Ubisoft got straight down to business with an extended cinematic of Far Cry 4; a cinematic that featured a monkey, multiple people being violently gunned down, and an insane person taking a “selfie” after committing murder. I had assumed that the game play demonstration of Far Cry 4 would have been at this press event because it is an Ubisoft game, but that was not the case. After the introduction of Far Cry 4, Aisha Tyler came out on stage to be the host for the rest of the press conference. Up until this point, all of the speakers at E3 2014 were being incredibly serious about their work, but Aisha Tyler is a comedian, not public relations. So what does Agent Lana Kane do when she steps out onto the stage? Starts swearing! On the flip side of that coin, she brought more personality to the stage than any other host thus far, and Ubisoft has done a lot worse in the past.
The next two iterations of Just Dance, Just Dance 2015 and Just Dance Now were announced, with Just Dance Now getting a live stage demonstration following the host introduction. Now’s unique hook is that it is a cellphone game that is going to be available for iOS and Android. It will determine your dancing ability using the accelerometer and gyroscopes inside the phone and then grade you appropriately.
Ubisoft was showing off Tom Clancy’s The Division, a post-apocalyptic multiplayer shooter. The trailer for this game featured a narrated time lapse of the preparations, and reactions, that the residents of an apartment took after the cataclysmic events preceding this game, and from the subsequent looters and gangs that followed. The game play demo was already featured prominently during the Microsoft Press conference earlier in the day. What was shown looked to be a co-operative multiplayer 3rd person shooter. Hopefully this game can stand out in the swarm of multiplayer focused shooters that have saturated the market.
The Crew was the next game to be demonstrated at this press event, and the many social features of this game were discussed at length. Tyler stated that the players will be able to drive across the entire continental United States through game play; a bold claim. The trailer for the game showed sped up game play footage of cars starting out in an urban environment with lots of traffic, then and slowly driving out to more rural locations.
A second game play demo of Assassin’s Creed Unity was shown during this event. The first demonstration of this game was at the Microsoft Press Conference. Graphically this game is stunning, and definitely one of the most attractive games of the entire event. The large crowds that made the previous Assassin’s Creed games famous seem to have had some major work done. The crowds in this game are enormous. This game takes place in another location, and the player is going to be controller another hidden blade wielding assassin. The focus of this demo, as well as the one in the Microsoft event, was the multiplayer. Unlike the multiplayer that was introduced in Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood, what was shown of Unity was entirely co-operative instead of competitive. Theoretically the co-operative multiplayer could allow more diverse options for setting up and completing the assassinations, bringing a whole new dimension to the game.
Workout and exercise games are usually really hard to accomplish, typically because they are too much of a workout, and not enough fun to actually keep playing. Shape Up seems like it is trying to fill a niche that, thus far, only Wii Fit has had success in. Shape Up will track your workouts through play and will encourage you to do better than your last workout by giving you scores, making you compete against yourself. The workouts themselves consist of wacky and clever little games played using the Kinect on the Xbox One. Hopefully the amount of fun in the activities, and the focus on high scores and leaderboards, could potentially be the hook to bring you back and play the game on a regular basis.
Ubisoft showed off the incredible looking Valiant Hearts: The Great War, a puzzle platformer taking place during World War 1. This game is being built using the “UbiArt Framework”; the same tools that created the gorgeous looking Rayman Origins and Child of Light, so it is no surprise that Valiant Hearts is also an incredibly attractive game. World War 1 is a setting that most games usually do not take place in, trench warfare does not make for a compelling shooter, but I am quite optimistic about this game as it is being developed by Ubisoft Montpellier, the same studio that brought us the Rayman games and Beyond Good & Evil. If any team would be able to make a compelling game for the selected time period, it would probably be this team. They have built some of the most creative games that have ever come out of Ubisoft. If you are interested in checking this game out, it was released on June 25th.
The press conference closed with the announcement and presentation of Rainbow Six: Siege. Siege is a multiplayer shooter that is attempting to pull in features from previous games in the Rainbow Six franchise, and apply these features in a multiplayer setting. Older Rainbow Six games, like Rogue Spear, had an emphasis on planning your mission based on intelligence reports provided to you before the mission starts. This seems to be a core feature of Siege, as the game play demo showed one team looking at a map of the level, planning entry points to a house, and possible locations of the enemies before actually starting the mission. Like in Counter Strike when a player is killed during the mission they must wait until the conclusion of the match to play again. This creates some very tense moments when one player is outnumbered by the enemy team or vice versa; which can leave to clever methods of completing objectives to achieve victory instead of through the deaths of your opponents. While the disclaimer at the beginning of the game play demo stated that this is recorded from a pre-alpha version of the game, it was probably the third most attractive looking game shown (following Valiant Hearts and Assassin’s Creed). I have not been this excited for the release of a multiplayer shooter in quite a long time. I am hopeful that Rainbow Six: Siege could bring me back into a genre that I have not actively played in a number of years.