. So how’d they do? Let’s break it down:
WINNER: Watch Dogs Legion
How do you take a game that’s already announced and still make it one of the most hyped games of E3 2019? Cure the Watch Dogs Legion showcase. This game looks sick. It’s like Ubisoft is following the Assassin’s Creed model to the letter. Take a cool concept, release an average game to demonstrate, heavily upgrade in the second entry, and then master it in the third. I’ve already said it a few times, but this echoes Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood so much, except this time you get to play as the people you recruit. And the variety of characters looks perfect. From steampunk, to gangster, to #grannygang; the possibilities seem endless. I can’t wait to be the creepy animal mask gang. Very excited for this title, but I hope they move the release date further ahead or away from Cyberpunk 2077.
Winner: Apple TV+
Is this the first time a TV show has been announced at E3? I think it is. And it looks hilarious. Everyone at IGN and all the huge gaming companies must be ecstatic. A comedy about game development? Sounds hilarious for us super nerd. (I mean *cough* *cough* y’all are a bunch of geeks that looks dumb I’m gonna go watch manly stuff now like…um The Office). The only catch, and I fucking knew there’d be a catch, is the series is coming to Apple TV+. Dammit. I’m not buying every subscription service guys. I can’t afford to spend $100 a month on all these services, especially when I spend 80% of my time gaming. But for a streaming service with very little to offer so far at launch, this is a pretty big win for Apple TV+.
Loser: Anyone who thought that was an Adventure Time game
I feel for the Adventure Time fans. I mean it would be a pretty good fit. Ubisoft has already take an animated TV series and turned it into a successful video game series with the South Park games. Sure, Adventure Time is no where near as popular or crude as South Park, but I think the fan base is big enough to justify a shot at a full Adventure Time title. Alas, all they’ve done is add Finn and Jake to the Super Smash Bros. knockoff, Brawlhalla. What a waste of hype.
Winner: Jon Bernthal and good boys everywhere
The entire internet during this portion of the conference: “OH MY GOSH A DOGGIE HE’S SUCH A GOOD BOY OH LOOK HE’S SHY LOOK AT HIM TRYING TO HIDE BEHIND JON’S FOOT AWWWWWWWW”.
Me during this portion of the conference: “OH MY GOSH JON BERNTHAL I LOVE YOU SO MUCH I DON’T KNOW WHO I AM ANYMORE TAKE ME TAKE ME NOW RIDE MY ASS LIKE A STALLION WAIT WHAT NO DON’T DO THAT JUST KILL ME IN THE MOST BADASS WAY POSSIBLE”.
While he doesn’t quite carry the star power that Keanu Reeves has, this was a pretty huge moment for Ubisoft. And I’m again being sucked into a franchise that I really don’t like solely because of the actor ties.
Winner: Ubisoft’s Annual Dance Party
“It’s not just a game, it’s a lifestyle”- some 30 year old guy during the pre-show. Lol, ok dude, you know you’re gonna die alone right? Listen, I don’t play these games, but I know many families that do and love them. But regardless of whether you like the games or not, this dance number has been a staple at Ubisoft’s E3 conferences for years and I think it’s hilarious every time. You got a dancing panda, David Bowie style face paint, giant light tubes, and it’s all in the middle of a gaming press conference filled with some of the most uncoordinated people on the planet. what’s not to love? I am surprised at the hypocrisy of the internet. Having white girls dancing to the K-POP song? No one’s upset that they didn’t try to get some korean girls to dance for that number? Huh guess some movements just choose when they want to be offended by whitewashing instead of being consistent…
Loser: Releasing new content for a 2 year old flop
Why. Why is this a thing. For Honor came out in February 2017, over two years ago. Within two months the servers were barren and the game was dead. I mean it was released for free with Games with Gold and PlayStation Plus last year. There may still be a small group of people playing that game, but definitely not enough to justify paying a team to make new content. This was a huge miss and waste of time by Ubisoft.
Loser: Roller Champions…for now…
This was one of Ubisoft’s biggest announcements and it fell very flat for me. First, just a cinematic trailer? No eSports style gameplay look? If you’re gonna give us a game as obscure as a roller derby title, you need to show us how it will be fun. You’ve just given every skeptic tons of reasons to not even try it out. Second, why in the absolute hell would you only release a demo for PC? The majority of your audience is on consoles. You not only didn’t show them how the game plays, you aren’t even giving them the opportunity to play it! That’s a huge blunder by the Roller Champions team. I understand wanting to make it playable to an audience as soon as possible, but either delay the alpha/beta until its available on all platforms, or don’t release the alpha/beta at all. It still looks like it could be fun, so it’s not a complete loss right now, but Ubisoft missed on a big win here.
The Rest of the Show
The opening orchestra from Assassin’s Creed was cool but if you think people are actually gonna buy tickets to that show you’re out of your damn mind. There was a Tom Clancy mobile game announced that fell pretty flat in my mind, but so do all mobile games to be honest. DLC for Rainbow Six Siege and The Division 2 was showcased and I think fans of those titles were pleased. The new Rainbow Six Quarantine looked kinda cool but I am so damn sick of seeing this three person co-op mode. Why is that a thing? Show me the reason someone. Finally, the conference ended with a sneak peak at a new RPG called Gods and Monsters, which looked cool but if that’s how they planned on closing the show it should have had a better trailer. Note to all publishers: sneak peaks only work well for established franchises and familiar characters, not kiddie generic cartoons.
Let’s look back at how well my predictions lined up with the actual conference:
The Division 2 DLC: Correct
Skull and Bones gameplay: Wrong and I am shocked they said NOTHING about this game
Ghost Recon Breakpoint gameplay: Wrong on gameplay, but Jon Bernthal made up for it
Beyond Good and Evil 2 gameplay, releasing Fall 2020: Wrong, and again shocked that this had no place in the presentation
Just Dance 2020: Correct
Watch Dogs 3 announced: Correct and better than I could have imagined
New IP announced: Fucking. Nailed. It. Gods and Monsters announcement
Overall, this conference was very “meh”. Ubisoft started off incredibly strong with Watch Dogs Legion, but lost momentum down the stretch. If that was the big showcase, maybe they should have ended with it and opened with Jon Berthnal and Ghost Recon Breakpoint. I really am very shocked that two of Ubisoft’s biggest games were no shows, especially because Skull and Bones is supposedly coming out in Spring 2020. I think it’s gonna get delayed yet again, which means it will be garbage. They had an opportunity to knock this one out of the part, but instead walked away with a rather forgettable conference.