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What Ubisoft got right and wrong at E3 2018 (correction)

Ubisoft had a lovely, heartfelt show

Ubisoft always has an interesting mix of games during its E3 press conferences, although its presentations also tend to lean toward the awkward and weird. That’s not a bad thing, though. I’d rather a company be willing to try something interesting and visually exciting than yet another person just talking over game footage.

Video games!

So how did Ubisoft do? Let’s take a look at what it did right, and why it thought that marching band was a good idea.


Right: Beyond Good and Evil 2

I don’t even know about that game at this point, but I would watch the hell out of that movie. The entire trailer was very well produced and stylish, and showed an interesting, kind of grubby world.

Miyamoto receiving a model of the Starfox tribute in Starlink
I love this so much
Ubisoft

Right: Fox McCloud is in Starlink!

Ubisoft’s relationship with Nintendo continues to pay off with Starfox characters and ships coming to Starlink. It was a great reveal, made even better by the inclusion of Shigeru Miyamoto himself. Starlink mixes physical toys and space combat, and Starfox is an experience that’s exclusive to the Switch version of the game. This was a very cool surprise, and I wonder what else Ubisoft and Nintendo are cooking up together.

Right: Skull & Bones

That demo had to have been running on a very, very expensive gaming PC, but holy shit it looked good. This pirate game looks like it’s moving in a very different direction than Sea of Thieves, and I hope both of them find a happy audience. As our own Chris Plante told me, I love our sea battle genre future. And it looks like Assassin’s Creed Odyssey could be offering yet another option if you want to fight ship to ship.

For Honor Ubisoft

Right: Rainbow Six Siege, For Honor burn slow

Rainbow Six Siege is one of those games that didn’t immediately blow up at launch, but instead seemed to slowly build a very dedicated player base. It’s one of those titles that’s not often mentioned as a game that works well as a service in a world filled with battle royale knockoffs, but I doubt that Ubisoft cares. The happy players and ongoing revenue is a better reward than buzz. For Honor is also a game that seems to understand and how to keep and grow its audience, so it could just be that Ubisoft is getting good in this area in general. It’s a pretty good skill set to build these days.

Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle Ubisoft

Right: Critical Hit performing music from Donkey Kong

It was really good, although there seemed to be some issues with the microphones. Live music is really hard to pull off during a press conference without killing the show’s momentum, but this fit in perfectly and sounded great. Bravo!

Correction: I had originally misidentified the cellist, Éru Matsumoto, as Tina Guo. I apologize for the error, and you can check out Matsumoto’s YouTube page by following this link.

Beyond Good and Evil 2
You didn’t want to actually SEE the game, did you?
Ubisoft

Wrong: Beyond Good and Evil 2

I was excited about seeing actual in-game footage, but the stream cut away to avoid showing a direct feed of the game play. The camera came back in when it was over, which made it clear that the stage direction was designed to hide the game itself. That’s a major disappointment.

Wrong: No final, huge announcement

I almost feel like a jerk by saying this because the rest of the show was so solid and enjoyable, but Ubisoft has a history of closing out its shows with a final “one more thing” style announcement. There wasn’t anything like that here, but the rest of the games looked good enough that it’s hard to get upset. Ubisoft is having a very good E3 so far.