Ubisoft led with a delightful intro video from the raving rabbids, followed by the opening 5 minutes of Far Cry 4. The conference was hosted by comedian and actress Aisha Tyler for the third year in a row and used that experience for an expert transition to Just Dance 2015. After a short video about the game, we learned that you can play Just Dance 2015 with just your TV and a smart phone.
Next came Peter Mannerfelt (Producer, Massive) to show us a very depressing video for Tom Clancey’s The Division. Following the video, Aisha introduced The Crew. Going beyond a simple tracks, The Crew is a racing game that lets you drive from coast to coast (Miami to LA). Obviously not to scale it only takes around 2 hours according to the game’s creative director Julian Gerighty, who announced that a closed beta will be launching on July 23rd.
Up next was a transition to Assassin’s Creed Unity. Alex Amancio (Creative Director, Ubisoft Montreal) set the tone by explaining the turmoil taking place in pre-revolutionary France and then played a trailer backed by a Lorde’s cover of Tears for Fears’ Everybody Wants To Rule The World. This entry in the Assassin’s Creed series appears to be HUDless and stunning.
With no mini-map you are only able to see waypoint markers in the distance. Arnaud (the game’s main character) will be able to traverse the environment much more quickly with an improved parkour system and seamless indoor – outdoor transitions. Be aware that if you’re attacked the combat will no longer be the walk in the park it once was as the combat system has been rebalanced to place an added emphasis on stealth.
Shape Up was next. Shape up, introduced by Charles Huteau (Creative Director, Ubisoft Montreal), is a new arcade style fitness game that utilizes the Kinect and will be an Xbox One exclusive. First he showcased Piano Step, a game mode similar to Guitar Hero meets Dance Dance Revolution. Then came an international push-up showdown between two Ubisoft employees (one from France, one from the USA) in which the USA won. USA, USA, USA!
Speaking of international conflicts, next was Valiant Hearts. Valiant Hearts is a side scrolling, hand drawn, adventure game set in the first World War and inspired by the letters sent during the conflict. The trailer easily set the tone of the game and if you can watch it without tearing up a little then you’re a harder man than I. Even after watching the trailer several times, it still gets me.
Next came the final presentation by Yves Guillemot (Co-Founder and CEO, Ubisoft). Pre-alpha gameplay footage for Tom Clancey’s Rainbow Six: Siege set the place on fire (figuratively, of course). The gameplay, while obviously scripted, looked stunning for a pre-alpha build (more like a proof of concept). It appears that Ubisoft is putting more thought into this game’s multiplayer than they had previous Rainbow Six games; with specialized roles, a unified spawn point, and permadeath per match.
Ubisoft knows how to put on a great show. Even though there weren’t many new announcements this year, Ubisoft’s show never got stale and managed to maintain a consistent pace throughout. I think they knew that Shape Up and Just Dance 2015 might not be that big of a hit and, to compensate, bookended them with the likes of Far Cry 4 and Assassin’s Creed Unity. All in all, I’m excited for everything I saw with the exception of Just Dance 2015.