The first day of giant games show E3 is always conference city. With Microsoft and Sony showing off their finest wares (and you can get our take on everything that happened here and here), it's not only the platform holders that try and create some excitement, as both Ubisoft and EA have their own shindigs too. Taking the penultimate slot, here's our summary of what went down at the Ubisoft show.
Far Cry 4
Ubisoft started out their conference with a trailer of the upcoming open world shooter, Far Cry 4, showing the first five minutes of the game, introducing the game's setting, the lofty Himalayan (fictional) state of Kyrat, and main villain, Pagan Min. Mostly notable for featuring a monkey (which, in true Far Cry fashion, is promptly killed), frequent swearing, excessive violence, and a song by the Clash, we're yet to be sold on this one, which seems a little bit too similar to Far Cry 3. The war elephants might just sway us - so long as we don't have to kill them.
Just Dance 2015
Aisha Tyler, the host for the conference, then took to the stage to introduce a new game in the Just Dance series - Just Dance 2015. Coming with a packed song list including tracks from Calvin Harris, Ellie Goulding, Pharrell Williams and, er, the Tetris theme, the game also comes sporting an all new companion app, titled Just Dance Now, which will allow as many players - providing they all own smartphones that can download the app - to play Just Dance as you can get around a TV (or screen of any size). See the video above to see how this works for yourself.
In sharp contrast to the previous dancing, Ubisoft Massive's Petter Mannerfelt came onto the stage to show Tom Clancy's The Division, another open world military themed shooter, with a cinematic trailer giving an introduction to the premise/scenario of the game. As you'd likely expect, it's a game all about a near future America that's been plunged into turmoil, with more nitty grittyness than a lorry full of sand.
Next gen, socially oriented racing game The Crew was next, with a typically rubber burning trailer, showing off the range of landscapes the player can drive through in the game, while going from coast-coast across the USA, with no loading screens. That's a heck of a large environment for a game - and some of the available missions (like the aforementioned coast-coast) can last up to two hours! Julian Gerighty, creative director for The Crew, stepped onto the stage to talk more about the game, including part of the dev process where they've had members of the community and driving fanatics try out the game to get another perspective on it, along with gathering feedback on new features to add and other changes they could make. Specific mention was made of a time when the developers noticed that players would gather at the foot of a snowy mountain in off-road vehicles before racing to the top, which led to them building a hill climb challenge into the game. A closed beta goes live on July 23rd.
Assassin's Creed Unity
Let zem eat cake! Alex Amancio, creative director for Ubisoft Montreal, was next on the stage, to talk about Assassin's Creed Unity, a new game in the historically focused, stealth heavy Assassin's Creed series, with Unity being the first to include four-player co-op. Set during the French Revolution, along with producing an absolutely gorgeously realised revolutionary France for you to explore, Unity promises an upgraded parkour/free running system that'll let you scale buildings better than ever before, and building interiors that you'll be able to sneak into. We'll be keeping our fingers crossed it's more accessible than before.
Next up was Shape Up, a game which appears to be replacing the seemingly now defunct Your Shape brand as Ubisoft's next big fitness hope. An Xbox One exclusive (boo!) fitness game that uses Kinect (double boo!), Charles Huteau, the creative director, strolled on stage to explain how they're trying to make working out fun. While the sceptic in us would prefer to think of slobbing in front of the TV, what they actually showed does seem like it does a good job of making exercising more fun, stepping away from the clinical precision of Your Shape to offer something that feels like a game, but gets you moving, from a Dancing Stage style foot stomping game that sees you stepping on virtual piano keys in time with markers coming down the screen, to one that sees you lifting an elephant. Presumably not the same ones that you shot in Far Cry 4 earlier.
One of the more interesting looking games of the show (and especially poignant in this, the hundred year anniversary of the beginning of World War 1), Valiant Hearts is a game that tells the emotional journey of four characters and a dog in the midst of the "Great" war, powered by the same technology that gave us the very pretty, hand drawn stylings of Rayman Legends and Child of Light. As well as a trailer for the game, a partnership with a documentary, Apocalypse World War One was announced, which should help the game have even more of an emotional impact, as it ties its story to the real events of the first world war.
Rainbow Six Seige
Finally, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot came onto the stage, thanking all the fans, both those in attendance and those watching the streams, and congratulating the Ubisoft devs for the games that were showed, before showing off one final game - Rainbow Six Siege. A (you guessed it) team based military stealth focused shooter, we were treated to a demo of a hostage mission which showed off some of the game's key features - like the titular sieges, where players are split in two teams, one being the "enemy" and able to fortify their base/area with a variety of items/equipment, while the other team have to use their own items/equipment to assault it. Environments were also shown to react to the players' actions, taking damage and being able to be used to change the way the players tackle the missions.