E3 2008: The Ubisoft Press Conference
Written Wednesday, July 16, 2008 By Jason Debelyak
Ubisoft brought us their annual E3 press conference on Tuesday. The conference opens up with the Ubisoft North American President, Laurent Detoc. He comes on stage and promptly jumps straight into the game lineup without going into any statistics. According to Detoc, this is Ubisoft's "best lineup ever", but we'll let you decide that, of course.
Detoc opens up the conference with Rayman Raving Rabbids: TV Party, which is due out this November for Wii and DS. Without going into too much detail, since most of you probably don't come here for Nintendo news, it's really good to see some of the mechanics of the Wii being put to good use. For example, the balance board gets used quite a bit in this version of Raving Rabbids, whether you're sitting on it or standing on it. We love to see innovation, and it's really great that the accessory is getting used in more than just Wii Fit.
Up next on the agenda is a game that most of you will probably be much more excited in, Brothers In Arms: Hell's Highway. This is the third installment of the series, and is being brought to us by Gearbox Software. Detoc reveals that the game will be released this September and calls up the trailer. The trailer revolves around the destruction of war, from young boys being turned into soldiers to men being ripped apart by bullets. The entire trailer can be summed up into one quote within the trailer, "How much more can one man take?" The trailer looks fairly promising, and after it's many delays, hopefully it won't disappoint.
Directly after the trailer, we jump right into the next franchise, which is of course Tom Clancy. Detoc mentions that this is the tenth anniversary of the Tom Clancy franchise, and also goes on to mention that there have been over 55 million copies sold worldwide from all Tom Clancy games. The first Tom Clancy game that will be talked about is Tom Clancy's EndWar. It is described as being a landmark in video game history, because you will control the game with your voice. While playing, you will be able to bark out commands, and the game will follow them. The trailer is then brought up on the screen, and even though I'm not a major RTS fan, it is absolutely breathtaking. Commands such as "Tanks 2 and 3, advance to flanking positions" and "All units advance on enemy position" are heard spoken during the trailer, among many more. It'll be extremely interesting to see exactly how this voice command will work and how responsive it truly will be. According to the trailer, this will be the first game in history to be controlled entirely by your voice. Hopes are definitely high, so hopefully it'll follow through upon it's release this holiday. Take a look at the trailer, and just how your voice will be able to control the game.
As the trailer ends, we go directly into the next game, which is high on many people's lists of anticipated games, Far Cry 2. Detoc refers to the game as "First-person shooter 2.0", saying it is next-gen within an existing genre, just as Assassin's Creed was next-gen within the action-adventure genre. Strike the trailer, and here we go. The trailer reveals that the game takes place in Africa, which seems to be a popular location these days. After all, the ever popular Resident Evil 5 takes place there as well. The graphics are incredible, and after the pitiful excuse of a Far Cry port on the Xbox 360 already released, hopefully the gameplay will follow suit and we will have an incredible game on our hands. The trailer reveals that we will see the game sometime this Fall. Here's a look at the E3 trailer.
Laurent Detoc brings out Clint Hocking and Jonathan Morin, two of the developers from Far Cry 2. Clint goes on to explain that they are trying to re-invent the shooter and the way the player plays a shooter. Far Cry 2 will be an open-world game, covering 50 square kilometers of Africa, and you are free to go anywhere you want, whenever you want. They bring up a live demo of the game, and away we go. You can play the game in very different ways, from guns blazing to a stealthy, much quieter fashion. The details in the game are very impressive, especially some of the small things such as day turning into night. The map system is very nice, and you're able to add details to your "detailed map" by targeting them with your scope, whether it be enemies or health stations. The game definitely looks impressive and a huge advancement over the first port on the Xbox 360.
After the demo, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Tony Key comes to the stage. I'm going to be very short on this topic, and I urge you to go ahead and skip over this paragraph if you want. To be short, this portion covers their "tween" market and goes over their new Games for Girls strategy. New Petz and Imagine titles for the DS and Wii, along with Petz plush toys available this holiday. Ener-G, a new brand revolving around sports geared towards girls was also announced. The end, I really can't be bothered to go into much more detail than that.
Onto the next new franchise presented by Ubisoft, Shaun White Snowboarding. Being promised to reinvent the action sports genre, we can only hope that we'll have a quality snowboarding game on the Xbox 360 very soon. Instead of following a linear path like certain snowboarding games have done, you will be able to make your own path as you go down the mountain, so there are numerous different paths you'll be able to take and your runs will rarely ever be the same. Also revealed is possibly up to sixteen players on the slopes at one time. The term "seamless environment" is stressed numerous times and the mountains are promised to be huge. You will also be able to design your own challenges and goals in order to compete with friends. Snowboarding legend and gold medal winner Shaun White also joins the crew on stage for a short minute to give his seal of approval on the game. Way to go Flying Tomato!
Next up, we get our look at the upcoming Prince of Persia. The developers are apparently trying to completely redefine the franchise in order to make it more next-gen, with new combat styles and graphics. It will be using the new Assassin's Creed engine, and they claim it will be in the running for the game of the year. The trailer comes up, and take a look at it for yourself.
The trailer looks nice and confirms that the game will be out in time for Holiday 2008. Anything short of a great game will be an absolute let down for this great franchise. The franchise will see an all new Prince, and we are introduced to the Prince's companion, Elika. She seems to be a very nice addition, and she is there to help with plenty of supportive moves to help with jumps and other stunts. She will save to if you die, and even lead you on where to go in case you get lost. It is also revealed that the game is no longer linear, and you are able to go where you want to go. No two players will have the same gameplay experience. Combat goes towards the "duel" aspect, having you and Elika going against a single foe, that is every bit of strong as the two of you combined. This could possibly lead to many epic battles throughout the entire game. Acrobatics are going to be much different than in the past triology, in order to lead to a more balanced gameplay experience for both Prince of Persia veterans and rookies, but it is till promised that the system will be much improved. If falling off a cliff or something similar, Elika will save you and return you to your previous platform instead of interupting the flow of the game with having to continue, a very nice feature in my opinion. Prince of Persia is definitely looking like it will live up to the hype that it has managed to rack up.
Before the conference ends, there's one more announcement to be made. We are introduced to a brand new brand in the Ubisoft stable, which is known as I Am Alive. The game will have the player in the midst of a devastated Chicago, and will be forced to do what he can to survive. That's about all we know so far, definitely seems promising, but check out the trailer for yourselves. That wraps up the Ubisoft Press Conference, stay tuned for much more E3 coverage in the coming days.