E3 2017 might have started off on the wrong foot, but Ubisoft has completely steered this show back on the right path. The France-based publisher went all out for this showing, acting like it has no tomorrow because very likely, it very well might not have a tomorrow. With the looming threat of corporate takeover, this could very well be its last E3 press conference as we know it.
The company brought a load of games, each more memorable than the last, and delivered its best press conference in years.
I'm just biased because I love Mario
Well, the most memorable moment of the night actually came first with Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle. Ubisoft brought Shigeru Miyamoto up on stage, and he praised Ubisoft for creating the Rabbids and for making a swell tactical game out of the Mario lore.
And then, to everyone's surprise, this game looks like a home run! "Super Mario XCOM!" I'll never stop calling it that. The awkward Rabbids make for the perfect compatriots to Mario and his mute friends, and we're hoping Ubisoft is able to dig some comedy gold out of their relationship in this game.
I'm sold, and Ubisoft picked the perfect game to start off the night with, setting a tone that carried throughout the show. As a Nintendo fan, Ubisoft couldn't have made me happier.
Thencame the next-gen games
AAA headlined the rest of the show, continuing with more Ancient Egypt footage of Assassin's Creed Origins, which I'm still going to leave on my back burner for now. The Crew 2 delivered a heart-pounding trailer, loaded with mind-boggling Inception and Dr. Strange cinematography, and I hope the final game looks as good as Ubisoft rendered it on stage.
A hilarious new look at South Park: The Fractured but Whole followed, and it was here that I started to realize Ubisoft might actually pull off the best show of E3.
And then we saw this! Skull and Bones, Ubisoft's new pirate game, is exactly the kind of game I want to see at E3. It's big, fresh, and has a very clear goal in mind. I'm not altogether into these multiplayer games that Ubisoft has been cranking out lately, like For Honor and The Division, but I want to know all I can about this game.
Skull and Bones transports you to the golden age of piracy in tactical 5 on 5 PvP battles. You and your crew wage war with opposing pirate groups as you raid islands and ransack buried treasure. All the while, you'll steer your ship, fire the cannons, board enemy vessels for close range combat, and even battle with the Kraken, as teased at the end of the reveal.
It was an announcement that came out of nowhere, and it channeled the ultra popular success of Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, proving that Ubisoft is indeed paying attention to the fanbase. Skull and Bones solidified a stellar night for Ubisoft. The rest of the evening was just fluff on top of the cake.
Frodo Baggins turned up to do some VR, and Far Cry 5 in Montana
The weirdest trailer of the night was for an experimental game called Transference. It's well known that Elijah Wood, the actor who played Frodo in Lord of the Rings, is a huge gaming nerd, and Ubisoft revealed it is working with him to make some crazy, inexplicable VR game. I'm not entirely sure what it is we saw on stage, but the behind the scenes interviews give a better understanding of what this game is.
Or actually, it doesn't. Nobody seems able to directly tell us what it is, and that's probably the point. The mystery of it all…
South Park turned up again, this time a mobile game called South Park: Phone Destroyer. Meh, it looked passable, but in the same way that Fallout Shelter did during its E3 reveal two years ago. This means it could go on to great things if the game turns out to be fun.
It was quickly overshadowed by a few other huge games including Steep and the reveal gameplay trailer of Far Cry 5, which indeed takes place in the state of Montana. I'm not overly huge on this series, but that scenery takes me back to when I was a kid living out in the west. I'd rather have nostalgia for JRPGs at any rate, but it hit a soft spot inside my bones.
The action started ripping and roaring, and it looked decent enough. Boomer: Fangs for Hire is clearly the star of this game.
*&^@ing Beyond Good & *#^!ing Evil 2 showed up, @($%!
If you had told me that the most uses of the F-word I would hear at E3 2017 would be in the long-overdue sequel to Beyond Good & Evil then I would have told you that you were *&^@ing crazy. The original game is a serene sci-fi story with relaxing music and a really mature tale to tell.
What we got in this trailer sounded like it was written by a nine-year-old who just learned how to swear. I'm not sure who signed off on this creative decision, but it made me wince. The moment of joy, the moment I had been waiting over ten years to see… dashed on the rocks by the overuse of a certain four-letter word.
I don't mind swearing in games, but not when it's the sequel to a game as lovely as Beyond Good & Evil. It just sounds totally out of place here. I'm sure the game is rock solid, and I love the new setting and the new Jade character model (who I guess really isn't Jade, but probably an ancestor), but *&^@ that's a lot of *&^@ing *&^@s. Seriously, save it for Far Cry 5 or somewhere that it's more fitting.
I have a feeling that all these *&^!s means Nintendo is not as involved with the project as is rumored to be.
Otherwise, really solid show from Ubisoft
I'm glad this E3 2017 worked out for Ubisoft. It definitely has the best conference of the convention so far, and with troubled corporate times ahead, at least we got to see the company again at its creative peak. This show had life, excitement, good music, spot-on pacing, and it ended just when I thought "Okay, I've seen enough."
It totally erases the last two years of its insufferable attempts to appeal to gamers. Best of all, no voice acted chat simulation! Thank you for listening, Ubisoft!