E3 2016 Preview: Ubisoft

Oh Ubisoft.  Each year the Ubisoft press conference fills me with the same amount of excitement and dread.  It is bound to be a train wreck, but it’s also bound to be entertaining.  I appreciate that Ubisoft is the one publisher that gets a host and attempts to put on the show.  Aisha Tyler is likely to be back this year, hosting the conference on Monday at 1 PM.  So far Ubisoft has released both The Division and Far Cry Primal.  Neither reviewed great, but they both sold very well.  Ubisoft is changing things up this fall by not releasing an Assassin’s Creed game for the first time since 2008.  So it will be interesting to see what they decide to fill that spot with.

Ghost Recon Wildlands

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Ubisoft recently put out a trailer for the new Ghost Recon in order to hype people up for their E3 conference.  I think it’s safe to say that it will be a focal point, perhaps opening the conference.  I think the game looks cool.  I imagine that we will see a demo for it.  They probably want to stress the co-op stealth mechanics as well as how huge the world is.  We might get a release date.  If we do, it will probably be for either this fall or next spring.  If not, then I’m worried about when we will see the game.

South Park: The Fractured But Whole

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The surprise opener of last year’s conference, Ubisoft decided to make a follow up to 2013’s hit The Stick of Truth.  The whole appeal of this game is the jokes and moments, so I expect that we will get nothing more than a trailer, and probably one that doesn’t spoil too much.  I’m less certain about a release date because of how long the last game took to make, but I wouldn’t mind being surprised.

For Honor

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The last of the three games Ubisoft announced at last year’s show, For Honor is sure to be there again.  I imagine that we will get a demo of the game.  Last year’s demo seemed brief and did a poor job of explaining the game, so I hope they do a longer, more in depth look at the mechanics this year.  I also think this is a game that people need to play to really understand it.  Because of this, it would be smart to drop a beta right after the conference.  I don’t know that they will do this, but it would make sense.  In terms of release date, I expect the same thing as I do with Ghost Recon, this fall or next spring.

Eagle Flight

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This is the fourth and final game confirmed to be at E3 by Ubisoft.  If you don’t know what it is, it’s a PlayStation VR title where you play as an eagle soaring above cities.  The trailer they showed at the PlayStation Experience looked intriguing, so I would be curious to see more of the game.  I’m not sure entirely how it works, so I think going into detail on that would be smart.  It would also be a good way to show that Ubisoft is committed to VR by having a VR demo on stage at E3.

The Division DLC

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The Division sold a ton, but its popularity seems to be waning regardless of what Ubisoft says.  I think a great way to try and kickstart the game again would be to announce a major expansion at E3.  They have said there will be three expansion packs, but none of them have been detailed or scheduled for release so far.  Giving a trailer and a somewhat imminent release date for the first one would be the smart thing to do while not dwelling on a game that has been out for three months.

Watch Dogs 2

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The worst kept secret in video games is technically no longer even a secret.  Watch Dogs 2 will be at E3.  It will also probably star a new protagonist, be set in San Francisco, and fill the Assassin’s Creed sized hole in Ubisoft’s fall lineup.  They have a lot to prove with this game.  The first game sold ten million copies, so of course there’s a sequel, but nobody was full satisfied with that first game.  After being widely hyped since its reveal, Watch Dogs failed to live up to any of its expectations.  That’s why I think that a lengthy demo that explains why this game is what the first game should have been is in order for their press conference.  If they show this game and it looks like another Assassin’s Creed clone, I think a lot of people are going to be leaving the conference disappointed.

Assassin’s Creed Empire

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Empire is the rumored code name for the Assassin’s Creed game coming out next year that is supposedly set in Egypt.  I don’t think Ubisoft will show the game at E3 this year.  I think that showing the game now lessens the impact of the sereis taking a year off.  Leaving it out also gives other games room to breath.  If we do see anything, it would be nothing more than a short teaser, and somthing about the game would need to justify being shown this early.

Just Dance

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Ubisoft likes showing Just Dance at their press conference.  I’m not sure why.  I don’t think the audience for E3 is the audience for Just Dance, but that hasn’t stopped them in the past.  The presentations are always at least lively.  It plays into the narrative that Ubisoft is trying to entertain people, and the games sell like crazy.  Will this be the year that they stop showing off Just Dance?  I doubt it.

New UbiArt Game

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After claiming success with their UbiArt engine two years ago, Ubisoft seems to have abandoned the engine.  I hope that this is just a temporary thing, because I thought that the Rayman games and Valiant Hearts were both great.  I doubt we will see a sequel to any of the previous games, although a new Rayman doesn’t seem like an insane idea, but I hope we see something.  I’m losing confidence in this, but I’m not going to give up yet.

Prince of Persia

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Ubisoft likes to end each of their conferences with a big surprise.  These last three games are what I could see the surprise being.  I don’t think all of them will be there, but I do think one of them will.  The first is Prince of Persia.  A new Prince of Persia seems to have been rumored for years now.  I’m starting to assume that a project was in development but eventually canned.  I’m also not sure that Prince of Persia makes sense in a world where Assassin’s Creed exists.  In fact, I think the rumors about a 2D Prince of Persia are more likely to be true.  But this series is still a big name, and I imagine that Ubisoft wants to return to it somehow.  Maybe this will be the year.

Splinter Cell

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Before Blacklist came out, it was confirmed that a new game in the Splinter Cell series was being planned for the then next-gen consoles.  Three years later, and I think it might be time to finally show the game.  Splinter Cell has been a staple of Ubisoft’s lineup for years, and it makes sense that the franchise would come back.  It’s just a matter of when now.  In fact, I think this might be so obvious that it gets announced but isn’t the big end reveal.

Beyond Good and Evil 2

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This is the holy grail of Ubisoft press conferences.  The sequel to the cult classic was announced all the way back in 2008.  Since then it has been nothing but strife between Michel Ancel and Ubisoft.  The first game’s poor sales are a big part of this, and in the mean time Ancel has gone on to form his own studio developing a game for Sony while still contractually an employee of Ubisoft.  With Wild in development, this might not be the time for Beyond Good and Evil 2.  In fact, it may never be the time for Beyond Good and Evil 2.  But as long as Ubisoft keeps claiming that it’s in development, I’m going to keep putting it on these lists.

And that just about covers Ubisoft.  Of course, I also think we could see something from completely out of the blue.  They are a huge publisher, so it’s hard to keep track of all of their teams.  But these are the games I could think of.  I’m looking forward to the Ubisoft press conference.  Whether it’s incredible or a train wreck, it promises to at least be entertaining.

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