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Ubisoft E3 2015 Press Conference Recap

"Ubisoft return in 2015 with yet another all over the place press conference"
Ubisoft are generally known having bonkers E3 press conferences with excitable hosts as well as the occasional bizarre indulgence in musical numbers and even onstage laser fights. This year was a little shorter and sweeter than usual, but was no less outlandish than usual with Aisha Tyler reprising her presenting role once again, this time sporting a 'Girlwood' necklace.
Before anyone even jumped on stage they had the opening salvo of South Park: The Fractured, but Whole, a followup to 2014's hugely popular South Park: The Stick of Truth. This time, rather than gallivanting about in their wizard garb, the kids are in their super hero outfits. Perhaps indicative of a different gameplay style perhaps? Apparently this one is not developed by Obsidian but rather by Ubisoft San Francisco, which makes sense considering how busy Obsidian are right now with other projects.
Shortly after some faffing about a guy who looked distressingly like Rasputin hopped on stage to announce For Honora sword fighting game in the vein of War of the Roses that takes place across various eras. The demo they showed was 4v4 but with a big emphasis on tense and bloody 1v1 fights.
Then they barrelled through a couple of expansions for Ubisoft games from yesteryear. First up was an expansion for The Crew entitled Wild Run, and then the Trials Fusion expansion Awesome Level MAX which had an absolutely mental trailer with a cat riding a unicorn. Only at Ubisoft, folks.
Surprisingly enough this was followed up with some time devoted to Anno 2205, a series that doesn't usually get much time at Ubisoft's press conferences, which was given a CG trailer and a small sliver of gameplay. Now the city building franchise is heading into space, the final frontier etc etc. That one is heading to PC on November 3rd.
Ahhhhhh The Division. We've been hearing about this bugger for a while and, although we didn't see significantly more of it this year than we previously have, it does seem as close to release as it ever has. They showed off what seemed like a relatively routine bit of co-op questing gameplay in 'The Dark Zone' that devolved into straight up friend on friend betrayal near the end. Interesting stuff, and we also news of a simultaneous release on Xbox One, PS4 and PC on March 8, 2016 with a beta due later this year on Xbox One and PS4/PC at a later date.
Then it was time for Ubisoft's usual excursion into something tangentially videogame related.  Just Dance 2016 was announced for PlayStation 4, Wii U and Xbox One, with Ubisoft saying that you won't need a camera to play on those platforms if you don't have one. Instead, there'll be some sort of smartphone based motion controls. They also announced Just Dance Unlimited, a subscription-based streaming service that will bring you a steady streak of new music. Really though the true highlight of the segment was when Jason Derulo came on stage and sang for a bit. It seemed like he couldn't hear himself at all and was regularly going off-pitch. In all honesty it was a bit of a shitshow but you gotta admire 'em for trying.
After that ludicrousness came a shift to Rainbow Six: Siege. First up on the docket for this one was the reveal that Angela Bassett will be appearing as 'Six' (yes, that's really the character's name), the leader of Team Rainbow. Her eerily well-captured mocap performance was pretty impressive, her impromptu onstage interview with Aisha Tyler afterwards was less so.
Next we got a decent look at some more more multiplayer gameplay, specifically from the popular returning mode 'Terrorist Hunt' or 'Terrohunt' as they called it for whatever reason. The beta for the game will kick off on September 24th, a scant few weeks before it's full release on October 13th across Xbox One, Ps4 and PC.
A pleasant surprise followed that shooty business: Trackmania TurboTrackmania and the wider 'Mania' franchise has been a bit all over the place these last few years in terms of stratification, despite having some really great entries coming through. However this new game seems to be discarding all of that and taking things back to the basics that make Trackmania great: Fast as hell racing on insane tracks. It'll have procedurally generated tracks, which were demoed live onstage by two blokes with bitchin' beards and hats, and it's set for release on PS4, Xbox One and Windows PC this November.
Fans hoping for a deeper look at the upcoming Assassin's Creed Syndicate will have been disappointed by this press conference, as all we got was a CG trailer with some proper ol' Cockney ruffian Assassins roughing up various folk around victorian London. It was a gorgeous bit of cinematic work but you'd struggle to find anyone who would prefer it to an extended gameplay demonstration. Something that Ubisoft sneakily uploaded to Youtube after the conference has ended. The mind boggles.
All that remained was a rather half-hearted 'one more thing!' reveal. Although thankfully, the game itself was a lot more explosive than the way it's reveal was built up. Ghost Recon Wildlands is a new entry in the series that sees it switch away from it's more formal military roots to a new open-world style with a heavy emphasis on multiplayer co-op, a variety of ways to approach missions and plenty of cocaine. It was a suitably frenzied end to yet another batty Ubisoft press conference.


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