E3 2017: Ubisoft Briefing

Ubisoft has a reputation for bringing the weird at E3. Their press conferences have a certain je ne sais quoi and that’s not just because of their deeply rooted French history.

This year the weird was definitely still there but it was punctuated with new IP, solid progressions in existing franchises and of course the latest iteration of their money churner, Assassin’s Creed.

They didn’t waste any time getting to the good stuff either, after the pleasantries and introductions by Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot he was joined on stage by none other than Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto to announce a new Ubisoft developed Mario title, Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle.

In development for over three years the new title is a Switch exclusive where Ubisoft’s Raving Rabbids have invaded the Mushroom Kingdom. Mario and the usual cast of Mushroom characters, Princess Peach, Yoshi, Lugui along with a few Rabbid cosplayers set off to set things right and restore the world to its natural state.

A turn based action RPG many have compared the new game to XCOM, with an adorable twist. Players freely move about the upturned world until engaging in a battle. From there their movements are confined to a specific area which dictates how your party of three characters can enforce a melee attack or take cover. Players can also use movement combos to jump off one another, which in turn expands their movement area. Each character also has its own special abilities such as Mario’s who can attack at any point after an enemy moves. Weapons, abilities, characters and combos will be expanded as the game continues.

Excitingly, especially for Switch owners who are begging for something new to play, Mario + Rabbids will be available August 29th, this year.


 

Of course Assassin’s Creed Origins got its time in the sun and we get to see an extended trailer that was captured in-game at 4K on an Xbox One X. The new footage did a lot to show off what appeared to be pretty “last gen” (in my opinion) showing at Microsoft’s briefing yesterday. It’s still Assasin’s Creed though… are you ready for another one after just a year off? I guess we’ll find out October 29th.

Continuing the theme of Assasin’s Creed, comes a new IP from Ubisoft Singapore called Skull & Bones. A pirate naval combat simulator the game was literally born from the one new system added to Assasin’s Creed in recent years.

The new title’s gameplay was shown off in a 5v5 “loot hunt” mode. It highlighted the different ship classes used for long and short range engagements, with features such as battering rams and long range weaponry. The game was also shown to include a ship boarding component for close combat however it appeared to be scripted instead of allowing you to control a character in hand to hand combat. Skull & Bones is expected to ship in Fall (Australian Spring) 2018.


 

Another new IP shown is a new “toys to life” title called ”StarLink: Battle for Atlas”. In it each player will be able to customise their own spaceship and its load outs via physical changes to your spaceship that affect it in game. Think Lego Dimensions, Skylanders or Disney Infinity.

The physical ships weren’t exactly small either, the thing dwarfed a PS4 and Switch JoyCon controller that it sat atop in the gameplay demo. Solid pass on that thanks.

The game is coming out Fall 2018 (Australian Spring) and will be available on Xbox, PS4 and Nintendo Switch.


 

The Crew 2 was also announced, expanded to include pretty much every motorsport known to man. From street racing with all the usual bells and whistles of car tuning, drifting and street-courses to off-road racing, be it on a dirt bike or in an all terrain vehicle through gorgeously rendered wilderness. Jet boat racing on the ocean and through narrow rivers to the skies in what looks to be an Ubisoft take on Red Bull’s defunct Air Racing series.

It looks to be set across major cities in the USA, with your typical smattering of US landmarks like the Golden Gate Bridge and Statue of Liberty shown. I’d expect it to similar to a Forza Horizon 3 setup with a mini-hybrid version of the country in a semi-open world.

No specific date or even quarter set for The Crew 2’s release, we only know it’s coming in 2018.


 

Also shown were new trailers for the soon to be released South Park: The Fractured But Whole, Far Cry 5 – which looks incredibly solid and may get me back to the franchise again and a new, odd-ball VR experience based around PTSD and produced by Elijah Wood’s studio called Transference. Oh and Just Dance, lets not forget that.


 

But the story of the show, for better or for worse, was its ending unveiling Beyond Good & Evil 2.

It’s been nearly 15 years since the original came out, which gives everyone hope that Half Life 3 is still coming right? And while there was absolutely no mention of a release date (or even year) you can beat its a long way off still.

The only real piece of information we got, along with a gorgeously rendered full CGI trailer, was that the game would in fact be a prequel to the original. A fact that has many up in arms and feel to the new game’s determent not including fan favourite Jade.

Reckoner had its humble beginnings way back in June of 2013.

Founded by James Croft, along with Peter Wells and Anthony Agius they created what would go on to become one of Australia’s most highly regarded and award winning independent tech blogs.

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