Ubisoft has really found its stride when it comes to E3 – the publisher killed it last year with what some called the best show of the expo, and this year’s effort was another solid effort, although a little light on bold surprises. We got a good look at the next game in the Assassin’s Creed franchise, a startling cinematic trailer for Beyond Good & Evil 2, a proper look at The Division 2, and more. There was a man on a motorbike, a dancing panda, and the rest of the silliness we’ve come to expect from Ubisoft, but it seemed a more focused, straight-laced show than E3 2017, for better or worse. Read on for the major highlights from Ubisoft’s impressive E3 2018 showcase:
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey
Assassin’s Creed heads off to Greece for the follow-up to the brilliant Assassin’s Creed Origins, and Ubisoft is putting a lot of emphasis on the RPG elements being woven into the franchise’s traditional fabric of bloodshed and quasi-history. The player can take the roll of either Alexios or Kassandra, Spartan warriors wielding the Broken Spear of Leonidas, which, incidentally, you can buy from the Ubistore. The addition of dialogue options and romances to pursue should give players more of a feeling of being part of the narrative, not just along for the ride. Oh, and naval combat makes its return, which is good news. It’s out on 5 October.
Beyond Good & Evil 2
The Beyond Good & Evil 2 cinematic trailer that popped up on the big screen during Ubisoft’s event was quite special, even if it tells us very little about the game itself. We get a good look at some of the characters, and there’s a huge thing, and then everything goes mental. It’s bloody impressive really. We were also given a brief look at some pre-alpha gameplay, and then Joseph Gordon-Levitt came and told us that we need to design art and other content for the game for some reason, as the Ubi team has pulled in his Hitrecord company to crowdsource some of the design stuff. Which I thought was odd.
When last did we get a Trials game? Are we ready for a new one? I’m not sure, but we’re getting one anyway. It looks like more of the same, but much more of the same – this one will feature more tracks than ever before, with more detailed locations across the world, as well as an improved track editor. It’s coming to Xbox One, PS4, PC and Switch sometime in 2019.
The Division 2
After a franchise debut which started strong but struggled under the weight of its own hype, The Division is back, with a 2 slapped on the end, and it’s looking fantastic. Washington DC is in ruins, and that’s the backdrop for squad-based tactical death, with end-game character specialisations, free DLC for the first year, and fully-fledged raids of up to eight people (an announcement which garnered actual woops of excitement from the gamers gathered in the auditorium).
Skull & Bones
Sea of Thieves approached the pirate world with a quirky sense of fun and humour, but 2019’s Skull & Bones seems a more serious affair. Big boats, noisy cannon fire, and angry people shouting. I’m all pirated out, myself, but there’s something intriguing about the way that Ubisoft is tackling the pirate narrative – maybe by the time Skull & Bones washes ashore next year I’ll be ready to get onboard.
Just Dance 2019
A dancing panda, some colourful ladies, and a lot of men with trumpets showed up on Ubisoft’s stage to point out that in October this year we’ll be able to just dance all over again. Just Dance 2019, out in October 2018 on Xbox One, PS4, Switch, Xbox 360, Wii U, and the original Wii. How delightfully inclusionary.
Starlink: Battle for Atlas is getting Star Fox as a Switch exclusive
Showcasing Ubisoft’s close relationship with Nintendo (as so clearly expressed by the Mario + Rabbits Kingdom Battle crossover at last year’s E3), it’s been announced that the Nintendo Switch version of Starlink will have Star Fox as an exclusive character. I’m not sure if that warranted a big reveal all on its own, but Nintendo people get all wobbly with excitement when talking about the original Star Fox games, so I’m guessing it’s important.