Rating the E3 Conferences: Ubisoft


Rating: C+

Ubisoft did a markedly better job than EA, but still disappointed overall.  Of course, that could just be a personal deal.   I’ve made no secret I was a fan of Watch_Dogs when all was said and done, and that I was looking forward to a Watch_Dogs 2.  But I had a feeling it wouldn’t be at this conference, and just as I suspected it was nowhere to be found.  I’m betting on either an appearance at Gamescom or it becomes their “Far Cry 4” next year, where it’s announced for a six-months-later release.  

This sort of threw the rest of the show out of wack for me, but even without that I’ve certainly seen better from them.  Having the lovely Aisha Tyler on stage for the third year in a row was fantastic—she makes so many core gamers uncomfortable by being unafraid of poking fun and enjoying herself, rather than standing around looking like she’s going to pass out just from being on stage in front of so many people.   Unfortunately, forcing her to interact with a crowd member cosplaying Jacob Frye was legitimately cringe-worthy.  And while I’ve no doubt that it was Ubisoft’s idea, it still slowed the pace down overall.   That turned into a serious problem too, since it was timed to match with the annual “Just Dance” segment, where they brought Jason Derulo on stage.   *sighs*

Now, here’s the thing.  I love music.  I don’t even mind contemporary music—my music folder is full of everything from J-Pop and anime themes to hip-hop, rock, and the occasional catchy pop tune.   But whenever Ubisoft or whoever decides to put on a musical performance, it kind of reminds me that this isn’t really *for* the people at home.   All the cynicism about it being for journalists and investors and basically a chance for them to market at you for an hour straight starts to surface in my mind, leaving me moody and slightly irritated.  Game reveals that I normally wouldn’t have any excitement for but tolerate become annoyances in the way of “things I care about”, and I hate to feel that way.  

And the unfortunate thing is—for the most part, I just don’t care about Ubisoft games.  I’ve got nothing against them as a company, but their worlds often fail to strike a chord with me in terms of design or creativity.  This year wasn’t an exception to that rule.  “For Honor”—which I’m fairly certain was initially the leaked “Hero” game--looks like a gritty, Western version of a Musou game.  That’s a far cry (ha!) from the fantasy RPG I’d hoped it would be, but then Ubisoft has always been pretty adamant about avoiding fantasy so not a huge surprise.

Meanwhile, Rainbow Six: Siege never really caught my interest in the first place, and while I liked The Division when I first saw it, three consecutive appearances at E3 is too much for any game.
Then of course, there was their “One More Thing”—Ghost Recon: Wildlands.  That game looked gorgeous even if I wasn’t wholly interested.  Say what you will but Ubisoft knows how to put together a trailer.  It’s just too bad they’ll probably be showing that for at least another year or so.


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