Gaming Features

Ubisoft Avoids Hardball at E3 2019

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Ubisoft traditionally offers the zaniest conferences of E3, complete with comedy, profanity, and occasionally Aisha Tyler. This year, Ubisoft kept things pretty tame (but still managed to incorporate on-stage dancing). We saw some updates to staple franchises like Ghost Recon and WATCH_DOGS, but also bizarre omissions like BEYOND GOOD AND EVIL 2 and the blockbuster pirate game SKULL AND BONES, which have both gone very quiet. In the end, Ubisoft didn’t really surprise us, shock the world, or generate phenomenal hype. Instead, they showed their catalogue, set the groundwork for a great year of games, and stayed fairly calm.

Ubisoft

Musical Assasination

The show started off with a five-minute medley of music from the Assassin’s Creed Series. Now, I love me some video game music, but a rule of thumb is that the first thing shown at these conferences tends to set the pace for everything that follows. It was a nice nod to one of Ubi’s biggest franchises, but was ultimately a very safe pick that went too long, which ended up being the perfect way to explain the entire showcase.

Ubisoft Watch Dogs

Hacking Too Many People

Though unfortunately leaked prior to the showcase, WATCH_DOGS LEGION had a lot to prove to the audience and viewers. On paper, the premise of playing as an infinite number of NPCs throughout London seems odd, ridiculous, and mostly confusing. However, during the showcase, Ubi managed to eloquently explain the mechanics of building a ever-growing resistance in techno-future London, with each NPC (or possibly playable character) offering unique voices, animations, and skill sets. I’m not 100% sold on this new idea, as the thought of abandoning any central character would suggest a weak and unfocused story, but I have always seen potential in this series and I like the developer’s willingness to be bold and inventive, which can’t be said for every AAA developer.

Raven's Banquet

And Now, Time to Talk About Television

For some reason, we got a long stretch of time devoted to hyping a new show for Apple TV+ during an E3 conference, which seems like a poor choice. But anyway, MYTHIC QUEST: RAVEN’S BANQUET looks decent enough, and as a fan of IT’S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA, I think I’ll enjoy any series helmed by Rob McElhenney. But this is E3, not Comic Con, and I’d have preferred some new game reveals instead.

Quarantine

Is It Zombies? Or Is It Aliens?

RAINBOW SIX: SIEGE was a great game, with tight controls and bombastic multiplayer, but I always wished it stayed closer to its PvE roots (Terrorist Hunt is lackluster at best). Thankfully, Quarantine was announced as a three-player cooperative experience tasking players to fight off “a threat to mankind.” Very spooky and vague. We didn’t get many more details aside from a creepy trailer, but that’s enough for me. Sign me up.

Ghost Recon

Ghost Punisher: Jon Bernthal

GHOST RECON BREAKPOINT looks exactly like WILDLANDS, except it’s a little darker and stars Jon Bernthal. The story focuses on your team hunting a rogue Ghost, played by Bernthal. Open world gameplay makes a return, as does the cooperative aspect. Thankfully, the developer announced that AI teammates will join alongside solo players (thank god.) Also, the game stars Jon Bernthal. He was in THE PUNISHER. Ubisoft really wants you to know that.

Ubisoft games

These Games Are Already Out

As a byproduct of the new focus on “games as services” in the current marketplace, much of these E3 conferences are focused on updates to already released games. I know these are important for players of these games, but they rarely ever convince me to buy something I don’t already play. These updates lack the hype or power of new game releases or unexpected announcements. DESTINY hosted their own livestream to announce their new updates, which just feels like a better idea. Unless of course, Ubisoft didn’t have anything else to fill this spot. Regardless, we have new updates for SIEGE, FOR HONOR, and THE DIVISION 2. They all look pretty great, but if you aren’t already playing them, I don’t think these are going to convince you otherwise.

Ubisoft stream

A Slice of the Subscription Pie

If you are one of those people that loves Assassin’s Creed and desperately wants to replay the series, and for some reason doesn’t already own them, you can now subscribe to UPlay+. For $14.99 a month, you get access to a massive library of games on PC and (eventually) you can access this library on the streaming service Google Stadia. I don’t know how popular the PC version will be, but offering it for Stadia seems like an easier sell. I love the idea of being able to immediately stream over a hundred games and DLCs on a Chromebook without downloads.

Ubisoft Roller Champions

ROCKET LEAGUE, but with Skates

Okay, to be honest, we don’t really know how ROLLER CHAMPIONS plays, but the trailer was so evocative of ROCKET LEAGUE that the comparison is impossible to ignore. It looks like a quick, fast, competitive multiplayer game. I bet it’ll be fun to play with friends, but I have to wonder if it will survive against the firmly entrenched ROCKET LEAGUE.

Gods and Monsters

The Legend of Gods: Breath of the Monsters

A cursory search on the internet revealed that I am not the only one who immediately thought of BREATH OF THE WILD upon seeing the trailer for GODS AND MONSTERS. But frankly, that’s probably a good thing. People are desperate for more open world adventure games, but the hard ancient Greek themes make this game standout. If it’s a massive world where we get to run around as a Greek warrior slaying Gods and monsters, that I am completely sold. Also, it‘s developed by the ASSASSIN’S CREED ODYSSEY team, which is another big plus.

Just Dance 2020

And Lastly

We have JUST DANCE 2020. People danced on stage.

You’re welcome.

Read our thoughts on Microsoft’s conference here

Read our thoughts on Bethesda’s conference here

Read our thoughts on Square Enix’s conference here

Continue checking Merry-Go-Round Magazine for all of your E3 coverage

Jason Pedroza
Jason Pedroza is a Merry-Go-Round contributor who really likes stories and spends most of his time lost somewhere in his own imagination. He will love you forever if you offer him a Slurpee or some candy.

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    1. […] solid roster of Tom Clancy titles and an ambitious reveal for WATCH_DOGS 3, but it’s hard not to feel the franchise fatigue setting in for the company’s entire catalog. EA’s pre-E3 event was the most embarrassing, a […]

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