So here we are again watching and waiting for what I like to think is the “Cirque du Soleil” of E3 game conferences – Ubisoft! It has to be said, I was very excited about what they were going to show off this year and most importantly what they might just announce. And they didn’t disappoint, as the conference had all the theatrics we might expect from Ubisoft with a full orchestra playing a melody of the Assassin’s Creed soundtrack, and the strange and energetic Just Dance routine with someone – once again – dressed in a panda outfit. There was also a revelation that they have been working on a TV show about making games, and have a film of The Division upcoming, in production with Netflix.
But what about the games? Well, if I’m honest, the Ubisoft showing at E3 2019 felt a bit empty and certainly not as exciting as it has been in the past. But I’ve still managed to put together 5 of the most exciting moments of the conference, starting from the top to the bottom. Let’s discuss.
1) Watch Dogs: Legion
I won’t lie, I was very excited about this game from the teaser leaked just before the show, and from the trailer shown at the beginning, kicking off the Ubi action, my excitement has now grown beyond expectations.
London, post-Brexit, is the future and it looks great. Being a resident of the city I am extra exhilarated at the possibility to pop by my house and hack the streetlamps outside my home.
Seeing the neon future London did give me goosebumps and the ideas behind it are very cool indeed, letting you play as multiple characters and recruit who the hell you like; adding ANYONE to your revolution. When you recruit them you can then play as that character – fully voiced with a complete backstory, may I add. If they die though, they are dead permanently which is an amazing concept that will challenge your emotional ties to the characters you will play with.
In the extended gameplay trailer, we saw a wide range of characters with different skills and some brilliant combat moves wandering around a Camden Market section that seemed to up the ante from the previous game. The highlight of the trailer was most certainly an old lady infiltrating New Scotland Yard. She moved, killed and reacted as her age dictated, but also instantly became the most effective and interesting character in the series.
Watch Dogs: Legion looks ever so exciting and if it can capture the brilliance of Watch Dogs 2 and is really able to innovate with this swapping character ability, then I think we could be in for something very special indeed.
2) Ghost Recon: Breakpoint
When the most intense actor of his generation – Jon Bernthal (The Punisher) – comes onto the stage with his adorable dog Bam Bam, telling you he wants to talk about the new Ghost Recon game, believe me you’re going to listen.
Yes, there may not have been any new gameplay on view from the detailed videos they released a few weeks back when the game was first announced, but there is still a very exciting buzz about this game and there were a few more things we learned.
So, the development team are bringing back the ability to play solo, but you can have three AI teammates by your side during the game, and there was a second glimpse of the…wait for it…Terminator, making another appearance at the conference. You’d think there must be a new film coming out or something!
Seriously though, I am hugely excited about playing through the next Ghost Recon saga and when this beautiful and thrilling looking game releases in October, you can be sure I’ll settle down with a couple of friends and reach my breakpoint.
3) The Division 2 – New DLC
I have loved The Division 2, so much so that even many hours in I’m still regularly playing it with a friend. The missions – especially the side missions – have been excellent and varied in their locations and premise, and Washington has been a delight – in fact I might take in a week long trip to spy the sights!
But even with multiple other games on the horizon The Division 2 is still at the fore of Ubi’s thoughts and this conference outlined their year one program that is coming in the next few months.
Episode One: Outskirts will be arriving July and takes players out of the city to the Washington National Zoo, seeing us given the chance to investigate these areas in order to hunt down the leader of the Outcasts.
From there, we will stumble upon Episode Two: Pentagon: The Last Castle, with a release sometime in the autumn, taking players to the Pentagon along with a new Raid in the core of a Foundry.
And last but not least will be Episode Three: Homecoming in 2020 (it’s not that far away, honest), dropping us onto the East Coast and the amazing Coney Island.
With a brilliant base game already in place, and all these DLC pieces upcoming, I can’t wait.
4) Gods & Monsters
Gods & Monsters was announced right at the end of Ubisoft’s time at E3 and while it wasn’t the big end game everyone was hoping for, it did manage to include a bit of a teaser – although that in itself was a bit short and underwhelming.
But if you look a bit deeper there is much to be excited about. Made and developed by the crew behind Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, this big open world game has clear comparision with the look of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and a big colourful world and creature design. It examines the world of Greek mythology, as your character – Fenyx – is sent to save the Olympians on the Island of the Blessed from Typhon and his extensive bestiary.
Gods & Monsters will have you battling with epic creatures such as Minotaurs, Gorgons, and Cyclopes on the journey, delivering a mix of platforming, combat and puzzle elements that will hopefully capture our hearts in Feb 2020.
5) Roller Champions
It has to be said that it’s been a tough decision for this last spot, but I think Roller Champions gets a look in, not because of what I saw at the conference, but from what I’ve read about it from those playing the demo of the PC version.
What is it? Well, it’s based on roller derby and it’s going to try and be Ubisoft’s Rocket League. And that’s quite obvious.
Running as a 3vs3 on a huge velodrome arena, Roller Champions sees you fight your opponents for control of a ball, before scoring points by rolling around a track to charge up the goal. The more laps you complete, the more points you get. The overall goal is to make it to five points, which you can do by completing three unbroken laps before scoring.
The feedback has been pretty damn good from the PC community with many mentioning that it’s very addictive and instantly playable. It’s also going to be free-to-play which is amazing if there isn’t a big advantage to those buying extra skills or tricks. We shall however have to wait until early 2020 to find out more.
So that’s it, folks. There wasn’t another Assassin’s game announced, nor any sign of Skull and Bones or even a tease of Beyond Good and Evil 2. Heck, there wasn’t even an announcement of a new Splinter Cell that everyone had money on to happen. In fact, the whole Ubisoft E3 2019 show wasn’t as deep as previous conferences, but at the end of the day, there is one game that has me very excited for the future – Watch Dogs: Legions.
Is 2020 here yet?