Sony's conference has just barely wrapped, but already E3 Media & Business Summit attendees are rushing from the Shrine back to the Los Angeles Convention Center for the next press event. Specifically, French publisher Ubisoft is looking to continue this, the first day of the show.
How, exactly, Ubisoft plans to wow audiences is a bit of a mystery, considering the publisher just recently held a massive press event in France, UbiDays. As part of that May gathering, the publisher rolled out Shaun White's Snowboarding, Rayman Raving Rabbids TV Party, a reboot to its Prince of Persia franchise, and new looks at a number of its other titles, including Tom Clancy's EndWar.
Be that as it may, Ubisoft has dimmed the lights, donned its berets, and taken the stage.
[2:27] It's Ubisoft's turn to take the stage at this year's E3, and journalists and other attendees are starting file into one of the larger meeting rooms at the LACC.
[2:28] Pop rock cranks out of the sound system. There seems to be an equal mix of suits and shorts in the audience.
[2:29] A disembodied voice urges attendees to scoot toward the aisles, as Ubi is expecting a capacity crowd.
[2:30] It's 2:30...are we going to start or what? Ubi responds with more pop rock.
[2:31] Blackberrys, cell phones, iPhones, any mobile device, please turn it off for everyone's listening enjoyment," yet the music continues.
[2:33] Attendees continue to file in, but it looks like they are having issues finding an available seat. Floor space may soon become a hot commodity.
[2:35] Ushers have stepped in to herd the crowd. People are being prevented from coming inside. Any fire chiefs looking to make a name for themselves may want to check into room 403 at the LACC.
[2:36] And the announcer comes back on for one final reminder...hey, everybody, cell phones off! "We'll be starting momentarily."
[2:39] Not much to report, folks. The crowd is boisterous, the music is awful, and Ubi has yet to take the stage. The doors have been shut, however.
[2:41] Like an overflowing parking lot, LACC facilities staff have begun tacking on chairs wherever they see fit. The ushers are widely querying folks in the audience whether the empty seats next to them are available. Scoot in, folks, and lets get on with it!
[2:44] The lights dim, and here we go! A trailer rolls onscreen. It looks to be traversing an African savannah. NA president Laurent Detoc takes the stage. "This is our best lineup ever, I know it gets old to say."
[2:45] Rayman Raving Rabbids TV Party leads the show. Detoc plants his derriere on the Wii Balance Board to show off the snow slalom minigame where a rabbid rides a wildebeest.
[2:45] "In multiplayer mode, your friends will be throwing snowballs."
[2:46] Detoc seems both confused and excited as he attempts to multitask playing the game and explaining what on earth the rabbids are doing.
[2:46] It is coming out in November on the Wii and DS.
[2:47] Now, a trailer for the game we just saw as actual gameplay footage! The rabbids are, not unexpectedly, still insane. Family members gather in the living room to share in their infectious mental disorder.
[2:49] "Rayman personifies what we stand for at Ubisoft. We build, we spend time, and we nurture." The first Rayman launched in 1995.
[2:50] On to Brothers in Arms: Hell's Highway from Gearbox. It is coming out in September, and Detoc calls for a "refresher trailer" roll. And so it does.
[2:50] "I've seen young boys turned into soldiers. I've seen men ripped apart by bullets."
[2:51] Hell's Highway has a very Saving Private Ryan feel, gritty, desperate, and intense.
[2:53] Tom Clancy is the next "authentic" franchise Detoc wants to talk about next. Remember, Ubisoft just bought not too long ago the Tom Clancy brand in full from the man himself.
[2:54] "We built a CGI studio in Montreal. We bought a company also in the CGI space a week ago." Detoc reiterates the publisher's goal of taking the Tom Clancy brand to multimedia. No movie announcement, though.
[2:55] Apparently, Detoc just wanted to emphasize Ubisoft's leadership role in creativity, innovation, and technology...and bring up voice-control commands in EndWar again.
[2:55] Young boys barely out of their swaddling cloths command armies in the trailer.
[2:56] The next title is Far Cry 2. "We want to take new technology, and apply it to an old genre... We see this as FPS 2.0."
[2:58] Roll Far Cry 2 trailer. New Wave music accompanies a bleach-bypassed-looking footage reel, highly stylized, as a boat makes its way down the...Congo, maybe?
[2:58] Explosions, crawling fire, beautiful vistas, yeah, check out GameSpot's coverage of this game if you haven't already.
[2:59] "We think a lot of FPSs will be done this way going forward."
[2:59] Clint Hocking, creative director, takes the stage with Jonathan Morin, level designer.
[3:00] "You're able to play this game how you want, without fear of being overwhelmed by having too much choice." They start up a live gameplay demonstration.
[3:00] "Today, we're going to show you how to play in more of a stealthy way."
[3:01] After manually sleeping, the in-game character reemerges from his shanty under the cover of night. Equipped with a dart rifle that is silenced. He's got some IEDs for punchy, remote detonation, "but we're going to try to keep things subtle this time."
[3:02] Shows off the game's 50km open world, by way of a zoom-friendly map.
[3:03] The map can be updated with info on health kits or enemy locations. Morin uses his sniper rifle to spot sentries--Hi, sentry!--and tranquilize them--Bye, sentry!
[3:04] Oops, looks like that wasn't as sneaky as it would have seemed. Morin aggravates the camp, and flees. Gunfire and massive explosions trail in his wake. Run away!
[3:05] Frank, an in-game character, phones the player, not unlike in GTAIV, and provides a status update.
[3:05] "Thanks, we'll be launching this fall on 360, PS3, and PC, all simultaneous launch."
[3:05] Senior VP of sales and marketing takes the stage, Tony Key!
[3:06] "I'm going to take you in a different direction, we're going to talk about the tween market." The crowd chuckles.
[3:06] Six of the top 10 third-party DS games are tween-girl-centric. Ubi tops the list with Imagine, and Petz is number three.
[3:07] "Lets talk about what's happening with Petz this year." Yes, Tony, a video would help explain.
[3:08] A talking puppy and kitten roll out onscreen. Yeah...
[3:08] Oddly, a monkey also appears, but is merely able to squawk.
[3:09] Today we're announcing that Petz plushies will be available at retail. A code on the back unlocks a playable character in the games.
[3:10] Dogs, Catz, and Horsez, all coming back to the DS, as well as Monkeyz. There are probably a few "z"s missing from this post.
[3:11] Imagine trailer rolls. Are any tween girls out there? Who is looking for these updates, please raise your hand.
[3:12] Fashion Designer, rock star, teacher, wedding designer, movie star, etc. We're also bringing Imagine to the Wii this year. Key has gone full self-deprecating. He is totally stoked.
[3:13] Girls are coming into the gaming market in droves, so Ubi is creating a new brand. It sounds like it will be sports based.
[3:13] "Girls are interested in sports, but they want their sports, and they want it their way."
[3:14] We see cheerleading, soccer, gymnastics, horse-riding, dance, synchronized swimming. "It's about Ener-G."
[3:15] Coming this holiday, Ener-G Adventure Riders, Dance Squad, and Gym Rockets.
[3:15] Hey, and we're back. Shaun White Snowboarding is up next.
[3:16] Shaun White Snowboarding producer Louis Le Marche takes the stage, along with Philippe Morrin and Scott Mitchell.
[3:16] "We are bringing you a seamless experience, and we want you to stand out."
[3:17] Standing out involves street cred, money, and gear. Well, in this case, snow cred.
[3:17] As you wait for a map to load, you can practice in a half pipe.
[3:18] "Our environments are massive," so Ubisoft again returned with a map that can be marked.
[3:18] Two players head down the mountain, presumably controlled by Morrin and Mitchell.
[3:19] Winning will give you reputation. It's all about building reputation, and you'll always be with your friends when you're on the mountain.
[3:23] Shaun White takes the stage!
[3:24] He gives the developers a few tips on how to not fail so badly, and then he's gone!
[3:24] And now Key's back, and he seems to once again be excited.
[3:24] And rightly so...up comes a trailer for the new Prince of Persia.
[3:25] The trailer looks slick, the prince is doing what he does best, leaping from unsafe heights to heights all the more unsafe. A little bit of teamwork is shown with the series' new female protagonist, whose name eludes me.
[3:26] Lots of beautiful landscapes and scenery. The game looks bright, vibrant, and colorful, but the combat is still in full effect.
[3:27] POP producer Ben Mattes takes the stage with lead combat designer Thomas Delbuguet.
[3:27] Keep the basic Prince of Persia blueprint, but everything else, do whatever you want.
[3:28] We're introducing an all-new Prince, in an all-new world.
[3:29] Elika! That's her name...err, hopefully that spelling is right. Elika is there to support the Prince, and she should never get in the way, says Mattes, as he launches into a gameplay demonstration. She is there to make a pretty fantastic action hero that much cooler, he says.
[3:29] "Prince of Persia is no longer a linear game."
[3:29] Depending on the path you take, the game will evolve differently.
[3:31] Combat is shown, and it looks intense. It is significantly different than the hordes of monsters from previous games. It looks more like a duel, where you trade blows. Elika jumps in to perform collaborative, team attacks.
[3:32] After defeating the bosslike character, said boss flees and the Prince gives chase, using what looks like a fancy version of the springboards from previous games.
[3:33] You see a lot of the same types of timing puzzles while you wall-jump and hang from poles and precipices. It looks very much the Prince of old, but the visual style looks to give it a different feel. The acrobatics are also collaborative, where the Prince is both aided and gives aid to Elika.
[3:34] Rather than falling and dying, they introduce the "Save Me" system. If you miss a jump Elika will do something crazy to haul your uncoordinated butt back to safety. There are no death screens or continue screens as such.
[3:35] The Prince takes on a sarcastic personality in a brief conversation. Elika is all intense, seriousness. Imagine that, a sarcastic hero.
[3:36] The artistic direction has a truly distinctive look. That's not cel-shaded, stupid. It's "illustrative!" The vista shown displays vibrant colors, a far draw distance, lots of particle effects.
[3:37] And with that, Mattes wraps up the POP exhibition. And Key is back.
[3:38] Today, Ubi is announcing a new brand that we hope will shake up the gaming industry.
[3:38] Roll trailer for I Am Alive!
[3:38] A man is being chased through a desolate city. The chasers say, "Come on Adam, you know what we want!" The man throws a bottle of water on the ground, and the chasers dive for it, and crash through a pane of glass through the floor.
[3:39] ...Six days earlier, and we see a city that looks a lot like a normal, bustling metropolis. Whoa, a massive crack surfaces in the street, and cloud of dust envelopes the city. The hero, who was just speaking on the cell phone, is caught up in the midst of it.
[3:40] And that's it from Ubisoft's press conference at this year's E3. We'll see if we can't get some more info from Ubi about that intense-looking game!