E3 2016 for Ubisoft: What to expect

Big franchises, big surprises, but (supposedly) no Assassin's Creed.

Ubisoft's annual E3 press conference is typically sandwiched between blockbuster events — from Microsoft and Sony, but not EA this year — yet it's always worth tuning in for. Time and time again, Ubisoft has delivered big surprises and show-stopping demos, and there's no reason to believe this year will be any different.

Last year's event brought the debuts of Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Wildlands, For Honor and South Park: The Fractured but Whole, as well as updated looks at Tom Clancy's The Division, Assassin's Creed Syndicate and Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege. We'll surely see those first three unreleased games yet again, along with some other surprises in the mix, and Ubisoft promises to have "lots of dates" to share.

Ubisoft's conference takes place at 1:00 p.m. PT on June 13 at the Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles, with Aisha Tyler hosting once again. Here are the games we expect to see there — and the ones we hope will appear, as well.

What we expect to see:

Watch Dogs 2

Watch Dogs

Update: Since this story published, Ubisoft confirmed Watch Dogs 2 is a go and will launch Nov. 15 for Windows PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. We're for sure going to hear more about it at E3 2016. Set in San Francisco and starring a new protagonist, you can read more of what Watch Dogs 2 has revealed right here.

New IP

Ubisoft is sure to have a couple big surprises in store for E3, and one will be "a new high-potential AAA brand with strong digital live services," according to the company's last earnings report. In other words, it'll be something big, glossy, and online-connected, quite likely with extensive DLC or subscription content. Yes, Ubisoft really has a type. The game may actually appear just before E3, but it will no doubt be a cornerstone of the press conference as well.

Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Wildlands

A pre-render shot of a helicopter landing in Ghost Recon Wildlands Ubisoft Paris/Ubisoft

Another year of work should have the latest Ghost Recon ready for a more extensive gameplay showing at E3. Wildlands shakes off the futuristic settings of the last few core entries and brings in an open world that provides a wider array of choices for tackling each mission. Ubisoft expects to release the game before Q2 2017 rolls around, so E3 is prime time to showcase progress and put a release date on it.

South Park: The Fractured but Whole

South Park: The Fractured but Whole

With a new superhero theme and a fresh developer — Ubisoft San Francisco instead of Obsidian — the Stick of Truth sequel promises to be a key part of the Ubisoft E3 lineup again this year. The publisher's website still lists 2016 as the release year, so a date seems likely for the crass role-playing adventure. Our only question: will Trey Parker and Matt Stone make yet another wonderfully awkward press conference appearance?

For Honor

For Honor Ubisoft

The original hack-and-slash brawler has made trade show appearances since last E3, but there hasn't been a lot of fresh news otherwise. Ubisoft has this one scheduled for release by Q2 2017, as well, so chances are we'll see a deep dive into mechanics and likely get a proper release date too. And with a new, multiplayer-centric IP like this, don't be surprised if Ubisoft has an open beta planned.

The Division DLC

The Division

After a lengthy development cycle, The Division has been a sales success for Ubisoft and has established another pillar in the Tom Clancy franchise. Announced expansions are already promised through winter, but don't be surprised to see a focus on the game's extended life onstage — whether it's detailing those packs or announcing new add-on content.

Eagle Flight

Eagle Flight

With the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive out now and PlayStation VR sure to be a big focus at E3, Eagle Flight should be a focus of Ubisoft's press conference. The free-flight game lets you soar through Paris as the titular creature and even take part in six-player dogfights, and although it looks like it was spun off from Assassin's Creed, it's deemed a total new IP. We were impressed when we went hands-on this spring.

Just Dance 2017

Just Dance

It's inevitable, right? Ubisoft's E3 conference always takes a few minutes for an elaborate dance break and demonstrates the next version of its annual hit. Last year's game introduced a streaming subscription model, but surely the more casual crowd still wants a new boxed copy to bring home each year. R&B/pop star Jason Derulo performed at last year's event. Who’s on tap this time around?



Ubisoft's E3 teaser image mentions the Rayman spinoff creatures, so unless it's just a throwaway reference, we're inclined to believe something is planned. Virtual reality? Hilarious minigames? More on the recently-announced mobile card game? Surprise us, Rabbids.

What we hope to see:

Beyond Good & Evil 2

Beyond Good & Evil 2

Dare we even say it? Announced in 2008, the sequel to the cult favorite 2003 action-platformer has gone under the radar, occasionally surfacing with teases that lead to unfulfilled promises. Back in 2014, the publisher said that creator Michel Ancel and Ubisoft Montpellier were "working with the core tenets of BG&E" but also "developing something that aspires to push past the boundaries of a proverbial sequel." Let's see it, then.

Splinter Cell

Splinter Cell

It's been three years since Splinter Cell Blacklist shook up the stealth-action favorite with fresh ideas, and we called it a "great new beginning for the series." Given that, it's about time for Ubisoft to continue pulling the thread, especially since fellow Clancy games The Division and Rainbow Six: Siege aren't crowding the release schedule anymore. A Wildlands-esque new-gen overhaul sounds plenty appealing, indeed.



Both Rayman Origins and Rayman Legends were impeccable platform experiences, elevating both the character and franchise to new heights, and we hope there's more in store for that fantastic framework. Legends transitioned well to Xbox One and PlayStation 4, showing there's still demand for classic 2D platformers on the latest hardware, so hopefully E3 brings us a modern trilogy-capper.

E3 2016 begins on June 14, with press conferences starting June 12. For the big announcements, make sure to check out our one-stop shop for the show's streams. Babykayak

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