E3 Show Daily
Ubisoft Raises the Roof
Ubisoft Entertainment kicked off its E3 2016 press event with an ensemble dance number, announcing that the latest in its kinetic rhythm franchise, Just Dance 2017, arrives on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC in October (as well as the Nintendo NX console, at a later date). Just Dance 2017 will continue bringing popular songs and choreography to players of all skill levels, allowing them to learn dance moves step-by-step and compete against, or alongside, their friends.
Emceed by comedian Aisha Tyler, the Ubisoft event went full-throttle with new gameplay footage from Ghost Recon: Wildlands, a cooperative, open-world, military-themed title that Ubisoft says is the first of its kind. Set in an alternate-history Bolivia which has been completely taken over by Mexican cartels and used as a massive drug production facility, Wildlands puts players in the shoes of elite spec-ops forces behind enemy lines. It is up to players and their allies to take down the cartel and free the Bolivian people, but gamers choose their own strategies and tactics. Wildlands will feature the largest action-adventure open world setting that Ubisoft has ever created, and will allow enormous amounts of player choice amidst plenty of action, driving, and hand-to-hand combat. Ghost Recon Wildlands releases March 7, 2017 for Xbox One, PS4, and PC.
South Park: The Fractured But Whole, the sequel to 2014’s South Park: The Stick of Truth, releases on December 6 for the same platforms. Helmed once again by South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, The Fractured But Whole picks up where the previous game left off, and features the famous characters from the television show—including Stan, Kyle, Kenny, and Cartman, along with the player’s own silent protagonist, the “New Kid.” While still a comedy role-playing game, the theme of The Fractured But Whole is superheroes and comic books, rather than high fantasy as in The Stick of Truth. The game features a robust character creation system, a significantly upgraded combat system that includes tactical movement and cover, and a large amount of South Park’s trademark off-color humor. Ubisoft also announced that anyone pre-ordering The Fractured But Whole will receive The Stick of Truth for free.
Ubisoft then announced three new expansion packs for its spring hit, Tom Clancy’s The Division. The first of these, Underground, comes out June 28 for Xbox One and PC, and August 2 for PS4. The second, Survival—which introduces a completely new way of playing the game—is also coming soon, though Ubisoft did not announce a specific release date. Finally, The Last Stand will come after Survival.
Next up, Ubisoft showed off Eagle Flight, a virtual reality (VR), capture-the-flag game simulating the flight of a raptor, played on the Oculus Rift. Available for play at either the Ubisoft or Oculus booths on the E3 show floor, Eagle Flight pits two teams of eagles against each another as they race across the landmarks of a virtual Paris, attempting to snag a rabbit and bring it home to their team’s respective nest.
Pressing even further into VR, Ubisoft announced Star Trek Bridge Crew, which simulates the experience of being a crew member on the USS Aegis, a ship in the Star Trek universe’s Starfleet. Players can take on the role of ship’s captain, helmsman, engineer, or tactical officer—who must all work together, in a completely realistic virtual environment, to overcome the game’s challenges and accomplish their missions.
Following this, Ubisoft revealed some exciting news about its upcoming action title, For Honor. The first was the announcement of the game’s new single-player campaign, which pits knights, samurai, and Vikings against each other in a never-ending war spurred on by a mysterious figure. Ubisoft also showcased For Honor’s “Art of Battle” combat system, which rewards meticulous, tactical approaches to single combat. For Honor’s official release date is February 14, 2017, for PC, PS4, and Xbox One—and E3 attendees can try the game out right now at Ubisoft’s booth.
Grow Up and Trials of the Blood Dragon demonstrated Ubisoft’s continuing commitment to unique gaming experiences. Grow Up continues the adventures of the childlike robot from Grow Home, expanding his playground to the size of an entire planet, and even letting him travel to the moon. It is coming to PS4, Xbox One, and PC soon. Out now for those same platforms is the 2D motorcycle racing and platforming action title Trials of the Blood Dragon, which combines the fast-paced, easy-to-pickup motorcycle racing of Trials with the bizarre, 1980s aesthetic of Far Cry: Blood Dragon.
A gameplay presentation for Watch Dogs 2—sequel to the wildly successful Watch Dogs—expanded on the first game’s open-world gameplay and intense hacking. Watch Dogs 2 is set in San Francisco, where players can take on challenges throughout the city on their own, or using the game’s seamless cooperative gameplay options. Emphasizing hacking, along with a healthy proportion of combat, stealth, and parkour, Watch Dogs 2 challenges players to use their wits as well as their trigger fingers, and releases on November 15. Thanks to Ubisoft’s continuing partnership with Sony on the title, PS4 Watch Dogs 2 players will get access to all downloadable content a full 30 days earlier than players on the PC or Xbox One.
Ubisoft closed the show with an all-new property, Steep. Based on the culture of extreme sports, and set on the mountains of the French Alps, Steep allows players to ski, snowboard, paraglide, wingsuit, and generally binge on adrenaline, as they explore a completely open world. Built to allow easy sharing of custom challenges and videos, and emphasizing cooperative gameplay, Steep is a new type of experience for gamers, and will be available in December for Xbox One, PS4, and PC.
Thirty years in the video games business is an achievement that few companies can match, but even fewer can say that they have contributed the sheer number of quality, genre-defining titles as Ubisoft.