What I love the most about Ubisoft, I hope you’ll agree, is that they’re not afraid to innovate and try out new things. Ubisoft has a long and consistent history of being daring and brave, constantly delivering new IPs and building upon their established IPs in a range of interesting ways. It’s been an interesting year for Ubisoft so far, what with them finally shaking off Vivendi and opening up new branches across the world. Safe to say, they’ve got their best foot forward this year already, and we’re not even halfway through it yet.
It came as very little surprise to see such a strong lineup from Ubisoft during their E3 2018 conference. Despite the fact that fans were a little let down by the lack of a certain night vision mask, the conference went down an absolute treat. Several presenters and representatives took to the stage in-turn, delivering announcement after announcement, right up until the event’s conclusion. It was well paced, it was massively exciting and the delivery of each reveal proved interesting (Just Dance to the side) and captivating from start to end.
As expected, Ubisoft formally lifted the lid on the anticipated Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, which is due to arrive on October 5th. Before we continue, let me reassure you that Assassin’s Creed is not returning to an annual-release model, this much has already been confirmed by Ubisoft today. In Odyssey, the action takes place in Ancient Greece, a world rich with myths and legend, in fifth century BC during the Peloponnesian War between Sparta and Athens. It’s an intriguing setting, one that may be the darkest in the series so far.
Ubisoft revealed that players will be able to choose between two characters, male or female, and will then take that character through the entire game. Playing as Alexios or Kassandra, a mercenary of Spartan blood sentenced to death by their family, players will embark on an epic journey from a young outcast to a legendary hero and uncover the truth about their mysterious lineage. Both the trailer and the gameplay walkthrough wasted no time at getting straight to the point, literally, there’s a lot of stabbing and, well, pointing.
The game will support an expanded version of Origin’s RPG system, a heavier emphasis on naval combat and a continuation to the modern-day story revolving around Layla Hassan, which picks up from Origins. Interestingly enough, Odyssey will offer up branching dialogue choices in a move to give the player more control over the story beats, such as the development of romances, the making/breaking of alliances and more. It certainly looks like a stunning, well rounded and in-depth addition to the series, there’s no denying that.
Ubisoft also showcased Beyond Good and Evil 2, with a reveal that welcomed in the return of Jade and other known characters. The cinematic footage didn’t reveal much about the game itself, but going from its ties to the predecessor, we can safely assume that it will be much strongly connected than prior expected. We also learn that Ubisoft has teamed up with HitRecord in a move that will allow anyone to create content for the game. Sound bizarre? Well, it’s actually a bit more complex than it sounds. So, allow me to explain.
You, me or anyone can craft imagery and music for Beyond Good and Evil 2, which will need to be uploaded to HitRecord. The HitRecord community will then decide what’s what and after an undisclosed amount of time, HitRecord will send a demo to Ubisoft, who will in-turn either accept it or reject it. HitRecord from that point, if accepted, will then work on the content ready for it to be thrown into the game. Yes, the creators will be paid for their efforts. I’m not sure this needed some space at E3, but it went down well nonetheless.
The Division 2 enjoyed quite a portion of time and attention, understandably so. Despite being initially shown off at the Xbox Briefing the day before hand, Ubisoft held back no punches thanks to some exciting news. First and foremost, we now know that The Division 2 will offer up bulky end-game content, including new (proper) raids and new specializations. The raids will support up to eight players a pop and will offer up challenges that will go on to test the skills, teamwork and communication of even the most expert Agents. Yikes!
Unique specialization will unlock once the campaign has been completed and level 30 has been achieved; Sharpshooter, Demolitionist, and Survivalist. New tools and abilities will be unlocked over time, enabling players to chase a play-style of their choosing. We also learn that the Dark Zone (aka Zone of Selfish Bastards) has been revamped, though details as to what that means remain thin on the ground. Finally, an announcement that went down extremely well is that of The Division 2’s post launch content model. It’s completely free.
You read that correctly. The Division 2 is set to launch on March 15th of next year and will be followed by three DLC packs known as “episodes” that will be free for everyone to download and enjoy. These episodes will include new modes, expansions and story missions. This is a step-up from The Division, which arguably separated its player base through the use of paid expansions across its lifespan. Ubisoft moved on from The Division 2 to The Crew 2 by announcing that the open beta is set to take place on June 21st.
Skull & Bones got some stage time too via the reveal of a cinematic trailer that tells the story of the “golden age of piracy” and a walkthrough video of its PvPvE mode known as Hunting Grounds. The story, as you can expect given the theme, is about betrayal, unity and more betrayal. It’s got an interesting premise, that’s for sure. The base foundation of the Hunting Grounds is simple – choose a ship, plan your attack, and prey on the lucrative trade routes of the Indian Ocean. Though be warned, other players will out to do the same.
Will you band up with other players to take on the threat? Or will you hinder their progression to claim the rewards yourself? That, ladies and gentlemen, is the question. Fans also caught a glimpse of how in-depth Skull & Bones’ customization appears to be, from the outfit of your character to the many mechanics of the ships, these can all be kitted out in a range of different ways. Keep an eye out for a pre-launch beta too, which is set to give players but a taste of the overall experience. All in all, Skull & Bones is shaping up nicely.
Ubisoft further detailed another of their new and upcoming experiences, Starlink: Battle for Atlas, which is set to launch on October 16th of this year. The game uses a modular toy that attaches to your controller. Once achieved, players will see them come to life in real time in the game thanks to the Starlink technology. Choose your pilot, select any ship and combine any weapons to play your style. The new footage showcased what players can expect to see come the end of the year, something that I, in particular, am very excited about indeed.
Those of you that own a Switch will be glad to hear that Ubisoft has teamed up with Nintendo to bring Fox McCloud into the game, exclusive on that platform. The gameplay consists of dog-fighting in a large open world, in which players will explore the Atlas Star System, and battle the vile Grax and his Forgotten Legion. Fans of the polarizing For Honor had quite the treat at the event too. Ubisoft revealed their commitment to continuously support the game with the inclusion of a new faction and a new mode known as Breach.
Breach is a 4v4 mode that’s set to arrive in For Honor in October as part of Season 8. The mode sees two teams of 4 going toe to toe on a new castle map, in which the objective is to defend or attack the castle in question. The king will be in the courtyard of the castle and depending on what side of the team you’re on, you’ll either need to protect or kill him. Teams will have their own objectives and an army of AI to aid them on their way. It’s said to offer up the longest play time of any mode in For Honor, lasting between 20-30 minutes.
Also coming in Season 8 is a single player component, though we’re not quite sure what this could be until Ubisoft reveals more in due course. Now, as for the new faction, this will be the Wu Lin and will consist of four heroes. The two heroes that we know of are Tiandi and Shaolin, however, the remaining two will be unveiled at a later date, but will still arrive at the same time as the former two. Transference, Ubisoft’s 2018 Fall-bound psychological thriller, enjoyed a small portion of stage time with a new trailer to go along with.
The trailer clearly shows that the game will be more immersive in VR, however, the game is indeed heading to traditional consoles too. Transference cleverly merges together game and movie elements to create a meta-like experience, and to its credit, it looks to be going down well with the crowd. It certainly has me intrigued. Just Dance 2019 was also announced at the beginning of the show via the cringe-worthy dance routine that Ubisoft houses nearly every year. We don’t have a solid release window, we’re assuming it will arrive in the Fall.
Last, but by no means least, Ubisoft announced Trials Rising. Much like with previous entries, players will take on the competition on crazy tracks around the world and explore the limitless content from the trials community. It’s announcement trailer, as well as several features and trailers for all of the games noted above, can be found right here. When all is said and done, as alluded to above, Ubisoft presented one hell of an exciting event. Did you enjoy? Have anything to add? Sound off in the comments below to make yourselves heard.