E3 – Day One – Ubisoft

For Day One, I give my award to Ubisoft, nearly hands down. Following the trend seemed to be set for this E3, just about everything had gameplay in some shape or form, but the reason I give it to them is probably best exemplified by one of my Tweets during the press event: “the Ubisoft press event seems to have the pattern of: Awesome, Awesome, wtf, wtf, great new things, and some crazy things out of nowhere.” Ubisoft didn’t just present simple video games, they brought out things I never thought I’d see at an E3 main press event. Read on:


The event started off with a demo of Child of Eden. A beautiful, synesthesia shooter from the mind that brought us REZ. Even if you’ve never played REZ, most gamers who know their history have come across it at some point. The game is done using Kinect and is probably about the best thing I have seen for the controller to this point. It is really the type of game that lends itself well to not having a controller while fully immersing the player in this onslaught of color and sound. This is what I want to see from Kinect, not games that look like Wii games with a face lift, but something that uses Kinect to transcend what a gaming experience can, could, or has to be. Obviously I’m taken with it, luckily it can be played with a controller and I hope we get a Move port or I’m going to be getting an Xbox Short (its not all that slim, looks more stumpy) or swiping my brother’s, Kinect just looks like such a cool way to play it. Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood was the next game we got, they did show anything multiplayer related at the press event, but we got a glimpse at the first player content. The AI will be more aggressive and the combat system has been redone to accommodate more combat but all the stealth and acrobatics that made the series is still there. After ACB came Shaun White Skateboarding, and initially I was about ready to tune out; with SKATE and Tony Hawk, what do you do differentiate yourself. Apparently, that was the first thing White said when offered the opportunity to make a game, and it really shows. My first impression was something of Saboteur meets SKATE, as you skate through the initially gray environment and pull of tricks, color returns and brings “fun” back to the world. Honestly, it’s a really cool take on the skateboarding genre and looks like fun. Additionally, as you bring back color, you can also create your own set pieces to use for tricks and expand your environment. Half pipes form out of no where, and rails grow and snake around as you please; they all look like they are powered by the green lantern but the effect is really cool. As you rebuild, reshape, and color your environment there will eventually be full scale changes, like buildings breaking down and rebuilding themselves into trick worthy surfaces. It’s dynamic, colorful and different, to hell with realism, it just looks like hella fun. And now is when Ubisoft took a turn into the “WTF” area, all of a sudden people started popping out of the audience with laser tag gear and blasting away at each other revealing BattleTag. I honestly don’t know what to make of this, my brain nearly started shutting down and doing back flips. I’m a little skeptical of trying to sell more hardware these days and 2 guns, 2 harnesses, gun reload packs, and score markers seems like a big and expensive package. That said, it presents some cool ideas and look at where Ubisoft sees the industry as moving or where they would like to be. The system will be integrated to a console some how to show match data. 5 or 7 years ago, for what ever reason I wouldn’t bat an eye and for some reason it seems like it would click, but these days I don’t know what to say – could be fun? Following BattleTag came another out of left field: Innergy. Using a finger placed cardiac sensor, using guided breathing rhythms, the player controls a little avatar through a fluctuating path. It looks very relaxing and I can’t help but think of Nintendo’s Vitalisensor shown off last year; I guess Ubisoft beat them to the punch, but I’ll be interested to see where it goes: Will Ubisoft have more games for it, will Nintendo’s be more of the same when it comes out or can it differentiate itself besides being a Nintendo product? Time will tell. But the trend of integrating games into your every day life is becoming more and more apparent, and if that wasn’t enough it was followed by another showing of Your Shape Fitness Evolved. We already saw it at Microsoft and it was pretty much the same demo; if not exactly. Seeing it a second time through did cause it to grow on me a little and I can see how this can be helpful and only doable in this capacity on the Kinect. I hope the thing has a good price point or a nice pack in deal with the 360 or I fear game wise it might flop. Following was a trailer for Raving Rabbids Travel in Time. No gameplay, so I can’t say anything, but hey, the Rabbids are back, right? Then came Ghost Recon Future Soldier, seeing this game in action has pretty much sold me. It looks awesome, I’m a sucker for a third-person shooter these days since I can’t get Gears, and the optical camouflage looks awesome and there doesn’t seem to be a limit on it at all. The cover and environments look to be destructible to some degree plus four player coop; I can’t wait for it to come out. After that, Driver San Francisco was shown. Apparently, the main character is in a coma but doesn’t realize it and coupled with that comes the ability to jump to a different car, with a certain range in the environment, to continue his pursuit, called “Shift”. Looks to be a cool mechanic, but it has to be recharged to be used over and over again. Then came Project Dust, again, another that was just a trailer, but it gave me a possible Black and White vibe. We’ll have to wait until later to see what it’s all about, but the trailer has gotten me interested. Next was a short presentation of the UBIART Framework that lead up to the reveal of Rayman Origins. It’s a platformer-side scroller that has playful 2D hand drawn graphics made entirely with the UbiArt Framework tool set, and it looks like it will be could be 2 player coop. While Rayman looks great, I’m more interested in this UbiArt Framework. They said only 5 people worked on Rayman using these tools, so I’d like the opportunity to wrap my hands around them or at least learn a little more instead of the quick mention it got. Afterward came ManiaPlanet, a PC system that would allow users to create their own content under one of three groups: TrackMania for Racing, ShootMania for Shooters, and QuestMania for RPGs.  Not only will users be able to make their own content, but also to share it with friends and allow others to play together with them or choose to play by themselves. I love anything user created, but we really have no idea how this will work until the betas for each start releasing. The first for TrackMania is due closer to the end of the year. The event was capped off by dancers from Michael Jackson’s This Is It tour dancing to ‘Beat It’. There will be a Michael Jackson dancing game that will help people learn the dances he did and will be released towards the end of the year. I assume it will use Kinect since there’s really no other way to do it in my mind.

And so closes Ubisoft and the first day of E3. Like I said, Ubisoft had some of the most out of nowhere stuff with BattleTag and Innergy, and for the shear fact of innovation for those I’ll give day one to Ubisoft, plus I’m loving Ghost Recon.


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