I’ll just say it: Ubisoft is a good publisher to me. The company often gets a stink eye from some because of business practices or game design philosophies, but I think they’ve had great software output over the last couple of generations and they’ve been home to some cherished games of mine. While there have certainly been missteps along the way, I feel they deserve some kudos for being consistent at putting out quite a bit of quality content this generation.
This E3 marks another milestone in their book and I’m expecting some good things. There will likely a decent amount of content updates to some titles as more and more of their games are qualifying as “games as a service” experiences. I’m willing to bet we’ll see DLC or expansions to several games including Ghost: Recon Wildlands, The Division, For Honor, Steep and perhaps Rainbow Six: Siege. Ubisoft isn’t one to let their games be one and done experiences anymore. Therefore, added content for Wildlands is inevitable given its status as the best selling title so far this year. I’m not sure what form that will take as I haven’t picked it up yet myself (I plan on changing that soon). It may be too early since it only recently launched back in March, but I have a feeling they’ve been busy on additional support prior to that.
The Division is getting more expansions and updates into its ‘year two’ as confirmed by creative director Julian Gerighty earlier this year. I’m definitely anticipating something new on that front. While I fell out of The Division fever not too long after launch, I will say I’m impressed at the level of support and dedication Ubisoft Massive has afforded the title. They’ve continuously tried addressing feedback and reworking issues that players have with the game. With the “Last Stand” DLC recently launched back in February, it’s about time for more content.
For Honor is another one of this year’s biggest sales drivers. Like Ghost Recon, I haven’t had the chance to play it just yet. I think the game’s premise and gameplay mechanics are quite attractive so it’s once again another title I plan on picking up soon. I’m betting we’ll see additional updates in the form of DLC just as The Division and Ghost Recon before it. In fact, might as well paint Steep and Rainbow Six with the same brush. I’m expecting quick looks at new content for everything.
Of course, you can’t pad out a conference with expansions of already released games. People want to know what’s coming! Let’s reel in the big fish already: Assassin’s Creed. I think we’ll get a substantial showing from their signature franchise in the way of a gameplay demonstration and official release date. With a 2015 release for Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate, Ubisoft has taken some time off from the series. I feel this was a wise move as many felt the series was beginning to stagnate in terms of mechanics and new ideas.
I’ve personally always been a fan since the original game’s debut back in 2007. As a semi history buff, seeing historical arenas like Rome, Jerusalem, Constantinople, 1770’s America and so on always excited me. Putting aside a bit of formulaic design, each game feels distinct in their locale detail and story angles. Assassin’s Creed II felt like a significant boost in terms of production value and in fleshing out the IP’s potential and I’m hoping we see that here. Thanks to recent leaks and rumors, we understand the new game is most likely taking place in ancient Egypt and titled Assassin’s Creed: Origins. Those rumors also point towards the game undergoing a sort of soft reboot for the franchise targeting improved player progression, a more freeform combat system and inspiration from series like The Witcher. The game’s also being mostly handled by the Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag team which created one of my favorite games in the IP. So it’s all a tantalizing prospect and one I sincerely hope the studio is able to pull off. I’m more than ready to jump back in.
With the big fish out of the way, what else could be in store? Well there’s definitely more. A new trailer from South Park: The Fractured But Whole is all but to be expected I’m sure. With a [hopefully final] release date of October 17th, 2017, the game is actually nearing completion. I’ll also admit I didn’t quite expect a sequel to The Crew. The original game’s beta was my only exposure to the IP and I wasn’t a big fan. That being said I commend Ubisoft for trying to tackle the racing genre and I think the end result was a decent one. It was a successful venture for the publisher both in terms of overall fan reception and financial revenue. So building off of that, The Crew 2 was officially confirmed via a recent investor call. I’m assuming we’ll get a debut trailer that reveals (or teases) the game’s location, new vehicles and new storyline.
Another of Ubisoft’s staple series is Far Cry. Thanks to an official reveal trailer just this past Friday, we know Far Cry 5 takes place in good ol’ Montana, USA. Set in fictional Hope County, we play a junior deputy tasked with taking on a crazy religious cult. That immediately captured my attention. In a series first, we’ll be allowed to pick our gender and skin color and play through the entire campaign with a friend in co-op. I’m anticipating a nice, thorough gameplay demonstration showcasing new mechanics and that crazy combat we’ve come to expect from the franchise. I’ve enjoyed every Far Cry game that I’ve played personally so I’m fairly excited to see this new take on the IP.
Ubisoft’s also been great at bringing smaller titles to market with games like Grow Up, Valiant Hearts and Child of Light. I really hope that continues this year and we see something that can spark our imagination in ways larger, more high production titles can’t.
In terms of far future releases, Ubisoft confirmed the development of four major AAA titles for their 2019 fiscal year. That’s the span of April 2018 to April 2019. Now, from what history shows us, Ubisoft almost always has a game up their sleeve ready to capture fan attention. We can scratch off Beyond Good and Evil 2 seeing as its creator Michel Ancel confirmed a no show at the venue.
Watch Dogs dazzled the public with its initial debut in 2012. Games like The Division, Rainbow Six: Siege and Ghost Recon: Wildlands followed the trend in the succeeding years. What could they possibly showcase this time? Perhaps the rumored new, AAA pirate IP talked about in some online circles? A new Rayman or Call of Juarez? There’s a lot of possibilities and I’m pumped to see what they bring.
Before I go, can I just talk about a dream announcement? It’s been so long since the last Splinter Cell. Almost four years. I understand that doesn’t seem very long but damn is it a great series that I’ve sorely missed. The original three games were some of my most replayed experiences on the original Xbox. I went on to also love Double Agent, Conviction and Blacklist. It’s important to understand Ubisoft’s new multiplayer focused direction in all of this. Splinter Cell: Blacklist, while successful, wasn’t a massive seller. It’ll take time and finesse to properly bring back and re-establish the franchise and that’s time I’m more than willing to give. I miss you Sam Fisher. Hope to see you soon.