An armchair view of E3 2010: Ubisoft

Ubisoft Conference: June 15th 1:00am GMT

If I’m wrong about that start time it’s because I’m half asleep. Predictions going in: I imagine that Ubisoft will be focusing on butchering Assassin’s Creed into a multi-player experience and the new Ghost Recon, but let’s see.

  • The conference opens with a man on stage with his back to the crowd (how rude) doing some strange yogi move before busting into playing a Kinect game via just his hands. Looks like a rave game, music and sound with very little actual playing required.
  • This is going on far too long and isn’t nearly as fun to watch being played as it is to perhaps play it. If you took away the screen showing the game, the guy would look like he’s dancing in a Phil Collin’s video. It ended with the words ‘Child of Eden’, the next game in the line of Rev, Space Channel 5 and so on from Tetsuya Mizuguchi.
  • Joel McHale now introduces the conference and does some comedy. I use that term lightly. Talks at length about ‘Games you can feel’ which is Ubisoft’s new angle. He leaves to steal as many things as he can from backstage and a new trailer plays.
  • Must be AC: Brotherhood with an eagle and bad Italian accents right from the off. Yup, it is. A cinematic trailer with various concept arts of Ezio and new characters.
  • 1503 Roma appears on the screen, again all in cinematic. Ezio strolls towards his target while guards all around him are dispatched by unseen helpers. November 16th shall be the release date, not surprising given it’s all built on AC2.
  • Vincent NosubstituteforPatrice takes the stage to talk about the Assassin VS Templar war. Ezio is said to be a leader but still a lady’s man and this prompts another cinematic of him in bed with someone. He’s rudely interrupted by a cannonball through the wall – isn’t it a pain when that happens? The cinematic then breaks into in-game footage of the villa under heavy siege.
  • Movement and play seems exactly the same with slightly different horse riding mechanics. Ezio uses his cannon…I mean a real cannon, to help fight off the siege but the enemy still makes it inside and fighting ensues on the ramparts. “New fighting mechanics to help make combat faster against more aggressive enemy AI”. Eizo makes good use of his wrist mounted pistol during close combat fighting and also his disarm attacks return.
  • The gameplay ends with a spoiler ridden cinematic in which an AC2 character dies. Watch at your own risk. It cuts forward a few years to show Ezio climbing the walls of Roma 1503 with numerous other assassins at his side, before cutting to the title.
  • The bad comedian is back with equally bad jokes and back and fourth with Vincent. The purpose of this is to reveal that players can also play as the Templars via the multi-player experience. No one had already assumed that. Nope. I shuddered at a once great franchise being toned down to team deathmatch.
  • Time for another trailer. ‘No biking, skating, skateboarding’ appears on a sign and that can only mean one thing. The trailer at one point briefly shows someone banging their skateboard against a wall and looking around nervously – what was that all about? Shaun White takes the stage to talk about where he got such feminine hair – no, no, I mean to boast about all his medals – no, no, I mean…the conversation is interrupted by the ‘Ubisoft White Cubes’ being brought on stage for them to sit on. What, too lazy to stand? How embarrassing. Stop the idle chat and get on with the game!
  • Shaun White Skateboarding, their third game apparently (news to me). He talks at length about how involved he is in the game’s production. Mr White seems to be growing tired of the comedian’s banter and with good reason.
  • Some of the development staff take the stage to speak more about the mechanics. “Change the world through skateboarding,” uh-huh. Finally the gameplay is shown, but the lazy gits sitting around on stage with bottles of water aren’t actually playing it.
  • ‘The Ministry’ removes excitement and danger from the world and it’s the job of the skateboarders to return life to it. It’s present day Jet Set Radio. Full analogue control allows the bending of grinds in whatever direction you want. Realism doesn’t exist in the world of skateboarding and The Ministry, it seems. Is it wrong that I’m totally siding with The Ministry here? Damn skateboarders. Get a job!
  • Ends with the statement that it will be playable in 3D and will also be on the Wii. At least, I think those comments were separate…
  • Talking a bit about Kinect, Move and the Wii. The comedian is interrupted by people in the crowd running down the isles shooting each other with laser quest type guns.
  • They take the stage to speak about how they managed to find so many attractive models that like playing with toy guns. Or, to be more accurate, to talk about a “real, live shooter” called Battle Tag. The equipment you need to wear looks embarrassing. “It’s a video game you play away from the screen” as opposed to normal laser quest which is…? The explanation for what the comedian is being forced to do was very long and didn’t sound very much fun at all. It’s 4 VS 4 with the game acting as the games master.
  • The comedian speaks about something he saw backstage which was both a game and an ‘energy booster’. Tommy Francois takes the stage to talk about Innergy. Tommy defines hippie. Talks at length about negative energy and stress before eventually showing the game and attaching a vitality sensor to the comedian’s finger. The game then teaches the comedian how to breath, which is an important thing to know how to do after all.
  • I don’t know about the people in the room, but I was certainly feeling calmer after that. Largely because it was so boring.
  • A video plays in which various Ubisoft development staff who aren’t very great at English talk about something. Catching only every other word, but I’m guessing it’s bigging up interactive games on Wii, Kinect and Move.
  • Yup, we move onto Ubisoft games for Kinect. What is with all the terrible adverts this year? One plays for Motionsports. Then a Your Shape: Fitness Evolved on stage demo which is almost identical to how they demonstrated it for the Microsoft conference.
  • Swiftly moving on, the comedian speaks about ‘insane rabbits’ so we all know what’s coming now, don’t we? It seems this time the rabbits that everyone are sick of are invading the past. Raving Rabbids travel In Time, out November 9th.
  • Now the important stuff happens with Ghost Recon: Future Soldier. This begins with a trailer showing off the new technology in this near-future, think Robocop mixed with MGS4. Two of the staff take the stage to demo the game, one of whom is far too over enthusiastic.
  • The demo is an assault on a stronghold to capture a high value target. Gameplay is the Xbox360 version, with active-camo removing the need to be careful. I get the feeling this will by like Crysis 1 with super technologically advanced soldiers quite frankly picking on those using conventional weapons.
  • That guy had a family” the comedian remarks as one enemy is gutted from below, causing my first laugh of the conference. Yet more sneaking while perfectly invisible as the developer carries on killing various soldiers who didn’t stand a chance. Despite being overpowered, it does look quite fun.
  • The demo then skips ahead to a different angle of the gameplay. This time in a high up position using a scoped weapon to air out some helicopter pilot’s head.
  • The demo skips to a different situation again to show an open fire fight revealing the cover-to-cover movement and more even battles. Some scenery/cover is destructible. The presentation for this ends with the announcement that it will be playable in HD, 3D and four player Co-op.
  • A trailer for a racing game is next to be shown. Oh look, a squirrel. No, must stay awake and focused. Think of the gamers. Could this be a new Driver? Why yes, it is. Driver: San Fransico. Can’t wait to see how Tanner’s little camero takes out a swat van. Oh, or not as it cut off there.
  • Martin Edmondson takes the stage to talk about the plot and how it all links back to the first game. Then a video of gameplay is shown but isn’t actually played on stage. Nothing special. Unrealistic instant ‘shifting’ between cars if Tanner’s vehicle is smashed and spoilers regarding the plot are nonchalantly given away on stage. Should have just called it Driver: Life on Mars.
  • With Martin now gone, it’s time for a bit of a recap from the comedian of what’s been seen thus far, before introducing the CEO of Ubisoft, Yves Guillemot.
  • Yves is here to show three different projects, starting with a trailer for a digital distribution game, Project Dust. Looks like Black & White, not much given away.
  • The second project is yet another digital only game. A trailer plays talking about interactive creativity and art. The birth of a ‘thingamajig’. It’s Rayman! How fun, from a nostalgic point of view that is. Quite a funny trailer, worth watching. Rayman Origins is the title.
  • The final project Yves wants to speak about is “a platformer”. Hang on, did he say platformer or platform? Place bets now. It uses U-Play, whatever it is he’s trying to speak about. A video plays concerning Trackmannia, showing custom built tracks and boasting about how many people play it. Now ‘Maniaplanet’ a User Powered gaming zone. One community that branches off into three genres (adventure, RPG, shooter). This smells of U-Steam. Beta test for it begins for Questmania (the RPG part) soon.
  • Before Yves goes he has one final announcement. What will this be? He’s “signed a legend” apparently. A game launching at the end of the year. What will it be? I don’t like that it’s sounding like some music or dance game. Get on with it, Yves. And tuck your shirt in, just noticed that.
  • Beat It, Micheal Jackson. How can you sign up someone that’s dead? No actual gameplay so far, just people dancing to Beat It on stage. Yeah, that’s nice, where’s the game?
  • Oh, that’s it. There wasn’t actually a game there. Or I missed something. Did I? Probably not. It’s over now, people are getting up to leave so I think I’ll do the same. Night all.

Nothing in particular to recap about the Ubisoft conference, but it flowed a lot better than the EA one at least.

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Written by Ian D

Misanthropic git. Dislikes: Most things. Likes: Obscure references.

One comment

  1. ogre /

    I watched it on G4 and the best part was after the conference they interviewed Jade for awhile which was good to see her in the press again.

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