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Ubisoft's Press Conference - Detailed Summary

posted 8 Jun 2011, 11:15 by Knuckles Sonic8   [ updated 8 Jun 2011, 11:28 ]
Ubisoft’s press conference at last year’s E3 wasn’t great (is it ever?) but in my opinion, it was surprisingly good. And so I had at least expected that it wouldn’t be a waste of time to sit through this year’s conference. E3 2011 has shown me a different side of Ubisoft that I’m not happy about. Their idea of a press conference was almost a total mess, and had it not been for a few redeeming features, I would have had even harsher things to say about them.


Let’s start off on a positive note and say... Wow. What an impressive first showing! Watching the two-player co-op session of Rayman Origins warmed my heart. I was reminded of the first Rayman game all over again. The game looked even better than I thought it would, and it truly is looking amazing in its current form. I can’t wait for it to come out!

After the demo of Origins was complete, it was at this point that we were all introduced to the host of this year’s press conference: Aaron Priceman (a.k.a Mr. Caffeine). This crazy fellow started hyping up the “Gaming is Adventure” tagline, showing us pictures of the NES and even the SEGA CD as though we were in a classroom setting. Then Aaron began telling terrible jokes and extremely cheesy pick-up lines that referenced all of the current major platforms. Litle did I realize at the time that this arrogant joke-teller would turn out to be a serious serious flaw for the entire presentation.

Throughout the conference, before introducing their new games, Ubisoft would first show animated “retro versions” of the titles they were about to show off. So they started off by showing
Driver: San Francisco “Retro” where blinking squares were giving chase to a single car in an top-down action sequence. Then the real trailer started and all eye’s were on the screen. During a high-speed car chase, we heard the sounds of a news reporter making comments about “unusually fast-flowing” traffic, advising listeners to “drive safe” right before the trailer closed off. The video wasn’t bad but not nearly as exciting as EA’s trailer for the new Need for Speed: The Run. Little information was given on what to expect from the title except that we can continually expect something new even after “hours and hours of play”.

Next, Ubisoft moved on to a simple introduction of Far Cry 3 which was then followed by a trailer that went on for a good 6 or 7 minutes (maybe longer). Randy Pitchford from Gearbox Software arrived on stage shortly afterwards to present a new take on the typical approach of World War II games with the upcoming Brother in Arms: Furious 4. Again, little information was given on either of these titles afterwards, supposedly under the assumption that all the game journalists would do the talking for them once the conference was over.

With little fanfare, a trailer of
The Adventures of Tintin: The Game was shown. It didn’t seem like many were applauding over the next game they were showing off, but I for one am very interested in seeing how this turns out. Some of the people responsible for the film over at Paramount Studios made positive comments in the trailer about what they like about the game tie-in. Apparently, the game “takes you on new adventures that aren't part of the film” and yet is still a “great companion to the movie”. Not just limited to exploration and basic combat, the trailer showed off a flight segment and an instance where Tintin was defending himself with an armed pistol against pursuers on motorbikes. I was a bit surprised by the different elements that will end up forming the game’s structure so I think it will be interesting to see how that turns out in the end.

Totally switching gears, the Ghost Recon franchise was up next with Tommy Jacob on stage to tell us about the new Ghost Recon: Future Soldier. It was interesting to see the “game-changing intel” in practice with an on-screen demo. I think they showed off the team co-ordination system, the real-time HUD and the reconnaissance systems quite well, but the demo itself went on for too long. After all that was finally over, they announced that Ghost Recon Online will be a great compliment to the console version and showed us a quick trailer of it in action. After Jacob left the stage, Priceman tried to one-up what was already said and did a rather weak move and tried to show random stock photos to illustrate the aspect of sharing in the land of gaming.

For the PC fans, Maniaplanet was touched on with the upcoming September release of
Trackmania 2: Canyon. “Playing online will never be the same” according to them, but, once again, little information was actually given to what to expect from the new Trackmania title. We were shown a trailer of what looked like an intro sequence for the upcoming game but no actual gameplay footage was displayed.

Next we were introduced to Raving Rabbids: Alive & Kicking for the Kinect. As the presenter was talking about the project, Rabbids would interrupt him on-screen and he would proceed to kick them off the screen. That wasn’t too bad, but when it got to a point where there was a game of Whack-a-Rabbid going on, I instantly thought, “Okay, this is weak”. After an underwhelming introduction to the latest Rabbids game, the presenter called over a couple other team members to help him demonstrated one of the new mini-games in the upcoming title. In ‘Fill the Shapes’, players co-operatively use their bodies to fill in the outlines shown on-screen. This went on for a couple tries and, might I add, with little excitement from the audience at all. There was no announcement of the new Raving Rabbids 5* for the 3DS, but at the time, I was more caught up in thinking about how silly the Rabbids segment was.

Moving onto yet another successful IP that has “millions of converts”, Priceman introduced the brand new trailer for
Just Dance 3 which had Taio Cruz’s Dynamite playing in the background about a quarter through the video. It was soon revealed that “the most successful party game in the history of this industry” would be moving to the Move and the Kinect platforms. The game will be releasing in October of this year.

Although Ubisoft has already spoken about months prior to the event, they wanted to build more awareness to Rocksmith. The video for the new innovative guitar game, showed a bunch of different professionals and musicians speaking about how Rocksmith really does help a person learn the guitar. Nothing new was learned about this project at all and I’m not sure why Ubisoft was releasing a second teaser for the concept instead of having something more to show or tell us about. But I digress.

After that, Ubisoft announced Your Shape 2 and showed a brief teaser for the upcoming release. And then the presentation concludes with a seven-minute demo of... Assassin’s Creed Revelations? What a contrast.

Overall, I didn’t think Ubisoft’s presentation was good at all. It was very disjointed in the way it jumped from one end of the spectrum to the other. Plus, the organization of which titles they revealed first, second and so on was clearly flawed. After Driver: San Francisco was shown, the presentation just seemed to go downhill and only barely managed to recover from it because of the closing presentation of Assassin’s Creed Revelations. To add insult to injury, Aaron Priceman was a terrible host -- disrespectful, unprofessional, and not in the least as witty as he thinks he is. For a 25th Anniversary celebration, you would think Ubisoft would crack down on these sorts of cracks, but alas, it seems like they lost sight of a lot of things when they were preparing for this year’s Press Conference.


Breakdown


Strengths:
  • Strong showings at the beginning and the end
  • Fun retro versions of upcoming titles
Weaknesses:
  • Disjointed presentation
  • No sense of flow whatsoever
  • Awful host who took away from the presentation rather than add to it
  • Flawed organization of titles
  • The Ghost Recon demo went on for too long
  • Lack of hype-building/information for certain titles
  • Seemed content with just releasing a teaser
  • Weak Rabbids presentation
Most Memorable Highlight:
  • Rayman Origins looked amazing!



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