Before we get into the content you care about. I think companies really need to focus on who they hire for their pre-shows. This crew was easily the worst. That is all.
Of course Just Dance 2017 started off the press event to the pandemonium and uproar of the crowd. There were circus workers, a giraffe, and a dude playing a giant butterfly guitar? At least the song by Queen was great. Although an opportunity was missed to hologram Freddie Mercury. Dont you make enough Ubisoft?
Aisha Tyler was the host… again, for the fifth time. She gave her deepest sympathy to those in Orlando which was very respectful and condoned, but a buzzkill when you’re surrounded by the same core group of characters that just paraded around to Just Dance. I won’t say it was tasteless… but maybe classless? Awkwardly enough, Just Dance 2017 is coming to all platforms next year.
Before the real conference started, Aisha talked about how no one likes her as the host and then she talked about her love for games… again, and mentioned “lady wood…” again. So show us some games? She finally did.
Ghost Recon: Wildlands opened up the show with a cinematic trailer. Their mission overview, similar to The Crew, spanned the landscape with visual indicators and information. Dominique Butler was then introduced to showcase more gameplay. The spec ops team is after a bad guy of course. His name is El Pozlero and the video shows off the various vehicular combat and the ability to tactically cooperate together in order to take out enenmies and opponents. The warehouse campsite they’re attacking is simlar to Far Cry’s garrision but three times the size. Worth mentioning were the couple of dudes who were executed while dancing to salsa music and taking selfies. Take that as you’d like. Ghost Recon: Wildland will release March 7, 2017 for PC, Playstation 4 and Xbox One.
A few moments later, a trailer rang in with distortion, cataloguing the fall of the economy and an alarming crime rate. We were all exclaiming, “It’s Watch Dogs 2, just get on with it!” Ubisoft hit us with a resounding “GOT EEEEM!” and Cartman’s fat face was shown at the end to announce South Park: The Fractured But Whole with Matt Stone and Trey Parker. You’re the new kid again because apparently a new game means you’re the new kid who is discriminated against for his lack of super hero stardom. Surprisingly, the Fractured But Whole occupied a great amount of the press conference with videos detailing new combat systems, skill trees, character progression and some healthy/unhealthy word play. Before exiting the stage, the creators mentioned that if you buy The Fractured But Whole, you get Stick of Truth for free. Pre-purchase now and you get Stick of Truth for free tonight. South Park: The Fracture But Whole will release December 6, 2016 for the PC, Playstation 4 and Xbox One.
Following the South Park announcement, Aisha Tyler walked back out to bring us some Division news. Julian Gerighty, a director, detailed the upcoming Underground DLC. The Underground DLC will launch June 28 as heard from the Microsoft conference earlier and will serve as the first expansion of year one. An obvious attempt at Ubisoft to build The Divison’s player base back up after its resounding drop rate. For a birthday celebration, gamers will also get three exclusive outfits: Ghost Recon, Rainbow Six and Splinter Cell. A brief cinematic trailer was also shown for the upcoming Survival mode, which will feature dramatically harsh weather conditions and different interactions with agents and AI alike.
Up next, Aisha Tyler begins talking about VR and introduces Eagle flight director Charles Huteau and two members of the Oculus team. Flying through Paris, birds are battling it out for a pesky rabbit, flying through zoos, above historic landmarks, all while shooting sonic booms out of their beaks. I know – their screeches, I get it.
Next, Ubisoft Red Storm’s Davod Votypka comes out to introduce Star Trek: Bridge Crew VR. Star Trek cast Levar Burton, Karl Urban and Jeri Ryan showcase a game that unfortunately looks riddled with original Playstation graphics. The game features team-based crew ship commanding and involves teamwork as an essential aspect of survival.
For Honor director Hason Vandenberghe finally takes the stage after a brief For Honor trailer to showcase a new campaign mode. The game will revolve around Vikings, Knights and Samurais. We are given a walk-through, through the perspective of some ambitious vikings looking to pillage the Samurai safe haven. The gameplay flows well, with regular NPCs getting slaughtered and main enemies requiring more attention and skill (highlighted by an icon). The Vikings fight with brute strength and use tackling and throws as a prime aspect of their arsenal. For Honor will February 14, 2017, and you can head over to Forhonor.ubisoft.com for access to the alpha.
Pete Young, from Ubisoft Reflections then take the stage to announce our buddy… Bud. Grow Up will serve as a sequel to Grow Home. You’ll have a planetary playground, use plants to platform to the moon and I thought about the Beastie Boys’ “Intergalactic” the entire time. Grow Up will launch sometime in August on PC, Playstation 4 and Xbox One.
Aisha Tyler talks about mutated DNA and out walk two dudes who wish they were Riff Raff: Red Lynx. From there, we are introduced to Trials of the Blood Dragon which is exactly what it sounds like and a gigantic troll to those who are outright praying for a Blood Dragon 2, but I’ll take what I can get. Trials of the Blood Dragon is OUT NOW.
Aisha Tyler makes an 8-bit joke, even though the game isn’t an 8-bit title and then hits us with “This is Ubisoft.” Frank Marshall then comes out to talk about the upcoming Assassins Creed movie and then Aisha Tyler has a semi-stroke when she trys to say “Mr. Michael Fassbender.” … I don’t know.
Thankfully as she’s talking, she is cut off by a Watch Dogs 2 trailer and we get our first look at the game. You are Marcus, a member of DedSec, the guerilla hacking crew who pray to their one true God… Banksy. We see the changes immediately, the movement is far more fluid, anything can be hacked (including cars) and the combat has been fine tuned as well. It features some brand new weapons including drones that can hack stuff, immobilizers capable of electric shocks, and pulsating sound and even an RC car that fights by your side named Wrench Jr.
Aisha Tyler then introduces Yves Guillemot. Yves stumbles on his broken english and makes us think Watch Dogs is a Sony exclusive, but then it turns out, after being saved by Jim Ryan, President of Global Sales and Marketing, he was referring to the upcoming movie. We also learn that Playstation will have Watch Dogs 2 DLC 30 days early and the Collector’s Edition of Watch Dogs 2 will feature your own Wrench Jr.
Yves Guillemot comes back to introduce the inevitable new IP: an extreme winter sports game with an open-world and social hub built for activities, challenges and interactions.
The team comes out to show us gameplay for their new IP, Steep. You can parachute, ski, wingsuit and snowboard through a vast open-world. The world is easily navigated and important drop zones and peaks can be used to fast travel. The game will feature several challenges, activities and multiplayer options and each route your take can be replayed or analyzed. You can also see the routes of any character you have met in the world and your videos can be shared for keepsakes or to issue challenges to your friends. Those interested can head over to steepgame.com for the upcoming beta.
Aisha Tyler ends the show with everyone who was part of the press event to come back out for more applause. We, the gamers were given thanks for pushing Ubisoft to achieve excellence? I’m confused.
Analysis: I can appreciate the new IP Steep even though it doesn’t pique my interests and For Honor and South Park look amazing. The Watch Dogs 2 gameplay really stood out to me despite my disdain for the first installment. My reaction is really due to the troll of Trials of the Blood Dragon (even though I will play it) and how all the Tom Clancy games just really seem to blend together. It was better than previous years, but Aisha has to go.