Ubisoft’s E3 2017 Event: Mario + Rabbids, Assassin’s Creed Origins, Skull & Bones, Beyond Good & Evil 2!

We knew something was up when Ubisoft’s E3 2017 event kicked off with a BWAAAH! …and then when Shigeru Miyamoto took the stage, we weren’t sure if we were in some sort of E3-prompted fever dream.

In case you missed it, Ubisoft is making a game where Rabbids have been teleported into the Mushroom Kingdom – home of Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach and their friends. The world is now unstable, and it’s up to you to help.

We can just see the conversations now:
“We want to make a Mario + Rabbids game.”
“Oh, like a party game?”
“No, it’ll be a tactical adventure.”
“XCOM. It’ll be XCOM, with Rabbids and Mario.”

My Twitter feed went crazy when this was shown off. Developers were shown onscreen misty-eyed over finally being able to discuss this project. Miyamoto-san bounced around with his typical enthusiasm, and Ubisoft was off to a great start.

The hype train wasn’t simply chugging by this stage – it was careering through the remainder of the show. Ashraf Ismail from Ubisoft Montreal stepped up to discuss Assassin’s Creed Origins, which was officially revealed yesterday at the Microsoft E3 event.

“Egypt challenged us,” says Ismail, as he showed off the “beast” that’s been in development for a while now.

…and yes, there is an observation drone mechanic – and yes, it is an eagle. Because of course it is.

However, it looks like Ubisoft faced an uncomfortable decision when it came to exactly how to show off Assassin’s Creed Origins. While we were shown a decent chunk of glorious pre-packaged gameplay from the stage, things got awkward when we cut back to Ubi’s “Home Base”. Three smiling hosts gushed about how great the game looked… as the camera slid around and displayed a slightly-shaky, slightly-blurred over-the-shoulder perspective of a tiny monitor. Hopefully, the promised 30 minutes of gameplay set to follow the press conference will be in slightly better quality.

Up next: The Crew 2, which – let’s face it – looks like it’s been pretty heavily influenced inspired by Forza Horizon. Anything that can go fast will go fast, with racers shown jumping into helicopters, boats and motorbikes as well as any number of cars (racecars, off-road cars, street cars…). Did we mention planes? There are planes too – keep an eye out for some Red Bull Air Race style plane action zipping between New York skyscrapers. Don’t try this at home – but you can definitely try it when the game hits beta in the coming months.

This time last year, we were very excited for the upcoming release of South Park: The Fractured But Whole.

This year, we’re still excited, but a number of delays mean that even the most obsessive fans of Matt and Trey are taking the “October 17” release date with a grain of salt.

…and then there was this:

Yes, that’s Elijah Wood (and yes, Twitter went crazy about Frodo Baggins being in a game). But he’s not actually in the game. Wood is Creative Director of SpectreVision, a production company created in 2010. The company is so far known only for its horror films (including 2014’s A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night), but is branching out to create Transference.

Described as a psychological thriller, and “the first” game collaboration between the two companies, Transference plans to “[bridge] the gap between movies and games, we invite you to lose yourself in the destructive tale of a man’s obsession as you explore his digitally recreated memories.”

We saw next to nothing about it at the presentation, but we doubt they’ll keep this one quiet.

It’s finally happened. Ubisoft has reached peak Assassin’s Creed. Skull & Bones is literally “Assassin’s Creed without the Assassins” – the source game is 2013’s Black Flag, and the new game looks like an amazing take on some classic pirate action.

If you played through Assassin’s Creed IV and wanted to know what it would have been like without Edward Kenway, Templars or Assassins, now’s your chance. Skull & Bones is set in the Golden Age of Piracy, gives gamers the ability to sail the seven seas in customised ships, teaming up with friends and plundering treasure.

…and there might be a Kraken.

Then there was a Just Dance break, as a bit of a palate cleanser. Bebe Rexha took to the stage alongside a number of people in silly costumes (because it’s Just Dance and that’s what they wear), and we all took a moment to breathe before jumping right back into the games.

More Cartman? Looks like. South Park: Phone Destroyer is – as you might have suspected – a smartphone game, that will more than likely use more of your battery power than you’re comfortable with. Cowboys vs Indians Native Americans vs Cops vs Robbers vs Kitchen sink.

And in case you thought the toys-to-life trend was over, Starlink: Battle for Atlas is arriving in 2018. Matthew Rose from Ubisoft Toronto took to the stage to reminisce about the 80s and introduce this new IP. You are invited to build your own spaceship using modular connectable parts that click together onto the Switch controller base. Your plastic model then becomes your in-game ship, as you explore the galaxy in what’s been dubbed “No Man’s Skylanders”.

The game itself is coming to PS4 and Xbox One as well as Switch when it launches in late 2018, so we’ve got plenty of time to find out a bit more about how it all works.

…and then for something completely different, we headed back to the snow for a look at the first expansion pack for Steep- and this time, we’re going to the Olympic Games!

The XXIII Olympic Winter Games will be held in PyeongChang, South Korea, in 2018 – but if you’d like to get in on the action without leaving the comfort (and warmth!) of your couch, Ubisoft has come to your help. Steep: Road to the Olympics is due out on December 5 for PC, PS4, Xbox One and (wait for it) Nintendo Switch.

To be honest, I’d almost forgotten about Far Cry 5, so it was a pleasant surprise for it to pop up as we neared the end of the briefing.

Continuing with the honesty, I’m not really sure how I feel about the game. It looks incredible, the concept is amazing, and I like a lot of what the developers are doing with it. But it just looks way too violent for my tastes – this new trailer includes a bus literally awash with blood – and I’m not sure I can overcome that.

Still, I could definitely listen to Ubisoft Montreal’s Dan Hay talk about the game for hours, so it’s not all lost.

(Bonus blast from the past: We spoke to Dan Hay about Far Cry 3 back at E3 2011 and E3 2012!)

And then Ubisoft made everybody’s dreams come true.

We’d been hearing rumours about a sequel to Beyond Good And Evil for years now – it was unveiled in 2008 after years of speculation (even then), but Ubisoft and creator Michel Ancel seemed to keep putting it on the backburner behind other projects, including Rayman Origins.

But now… it’s here! Beyond Good And Evil 2 is officially a prequel, not a sequel, and it’s officially labelled a “spiritual successor” to the 2003 original. Rather than just show the trailer, here’s the full clip from today’s briefing – an emotional Ancel is joined on stage by Narrative Director Gabrielle Shrager, and even though we’ve still got “a few years” before the game’s actually playable, this one reveal could mean Ubisoft has “won” E3 2017.

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