With recent announcements of new titles such as Assassin’s Creed Origins, Far Cry 5, South Park: The Fractured but Whole and The Crew 2, what surprises could Ubisoft possibly have up their sleeves for us at their E3 press conference?
Ubi’s CEO guy Yves Guillemot popped onstage and proceedings were underway, unveiling possibly the worst kept secret of this year’s E3 – Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle.
Yes, it's the Mario/Rabbids collision that we expected, and when its official announcement gives us a chance to bask in the presence of Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto we’re super-happy. We’re also super-happy to know that the game is due out on August 29.
When the idea for the Switch-exclusive game was first mooted, Miyamoto claims that he had one condition: “Whatever you do, don’t make a platformer. Try to make a Mario game that has never been made before.”
As such, Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle will be delivering a crazed strategic tower defence-type dealie that’s set in the Mushroom Kingdom, after the Rabbids’ arrival kind of messed all sorts of things up. With Rabbids cosplaying as Peach and Luigi and some literal toilet humour, this looks like it will be a lot of fun. BWAH!
Now it’s time to flesh out a few of those titles that we were definitely expecting to hear more about.
First up is Assassin’s Creed Origins, with game director Ashraf Ismail conducting proceedings. Ubisoft wanted to celebrate the franchise’s 10-year anniversary in style, so have gone back to the beginning. This means Ancient Egypt, complete with all the camels, sand and pointy buildings that you could ever crave. It’s set to hit PS4 and Xbox One on October 27.
Next, we have The Crew 2. An impressive trailer shows off what’s new – notably that we go beyond mere roads this time. Yes, it’s planes, tra- erm, boats and automobiles, and it looks pretty smart. Judge for yourself...
South Park: The Fractured but Whole is next, which we are SO hanging out for. October 17 is the day for Matt and Trey’s assault on all things super and heroic, and we got a further peek into the game’s potty-mouthed world (Yes, there’s a severe language warning on this one...)
What have we missed? Oh yes, Far Cry 5. Everybody knows by now that it’s set in Hope County, Montana, which has become a hotbed of cult activity. What we didn’t know was what the gameplay looks like, but now we do thanks to a short but exciting snippet.
In other familiar IP news, Steep will receive a five rings-themed expansion in Road to the Olympics, while there will be a Just Dance 2018 (of course). See a happy panda get down to Boney M’s Daddy Cool! Other artists will include Ariana Grande, Beyoncé, Bruno Mars, Shakira and Japanese vocaloid star Hatsune Miku.
Next up is what looks to be a really intriguing – and really creepy - new experience in Transference. Set for release early in 2018 on PSVR, HTC Vive and Oculus – along with non-VR versions for PS4, Xbox One and PC – it’s a psychological thriller involving obsession and digitally recreated memories.
That’s not the only new IP that was announced, however. While other companies abandon the ‘toys to life’ space, Ubi are entering it with Starlink: Battle for Atlas. Spaceships! Spaceships! SPACESHIPS!!! Yes, no cutesy characters here, we’re talking customisable physical toy – and digitally downloadable – spaceships, in a vast space exploratory evil robot shooter that’s due on PS4, Xbox One and Switch.
Not enough new IP for you? Well, maybe a life on the high seas getting your pirate on will satisfy you? It’s called Skull & Bones, and promises the “ultimate pirate experience” as you aim to become the toppermost pirate of them all. Go solo or form a pirate gang with friends and conquer the Indian Ocean, gathering as much loot as you can on the way, of course!
Wrapping up the show this year was the long-awaited return of an old friend. Action puzzler adventure Beyond Good & Evil is finally receiving a sequel, succinctly named Beyond Good & Evil 2. Yay! It’s kind of like The Fifth Element with humans and monkey and pig people... but not. It’s actually going all prequel on us, set before the birth of the original game’s protagonist, Jade. Get excited!
So, there was something for everybody from Ubisoft at this year’s E3, and a few unexpected surprises to boot. We’ve got a busy year ahead of us!