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The Division 2 - soldier looking up at the Capitol building on fire
Tom Clancy’s The Division 2
Massive Entertainment/Ubisoft

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Ubisoft at E3 2018: What to expect

Beyond Good & Evil 2, The Division 2 and probably the dramatic introduction of Assassin’s Creed Odyssey

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Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

Ubisoft has scheduled its traditional pre-E3 press conference for Monday, June 11, at 1 p.m. PT/4 p.m. ET — the day before the big gaming convention opens to the public.

Last year’s show was nearly torpedoed by leaks, but Ubisoft still managed to pull off a couple of big surprises, including the reveal of an unlikely pairing in Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle. The barriers around this year’s lineup have been similarly porous, but the event is sure to have a lot to offer. Here’s what to expect.

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey

Ubisoft has revealed Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, possibly thanks to the leak of a single photograph of a giveaway keychain. The next title in the time-traveling series will take fans to ancient Greece.

Assassin’s Creed games are known for their pseudo-historical accuracy. The reign of the ancient Greeks was quite long, but the helmet on the keychain in question looks similar to one worn by an ancient statue of Leonidas I, the famous Spartan warrior who died at the battle of Thermopylae. That’s the same battle dramatized in the movie 300, and judging from the short animation that it dropped on Twitter, Ubisoft is keen to draw that comparison.

The Crew 2

First revealed at last year’s E3, The Crew 2 is expected to be released on June 29. The racing title allows players to seamlessly transition between cars, boats and racing planes on the same course. Expect to see lots of footage from the nearly completed game shown on stage.

the division hour Massive Entertainment/Ubisoft

Tom Clancy’s The Division 2

News of the existence of The Division 2 leaked in March and was later confirmed by the team at Ubisoft. Since then, Ubisoft hasn’t said much more.

The original The Division was set in the remains of New York City following a major biological disaster that killed millions. But the game was remarkably self-contained. That means there’s plenty of new places for Ubisoft to take the franchise.

Along with the reveal of the game’s setting, you can expect that Ubisoft will linger on the promise of enhanced stability and dramatic gameplay improvements. When The Division first launched it was plagued by bugs. Since that time, the battle royale genre and games like Destiny 2 have changed player expectations of what a competitive, games-as-a-service title should look like.

Skull and Bones

Skull and Bones is a team-based naval combat game that was revealed just last year. We went hands on with the game, which is based on the naval combat shown in Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag, and we liked what we saw. But in May, Ubisoft announced that the game would be delayed until the 2019-2020 fiscal year.

The reason? A company earnings report said it needed more polish. In order to keep fans excited, expect Ubisoft to put new, never-before-seen features front and center.

Beyond Good & Evil 2

In May, developers of Beyond Good & Evil 2 showed off 45 seconds of pre-alpha footage. It introduced fans to two characters, a woman named Shani and a monkey named Knox. From our article:

The developers mentioned that Beyond Good & Evil 2 will offer battles between massive airships, dogfights between fighter pilots and — in an homage to the original Beyond Good & Evil — melee combat with swords. They also said that this game world, the solar system known as System 3, will be seamless with no loading. Players will create a character and step into the role of a pirate captain, but they’ll have crew members with individual responsibilities like medic and spy. (It’s unclear if these can be human-controlled characters or AI allies.)

Developers at Ubisoft Montpellier have promised a lot more to come at this year’s E3.

Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell

Listings for a whole bunch of unannounced titles leaked in early May thanks to Walmart Canada. Among them was a listing for a new title in the Splinter Cell series, although no title was given.

The last time we saw even the briefest glimpse of Sam Fisher was in a special in-game promotion for Ghost Recon Wildlands. It was Michael Ironside himself who did the voice acting, meaning Ubisoft and the original voice of Fisher are, at the very least, in communication.

The most recent title in the series was Splinter Cell: Blacklist, which was released in 2013.

For Honor

Ubisoft’s historical fighting game For Honor is well into its second year of content, and will get some amount of attention at the publisher’s E3 showing. In a recent teaser video, the For Honor team promised some “cool surprises” — including what appears to be a new faction coming to the game — that we expect to be revealed at E3 2018.

Far Cry 5 DLC

The first add-on for Far Cry 5, Hours of Darkness, launches the week before E3 and sends players to the jungles of Vietnam. Two more DLC episodes are planned: Dead Living Zombies, which pits players against hordes of the undead in a zombie-infested wasteland; and Lost on Mars, which features battles against space spiders on the red planet. It’s possible these Far Cry 5 expansions will get some attention during Ubi’s E3 press conference.

Just Dance

It wouldn’t be an Ubisoft press event without a new Just Dance — and a performance using that new Just Dance. Ubisoft is still releasing its annual Just Dance games on Nintendo Wii, after all. That franchise will never die.

Game Maker Ubisoft Announces New Products During E3
Ubisoft: Please bring Aisha back as our host. Please.
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

And odds and ends

There will likely be a few other large announcements from Ubisoft that we don’t know about, but there’s also a number of smaller titles that we expect to hear from.

Transference is a mysterious virtual reality title being made in partnership with Elijah Wood’s film studio, SpectreVision. We’ve not heard much from it since E3 last year. Also expected to make an appearance is Starlink, a toys-to-life game that will allow players to build and fly their own spaceships.

We also expect to see something from the Rayman and Rabbids brands. Mario + Rabbids was a surprisingly positive collaboration with Nintendo. We might not see another full standalone collaboration this year, but we wouldn’t be surprised if Ubisoft revealed Nintendo themed DLC for some of its biggest games.

Finally, I’m still personally reeling from the absence of Aisha Tyler at last year’s presentation. Here’s hoping that this year I’ll have someone tall enough to talk with comfortably at the Ubisoft afterparty.