Ubisoft, the kings of E3 cringe, were at the top of their game this year, starting out the conference by shoving their gag-worthy Rabbid characters right in our face and oh boy did it just escalate from there. Fortunately, like always Ubisoft had some great games on display also so let’s take a look.
Mario & Rabbids: Kingdom Battle
So we’ve actually known about this game for quite a while but I think everyone just hoped it would go away. I know I did. Unfortunately, it looks like the mashup title involving Mario characters and those insipid Rabbids is a real thing. Oh and it has Mario characters using GUNS.
I have hated the Rabbids since they were first shown in Rayman: Raving Rabbids because not only are they irritating like nothing else but they also represented the downfall of the Rayman franchise, a series that I personally loved and wanted to see get a full 3D sequel after number 3. But alas, instead we get minigame compilations featuring the most annoying characters ever made.
Now, these Rabbids have invaded the Mushroom Kingdom and Mario and friends, naturally, want them to die in a fire.
It’s actually a bummer because despite the Rabbids, the game itself looked quite good. It’s a tactics game clearly inspired by XCOM where characters can work in tandem to take out foes. They work together by bouncing each other over obstacles and performing combo attacks. It actually looked really cool and hopefully that gameplay will get moved to a franchise that isn’t a raging trash fire.
The Crew 2 – Early 2018
Despite the lackluster reception of the first game, Ubisoft is trying again with their sequel, The Crew 2. It looks like players will be able to race in everything from cars, motorcycles, planes, boats and ATVs. It’ll likely feature similar open-world gameplay as the first one, definitely including numerous terrain types for people to race on. What isn’t known is whether this will keep the same always-connected approach that broke the first game so hard.
Transference – Spring 2018
A surprise announcement was that Ubisoft is working on a VR horror title featuring Elijah Wood called Transference. The cinematic trailer didn’t show any gameplay from this new title but it looked atmospheric as hell. The story seems to revolve around uploading a person’s mind and evaluating their fears. It’s a story that’s been done before but hey, a VR game of that one Black Mirror episode sounds pretty alright to me!
Skull & Bones – Fall 2018
Skull & Bones was probably the heaviest featured title during the press conference this year but it’s also one that I’m the most concerned about. The game puts players in charge of their own pirate ship and seems to be a PvP game. The demonstrated game type was a 5v5 match where players tried to get loot that was just floating in the ocean and escape with the most.
While we got to see a lot of cool explosions and ship battles, the game looked extremely vague and not all that fleshed out. The pre-alpha gameplay cut to cinematic narration frequently and rarely showed players actually do anything besides ship combat, despite them saying there were other goals.
The game is pre-alpha and isn’t estimated to come out until at least end of next year so hopefully we’ll get more details prior to release but right now, I’d stay off the hype train for this one. Ubisoft has a pretty well known history of delays and cancellations is all I’m saying.
Just Dance 2018 – October 2017
Oh, you forgot about the cringe, huh? Thought that I was just exaggerating about that Mario and Rabbids game? YOU THOUGHT WRONG! Picture bomb, go!
Oh and Just Dance 2018 is coming out in October. They announced that, too…
South Park(s) – FBW: October 2017, Mobile Game: 2017
South Park: The Fractured But Whole was originally slated to come out last year but suffered some pretty significant delays since then. I have the worst luck with pre-orders and this one has been no different. I apologize everyone! My bad!
They showed a quick trailer for the game and announced that it will (hopefully) come out in October. That wasn’t all the South Park goodness that they showed though, as they also revealed a mobile game called South Park: Phone Destroyers which will release this year. I’m not entirely clear on what the game actually is but it seems to have many characters from South Park in various stereotypical costumes battling it out. There also appear to be cooldown meters at the bottom so I’m guessing some kind of real-time RPG/Card system?
Starlink: Battle for Atlas – Fall 2018
So, we have a brand new, totally original idea for you all, okay? Here’s the deal, you play a video game, right? You’re flying around, pew-pewing all the aliens and stuff. Bam, bam bam! But then, woah, you’re up against a new challenge. It’s weird you don’t know what to do. But then, you’ve got it. You go and get a toy! Like, a real-life toy thing, yeah, and you put it on the controller… BOOM! The toy becomes a thing IN THE GAME!!! I know, it’s totally new, never ever been done before but it’s cool, guys, it’s cool. We have crunched the numbers and have found that this will make us like a bazillion dollars, generous estimate, generous estimate. What do you think?
Steep: Road to the Olympics – December 17
Steep was one of the coolest announcements from last year. An open, freestyle extreme sports game where you could pick whatever path down various mountains you wanted and go down them however you want. The game released and while it didn’t exactly change the world, it has maintained a fanbase and was pretty fun to play. This year, it’s getting an expansion which is… a bit strange.
The expansion will add many of the winter Olympic race categories into the game so that you can use your skills in an official setting. The cinematic trailer didn’t show much about how this will work in-game but it did list an enormous amount of categories in a quick montage.
It just strikes me as a bit strange that this game based around freeform sandbox fun is choosing to make it’s expansion around strict rule-based competition. It’s not necessarily a bad thing and will probably add some fun structure for when you actually want to do something concrete in the game but it’s still an interesting choice. It’ll be fun to see how fans react when it comes out in December.
Far Cry 5 – February 27, 2018
So remember when they announced Far Cry 5 and some folks got pretty upset that they were demonizing Christians with the new game? Well, it looks like Ubisoft got the message… and laughed in their faces. They literally start off this trailer with a bunch of gun-toting sociopaths singing Amazing Grace.
Don’t get me wrong, I feel for anyone feeling antagonized. I’m actually a religious Christian myself. But as someone who welcomes being challenged in art, I thought it was pretty funny. After them flipping off their critics, they jumped into a gameplay demo of Far Cry 5 which was pretty short but showed off some new features that look great. I didn’t play Primal so, sorry if this isn’t new, but Far Cry 4 had sections where you could command a tiger to attack enemies. It looks like 5 will expand on this concept by giving you multiple followers that you can command to assist in a variety of ways. They showed off a dog that functioned pretty much like the tiger in 4 but they also showed a human follower who the player ordered into a water tower and then had them snipe enemies from afar.
I actually missed the screenshot but there was a poster for something called the Testicle Festival which is actually a real festival held in many places, including Montana. As an adopted Montanan, I appreciated the attention to detail! Thanks Ubisoft! Beyond that, the game looked like more Far Cry. Not sure it’ll change your mind if the series hasn’t grabbed you already but if you’re like me and just love the sandbox environments from 3 and 4, looks like you’ll have more fun on the way.
Beyond Good & Evil 2 – Unknown Release Date
Easily the biggest announcement of this press conference and probably E3 as a whole so far, was the re-reveal of Beyond Good and Evil 2 which actually contained some story details.
It looks like the game that was previously announced was completely scrapped as this game will not contain Jade or Pey’j, at least as we came to know them. Instead, this game will be a prequel to the first game, following a woman and her very foul-mouthed monkey friend as they go looking for… something… on their giant airship.
The trailer was still purely cinematic and didn’t contain any release date information so I’m trying not to get my hopes up too much. We’ve been burned before! …Repeatedly… But we did get to see a very emotional Michel Ancel make the announcement that they are taking sign ups to “help with development”, whatever that means.
Obviously people were willing to throw themselves into the mix as guinea pigs though since their website was completely unreachable within seconds of the announcement.
Ubisoft always brings the cringe real hard and this year was no different. From seeing Mario forced to team up with the worst creatures ever created to seeing weird EDM K-Pop dancers play ring-around-the-rosie with a panda, we got our share of cringe this year.
That being said, we also got some fantastic reveals of games like Beyond Good and Evil 2, Transference, and even Skull & Bones. The biggest problem with Ubisoft’s presentation was the same that has plagued almost everyone this year and that’s that it contained very little gameplay. Beyond Good and Evil 2 is awesome but we’ve been waiting 14 years and have gotten numerous CGi trailers. If you want us to really have faith, we need to see some actual gameplay or, at the very least, a release date.