Aisha Tyler once again hosted the Ubisoft Press conference for the fifth time. Opening with Just Dance 2017, available on all platforms in October of this year and the mysterious NX next year, Tyler and the cast of the opening dance routine gave their condolences to all those affected by the recent shootings in Florida.
Ironically, the first chunk of the press conference was a game involving a lot of guns; Ghost Recon: Wildlands; Ubisoft’s largest ever action adventure title. We got a cinematic trailer as well as an in-depth look at gameplay as a team of ghosts looked to extract a high value Santa Blanca cartel target. Much like the outpost mechanic in the Far Cry series, the game allows you attack targets in a number of different ways; approach from the sky, stealth, or go all guns blazing across a vast and diverse open environment.
It all culminated in the announcement of the release date, March 7th 2017, almost a year to day after the previous Tom Clancy title, The Division.
Speaking of The Division, Ubisoft discussed the upcoming update Underground in which you and your team will be fighting a threat in the depths of the NYC subway; available on 28th June on Xbox One and 2nd August on PS4. There was also the hint of another expansion, Survival. Details and dates still remain scarce, but it takes place during a heavy snowstorm, limiting supplies and testing the limits of your survival skills.
Next up was the highly anticipated sequel to South Park: The Stick of Truth, The Fractured But Whole. Taking inspiration from the superhero genre, the boys have decided that fantasy is no longer cool, opting to play as heroes instead. As the new kid, you have to pick your characteristics from a dozen or so varieties, as well as embracing your origin story… walking in and finding you parents doing the dance with no pants.
Matt and Trey were quick to mention the changes made to the ‘space and time’ of combat, too. While space means you are more agile, and can move into different, strategical positions in battle, time is all about farts...farts so powerful that you can rip a hole in the space time continuum. The Fractured But Whole will be available on 6th December, with all pre-orders coming with a current-gen version of The Stick of Truth.
Then the pace of the conference slowed down as Ubisoft took a sidestep into VR. First off showing Eagle Flight - what can only be described as a bird flight simulator - and the PvP mode capture the flag before then moving into into the recently rumoured Star Trek VR experience. Demonstrated by the cast members from all generations of the show, the game places you on the iconic bridge of the Enterprise and has you working as a team to pilot the ship. Unfortunately the graphics looked nothing more than an original PlayStation game, so don’t be too eager to ask Scotty to “beam you up”.
For Honour returned with a story trailer and an extended gameplay demo, this year focusing on single player as an army of Vikings raided a Samurai settlement. Essentially it’s a glorified hack and slash, with slower, more weighty controls. You battle your way through hundreds of enemies before encountering mini bosses, requiring a touch more brain power to take down, lining up and perfectly timing your attacks, resulting in beautifully violent animations. Perfect for Valentine’s Day 2017 then, the game's now official release date.
In a change of pace from the AAA titles, Ubi then took a dose of indie, revealing that Grow Home would be getting a sequel, Grow Up - available this August. The serenity was then blown up as two European gents, dressed in matching zebra onesies took over the stage in what looked like something wrestlemania. Why? The combination of two of Ubi’s surprise hits Trials and Blood Dragon. The result; Trials of the Blood Dragon, taking Trials to a series of locations inspired by a combination of neon lights, drugs and 80s action movies, available this very instant.
Suddenly, the Ubisoft stage was hacked. The lights went out, the screen crackled DeadSec took control. No this wasn’t the latest attempt to bring down the publishing giant, but instead the latest look at Watch Dogs 2 available on 15th November. Funny right? Right? RIGHT?
The gameplay shown involved the infiltration of a highly secure building. Our protagonist Marcus, who seems more agile than Aiden Pearce uses a plethora of new pieces of tech including a drone and a small robot to sneak past enemies and get classified intel. It wasn’t anything entirely exciting, particularly with the announcement coming only a matter of days beforehand, but the tone certainly seems more lighthearted, particularly as Marcus puts of some ‘phresh’ tunes as he starts his trespassing adventure.
And finally was the ‘and finally’ moment, obviously. Yves Guillemot, walked on stage to reveal the latest new IP in development for Ubisoft. Unfortunately, it fell a little flat of expectations though. Steep, the title in development is the result of Red Bull and Go-Pro having a baby; an open-world extreme sports game set amongst snowy peaks, where you challenge your friends and online companions to beat your scores. It’s certainly different to what we’ve become used to from Ubisoft and though we got a lengthy gameplay demonstration, I’m non the wiser what exactly the game is. Whatever it is, you can sign up for the beta now, with the game available in December.
With that, Ubisoft closed their annual conference. It didn’t exactly finish with a bang, and struggled in the middle but there are still a wide variety of titles to look forward to. Looking back, we were just all spoiled by Sony!