Ubisoft E3 conference recap: Watch Dogs Legion, Gods & Monsters, Roller Champions, Ghost Recon Breakpoint and much more
Best known for its Assassin's Creed adventure series, Ubisoft focused on its other franchises during its press conference this year.
Ian SherrContributor and Former Editor at Large / News
Ian Sherr (he/him/his) grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, so he's always had a connection to the tech world. As an editor at large at CNET, he wrote about Apple, Microsoft, VR, video games and internet troubles. Aside from writing, he tinkers with tech at home, is a longtime fencer -- the kind with swords -- and began woodworking during the pandemic.
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As expected Watch Dogs Legion is set in a post-Brexit dystopian surveillance state. Hacking, combat and other open world staples are a huge part of the game but -- the leaks were accurate -- the game also has a mechanic whereby you can recruit players and then control them in the game world. Different characters will have different skillsets and it's up to you to figure out who's best for which mission.
Gunplay is mixed up with some really cool interactive stuff -- at one point the player hacked a car to drive on its own and run over enemies. Very slick stuff.
It all feels very seamless, transitioning between players. It's a unique mechanic and I can't wait to experiment with it.
Also -- oh my god, it's Clint Hocking's new game. For the uninitiated, that's the guy behind the legendary Far Cry 2, one of the most sophisticated, influential open world games ever made. Damn.
Also -- you can play as a Grandma. Wow. This is an ambitious video game.
Gods & Monsters
So this is a brand new title from the team behind Assassin's Creed Odyssey, which is a very good development team!
What can we expect from this game? Hard to say. We saw very little, but the art style is heavily stylized and 'cartoony' for want of a better word. It also seems to be combat based, like sword swinging and the like. I have a feeling this could be extremely cool, but given how little they showed it's probably a long way away.
Ghost Recon Breakpoint
Look John Bernthal is no Keanu Reeves, but he's pretty damn good! He came along with a DOG -- a REAL DOG -- to promote Ghost Recon Breakpoint.
This game is very much shooty shooty bang bang power fantasy stuff, but Ubisoft rarely makes a mess of its Ghost Recon series. This looks like it could be an interesting co-op experience. We didn't get to see too much of the game in actual action though.
Also: Ubisoft announced it would be bringing back AI players for folks who like single player.
The game comes out October 4 but a beta goes live September 5.
Man, this looks awesome. It's a sports game, mixed with racing I guess?
But the interesting part: an alpha is available right now on Uplay for PC.
Roller Champions looks like a cross between Rocket League and that old classic game Speedball. I'm showing my age here, but I'm extremely keen on this.
The Division 2
The big announcement here was that, from June 13 till June 16, Ubisoft is making The Division 2 free to play.
There were also a number of updates on upcoming episodes, including a brand new raid.
Ubisoft is also making a The Division movie with Netflix which is just insane. I misheard and though they said the movie was being directed by David Lynch. Turns out it was just David Leitch, the guy behind Deadpool 2. That's still pretty awesome,
Rainbow Six Quarantine
This looks like a three player co-op game made by a new team in Montreal. They're hoping to reinvent co-op gameplay, but didn't show too much.
It has zombies and guns. It's a zombie gun game.
Well this made things super interesting. Uplay+ kicks off much like a broad games service like Microsoft game pass in September 2019. Mainly a subscription service thUplay will be available on Stadia. This is part of what Ubisoft referred to as a "partnership". Very interesting.
Microsoft / Xbox -- The gaming giant's biggest news was Project Scarlett, its next-generation Xbox, coming in 2020. The new device is up to 4x more powerful, the company said, and like the next-gen PlayStation it'll include a fast non-mechanical SSD hard drive, and it'll be powered by custom innards built with the help of chipmaker AMD. The company also announced that Halo Infinite will launch alongside Project Scarlett next year. Meantime, Microsoft is starting public tests of its Project xCloud streaming service in October, promising people the ability to play high end games on their mobile devices while away from home. While fans wait, Microsoft announced an update to its Xbox Elite Controller Series 2 as well as a slew of new games. And action star Keanu Reeves, fresh off the success of John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum, was on stage to announce his involvement with Cyberpunk 2077, which is coming next year.
PC Gaming Show -- This annual PC Gaming Show is held at a theater a short walk from the Los Angeles Convention Center, but still draws a large crowd, filling the 1,700-person capacity downtown Mayan Theater. Inside, the usual suspects, from Halo to Doom, were nowhere to be found. Instead, the crowd cheered for PC-centric games including Zombie Army 4, Baldur's Gate 3 and Terraria: Journey's End. (No, the game sequel problem isn't any better on PCs.) The highlight was a brief onstage appearance by legendary game designer Yu Suzuki, responsible for classics such as Hang-On and Virtua Fighter. His long-awaited Shenmue 3 is expected in November, 18 years after Shenmue 2.
Ubisoft -- The French gaming giant announced its next big dystopian hacking adventure game, Watch Dogs: Legion, launching March 2020. The new game is set in near-future post-Brexit London, where the economy is failing and government is breaking down. The company also announced a new television show, called Mythic Quest, that will launch on Apple TV Plus. And it celebrated the 10th anniversary of its Just Dance party games.