Years from now, when we look back at this E3, amidst all the disappointment, there will be one thing we will all universally agree on: this was the E3 that Ubisoft finally came into its own as a publisher. Apart from having a massive presence at all three of the console manufacturer’s conferences (each of them devoted a segment of their conference to Ubisoft and its games), they also had their own press conference as with every year. Unlike every other year, however, they totally hit it out of the park with this one, and came out on the top this E3.
Ubisoft’s press conference started out as bad as the last few years: with a full fledged dance number to show off their upcoming Just Dance 4, the latest in their bestselling, world conquering series of dance games. However, Ubi quickly got that out of the way, and it was a pleasant surprise when on to the stage, there trotted not retarded show hosts like Mr Caffeine, but an actual, genuinely funny actress, and Tobuscus as her show host. While their presentation was still marginally cringe inducing, and there wasn’t much chemistry between the two of them, it served the purpose of keeping things moving between the game presentations.
And the games, the meat of the show, were awesome. Every single game that Ubisoft showed off at E3, including, yes, Just Dance, was great, fresh, bold, taking new chances, and frankly exciting enough to warrant a purchase. Ubisoft started by showing off the new Splinter Cell game, Blacklist. The game had also been demoed at Microsoft’s presser earlier in the day, so it wasn’t as big of a shock, but the liberties it is taking with the series standards still managed to upset some. Assessed as what it is, though, it looks fine, and it was a fine way to start the conference.
Also shown off at this point in time was Far Cry 3. The game looks gorgeous, prettier than it has any right to, considering that it is running on seven year old consoles, and it looks to continue the Far Cry series’ streak of building up an excellent atmosphere. The game looked great, and it looks like it will be a breath of fresh air in the shooter genre when it hits.
Ubisoft dedicated an entire portion of its conference to Wii U, and frankly, it did a better job of unveiling the Wii U than Nintendo itself did. Starting with Rayman Legends, that looked great (and was announced as being Wii U only), they showed off some really neat features of the game enabled by its heavy tablet integration, including asymmetric co-op. More than any other game, perhaps, Ubisoft’s Rayman Legend managed to sell people on the Wii U.
Ubisoft also debuted a Wii U exclusive zombies game, bafflingly titled ZombiU. The trailer didn’t show much, but the premise seemed interesting, and the game seemed to be proof of the fact that Nintendo really is trying to appeal to the hardcore market (a notion that Nintendo did its best to dispel in its E3 conference).
After the Wii U segment, Ubisoft showed off several other games. Among these, one was Shootmania, an arena shooter that looks to be a throwback to shooters of the 90s. The presentation was really awful, but the actual game looked really cool, and it looked like a breath of fresh air in a stagnant genre.
After that, Ubi moved to the game everyone had really been waiting for: Assassin’s Creed 3. The expectations were through the roof, but the game seemed to surpass every single one of them, and it looked breathtaking. Ubisoft even addressed the question of whether Assassin’s Creed would have you exclusively focusing on killing the British, and though they skirted around the issue, the fact that they brought it up at all was nice.
The last game that Ubisoft showed off was mind blowing. A new IP that was also unlike anything ever seen before, and the possible game of show, with stunning graphics that looked absolutely next generation, and a concept that is incredible (and seemed to be great in its execution too). The footage- all real time- and the gameplay demo was met with thunderous applause, and you could detect a faint note of pride in the UBisoft executives’ voice as they introduced Watch Dogs to the world.
And that sealed the deal. With a stellar conference that will go down as one of the best in E3 history, a varied lineup, and a slate of games that is very literally appealing to everybody, Ubisoft saved the show. E3 2012 will, in hindsight, belong to Ubisoft, and their press conference was the ultimate epitome of that triumph.
The Bad: Started with Just Dance 4; The presentation for Shootmania was awful; the announcers went over the top sometimes
The Good: The lineup was stunning; The Wii U games were great; Assassin’s Creed 3 looked incredible; Watch Dogs will be the next big IP to watch out for
Final Verdict: E3 2012 will, in hindsight, belong to Ubisoft, and their press conference was the ultimate epitome of that truimph.