While we may not have an official E3 this year that hasn’t stopped many developers from having events of their own to excite gamers about what it is on the way in gaming. Ubisoft is the latest to take part in this trend with a small showcase on Sunday called Ubisoft Forward. While nothing world-shattering took place during the event it was a great opportunity for Ubisoft to give fans a look at the gameplay of some highly anticipated releases on the way.
They did use the opportunity to also show off a couple smaller titles like Tom Clancy’s: Elite Squad. It was made very clear early on, however, that this was going to be an event to show off the heavy hitters and not much else. Perhaps Ubisoft just didn’t have much to show from other games, or perhaps they’re waiting for a later Ubisoft Forward event in 2020 they teased during Sunday’s showcase, but here’s what we did learn from the event about what’s coming soon.
Watch Dogs: Legion
The first big title Ubisoft showed was the highly anticipated Watch Dogs: Legion. It’s a game that is supposed to be incredibly large in scope, but whether they can meet the scope they’re aiming for we still can’t determine. The idea of the game is that there won’t be a central main character. It will merely be different people that you “recruit” and add to your cause as the game goes on. What is this name of the group? Well they are….The Resistance. Without a sense of irony.
The game itself looks like it could be really fun and interesting. Getting the chance to play as all kinds of different people creates the chance for different personalities and wacky characters. The trailer showed an elderly lady taking someone down and a local known for getting drunk at the bar getting in fights that help the cause. The potential upside of the game is obviously the chance to see tons of different characters and ideas. The possible downside is that it all ends up coming across as half-baked. Hopefully it ends up being more of the former than the latter.
Hyperscape is Ubisoft’s hat in the ring of the increasingly popular Battle Royale genre. Except this announcement wasn’t for a release but, rather the game’s open beta. The title itself has actually been getting played for a couple of weeks now with codes sent to streamers and random fans getting access to the title as well. Now with the open beta on the way the servers and game itself can really be put to the test.
What you have in Hyperscape is the standard Battle Royale affair, with a giant map that everyone drops into and starts looting for supplies. As time goes on a giant circle gets smaller and smaller, forcing people closer until one last team is standing. What makes it different is the gameplay is less like the Fortnite‘s of the world and more similar to Halo. Health/shields recharge after avoiding combat for a bit. You move relatively fast and the combat is far less grounded and more out of control. It’s an interesting take on the battle royale concept that is worth keeping an eye on to see how it pans out in a genre that is already full of options.
Assassins Creed Valhalla
When Ubisoft officially announced Assassins Creed Valhalla back in April and then “showed off” the game at the Xbox Series X event there was a twinge of disappointment with it. So far the game had shown absolutely no real gameplay. Everything that had been shown was cinematic trailers and quick cuts of what looked like gameplay.
During the Ubisoft Forward event, they finally gave us what we’ve been asking for and that’s a deep look into how the game actually plays. While it’s still Assassins Creed so there’s a bit of a formula in what you expect from these games the way they’re approaching Valhalla is different from the rest. It appears to be very combat-focused, which makes sense considering they’re Vikings, and that could lead to a game that is extremely different from the rest in the series up to this point.
Far Cry 6
There isn’t too much to say about Far Cry 6, because the trailer for it was nothing more than a cinematic with no actual gameplay, but this is a great chance for the series to hit a bit of a reset button. A lot of fans have grown a little tired of the Far Cry formula and Far Cry 5 didn’t do enough to quell those concerns. With Far Cry 6 appearing to take place in an urban setting instead of the more rural settings of games past there’s an opportunity to do something new here, but we’ll see how the game looks once we actually get some gameplay.
What change is on the way at Ubisoft?
Something that was missing from the event was any acknowledgment of the supposed change taking place at Ubisoft right now. Allegations against executives and employees in the company ranging from “sexual misconduct” to promoting a toxic work environment has led to three executives stepping down within the last week . While Ubisoft has acknowledged the allegations publicly, this was an opportunity for the company to take a moment to acknowledge it on a big platform. They opted not to and put out a statement before the event explaining their reasoning.
They say they will provide more updates soon, but it’s disappointing that they opted not to record a two to three-minute video beforehand to at least say something about it. Hopefully, we do hear more from them soon.
Nothing spectacular, but a solid event
In some ways Ubisoft may have gotten a little lucky there was no E3 this year. The company’s Forward event was entertaining enough and it had some heavy hitters that will be highly anticipated, but some segments dragged on too long and they really only showed four games off overall. At a standard E3 that would have left a bit of a hollow feeling, especially with a lack of gameplay for Far Cry 6 after the title’s existence was leaked days before the event.
Ubisoft played it safe here, and that’s fine. They showed off some cool gameplay for their games and did nothing else much more. While it would have been amazing to get five new IPs and 10 trailers out of the event sometimes it’s better to keep it simple and to the point.