The annual Electronic Entertainment Expo, better known as E3, kicks off this weekend with a series of events hosted by major developers and console manufacturers. Ubisoft will be among them once again, and its press conference is scheduled to go live at 4 p.m. ET on Monday, June 12. So what’s on the agenda?
Assassin’s Creed: As far as leaks go, the Assassin’s Creed franchise is giving the White House a run for its money. Rumors, screenshots and even video clips have been surfacing for weeks now of the next entry in the franchise, which may or may not be called Assassin’s Creed: Origins. Some say it’s based in ancient Egypt, while others say that misses the mark entirely. Only one thing is certain: Ubisoft has confirmed that it will unveil the next title in the series during next week’s press conference. Expect the reveal to feature quite a spectacular CGI trailer. Whether we see actual gameplay, however, is anyone’s guess.
Far Cry: Ubisoft Montreal had its big coming out party for Far Cry 5 just a few weeks ago, and it caused quite a stir. The game is set in Montana, and puts a cult of white religious fanatics in the player’s crosshairs. We’ve been told that a demo of the game will be playable on the E3 show floor, so expect to learn more about how it plays during Monday’s press conference.
Far Cry 5 brings with it a couple of nifty new features, including a two-player cooperative campaign. There’s also fixed-wing aircraft, including a pontoon plane, a P-51 Mustang and a two-seat, WWII-era bomber of some kind. Dogs are also confirmed to be in the game, with some even able to fight on the side of the player.
Mario and Rabbids crossover: We couldn’t believe it either when the rumors started earlier this year, but Nintendo’s iconic Super Mario characters appear to be teaming up with Ubisoft’s Rabbids for a crossover title called Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle.
What appear to be leaked internal company slides point to a turn-based, multiplayer game with lots of exploration. It’s so high-concept, however, that it would be madness not to have a significant gameplay sample and/or a playable demo on the show floor. Ubisoft has never shied away from Nintendo’s novel control schemes, so we’re all very curious to see how this one shakes out on the Switch.
South Park: Last year’s E3 offered a majestic olfactory experience called the Nosulus Rift, which we didn’t quite get the … opportunity to experience until Gamescom in August. Unfortunately, Ubisoft’s South Park: The Fractured But Whole didn’t pass the smell test and got delayed by nearly a whole year. Now the role-playing game has a firm release date for this October. Expect to see lots more on the game’s storyline as well as an extended bit of gameplay during this year’s press conference.
The Crew: After our lackluster experience with The Crew, we were just as surprised as anyone to learn that Ubisoft was working on a sequel. Next to nothing is known about The Crew 2, other than the fact that it is likely to contain cars capable of moving expeditiously around a track or course. But they’re really going to have to sell it to get our attention this time around.
Just Dance: Ubisoft’s Just Dance franchise features prominently at just about every one of its press events, and it’s no wonder. The game is available on practically every platform around, from console to mobile. Just Dance 2017 landed on the Nintendo Switch in March, so they could spend some time flogging that or get down to business with an announcement of Just Dance 2018. Either way, this portion of the show will be loud, bright and full of professional dancing talent.
Odds and ends: Ubisoft’s most recent earning release points to a bunch of other loose ends, some of which might show up here and there during the presentation.
In May, the publisher said they would release new entries in “three established franchises” over the next fiscal year, which ends in April 2018. But it never went into detail as to what those franchises would be. Far Cry and Assassin’s Creed are obviously the biggest of the bunch, but perhaps there’s one more new game that will surprise us outside of what’s been mentioned above. Maybe it’s the weird little space-based game teased inside Watch Dogs 2. All we know is to expect “a multiplayer game with strong live operations,” per Alain Martinez, Ubisoft’s chief financial officer.
Also, recall that Vivendi has been circling Ubisoft for more than a year, maneuvering for a hostile takeover. Expect lots of chest-beating and flag-waving as Ubisoft touts its independence and the vision of its many multicultural creative teams.
Last, but definitely not least, Ubisoft has hinted that perennial host Aisha Tyler may not be there on stage this year. Instead, the publisher is placing more of an emphasis on its developers by putting them front and center. Of course, this can only mean one thing: Aisha Tyler is now a game developer, and has been working on a Ubisoft title in secret all these many years.
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