Ubisoft @ E3 2016 Preview & Predictions

We’ve finally reached the last press conference of E3 2016. Ubisoft, the French EA, presents in the middle of the two big console manufacturers on Tuesday.

Ubisoft is always the toughest publisher to predict for, which is why I hold them off for last. Like an amoeba, it seems like all of Ubisoft’s studios are all working on all of their games– not restricted to one each, and occasionally providing co-development like many others. Because of that, tracking release cycles is so hard because so many studios jump around between producing nothing and producing their own title.

This year, I feel like I might have gotten a bit of a better grasp on the company as a whole, though, so it will be interesting to see how these predictions shape up– even if I can’t pad my stats without a new Assassin’s Creed this year.

Ubisoft E3 Press Conferences in Years Past

Ubisoft has gotten by the last two years by having some of the least notable press conferences each year. It has almost become a trend to easily predict what they’re going to do, and the games they end up showing rarely wow– and when they do, the final product ends up being nothing like they were presented.

Usually tight affairs, ranging from between 8 to 10 games a presser, Ubisoft generally has most of those spaces filled by games you would expect from them, with Assassin’s Creed and Just Dance always taking up a good chunk of time.

Both of the last two years, the most interesting games might have been the first ones they showed. Two years ago, they showed off in-game footage of Far Cry 4 for the first time, and last year they announced the unexpected South Park: The Fractured but Whole.

Speaking of announcements, each of the last three years, Ubisoft has announced a new Tom Clancy game, starting with The Division in 2013, Rainbow Six: Siege in 2014, and Ghost Recon: Wildlands last year. All three games were received to varying degrees of hype or disappointment, but none have yet made all that much of a dent.

There is, of course, like all press conferences, at least one wild card in the mix. And by that I mean, there’s always one game that isn’t all that impressive but helps fill the space, whether it be the Trials mobile games from a few years ago, Shape-Up in 2014, or Trackmania Turbo last year.

And then there’s the actual wild card: a game announcement that kind of comes out of nowhere and looks mildly interesting. Whether it’s Watch Dogs several years ago, Valiant Hearts from 2014, or the dueling multiplayer title For Honor revealed last year, there’s always something to catch your attention– whether the end release is any good or not.

On certain years they do have a little more to offer though. For example, last year The Crew and Trials: Fusion came out with released DLC content that was included in their press conference, and the part of Ubisoft Blue Byte that was formerly Related Design came up on the end of their development cycle and announced Anno 2205.

Anything after that, though, are just the scraps of games that were not released the year before, such as The Division and The Crew in 2014, and Rainbow Six: Siege and The Division again last year.

Known Ubisoft Titles

“The scraps of games that were not released the year before” might be one of the better ways to describe Ubisoft’s press conference this year. For Honor, Ghost Recon: Wildlands, and South Park: The Stick of Truth all were announced last year and none have released yet, making them very likely candidates to show up at E3 this year.

What might show up but are not even close to 100% at this point are Shootmania Cryo and Questmania from the developers of Trackmania. While Trackmania Turbo was at E3 2015, and released earlier this year, it was also a game made for home consoles, whereas most other games in the series, including these two, are for PC. Whether that is a sign that the games won’t be at the show, only time will tell.

What won’t be at the show are two pretty easy games to guess, although the latter will likely be on a lot of people’s wish list. The first is Champions of Anteria, a game from the creators of the Settlers series that has been delayed for a long time now and frankly not many people care much about. Ubisoft publishes for them, though, so technically there’s a chance.

The other game you won’t see there is the long anticipated Beyond Good & Evil 2, which recently was rumored to be coming out on Nintendo’s NX platform. That rumor is my main reason for not expecting the game– well, that and the many years of not seeing the game– as I expect that without an NX announcement, Ubisoft will have to hold off on bringing it back into the limelight.

As for recently released games, if Ubisoft wishes to touch on them, I wouldn’t be surprised if Anno 2205 or The Crew gets an expansion. Hell, even The Division, seeing as it’s fairly comparable to Destiny, could get some sort of DLC at E3.

Finally, it’s hard to decide if this is known or a prediction, but there’s a 100% chance that Just Dance 2017 is shown off. There’s always a new Just Dance title.

Predicted and Unannounced Ubisoft Games

 There are three games which I wholeheartedly expect to see at E3 2016 that are, as of yet, unannounced. The first, as many predict, is Watch Dogs 2. While the original title released to lukewarm response, it was released with intention of becoming a major franchise. With that, many are looking for the game to do what Assassin’s Creed II did for that series in releasing a sequel that greatly expands on the mechanics and world of the first game, officially making the series a stable of Ubisoft’s yearly lineup.

The second game I expect to see is a new Rayman title. It has been 3 years since Rayman Legends, with the mobile title Rayman Adventures in 2015 being the last entry in the series. Essentially, it’s time. 3 years is a long wait for one of the top two 2D platformer franchises in existence. At the very least, if Rayman doesn’t show, it’s hard to believe Ubisoft Montpellier won’t have some other UbiArt Framework title to reveal.

The third game that should be expected is a new title in the Trials franchise. While new DLC is possible, as was the case for last year’s E3 press conference, Red Lynx went through a span of at least 5 years of releasing a brand new title, from Trials Legends in 2010 to Trials Fusion in 2014. A year off for DLC and it feels like it’s time to see what new game they’ve cooked up, even if it is just another Trials game. Those never get old.

Whether you like it or not, Ubisoft always tends to announce games that are more than a year out from release. In some ways, it is smart, as it avoids leaks that might make the announcement less exciting. This year there are two possibilities that I believe could likely make an appearance.

The first is a new title from The Crew developers, Ivory Tower. While, like Trials Fusion, new DLC for The Crew would come as no surprise, announcing a new title from the studio for a 2017/18 release– 3-4 years after their last title– makes a whole lot of sense.

The other game is a complete toss-up. My initial assumption is that it will be an open-world game from Ubisoft Montreal not from the Far Cry or Assassin’s Creed franchises. It could be something completely different, of course. It could be a new Tom Clancy game like it has been the last three years. It could be a new Prince of Persia title. If they wanted to make my day, it would be Dean Evan’s (Far Cry: Blood Dragon) game that we’ve heard nothing about for over a year.

But it’s an easy bet that they’ll have something completely unexpected. For better or for worse, there’s always something.

Ubisoft E3 2016 Predicted Lineup 

Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands
South Park: The Fractured but Whole
For Honor
Just Dance 2017
Watch Dogs 2
Unknown Ivory Tower Title
Unknown Trials Title
Unknown Rayman Title
Unknown Ubisoft Montreal Title

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