With Assassin's Creed: Odyssey already a known quantity, it was difficult to escape the feeling that the single biggest surprise of the Ubisoft press briefing had already been revealed. Were it not for the company's growing bond with Nintendo, and Yves Guillemot's ability to summon Shigeru Miyamoto seemingly at will, Ubisoft's show may have felt somewhat unremarkable.
The most exciting game on show was unquestionably Beyond Good & Evil 2, but with the only gameplay footage used as little more than set-dressing as the developers focused on an interesting but somewhat abstract approach to crowdsourcing art assets, the abiding impression is of a game that is still a long way from finished.
Read on for all the big news from Ubisoft's E3 briefing.
Beyond Good & Evil 2
- The most intriguing game in Ubisoft's briefing was introduced in much the same way as it was in E3 2017: with a lavishly produced animated short. In this case, a representative of Ubisoft Montpellier confirmed that the characters in the video are all key characters in the game.
- Among those characters are the two main characters from the first game: Pey'j, now the ship's cook, and Jade, who is revealed as the villain of the piece - "your nemesis" - in a twist ending.
- A limited amount of pre-alpha gameplay footage of a sacred city called Ganesha was shown. Ganesha appears to be a dense, vertical cityscape, the sky filled with flying vehicles, but the footage was essentially used as a backdrop to the developers talking.
- Ganesha is one city in a far larger universe, which Ubisoft Montpellier will built along with its fans, who "will participate in a way that's never been done before."
- To accomplish this, Ubisoft has partnered with HitRecord, an online collaborative production company started by the actor Joseph Gordon Levitt. Already used for literature, film and music, Beyond Good & Evil 2 will be the first video game on HitRecord's platform.
- Members of the game's "Space Monkey" programme can submit ideas for music and artwork, and the first "creative challenges" are already live on HitRecord. You can read more about the process here.
- The game's first community event, BG Fest, will be held in the Fall.
Assassin's Creed: Odyssey
- One of E3's worst kept secrets is finally confirmed. There is a new Assassin's Creed, and it is set in Ancient Greece.
- Development of Odyssey was led by Ubisoft Quebec, and it has taken three years so far.
- Creative director Jonathan Dumont described Odyssey first as "a role-playing journey," and then said that Ubisoft has, "continued to transform Assassin's Creed into an epic RPG experience."
- Gameplay footage reinforced that idea, starting with the ability to choose the gender of the protagonist: Alexios or Kassandra. Players will control that version of the character for the entire game.
- There was a sequence in which Kassandra discussed the morality of a combat situation with a philosopher, which revealed a branching dialogue system similar to RPGs like Mass Effect. Rather pointedly, the philosopher reminded Kassandra that "choices are like ripples on water", and they can have unforeseen effects.
- Assassin's Creed: Odyssey will launch on October 5, 2018.
Tom Clancy's The Division 2
- Massive Entertainment's Julian Gerighty introduced a bleak trailer in which the camera glides through the brutal world of The Division 2 in a single, unbroken shot. The game's players will be, "the last line of defence for those civilians and the country. If you fail, history will be written by tyrants."
- In the game's campaign, the choices of the players will, "have a clear impact on the lives of civilians."
- There will also be new customisation options, including signature weapons and exclusive versions of tools and skills. The aim is to allow players to create unique styles and, "synergise with other players."
- All the better for tackling The Division 2's co-op raids, a first for the series that will be playable by eight people.
- The Division 2 will receive regular DLC updates, adding new story, new areas and new activities. This DLC will be free for everyone.
- Tom Clancy's The Division 2 will launch on March 15, 2019.
Starlink: Battle for Atlas
- Starlink was announced at E3 last year as a toys-to-life project from Ubisoft Toronto. It remains a toys-to-life project from Ubisoft Toronto.
- The game will launch on October 16, 2018, for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch. The starter pack will cost $75.
- The Nintendo Switch version feature Fox McCloud from the Nintendo classic Star Fox as exclusive content.
- To reinforce the significance of Ubisoft and Nintendo's partnership, CEO Yves Guillemot once again brought on Shigeru Miyamoto as a surprise guest. There was much rejoicing.
Skull & Bones
- Ubisoft Singapore's game received a long and detailed presentation, albeit one light on real surprises.
- The game follows Caribbean pirates as they take to the Indian ocean to plunder trade routes, ready to steal "every last fucking coin" (as Ubisoft's representative put it) from trading companies and their rivals.
- Skull & Bones will be played in a "shared world" where "every player encounter matters." A gameplay demo showcased ship customisation, the use of different sails to fool enemy ships and other tools of subterfuge, and the ability to summon other players to join you in battle.
- It will launch some time in 2019.
Games, games and more games
- RedLynx is making a new Trials game with Ubisoft Kiev. Trials Rising will launch in February 2019 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC and, for the first time, Nintendo Switch.
- The Donkey Kong Adventure DLC for Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle will launch on June 26, 2018.
- Transference, the fusion of gameplay and live-action footage from Elijah Wood's Spectravision production company, will launch for VR and "traditional platforms" in the fall.
- The Crew 2's beta starts on June 21, 2018. It can be pre-loaded now.
- For Honor will get a new expansion pack, Marching Fire, which will introduce Chinese warriors and a 4v4 "castle siege" mode.
- Just Dance 2019 will launch in October 2018.