Watch Dogs, Rayman, and more.
By Jacob Saylor on June 5, 2012 at 3:27 pm
Ubisoft’s press conference took place just hours ago in Los Angeles, CA. The esteemed publisher invited select members of the gaming industry to the Los Angeles Theatre to show off their latest and greatest. What they brought to the table were a host of titles – some that we had already seen, and others that were brand new.
To start off the media briefing, Ubisoft brought out dancers for their upcoming title Just Dance 4. A glorious array of lighting and sound was emitted throughout the crowd, and on my third floor balcony seat, there were questions of the structure’s integrity. The montage in front of us flared up different features of Just Dance 4, including recently announced four-player cooperative play and competitive-slanted “Battle Mode.”
The AAA broadside
Next, “Ubisoft Montreal” flashed across the screen. Producer Dan Hay and Lead Game Designer Jamie Key then took the stage, preparing to show us all Far Cry 3. Among the elements on show were stealth kills, destructible environments, and much more. The Far Cry franchise is known for its stellar artificial intelligence – and it was on display today.
After coming out from cover, the demo player was instantly pelted with gunfire and almost died. The developers were keen to inform us of the game’s expansive world that the player can explore, noting that there is an “entire archipelago” of islands reserved for adventure.
A montage then ensued, and the shift diverted away from Far Cry 3 and on to the topic of Splinter Cell: Blacklist. This game was shown at Microsoft’s press conference earlier today, but this showed an entirely different level, as well as other tools for the player to use. After a quick cinematic and introduction by creative director Max Beland, the crowd was finally treated to a taste of gameplay. It goes without saying that Sam Fisher is still one bad operator, and this might just be the most brutal we have seen him yet. Throughout the level, Fisher dispatched of his enemies with unnerving ease and precision; this garnered many cheers from the media.
Next, a brief look at Marvel’s Avengers: Battle for Earth came into existence. While no solid information was given on the game, the crowd was given a cinematic to gaze upon. This cinematic showed us many of the characters who will be in this title, including Venom, Wolverine, Spiderman, Magneto, Storm, and one group we all know – The Avengers. The only detail that was released was that the game will see a fall 2012 release.
Wii U-bisoft (geddit)
The briefing then turned to Wii U related discussion. Senior Game Manager working on Rayman Legends, Michael Mocholic took center stage. This turned very quickly to a gameplay demo, wherein we saw the newly-announced “pro” controller for the Wii U. The game features a character that can only be played via the original Wii U controller – his name is “Murphy,” and he plays the role of partner to Rayman. It appears that the game features drop-in, drop-out cooperative play, tilt functions with the Wii U controller, and race-style gameplay. This racing element was very reminiscent of Sonic the Hedgehog, as you must collect items along the way and achieve a boastful score.
Next, the company introduced ZombiU, a survival horror game coming exclusively to the Wii U. A cinematic with no real gameplay was shown, and while pretty cool, gave us no idea what we could expect from the game. It would be worth noting that this cinematic in particular took place in the U.K, and was set to “God Save the Queen.” It looks like Nintendo wants to reach that core market after all. A segue montage then took place, showcasing smaller titles such as Rabbids Land, Your Shape Fitness Evolved 2012, and Sports Connection.
The Star of the Show
This brought the briefing into what everyone was waiting for: Assassin’s Creed III. A brand new trailer was shown to the crowd, with Connor charging through enemy lines in a valiant effort to raise the Colonials’ morale. He succeeded, and in doing so, also audibly raised the morale of the audience in the room. At this point, Assassin’s Creed III was looking like everything everyone had hoped for. Producer Francois Pelland then put us in gear for yet another gameplay presentation for the stealth-action game.
Connor is shown running through snow-covered woodlands in New England. The year is 1776, and the war for independence is in full swing. However, at this point in time, Connor is not hunting redcoats or colonials – just deer. After reaching an unavoidable cliff, the only option Connor now has is to keep moving forward, less he lose the trail of his prey – this is where a fantastic new gameplay element comes in. Connor jumps, without hesitation, onto the trees in front of him. He sprints across the spindly branches with graceful agility, and finally catches up to his now-docile and grazing deer.
Connor jumps down into a group of bushes, readying himself for an attack. The assassin draws his bow, and looses an arrow directly into a deer’s heart. A pack of wolves then appear, and Connor fends them off with a fury, using quicktime events and gunfire. After dispatching the woodland terrors, Connor then takes the deer meat to a nearby colonial camp. He hands it off to a butcher, who in turn gives him some cash for Connor’s trouble. Our hero wastes no time in getting back to work, though – immediately after, he talks to the camp’s commander, discovering that there is about to be an attack mounted on a nearby British encampment.
Connor then proceeds with a group of colonials to attack this fort, and they quickly dispatch a group in front of the encampment. One of the redcoats does attempt to run away, but Connor – through use of trees, once again – stops him. From here, he uses his exceptional climbing abilities to infiltrate the camp. He then sees his target, a Templar named “Silas.” After shooting a number of explosive barrels and bringing about mass chaos, Connor finds his target once again in the crowd – he is running. The assassin chases him down and executes him with a wondrous leap and bayonet in the back. This prompted many cheers from the crowd.
The surprise hit
Ubisoft Co-Founder and CEO Yves Guillemot introduced a new game, and told us that it is one of the biggest projects the publisher has ever conceived. It has reportedly been in development for three years now, and addresses growing concerns of cyber-terrorism and other current threats. The name of this game – is Watch Dogs.
A huge system known as a “CTos,” controls a city’s water supply, power grid, and other general infrastructure functionality. You, the player, control Aiden Pierce, a person who has hacked into this service. You are very much a serial-killer, and as such, hunt down and kill others using this “mainframe.” There is a twist, though – you only kill bad people, at least, that’s what the presentation let on.
The gameplay gave us a very cut-and-dry mission, but excited nonetheless. You are using yourself as bait by going out in public and making a scene with your hacking prowess. You hope to attract your prey, and things escalated from this point on. It goes without saying, being able to control others’ cell phones and such makes for an interesting gameplay element – and looks to be pretty dangerous, at that.
After the demo player killed his target via an intersection mishap, a cinematic cut in. On the opposite side of the stage, another player had picked up a controller. This unnamed player had hacked into a nearby security camera and was watching your every move. The presentation then ended to thunderous applause, and left a gaping hole in all of our minds. Watch Dogs could be the next big thing if Ubisoft plays their cards right.
So, Ubisoft’s press conference hit everything in all the right areas. They’ve appealed once again to all of their markets – young, hardcore, casual, and old – and shown that they still have plenty of imagination. It will be interesting to see what these titles bring to the table after they’ve been released to the public.