Listen, Ubisoft traditionally is the shitshow press event of E3, and I say that lovingly. Without them, after all, we wouldn’t have Mr. Caffeine. They really know how to throw a press conference, and this year is no different. It opens in a totally buckwild way, bringing back an old crowd favorite and dazzling our eyes with New Orleans flair through a Parisian filter.
Ubisoft also deserves a mention for how they run their roster of franchises. Not only do they attempt at least some sort of diversification beyond varying types of guns, they also try to do right by the players. Just look at how they’ve treated the long run of For Honor. Of course, it’s relative to other AAA-tier publishers, but it’s still worth talking about. (They also unveiled something truly heinous, too, so let’s not get carried away)
Anyway, let’s get into it. There’s some good—and really bad—stuff to get through.
Just Dance 2019
Yeah, this doesn’t really have as much to do with Just Dance 2019 and more to do with that this is how they opened the show. Look at that panda go!
Anyway, it comes out on October 23, 2018, for, uh…everything.
Beyond Good & Evil 2
We continue to glimpse more and more of this hybrid animal reality but still have no idea when this game is actually coming out. Is Michel Ancel okay? Does he need our help?! Even the gameplay we do see isn’t much more than proof that it is or was interactive at whatever point they recorded that footage. But at least we see Jade is returning. As a villain or a hero, though, we don’t know.
We also see Joseph Gordon-Levitt come out to represent Ubisoft’s partnership with his company HitRecord, a profit-sharing organization that puts creators into position to collaborate with ongoing or pre-productions. On the surface, I applaud this endeavour of his; it’s an admirable goal to equalize entry into creative industries. The actual practice of it, however, is an absolute fuck-up.
The BGE2 x HitRecord Partnership
The gist of it is that you will create art and music and dialogue based on spec and upload it to HitRecord, at which point the developers will decide what they will and won’t use. Those that get picked will take a part in the money allotted to this project. In other projects, HitRecord will go back and forth with the creators and the studio to determine the profit shares. Here, however, it’s been capped at $50,000. Total.
That is less than the salary of any single artist that would otherwise be creating these assets. This is an abhorrent move, no matter the intentions. A reduction of salaried workers with benefits is already a plague in the industry, and no this is a step towards removing contracted workers. Just gig it up, apparently. Well, uh, fuck that.
I love this so much. It’s amazing that at no point in the pitch of this segment did anyone ask but what if this doesn’t play. Nope, just have RedLynx creative director (and prime minister of Finland lol) Antti Ilvessuo come out on and then ditch a motorcycle. No wait, and then have him walk into and demolish the podium. But also have him wear a Trials-branded jumpsuit. All of that got a yes.
Expect it to release in February 2019 on the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.
The Division 2
You’ll get eight-player raids and three free DLC packs, which is cool insomuch that it looks like they learned a lot from the first game. But also Polygon’s Charlie Hall sat down with Red Storm Entertainment creative director Terry Spier and guess what: tone-deaf is only the beginning. They’re doubling down on not even coming close to touching on the current political climate despite, like, everything. So, double fuck that.
It releases on March 15, 2019, on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.
Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle DLC
Just enjoy it.
The Donkey Kong Adventure DLC releases on June 26, 2018.
Skull & Bones
“What if Sea of Thieves but hot.” I’m assuming that’s how this got to where it is today. I’m also very much into the gameplay we see here. It looks like so much more than “Assassin’s Creed but more” reduction, but I’m hoping they also learn from Sea of Thieves. The framework isn’t enough. We need seaworthy content.
It’s out in 2019 on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.
Rainbow Six Siege
Honestly, kind of forgot this game was a thing.
Hey, it’s Elijah Wood! He seems like a good guy. That’s kind of all I have here because Transference continues to be an indecipherable product. It might be that experiential VR games are inherently hard to showcase but also who knows what it is. Live-action horror? VR FMV adventure? Not sure. But also VR isn’t required, so double who knows. Regardless, I’m interested.
It’s coming this fall to the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Rift, Vive, and PlayStation VR.
The Crew 2
Man, I really wanted to like The Crew, but every single part of that game fought me and everyone else on it. It’s a comforting thought Ubisoft was willing to give the series another shot, so we’ll see if they learned anything the first time around. Despite the rapidly encroaching release date, I’m still not convinced.
It’s coming to the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on June 29, 2018.
Starlink: Battle For Atlas x Star Fox
I mean, there are other Starlink things to see like the cinematic stuff and Laurent Malville talking about the game, but we know what you really want to see, that’s Fox effing McCloud in a fudging Arwing. And then Star Fox creator Shigeru flippin’ Miyamoto coming out to accept a little Arwing model. Hell yeahs all around.
The game releases on October 16, 2018, for the Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One, but the Star Fox content will be exclusive to the Switch. (Obviously.)
For Honor Expansion
Remember when I said Ubisoft is good at supporting their games in ways uncommon to other AAA publishers? This is what I was talking about. For Honor wasn’t a huge hit, but they want to do right by what fans it did garner, and that includes more content. There’s a new mode called Breach and the Marching Fire single-player expansion. You can also get the base game for free on UPlay this week.
Look for that update on October 16, 2018.
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey
Wow does that game look pretty. Also, having a female option for the playable character is awesome. (The series has done that before in Syndicate, by the way.) And the way she navigates these branching dialogue options is pretty interesting. Once the action gets going, though, it starts to devolve into the Assassin’s Creed we’ve known for years and years and years, but at least it’s being built atop the Origins framework. That was a good game.
It’s expected to release on October 5, 2018.