E3 Thoughts: Ubisoft’s Press Conference

French games publisher Ubisoft had Monday’s third presser and by all indications, execs decided they needed more than games to get everybody’s attention because their show had more bloodshed and partial nudity than the day’s others presentations put together.

Ubisoft also previewed “Assassins Creed 3,” being the fifth Assassin’s Creed title for consoles and “Watch Dogs,” which is thus far the most intriguing title of E3. Watch Dogs looks something like a cyberpunk “Grand Theft Auto, and promises to deal with relevant themes such as electronic surveillance, cyber warfare and shooting people.

Snark aside, watch this and think about it:

I have to confess that I missed the beginning of Ubisoft’s webcast (I
had to work in Ontario on Monday. I’ll be at the show Tuesday through
Thursday, I promise), so I missed the debut of the trailer for shooter
Far Cry 3, which is where the above-mentioned partial nudity could be
seen . It’s probably a good thing I didn’t watch the trailer on an
official work computer because the trailer opens with a shot of a
topless woman and goes on to feature a barrage of F-bombs, several
close-ups of brutal stab wounds and a tiger getting killed.

even managed to work the notorious “F-word” into semi-subliminal
message in Far Cry 3’s trailer as the word “Ubisoft” briefly appeared to
read as, well, I’m sure anyone can figure it out. Gamers will probably
end up divided as to whether the trailer is edgy or just trades in shock
value. I’m of the latter opinion unless and until something unseen changes my mind.

Ubisoft is also behind the latest iteration of the “Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell” series, subtitled “Blacklist” and by all indications, the stealth-based gameplay of the original games has been replaced by a lot of shooting people in the Middle East.

I started to get the impression during Monday’s presentations that the only three genres left in video gaming are sports games, killing Middle Easterners/Russians and killing zombies. Ubisoft confirmed that killing zombies is very much a part of their business plan by announcing Zombi U, an ultra-bloody exclusive for Nintendo’s next console, the Wii U.

If Nintendo is looking to shed the company’s adorable image, Zombi U is one way to do it. Our blogging software can’t do age gates, so I can’t post the trailer here. For those who are not going to bother to search for it, the trailer shows a lot of gore and no actual gameplay, and it’s set to “God Save the Queen.”

For a break from that kind of ultraviolence, Ubisoft also hyped “The Avengers: Battle for Earth.” The Avengers are popular this summer.

But people probably want to know more about Assassin’s Creed 3, in which players get to play the role of a Native American assassin during the American War of Independence. All the footage I’ve seen (did I miss something, let me know if I messed up) shows the protagonist fighting the Redcoats but Ubisoft promised, however, there will be enemies on both sides of the war.

I would not be surprised if Assassins Creed 3 does indeed have enemies hiding among the patriot’s side, given that Assassin’s Creed franchise’s highly unconventional take on world history is based on a weird conspiracy in which Templar Order was and is a secret society hiding knowledge that humans were created by the beings of a mysterious “First Civilization.” The game’s first chapter, set in Holy Land during the Crusades, required players to assassinate Christian and Muslim leaders and the game basically declared both religions to be lies. In other words, I don’t expect Ubisoft to shy away from controversy.

Compared to Assassin’s Creed’s version of human events, the silliness of the Rayman universe seems tame by comparison. Ubisoft is retooling last year’s excellent Rayman Origins platform for Wii U as Rayman Legends and everyone should try this game on any platform. The painterly art style is beautiful and the platforming challenges and wild landscapes make for zany, light-hearted fun.

I’m not able to find any footage of Rayman Legends from Ubisoft, so here’s footage of Rayman Origins.