Ubisoft @ E3 2015 Analysis & Predictions

I’m not sure Ubisoft has ever really tried to make their event more like a press conference than a publicity event. They generally have a host, with Aisha Tyler being the main showrunner for several years now. It has worked and not worked, of course. The writing could try to actually be as funny as Ms. Tyler is normally, for example, but Ubisoft’s events feel more significantly like a show put on for gamers than a press conference put on to talk business. Except the year they chose “Mr. Caffeine” to host, but we try to forget about that one.

Ubisoft at E3 2014

Ubisoft was one of the better conferences on Monday of last year. Although they allowed Sony and Microsoft to show gameplay footage of The Division and Far Cry 4 at their own shows, they still kept some of the more interesting cutscene and CG trailers for theirs.

The biggest reveal during the event was Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege, which followed the trend from earlier in the day of militarized police forces that EA’s Battlefield: Hardline had started. The other noteworthy reveals at the show was Shape-Up, a fitness game trying to be a bit more fun than past titles from other developers, and Valiant Hearts, a small UbiArts game that was received quite well when released last year.

Ubisoft also showed off expected titles such as the yearly installments of Just Dance and Assassin’s Creed, series which will most assuredly be there again this year, as well as known new IP in The Crew.

Surprisingly enough, though, that was all the games they showed off. Yet, in an excellent foil to EA, the content, gameplay and cutscenes, as well as knowledge off the game from their games’ showings at other events made it very memorable.

So can they do that again this year?

Games We Know About

The Ubisoft games we know about are dominated by the Assassin’s Creed and Tom Clancy franchises. Assassin’s Creed Chronicles, a series of 2.5 D platforming action games that have been steadily releasing over the past few months and throughout the year, likely won’t make an appearance without a severe lack of anything else to show, seeing as Ubisoft tends to stick with one AC game per presser. That spot, then, goes to Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, which, like every year, will definitely take up a portion of the show for a extensive demo.

AC Syndicate

courtesy of The Verge

Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Seige launches later this year, so that’s a lock, and Tom Clancy’s The Division has been slowly showed off every year like Watch Dogs, and, while also delayed several times like the latter game, will likely follow in its predecessor’s footsteps and make a third E3 appearance.

We know Ubisoft has another Just Dance on the way to Wii U, and also the game Toy Soldiers: War Chest, which was announced in August of last year and was supposed to launch in early 2015. That hasn’t happened, but the game is not nearly well known enough to really expect it to show up during Ubisoft’s press conference unless, again, there is a severe lack of games.

Expected Announcements

The fear, though, is that there might be a lack of games. Last year’s press event was sparse, but the games shown were shown more extensively. This year, what they’ll have to show is uncertain. The problem with prediction Ubisoft’s lineup is that so many studios work on a single game that it is almost impossible to look at a single studio and judge whether it has been long enough for them to put out another game, like you can do with some of Ubisoft’s competitors. Instead, because of Ubisoft’s tendency to create franchises and annualize series, the following 4 predicted announcements are based on how long it has been since the last game in a particular series and how long each game usually takes to be made.

Call of Juarez is one of those series with a pretty straightforward release history. The series has a history of console releases in 2007, 2009, 2011, and 2013. Response to the latest entry, Call of Juarez: Gunslinger, was almost unanimously positive, so it stands to reason that we’ll see a new iteration announced at E3 for a 2015 release.

Since UbiArt became an engine used for multiple games from Ubisoft, the Rayman franchise has made good use of it. The latest big release in the franchise was Rayman Legends in 2013, and there hasn’t been a single game in the franchise since that year. Considering this is a franchise that rarely if ever takes a year off, it stands to reason that Rayman is coming back with a full game like Legends or Origins, which launched in 2011– the exact same window of time between Legends and now.

The same line of thought applies to the Trials series. Trials Evolution launched in 2012, and Trials Fusion launched in 2014. Both releases were prior to E3 of their respective years, and Ubisoft has definitely given some time to each at E3 previously. It leads, again, to the thought that we’ll see a new Trials game at E3 with an early 2016 release date.

Also, I’d bet on a new UbiArts game. They seem to be the kind of games that employees put together in their downtime between titles. We saw 2 last year, and I’d expect some what of a consistent stream from Ubisoft going forward.

The only other possible announcements they could make are a new title in the Prince of Persia series or an acknowledgement of the existence of Beyond Good & Evil 2, which was announced years and years ago, but hasn’t done anything since.

Bold Prediction

Whatever Dean Evans brings to E3 will destroy everything else at Ubisoft’s show.

Dean Evans is the guy that directed Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon, which was the coolest and most out-there iteration on an existing Ubisoft franchise that we may ever see. After the success of that standalone DLC, Ubisoft decided to give him his own project to work on, and the new IP (being made alongside an artist whose DeviantArt is stunningly exciting), that is, by his description he intends to be, “the game [he’s] always wanted to make.” Ubisoft is apparently letting him do that, and that alone sounds amazing.

Dean Evans

From Darren Bartley’s dA, courtesy of Polygon.

Simply considering the other games at Ubisoft’s show, and with the assumption that my trust in him is well deserved, nothing else will come close to blowing the audience away.

Ubisoft’s Predicted 8-game Lineup

  1. Assassin’s Creed Syndicate
  2. Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege
  3. Tom Clancy’s The Division
  4. Just Dance 2016
  5. New Rayman Title
  6. New Trials Title
  7. New UbiArts Title
  8. Dean Evan’s New IP

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