If art is social commentary, be prepared for a lot of art coming from Ubisoft. The game maker, which often swats at political themes in its games, has created a near-future dystopian nightmarish version of London.
The new game, called Watch Dogs: Legion, was announced during Ubisoft's press conference ahead of , held in Los Angeles this week. The game, coming March 6, 2020, will feature many of the things we've come to expect from the series centered on hacking a network of government and paramilitary computers and devices in an effort to free the city from their grasp.
"Today, with Brexit, London is at a turning point," said Clint Hocking, Ubisoft's creative director for this Watch Dogs game, while on stage at . "History has proven time and again that where London goes, all of us go together."
It may seem unusual for a French video game company to create something like Legion, based on its neighbor across the English channel. Brexit itself has become a politically charged issue within the British government, particularly because of economists' fears about the long-term damage the move could have on economies around the world.
One of the things Ubisoft said will make the game stand out is that you can "recruit" every character you encounter in the game to your resistance fighting group. This, the company said, will give the game a more dynamic feel.
"Being a hero isn't just for someone else anymore, it's for everyone," Hocking said. "They are the stars of your story."
E3 press conferences
Saturday, June 8
- Electronic Arts -- The game maker showed off 15 minutes of gameplay for its upcoming adventure game, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. It also announced new features for its free-to-download Apex Legends last-man-standing battle royale game, offering a new character and weapon to play with. The company also showed off a new paid update for The Sims 4, called Island Living, that brings the series to a tropical beach. Finally, the company did discuss drama over the mixed reviews for its Anthem action adventure game, saying it "learned a lot" and had more updates and features planned soon.
Sunday, June 9
- Microsoft / Xbox -- The gaming giant's biggest news was Project Scarlett, its next-generation Xbox, coming in 2020. The new device is up to four times 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.
- Bethesda -- Bethesda kicked off its event with humility over the mixed response to Fallout 76, but quickly went back on the offensive. Fallout 76 got a new Battle Royale mode, Wolfenstein Youngblood received a new trailer and a co-op mode. We got a new game called Deathloop from the clever folks behind Dishonored and Bethesda introduced us to Orion, a piece of tech from ID Software designed to make game streaming better on services like Google Stadia. The lion's share of attention, however, went to Doom Eternal, which looked fantastic in both single player and multiplayer.
Monday, June 10
- 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 Mayan Theater in downtown Los Angeles. 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 on-stage appearance by legendary game designer Yu Suzuki, responsible for classic 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.
- Square Enix -- 6 p.m. PT (9 p.m. ET)
Tuesday, June 11
- Nintendo (livestream only) -- 9 a.m. PT (noon ET)