E3 2017: Ubisoft's Highs, Lows, And Biggest Games
A slow build up was the theme of Ubisoft’s E3 2017, which began weeks ago with the reveal of Far Cry 5. By the time their press conference started, we'd already learned about Assassin’s Creed Origins and Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle. While most of the major titles were known by the start of the briefing, Ubisoft maintained their momentum all the way to the end of their presentation with the re-reveal of a long-awaited sequel.
In this feature we lay out some of our favorite moments from the show, a few of the things we wish Ubisoft had done differently, and a handful of the biggest Ubisoft games. This is the spot for a high-level analysis of all things Ubisoft had at E3.
To get more information about all of Ubisoft's E3 announcements, we've got you covered with: All of the news and from the Ubisoft press conference, all of the new Ubisoft trailers (including that new one for Beyond Good & Evil 2), and a list of all the new Ubisoft games announced at the show!
And for our analysis of the other press conferences, check out the roundup of right here of all the highs, lows, and biggest games for the other big publishers and developers, including Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo.
Highlights: Just Dance 2018 struts its stuff quickly and effectively.
This dance series has long since transcended guilty pleasure status into a franchise that is more ubiquitous to Ubisoft than even Far Cry. The presentation itself was emblematic of all of this year's briefings, which has favored conciseness over long-winded speeches. In this world nothing is certain except Madden, Call of Duty, and Just Dance.
Highlights: Beyond Good & Evil 2 ends the press on a high note.
Easily the most requested sequel among all of Ubisoft's dormant properties, the reveal of Beyond Good & Evil 2 was a perfect ending to the press conference. If you haven't come around to playing the original cult hit, you most likely have a friend who has. And given that it's been 15 years since the first game, the almost cathartic response by the audience was not surprising.
Highlights: Ubisoft returns to the age of pirates with Skull & Bones.
Given the wholly positive reception of the seafaring features of Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, the existence of Skull & Bones doesn't seem at all surprising. From ship-vs-ship long ranged battles to melee battles aboard enemy vessels, expect an involving experience that should rival Microsoft's Sea of Thieves. And it was heartwarming to hear the sea shanties from Black Flag making a boisterous return.
Needs improvement: Missing Aisha Tyler
While we are huge fans of letting the games speak for themselves, a part of us missed the enthusiasm and charisma of Aisha Tyler, who had hosted Ubisoft's recent press briefings prior to this year. Still, we prefer no hosts over Mr. Caffeine.
Needs improvement: There's more to learn about Starlink: Battle For Atlas.
Amiibo's aside, many of us are still recovering from the Toys To Life hangovers of Skylanders and the defunct Disney Infinity series. Starlink takes the Toys To Life market to space with spaceships featuring interchangeable parts. We're hoping the promises of an epic space adventure compensates for messy living rooms with spacecraft segments strewn throughout living rooms.
Needs improvement: Beyond Good and Evil 2 has many unanswered questions.
A trailer of pre-rendered footage of a hotly anticipated sequel can only do so much. Despite that Beyond Good and Evil 2 got the crowd reaction Ubisoft was hoping for, there are concerns that this will fail to capture the narrative focus of the original game. This is in part to the curious crowdsource initiative surrounding this sequel.
Biggest games: Assassin's Creed Origins takes us back in time.
If this is what an Assassin's Creed game looks like after giving the series a one-year hiatus, any annual breather is worth it. While some of us have been eagerly waiting an Assassin's Creed predominantly in a modern day setting, having to "settle" for an origin tale is a lovely problem to have. And we were greatly amused by the elbow-jabbing charm of taking eagle vision to its literal conclusion with the game's avian surveillance mechanic.
Biggest games: Mario + Rabbids meets cover-based tactical combat.
This seemingly unholy alliance of Rabbids and Mario might feel surprising at first glance, but it's merely just the latest in a long string of Nintendo partnerships with third-party developers. What was more unexpected was the choice of genre, which can be described as Super Mario Brothers Meets XCOM. It shows promise as there might very well be a tactical combat game of substance under the novelty of Rabbids cosplaying as Princess Peach and the rest of the gang.
Biggest games: Far Cry 5 takes the battle to rural Montana.
Ubisoft knows a winning formula when they see it, even if it comes at the expense of innovation (eg. the recycled Far Cry 4 map in Far Cry Primal). Far Cry 5 preserves the stylistic and gameplay designs that began with Far Cry 3 and there's hope that this unusual premise of confronting a religious cult in Montana will