Did nobody tell Jon bringing a dog onstage is cheating?
Ubisoft devoted much of its E3 time slot to discussing games we already knew were coming, like Watch Dogs 3 and Ghost Recon: Breakpoint, or updates to their existing roster, like The Division 2. While the few new IPs they showed sound interesting, the biggest news was an announced partnership with Google Stadia. Let’s break down what we know.
Watch Dogs 3, set in a post-Brexit England that has become an oppressive surveillance state, lets players control a large cast of characters with different strengths and skill sets. The footage showed one man attempting to recruit a drone hacking expert, but he is killed when the mission goes awry.
Though that character is now permanently dead, players can switch to any other British citizen they have recruited into the underground resistance known as Deadsec. An AI called Bagley coordinates these anti-establishment fighters on missions. Another playable character was an elderly woman who hacked her way through a police station to steal files using a spider drone. This cop-hating badass is my grandmother now, and I love her.
The game claims virtually every NPC in the game can be recruited, and therefore controlled by the player, but we will have to wait for more details about how this system will affect the narrative structure of Watchdogs 3. It drops on March 6, 2020.
Ghost Recon: Breakpoint will launch with AI teammates to support those players who wish to tackle the island stronghold on their own, which garnered a lot of applause from the crowd. They also announced the community focused Delta Company, which sounds like it will provide a portal for all fan content like cosplay and art. Players can access the beta for Ghost Recon: Breakpoint on Sept. 5.
Jon Bernthal took to the stage with a wonderful dog named Bam Bam. He didn’t provide anything new but instead used his time to talk about all the other gruff, angry men with chips on their shoulders and the guns to exercise them that he has played in the past. Real talk: if his character in the new Ghost Recon game is supposed to be a capital B, capital G Bad Guy, the marketing is doing everything it can to make his still look cool and worthy of emulation.
Stop it, Ubisoft. Stop making gun-horny fascists something to idolize.
Speaking of The Division 2, we now have details about how the post-America games as service will shake out content in the next year. Three story-focused episodes mark the largest content additions, and the first, coming in July, sees Division agents infiltrating a zoo to “bring a traitor to justice.” The episode will introduce more investigation and exploration-focused content for players to tackle.
Episode 2, coming Fall 2019, focuses on securing the Pentagon and whatever national secrets still reside within its walls. A new 8-player raid will accompany this episode. And while details on the last episode are sparse, it seems focused on hunting down a former comrade-in-arms who possesses dangerous information.
Not content to miss out on the subscription party, Ubisoft announced UPLAY+, their own service that will provide access to “100+” games at a price tag of $14.99 per month. Perhaps the really exciting news is that the service will also be available on Google Stadia some time in 2020. It’s not clear at this point if you will need to pay a monthly fee for both Google’s streaming platform as well as Ubisoft’s service.
Regardless, UPLAY+ launches on existing consoles and PC in September 2019.
Now, for the new stuff. The team at Ubisoft Montréal showed off a PVP sports game called Roller Champions that oozed style and kinetic grace. Think of a near-future roller derby arena decked out in Tron-esque lights and goals. A pre-alpha will be open for all players from now until June 14 on UPLAY.
A lot of people (myself included) had strong suspicions the Assassin’s Creed team would show at least a peek at the next entry in their action RPG franchise. And while the team did have something to show off, there was nary a hidden wristblade to be seen.
Instead we got Gods and Monsters, a brightly colorful world full rife with Greek and Roman myths pitted against a heroic protagonist. At first blush, Gods and Monsters looks like an open world action game, and you wouldn’t be admonished for saying it reminded you of Breath of the Wild. We don’t know much, but we do know it releases in February of next year.
Overall, Ubisoft delivered a more subdued show compared to the recent past. Just Dance 10, the latest entry in the long-running party game, announced an October release date during a music number that was a pale shadow of the marching band bonanza of last year.
Anyone expecting the pomp and fanfare that’s become synonymous with the French studio might have left disappointed, but it was a red letter day for lovers of guns and the military machismo machines who wield them.