Ubisoft E3 2014 Press Conference – All About Assassins, Gunfights, and Workouts

Ubisoft E3 Media Briefing 2014

In the closing hours of the first day of the annual Electronic Entertainment Expo, gamers were no doubt already feeling that they were at the limit of their hype. With heavyweights like Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo filling up the day’s schedule, it might seem at first that publisher and developer Ubisoft wouldn’t make so much of a splash compared to the big kids in the yard.

They definitively proved otherwise, however, in their action-packed, hour-long press conference.

Far Cry 4

Ubisoft wasted no time at all in getting to the good stuff: their press conference opened up not with a long-winded announcement, but a simple, heart-throbbing teaser trailer for Far Cry 4, the latest in Ubisoft Montreal’s anarchic, open-world series of first-person shooter games.

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Ubisoft E3 (Far Cry 4)The trailer shows an idyllic Himalayan landscape, shown peacefully through the eyes of the player character on a bus ride into the snow-capped mountains. All that is thrown away though when a gunfight begins and the player barely escapes – only to meet the apparent villain of the story, arriving in classy style on a helicopter, proceeding to stab one of his own men and take a friendly selfie with the player.

An ordinary game this certainly is not, as the trailer shows, and it ends there, with Ubisoft seeming to keep Far Cry 4 mostly secretive… not for too long, hopefully.

Dan Hay, creative director of the game, greeted the crowds when the trailer was done, announcing the release date of Far Cry 4: November 18th, 2014. Mark that one down on your calendars. He promised much more info to come in the future, and departed.

 

Just Dance 2015

After the excitement of Far Cry 4, host Aisha Tyler, known for her roles in the television shows Archer and CSI, came onstage to a mass of applause. She segued into the premiere of Just Dance 2015, with a trailer focusing on the newest, most fundamental part of the new instalment in the rhythm series – besides the dancing, of course.

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Ubisoft E3 (Just Dance 2015)Just Dance 2015 will include a feature called Just Dance Now for mobile devices, allowing Just Dance players to play the game, or join an existing game, just about anywhere, vastly enhancing the multiplayer aspect of the series. In addition, there is also the option to create a Community Remix, replacing the regular in-game music videos with videos of the players themselves dancing to the song, something that can even be shared socially with millions of other players.

Executive producer Jason Altman was onstage after the trailer to explain Just Dance Now, saying that it is an app that can be downloaded onto any mobile device; after downloading the app and syncing the device to the Just Dance 2015 website, users can play the game almost anywhere with any number of fellow players, just with the app and a main screen that everyone can see; everyone is connected to one game through the app, allowing for a massive multiplayer experience, with no one getting left out.

Just Dance 2015 is slated for an October 24 2014 release in the UK for PS3, PS4, Wii, Wii U, Xbox 360 and Xbox One – just about anyone will be able to play the game.

 

Tom Clancy’s The Division

Though not a new showing at the press conference, Tom Clancy’s The Division made an appearance, showcased by producer Petter Mannerfelt.

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Ubisoft E3 (Tom Clancy's The Division)Taking place in an apocalyptic New York City of the future, which has been ravaged by a mysterious pandemic, millions are dying and the survivors are being divided into numerous opposed factions. The haunting trailer presented at E3 displayed a city in absolute chaos, mixing the harsh cold of winter with the bloody violence of the apocalypse.

The trailer showed individual scenes of tragedy, then a group of survivors, banding together to help one another, about to get into a tense, life-or-death gunfight with another group – but just then, the survivors are interrupted by the arrival of masked soldiers in hazmat suits wielding flamethrowers, clearly not intending to be friendly to anyone in their vicinity.

Nothing more was said about the game itself (more was covered in Microsoft’s presentation), but the trailer ended with ‘Coming 2015’ – an implication that more news on Tom Clancy’s The Division will likely come later this year.

 

The Crew

Already known since 2013, Ubisoft went ahead to show more of their groundbreaking racing game The Crew, featuring a completely open world and complete customisable experience.

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In case that didn’t seem like a huge boast to begin with, creative director Julian Gerighty stated that The Crew will feature a massively multiplayer experience taking place across the entirety of the USA – a perfectly detailed map with precisely zero loading screens, and player-directed missions taking place across this unbelievably huge map. Everywhere from the East Coast to the West Coast will be open to players; Ubisoft has a number of members of the community across the world playing and testing the game in order to make it the best experience possible.

The Crew will release November 11th worldwide on PC, Xbox One and PS4.

 

Assassin’s Creed: Unity

Next followed Alex Amancio, creative director of Assassin’s Creed: Unity, the latest game in Ubisoft’s famous historical stealth/action series. He introduced the setting – France in the throes of the bloody French Revolution – and then let a beautiful CG trailer say the rest.

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Ubisoft E3 (Assassin's Creed Unity)The trailer showcased an eagle soaring over 18th century Paris, as mobs of revolutionaries overtook the city. Then they were joined by Assassins in the shadows, sneaking around to aid the revolution as peasants armed with pitchforks stormed the Bastille, slaughtering the French guards while a total of four assassins – rather than the series’ usual one – descended and take down the rest of the guards from within.

Dominic Butler, lead level designer for Assassin’s Creed: Unity, then played through a gameplay demo, showing off not only the usual stealth, combat and freerunning aspects of the game, but also some new features: many more unique missions than the series has seen before, massive crowds of people typical of urban Paris, and biggest of all, the option for up to four players to play the game cooperatively.

The updated gameplay and graphics look more fluid and detailed than ever before, and so this latest Assassin’s Creed is likely to be a huge hit. It’s scheduled for release October 28th 2014, for PC, PS4, and Xbox One.

 

Shape Up

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From intense historical action to cheerful workout action, Shape Up was presented by creative director Charles Huteau, as a new fitness game. Deliberately styled as fun and competitive rather than bland and self-directed, Shape Up is intended to make working out fun with entertaining games, like ones involving running on a train, punching asteroids and dancing on a giant piano.

Piano Step was demoed first, a cardio workout set to music. Though all the games in Shape Up are two-player, it was stated that all of them can be played against your own records, allowing it to work as a competitive, single-player experience.

Ubisoft E3 (Shape Up)Then, two Ubisoft employees, from America and France, competed in a push-up contest, with the in-game avatars of the players getting heavier and heavier weights on their backs the more push-ups they were able to do, all adding up to a colourful high score.

If lifting up a whale with your sheer strength or jumping in tune to Eye of the Tiger is what Ubisoft has in mind for a workout game, then maybe they’re onto something that could genuinely work for all types of gamers, coming to Xbox One in November.

 

Valiant Hearts: The Great War

Another thematic turnaround came with a feature on Valiant Hearts: The Great War, a more artistic project being done by Ubisoft Montpellier.

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It is inspired by the real letters of World War I veterans, partnered with the American documentary Apocalypse: World War One, presenting an honest and tragic view of the war in a puzzle adventure game. The story is centred around four strangers who enter the war and try to help a German soldier return to his love.

Promising to be an intensely emotional tale, Valiant Hearts: The Great War is set for a June 25th release on PC, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS3 and PS4, just three days before the 100th anniversary of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand.

 

Rainbow Six: Siege

To cap off this amazing show of new announcements and information on Ubisoft’s upcoming games, CEO and co-founder of the company, Yves Guillemot presented something that many fans have been waiting six whole years for.

Rainbow Six: Siege was announced alongside a detailed and intense multiplayer gameplay demo. Even for pre-alpha footage, the new Rainbow Six looks to be an exciting and challenging multiplayer experience, and is the first console or PC game in the series since Rainbow Six: Vegas 2 back in 2008.

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Ubisoft E3 (Rainbow Six)The demo showed a team of five players pitted against a team of five defenders, with both sides trying to control a hostage in order to win the match.

After having used a remote drone as a scout, the first team breaks into a fortified house while the clock is ticking, securing the all-important hostage and taking out much of the second team. Despite the first team’s apparent tactical and numerical advantage, the second team on the defence managed to make a comeback and win the match.

Featuring stealth, tactics, destructive environments and great visuals, Rainbow Six: Siege looks like it’s made the six year wait well worth it.

Coming out for PC, Xbox One and PS4 sometime in 2015, more information will hopefully surface soon as this old franchise gets a serious new entry. Compared to the usual Call of Duty or Battlefield, titles that might be getting stale for many gamers by now, Rainbow Six is back and it’s fresh, and it’s looking good.

 

There’s a lot left in E3, but after so much hype crammed into one short hour, it’ll be hard for what’s coming next to top this.

For more on Assassin’s Creed: Unity and Tom Clancy’s The Division, check out our recap of the Microsoft briefing, during which these games were also covered.

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