E3 2012: Ubisoft Conference Liveblog

Ubisoft follow in the wake of EA with a potentially beguiling line up: Assassin’s Creed 3, Rayman Origins 2, Splinter Cell: Black List, Far Cry 3 and Rainbow Six: Patriots. Will we see anything of Beyond Good and Evil 2? What about some new IP? EA had none while Microsoft swept their’s under the rug and you can pretty much guarantee Nintendo will be peddling familiar faces. More crucially though, will Mr. Caffeine be released from his pillory to run rampant once more? I bloody well hope not.

00:25 – Impressive offering from Ubisoft. Rayman Legends looks strong, Far Cry 3 looks superb and Watch Dogs is the first genuinely exciting game of the show. Easy contender for game of show and could it be our first glimpse of the next-generation? Bit of a weird presentation with all the sexual references and gawkiness, but at least it wasn’t soul-destroying in its unbridled dreariness.

00:10 – Straight in with live gameplay footage of a chap walking down a bustling Chicago street. There are people queuing for an art gallery with a news team reporting outside. There’s stupid amounts of detail in this world; it surely can’t be that big with this much going on. The protagonist whips out his phone and screws with the electricity, using the resulting comotion to sidle into the art gallery undetected. YOU SEE THAT SAM FISHER. YOU SEE HOW STEALTH WORKS. Those security guards ought to go back to Goon School, mind. Or maybe they passed with flying colours.

Inside there’s a fella wearing a Q-scan box helmet. Worst costume ever. As the unnamed character saunters through the gallery, opportunities arise to hack into people’s electronics. Skip into a cutscene and an angry chap hands you a pistol, looks like you’re an assassin with mention made of a target. It’s slow paced and that’s about the first time I’ve been able to say that today. He’s now using his phone to identify people and eavesdrop in on their phone conversations. Our character uses that newfangled trick to listen in on a conversation one of the target’s bodyguards is having with the target himself. The character uses that to haul the hit into a trap. He then pulls out a billy club, beats a guard down and emerges back out into the streets. It looks astounding. All rain drenched borderline Cyberpunk. Hacker Man uses his magic phone to cause a car crash. No loading screen. No cutscene. Again, wow, it looks stupidly good. A shootout ensues but it’s still pretty down to earth, cover based stuff. You get the impression you wouldn’t survive running around in the open. With the hit complete, curtesy of a cutscene execution, we switch characters to a chap who seems more like Ezio, running about on the rooftops. And then it cuts. Watch Dogs. 

Longest applause of the day. Lots of cheers. Looks very impressive. AND NEW IP!

Full gameplay video:

00:08 – Weird trailer time. “A computer controls an entire city.” BUT WHO CONTROLS THE WATCHMEN COMPUTER? That line was actually in it, more or less. It’s a whole lot of conspiracy mumbo jumbo. Corporations control you, man. You’re just a data cluster, man. Wake up, man.

00:07 – Yves Guillemot is on stage to talk about a new IP. HEAR THAT E3?! NEW FUCKING IP!

00:05 – Montage time! Trials Evo, The Settlers Online, Ghost Recon Online. There’s no doubt Ubi are putting out some great digital games but… yawn.

00:04 – Ubi have let their foot of the pedal here. 

23:58 – They’ve gone and announced ShootMania – designed specifically for eSports. It’s all gone a bit silly. They’re doing 3 vs 3, boys vs. girls ShootMania on stage. Apparently they’re all world champions at Counter Strike or something. I don’t know. Is this real? 

23:55 – Aisha Tyler is back out and so is Tobuscus to prattle about e-sports. The numpty keeps interrupting Aisha and nobody laughs during the silent periods. Awkward.

23:54 – Confirmed cities, not all wilderness. Bodes better.

23:46 – We’ve moved on to gameplay footage. Mr. Assassin Chap is running really, really fast through some trees. So are some deer. Now he’s bounding through the treetops just like they were buildings in a city! Now he’s killing deer. Now he’s knife-fighting wolves now. Oh dear QTE. Now he’s selling stuff to people in a camp. Now he’s riding a horse. Now he’s bounding through the trees again. Now he’s hanged a dude. Now he’s using a chap as a human shield. Now he’s fighting idiots. They’re coming at him one at a time. When will you learn! More running through the trees; chase sequence. Further running and killing ensues.

23:42 – Cue more pre-rendered footage of men in fancy coats shooting at men in fancy coats. Our assassin rocks up on a horse and dodges salvo after salvo of bullets before jumping over some bayonets and killing EVERYBODY ON THE BLUE TEAM. Great shooting lads. Very fancy but it’s pre-rendered, not at all indicative of gameplay footage. Oooh, there’s bow and arrows here too. Theme confirmed, that’s four games with bow and arrows at E3 now.

23:41 – The words Assassin’s Creed 3 are met with hoots. 

23:37 – M-rated survival first person shooter up next. God Save The Queen played during one of those wicked cool adverts that moves the camera through a slowly moving video. There are zombies, things on fire, blood and a bayonet decapitation. Zombie U, set in London. Wii U exclusive.

23:31 – Michael Micholic is up to talk about the sequel to lovely platformer Rayman Origins and the Wii U. Some dudes with vaguely French names rock up and demonstrate how the Wii U iPad works in relation to the game. Murphy is the dedicated Rayman: Legends chatracter designed for the Wii U controller in Legends. He’s a small green flying chap. One of the guys is controlling Murphy by dragging his finger over the iPad, helping Rayman through the level by slashing vines and pulling slingshots. There’s also tilt and in a special level the Wii U controller is used as a sort of music rhythm device with the player tapping things on screen vaguely in time with the music to help the other players through an infinite run level. Looks very cool and the soundtrack is, as ever, wonderful. The Wii U stuff looks fairly interesting, but Legends’ art steals the show. Up to 5 players can play at once on the Wii U.

23:30 – Game numero three. It’s a collaberation with Marvel. Lots of superhero types causing a ruckus in a city. I spy Iron Man, Spiderman, Captain America, Hulk and those other ones. They’re all boring. It’s Avengers Battle for Earth. Confirmed for Wii U. Next.

23:29 – Aisha’s back and she keeps referencing sexual things. It’s awkward, especially as nobody’s laughing. 

23:28 – Trailer time. It’s more of what we saw earlier. Fisher being Jason Bourne, rolling around cover, shooting people in the face at will and not giving any fucks about the shadows. Remember when killing people was deemed naughty? A body falls into a car and the car explodes. Literally explodes. Fast cuts, lots of neck snaps. Fisher’s trademark goggles seem like a joke. Fisher SMGing his way out of a building, it’s not gameplay but it conforms with what we saw earlier. 

23:24 – Splinter Cell: Black List. It’s the “Biggest Splinter Cell we’ve done.” Also, “co-op is back.”

23:23 – Montage of footage now demonstrating the exploration side of things. Oh ten seconds passed, more tits and violence now. And onto something new. Cool!

23:21 – Well that was a far cry from Far Cry 2. Gonna be honest, I’m a little bit excited.

23:20 – A lot of people are being stabbed in the chest and a lot of things are on fire. Oh my God a fucking tiger is eating people! A TIGER! I swear I’ve not made this last ten minutes up. The demo ends with a stunning dream sequence; looks like sanity plays a big part.

23:17 – Going to be honest. Not sure what breasts had to do with anything but heigh ho. We’re on to murdering now, the gamer’s second favourite thing besides boobs, if recent trailers are to be believed. Oh boy it’s a looker! Lavish jungle stretches on and on. Uh oh. QTE takedowns. And yet another bow and arrow! I like this one more, it suits the unfettered jungleland. It’s all a bit stealthy at the moment, Sam Fisher could learn a thing or two from whoever this guy is.

23:16 – Holy Moses. It’s saucy! There are breasts. Actual lady breasts. Stroking of the breasts too. I can confirm there is stroking of lady breasts in Far Cry 3. Kinect enabled! That part’s a lie.

23:15 – Off we go then with Far Cry 3. It’s the dude with the lowest voice in the world talking about it. Honestly, makes Christian Bale sound like that guy from The Voice.

23:14 – I feel like I’ve been slapped in the face with a rubber mallet. I was jammed in a stupor after those last conferences but here we are, with real life actual human beings on a stage making bad jokes.

23:12 –  Aisha Tyler takes to the stage. This is already way too sexy for a room full of game journalists. They’ve got some internet dick’ed called Tobuscus on the screen too to counter it all. He makes a joke and, of course, nobody laughs. Reckon Ubisoft’s in on it this time.

23:08 – And we have liftoff! Crooning! Jazz hands! Fucking Maroon Five. Shoot me now. Wait, no. Not yet. Will Smith’s here to save the day with Wild Wild West (not in person, of course, as if Ubi can afford that). They’ll have to settle with Flo Rida who’s rapping on stage alongside some scantily clad dancing ladies. Ubisoft have souls, more than you can say about Mattrick and co. Obviously they were hawking Just Dance 4 just then. At least Flo Rida is relevant. I mean, Usher? Jesus, Joseph and that other one.

23:00 – Ubisoft have a track record in providing bonkers presentations, for better and worse. Not sure what to expect here but it’s not long until we find out. Just had the cue to turn mobile devices off from the man with the booming voice living in the rafters.

22:58 – Alright. Own up. Whose smart idea was it to have four conferences on one day? I mean, really. It’s 11pm here in the Land of the Queen.

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