What's the skinny?
--Killer Freaks From Outer Space is now called Zombi U.
--Assassin's Creed III was shown off with a gameplay demo.
--Just Dance 4 comes out October 9
--Rayman Legends on Wii U will use the tablet controller to play Murphy, who can impact the environment to help Rayman progress.
--Rabbids Land, Sports Connection 2, and Assassin's Creed III are also on Ubi's Wii U slate.
--The new IP Watch Dogs will tackle themes of personal information and privacy in a connected world, in addition to letting players muck with stoplights to create massive pileups.
The full blow-by-blow:
LOS ANGELES--With Microsoft and EA down, it's time for Ubisoft to take center stage and present its E3 2012 wares at this year's trade show. The publisher has had a promising financial year, due in large part to a doubling of its digital and online sales, so don't be too shocked if the briefing has a few sales stats interspersed between the good bits.
On the software front, Ubisoft is expecting big things from its core gaming business. You can bet the publisher will show off its return to the shooter genre with more Far Cry 3 details, as well as more on its lucrative Assassin's Creed franchise, including the upcoming Assassin's Creed III, Assassin's Creed on iOS and Android and Assassin's Creed: Liberation for the PlayStation Vita.
Ubisoft may also take the opportunity to talk more about its future plans for the upcoming Wii U platform. The publisher was one of the biggest supporters of the Wii at launch, and has already committed to its successor with new games like Killer Freaks From Outer Space and Ghost Recon Online.
And of course, we're certain to see more about franchises like Rayman and Splinter Cell. This year, expect to see talk of Splinter Cell: Blacklist (officially unveiled at the Microsoft conference this morning) and Rayman Legends.
[2:47] Ubisoft is testing out some green laser thing on the audience now, a sign of what's to come (that is, green lasers)?
[2:48] Ubisoft knows how to keep an impatient crowd entertained. They've got Ubi trivia on display on the big screen.
[2:48] Example of Ubi trivia: "Name the protagonist of Assassin's Creed--a) Desmond Miles b) Miles Davis c) Darius Miles d) Aaron Miles."
[2:51] Ubisoft cruelly makes a trivia joke about Beyond Good and Evil. People sigh with disappointment.
[2:53] Discovered the green laser that "scans" audience members, and then Ubisoft pulls up their personal information on the big screen.
[2:54] Digging Ubisoft's mixtape: lounge, a touch of electronica, and no Gotye. Well, at least not yet.
[2:58] Here we go. The press conference is starting!
[3:00] Spotted: French people.
[3:04] By the way, this press conference is taking place inside LA Theatre, all French Rococo architecture, gilded cherubs, and red velvet seats. Classy!
[3:05] Here's hoping someone in a giant Rabbid costume hosts this year's show.
[3:05] We're starting people! Lights out, and it's… cheerleaders!
[3:06] It's a trailer and performance for Just Dance--sexy ladies getting down onstage.
[3:07] And we're kicking into a trailer for Just Dance , showing a bunch of people shaking their booties in the living room with the new Wii U controller.
[3:08] It looks like you can take the Wii U to another room in Puppet Master mode. Oh god, this thing is LOUD.
[3:08] People sure love dancing in their living rooms.
[3:09] Just Dance 4, coming October 9, 2012, on the Wii U.
[3:09] Oh and Flo Rida is on the stage!
[3:09] He's wearing denim and bling--did he check with his stylist before dressing today?
[3:09] Oh and his microphone is made of gold bling…of course.
[3:10] A man of few words…Flo Rida exits and Aisha Tyler takes the stage; looks like she'll be MCing today.
[3:11] Ubisoft has a roaming backstage reporter who will report to us when cool stuff goes down.
[3:12] Aisha says, "We're a little bit gay, all of us," talking about all the women in the audience checking out Ubisoft's hot dance girls.
[3:13] We're kicking into a Far Cry 3 segment, with lead game designer Jamie King on stage with Dan Hay, producer.
[3:13] Oh god, and we're starting the demo with what appears to be a very racy sex scene.
[3:13] And there is definite nipple touching. Seriously. I saw it.
[3:14] We're seeing some sort of tribal ritual, apparently.
[3:14] Now we're watching a gameplay demo, set on a tropical island.
[3:15] There's some underwater swimming, some stabbing, and expletives…you know, just the usual.
[3:16] After more stabbing of some island dudes, we see a bow and…oh wait, that didn't last long, because now we have an automatic weapon.
[3:17] We've broken into what appears to be a jungle hangout rebel camp compound, more shooting, more knifing in the throat (I think that's the theme here).
[3:18] Oh and a tiger, naturally. Just hanging out, you know, in the jungle.
[3:19] Oh wait, we've shot the tiger. So much for animal preservation. We're looking for Vaas. He's made us angry.
[3:20] We've been poisoned and are having some sort of insane fever dream.
[3:21] Turns out the lady who you were defiling in the beginning may have been Vaas' sister.
[3:22] Now we've moved on from the gameplay demo to a trailer showing some of Far Cry 3's environments, including an archipelago of islands which you'll explore.
[3:23] From island archipelago to Max Beland, the creative director of Splinter Cell: Blacklist is backstage with the Ubi backstage reporter telling him how excited he is about the game. The co-op from Conviction will make a return in Blacklist. We're going to watch the release trailer now.
[3:25] Titled Welcome to Fourth Echelon, the trailer shows Sam knifing some dudes while sneaking into a terrorist compound.
[3:25] And that's it from Sam.
[3:26] And now it's the Marvel Avengers game! Avengers: Battle for Earth Venom and Wolverine in a dark alley going at each other--the trailer has begun!
[3:28] Spider-Man, Magneto, and all of the Avengers show up at the end. The co-host asks if that was a Wii U logo he saw at the end of the trailer, which segues to Nintendo's new system.
[3:29] It's Wii U time! Michael Micholic, senior game manager for Rayman Legends, takes the stage.
[3:29] We're got a couple of dudes onstage with the Wii U and the just-confirmed new controllers playing a demo of Legends.
[3:30] New playable character: Murphy!
[3:31] The Wii U tablet is controlling Murphy; the dude playing is just using his finger to create combos for the character.
[3:31] You'll be able to play with up to five players on the Wii U (and you can use your Wii Remotes).
[3:32] You'll be able to play with up to five players on the Wii U (and you can use your Wii Remotes).
[3:33] They're playing in time with the surf guitar music!
[3:33] The Wii U player is hitting different beats in the level in time with the music.
[3:34] So, there's a rhythm game element to this? Or only some levels? We'll find out soon!
[3:34] So Aisha is back, and now we're on to something more serious: ZOMBIES.
[3:35] We are looking at a first-person survival horror, and it's apparently set in London.
[3:36] We're seeing nearly still images of horror and zombies feasting on people. And blood cells.
[3:36] Someone is singing "God Save the Queen."
[3:36] More images of destruction and people killing themselves in despair.
[3:37] Zombi U, exclusively for the Wii U!
[3:37] This used to be called Killer Freaks From Outer Space, but they changed the focus during development.
[3:38] No more details on that just yet. We're still on Wii U, and I think we're doing a show reel of what's coming.
[3:39] Rabbids Land, featuring tilting gameplay! YourShape, Sports Connection (featuring a dude playing on the toilet), Just Dance 4, Assassin's Creed III.
[3:39] OK, it's party time: we're moving to Assassin's Creed III.
[3:40] Once again, we're transported back to the battlefield of Colonial America.
[3:41] The trailer shows a lot of confused soldiers as our protagonist kicks the crap out of everyone with a tomahawk.
[3:41] And he's got a bow and arrow!
[3:42] George Washington looks on, unamused.
[3:42] Francois Pelland, producer of Assassin's Creed III, takes the stage to tell us more.
[3:43] The American Revolution was a key moment in the world's history, he tells us.
[3:43] Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, etc. will be present in the game.
[3:44] And now we're into a gameplay demo.
[3:45] We're running through a wintry forest in the year 1776 in New England. Our hero climbs some trees and shoots some deer, as you do.
[3:46] Connor happens upon a settlement of troops, looking for the medicine man. He trades the deer meat for medicine and quickly walks across the camp to look for his next objective.
[3:47] He heard about another quest about riding to the Fort to lead an assault, so we're on horseback now, riding through the forest.
[3:48] Our radar tells us enemies are afoot nearby, Connor dismounts and teaches some redcoats a lesson.
[3:49] We slide down some snowy hills, along some edges, a bit of platforming, and find ourselves near the Fort.
[3:51] Our mission updates to "assassinate the leader," and the demo ends with an earth-shattering finishing move.
[3:52] Templars will always be the enemy, Francois says. Apparently you'll be fighting dudes on both sides of the war. Cue another trailer, this time showing sunny pastures AND snow. Well, there you have it.
[3:53] Ubisoft is now talking about fast-growing gaming genres and introducing an e-sports effort.
[3:54] Apparently there's going to be a tournament onstage.
[3:55] Shootmania, a new first-person shooter tailored for the e-sports audience.
[3:57] Stephanie Harvey and Joe Miller are going to introduce our e-sports teams: Aisha and the Rocket Angels, made up of all CS champions (all women)!
[3:57] On the other team we have a WOW veteran, a CS champion, and another pro gamer.
[3:58] They're going to be playing the alpha stage Elite Mode, a three-on-three competition. Everyone is equipped with rocket launchers or rail guns.
[4:00] First round goes to the boys. Bummer.
[4:01] The map they're playing on still looks very, very alpha; it's basically just a bunch of turrets and bridges.
[4:02] Boys win, three rounds to one!
[4:02] The grand finale of Shootmania will be held on June 6 at 11 a.m. at the Ubisoft booth.
[4:03] Now we're moving to a show reel about Ubisoft online, showing some past successes like Trials Evolution and The Settlers Online.
[4:04] Future of Ubisoft time.
[4:04] Yves Guillemot, cofounder and CEO, takes the stage to talk about the future of the publisher. He's going to talk about a new product.
[4:05] A new IP has been worked on for more than two years. And it is…
[4:06] It's a teaser trailer for the new IP, with a voice-over recounting the history of something called CTOS, a software system that manages entire cities.
[4:06] A computer controls a city, but who controls the computer? Private companies. This actually sounds more like a PSA than a game.
[4:07] The trailer is like an ad for this CTOS system. Or against it.
[4:07] The laser scanner is back (so that's what it was!)
[4:08] CTOS: a game where the city becomes your weapon.
[4:08] We're moving into a gameplay demo of the new title.
[4:09] He seems to be playing it on a PS3.
[4:11] The demo shows one man moving through metropolitan Chicago; it's third-person. He seems to be able to hack different systems and even people? He can jam people's communications on a whim, making it impossible for them to talk on their phones.
[4:13] Our protagonist looks like a normal guy, perhaps underslept. After a brief cutscene with a contact, he acquires a gun and lays open his objective to target someone called Demarco.
[4:14] A new objective pops up, and we scan the room with our phone looking for people's information until we identify the person we want. We then listen to her conversation via audio stream. Wow, what kind of phone is this?!
[4:16] It's action time--our hero beats up a guard to get past him and walks outside in the rain where he once again uses his phone to tap into a system and this time cause a car crash by changing the traffic lights. Bullet-time sequences and gunplay ensue.
[4:17] Looks like you'll have to keep your mind on a lot of things: hacking systems, shooting, and trying not to kill innocents.
[4:18] Now we see two players onstage playing the game. The second player is identified onscreen.
[4:19] The game is called Watch Dogs.
[4:20] Don't know the systems! We'll have to stay tuned. That's it! Ubisoft is all over! Thanks everyone!