E3 2019: Ubisoft | Press Conference Rambles
For the second time in as many years, the Ubisoft conference was the best conference at E3. I can’t speak to their booth presence or their lineup of playable games, but when it comes to giving people a clear vision of what you have planned, showing games, and not making a damn fool of yourself, no one has done those things better than they have.
This generation, Ubisoft has become known for continuously supporting its games with free updates and free content. They’ve figured out a way to make almost everything they put out into a live game, but without adding any disgusting in-game purchases. So naturally they spent a chunk of time covering how each of these ongoing games would continue to see support. They rolled out a chunk of info about the next year of content for The Division 2, including info about the next raid coming in the fall, and even a full trailer for one of those content drops. They talked up Season 4 of Rainbow Six Siege, and announced new classes for that. They touched on updates for For Honor as well. Some of these games are now going on five years old, so it’s cool to see them getting support on the biggest stage of the year.
However, it wasn’t all old games. The new stuff they showed — like the aesthetically amazing Gods and Monsters from the Assassin’s Creed team, the esports-y roller derby game Roller Champions, and Watch Dogs Legion — left great first impressions. Watch Dogs specifically had one of the best gameplay demos I’ve ever seen. The whole game hinges on a gimmick that you may have heard about by now, but if you haven’t I won’t spoil it here. The way their demo revealed that gimmick was probably my favorite moment of the entire E3 show so check out the following video.
Outside of games, they announced a movie for The Division on Netflix. Division has a far better story than it needed to, and it honestly could make for a great political thriller. Rob McElhenney of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia fame is going to star in a show called Mythic Quest. This should have been your typical, E3, cringe-worthy nonsense, but this one appears to be a compelling idea as well. The show will be on Apple TV Plus. Oh, and speaking of celebrity cameos, I’d argue Jon Bernthal (and Bam Bam the Dog’s) segment to set up Ghost Recon: Breakpoint was just as memorable as Keanu Reeves’s moment at the Xbox show.
Ubisoft also unveiled their subscription service. UPlay Plus (these things need better naming conventions) works like Xbox Game Pass in that it’ll let you download games for $15 a month. The twists appear to be that it’s PC and Stadia exclusive, and will only include their PC lineup. When you factor in that you get the games with their DLC, $15 per month for their back catalog and their new games at launch is incredibly enticing. I would have no problem paying $15 right now to play through the Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time series, but I prefer to play most of their newer games on console, so we’ll see if they expand in that direction.
The depth of their investment in their existing games, and the quality of what they’ve shown of the new stuff, coupled with surprisingly decent ideas for a movie and a TV show, and a reasonable subscription service did a lot for me personally. Microsoft showed so many games that it’s almost impossible for them not to have had the best lineup of titles, but I’d argue not a single one of those games was presented as well as Ubisoft presented its lineup. I even enjoyed watching that panda get it in during the Just Dance 2020 segment. They did all of this and never even mentioned an Assassin’s Creed or a Far Cry. Ubisoft is killing it.
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