E3 reactions: Ubisoft surprises (but actually in a good way)

By: Ashley Rivas

I actually didn’t take notes for Ubisoft, because frankly, I didn’t care.  What could they show me?  Assassin’s Creed?  Thanks, I’ll pass.  I’m about as done as I can get with your poor use of bastardized history as an excuse for yet more super-epic slo-mo.   I can watch a Transformers movie for that.   Maybe some Far Cry 5?  Sure, that’s probably your only leg to stand on.  You’re Ubisoft.  You rely on gimmicks and flash to hide the fact that you have no substance, no core underneath your slick and shiny shell.

But you do have a core.  There is a heartbeat somewhere in that husk that we’ve all come to roll our eyes at.  GET ME THE DEFIBRILATOR, STAT—I THINK I CAN SAVE THEM—

No.  The man who will save them is actually Shigeru Miyamoto, the angel himself.  And god damn, did he drop the mic.


The big reveals

This is actually probably going to be one of the shortest articles of this series, because I have a lot of praise, almost no criticism, and not a ton to talk about.  Ubisoft showed amazing things, but not a ton of them, which actually makes me giddy; I love me some gameplay previews, but if you roll out consistently exciting things, I’ll take that too.

Mario+Rabbids
Who would have thought? Ubisoft, evidently. Photo credit: ESA

The hype train left the station with Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle, a bizarre crossover if ever I’ve seen one.  And I’ve heard some weird things.  Garfield + Carrie of Sex and the City weird.  Mario + Rabbids is better than that.  And, it’s coming out for the Switch at the end of August, which is nuts.

It’s basically XCOM, or Fire Emblem, or Final Fantasy Tactics; it’s a turn based strategy game that takes every character and makes them a weapon.  Mario can leap off the head of a Rabbid to explore the terrain differently during the grid combat, or he can destroy areas on the map to open up play even more.  And holy crap, was this not the most adorable thing you’ve ever seen?  My waifu for laifu, Princess Peach, shot things, and it was so cute I shrieked.  MURDER, PRINCESS, MURDER YOUR KAWAII HEART OUT.

Like I said, Miyamoto showed up to announce this one with Yves Guillemot, and their little photo op was very cute and charming.  Miyamoto called out the designer of the game, who was in tears in the audience; can you imagine a gaming icon specifically saying that your vision is alive and beautiful?  I got the goose bumps.  And a little weepy.  Shut up about it.

Once we moved past that, Assassin’s Creed Origins quite obviously made its appearance.  It was at multiple conferences, and since I already covered it in Microsoft’s article, there isn’t much to add.  It’s fine.  Boring.  Serviceable.  Not anything that deserves more time than that.

Skull & Bones
YARRRRRRRRRRRRR, MAYYYTEEEYYYSSSSS! Photo credit: Ubisoft

Skull and Bones is the second pirate game to show up at E3 this year, with Sea of Thieves being the one everyone expected.  But hey, piracy was the best part of Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag, so making a game out of it makes sense.  But the cool part was just how cool this looked.  I did get a little bit of Sea of Thieves when they talked about the multiplayer features, but holy guacamole, this game was beautiful.  That’s not a compliment I love to give; I think games these days have no excuse for ugly graphics, not with consoles as powerful as they are (hi, Mass Effect Andromeda).  But this looked cool as much as Sea of Thieves looks quirky, so I think a rivalry between the two isn’t really a thing.

Yes yes yes, Far Cry 5 showed up and looked great.  But let’s get to the end.  Let’s talk about Beyond Good and Evil 2, which was a very well kept secret that served excellently as a finale.  The crowd went ape shit (pun absolutely intended), and since I’ve never played the first one, I thought this might be an incredibly updated version of Ape Escape.  That’s a joke.  HAHAHA.

The game looked amazing, and it should’ve featured some game play, but that’s not such a big deal here.  No one thought this game would even get made.  The developers were so emotional they couldn’t get sentences out on stage.  The fact that it was even here is a testament to the perseverance of a relentless game dev, and the fact that Ubi backed it is insanely impressive.



The atmosphere

Sure, Miyamoto showing up and pretending to fire a Mario canon at Guillemot was silly, but who cares!  It was cute, and it was exciting, and it made you go “awwwwwww THESE GUYS” while you started your fan art of the two. 

This whole conference felt like that; endearing, if not a little silly at times.  The Just Dance reveal was another big, live dance number, but that and the Miyamoto reveal were really the only big gimmicks.  It felt like Ubisoft was actually trying to show you games, instead of disguise the fact that they had nothing behind Aisha Tyler jokes. 

Just Dance
Ubisoft: not afraid to be weird.Photo credit: ESA

It was so refreshing.  I can’t believe that it turned out like this; I was expected Ubisoft to be that kid at your reunion.  Not the nerd who shows up 20 years later with a hot wife and a bazillion dollars; I pegged Ubisoft as the kid who barely showed up to class, didn’t give a shit, and acted like an asshole when you told him to get a job.  And Ubisoft was that kid, but they showed up this year reformed, determined, and most importantly, passionate.  I felt like there was real life in this company for the first time in a long time (probably since Assassin’s Creed 2 in 2009).  The heart is beating, and it’s a damn good start.

So who’s next?  Well, I’m going from my favorites to my least favorites, and unfortunately, Ubi and Microsoft were really the only ones I liked.  So the order for the next ones will be:

  1. PC Gaming, because it was boring.
  2. Sony, because they were lame and didn’t show much.
  3. EA, because they’re the devil and you know it.

Don’t give me any of that “EA isn’t that bad” because that argument is invalid.  That’s a fact. 

About The Author

I'm a big ol' nerd, and I want to effuse that nerdiness for the rest of my life. I spend as much time as I can drawing and playing video games, and I've taken that to the career level now since I'm back in school to be a game designer. I'm the mom to three puppies and a fat kitty, and the wife to a fellow nerd.

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