Ubisoft’s E3 showcases are usually raucous events with awkward humor, a technicolor “Just Dance” performance and a slew of unintentional curse words. With the E3 Ubisoft Forward showcase being virtual this year, the company treated fans to announcements that were more subdued but nonetheless important. The publisher revealed several new games that surprised most players who stayed off Twitter and avoided leaks.The hour-long presentation showed how Ubisoft hasn’t gone all the way toward games as service yet. It revealed that it is still supporting the games that have already been released with expansion passes and new features. The company also touted its Hollywood connections with its work on the Apple TV + show “Mystic Quest” and the film “Werewolves Within.”
Here are the biggest takeaways of Saturday’s news from Ubisoft.
1. “Rainbow Six Extraction” will give “Back 4 Blood” a run for its money. The next entry to Ubisoft’s military shooter is taking a different tack and taking its tactical gameplay to the PvE side. Instead of trying to beat a rival team, teams of up to three players will fight against a mysterious horde of aliens that have descended upon the United States.
The Chimera parasite as it is called fell from a meteor in Truth and Consequences, New Mexico, three years ago, and was contained by the “Rainbow Six Siege” operators. Fast-forward to the present and the Chimera virus is back and it has mutated. Players take on the role of a member on the Rainbow Exogenous Analysis & Containment Team.
Led by Eliza “Ash” Cohen, Dr. Elena “Mira” Alvarez and Jordan “Thermite” Trace, REACT will travel to places such as New York, San Francisco, New Mexico and Alaska battling the evolved aliens called Archaen. Players will choose from 18 Rainbow Six operators, some of them will be familiar to fans of the series. They each have their own REACT gear, weapons, gadgets and abilities to learn and master, according to Ubisoft.
From the look of the game, it’s a more advanced co-op shooter that takes elements from “Rainbow Six Siege” and deploys them in a player-vs.-environment game. Similar to “Left 4 Dead,” players will have to communicate and deploy tactics to efficiently get through 12 uniquely designed maps. It looks like a game where players won’t just run through the map haphazardly with a handful of weapons. Instead, the gameplay looks more complex with careful planning and new devices to master the maps full of breakable walls and choke points.
Stealth looks to be important as the Archaens can overwhelm players with their numbers and aggressiveness. The difficulty will force players to play cautiously. If the operators fall and the Archaens capture them, the missing-in-action operator isn’t usable. Players will have to go through rescue mission to save them. In addition, falling also means that players risk losing all the progress and upgrades they amassed.
It sounds as if “Rainbow Six Extraction” will have players constantly weighing the risk and rewards of their actions. They can leave a mission after an objective is complete or they can go deeper into a facility for more intel and face tougher enemies but also earn better rewards.
It’s going to be fascinating to compare how “Rainbow Six Extraction” stacks up to Turtle Rock Studios’ “Back 4 Blood.” Both titles come out within a month of each other. Ubisoft’s game launches Sept.16 on Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Amazon Luna, Stadia and PC while Warner Bros. Games releases the spiritual success to “Left 4 Dead” on Oct. 12. Will fans be drawn to the complex gameplay of “Extraction” or will they enjoy returning to the classic gameplay that Turtle Rock established more than a decade ago? Players will find out in the fall.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A6JFk49ED9A2. “Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope” was the surprise everyone needed — sort of. The announcement of this sequel would have made Twitter melt down if it hadn’t been leaked already. Because of an early posting by Nintendo, the world already knew this follow-up was coming to the Nintendo Switch.
That shouldn’t diminish the excitement that this turn-based tactics game should ignite. Ubisoft revealed more details that laid out the premise of “Sparks of Hope.” Mario and company have to save a whole galaxy this time around and the big bad for the adventure is an evil entity called Cursa.
The developers look like they want to push the envelope as they introduce new characters such as a Rabbid version of Rosalina and expand the quest so that the heroes planet hop aboard a spaceship. One of the key differences in this sequel is that Mario and company have a buddy called Sparks — the unholy union of Luma and Rabbids — that follow team members and it looks like they have powerful effects on the battlefield.
It appears that Sparks will have an impact on maps that can hurt or help the player depending on its characteristics. Mario’s Spark looked fire based. Ubisoft says players will spend the game locating and rescuing them through the journey, giving incentive for players to collecting them all.
“Mario + Rabbid Sparks of Hope” is scheduled for release in 2022.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tNKNr4qIaRc3. “Far Cry 6” will lean heavily on the performance of Giancarlo Esposito. Although villains, not the heroes, have always been the main attraction of this first-person shooter franchise, it has always been missing one thing — an A-list star to play them. Ubisoft has had compelling creations with interesting back stories and catch phrases, but how far can the game go with a Hollywood actor in the spotlight?
“Far Cry 6” will answer that as it puts a lot on Esposito, who is instantly recognizable to fans of “Breaking Bad” and “The Mandalorian.” He has a knack for creating memorable villains that ooze charisma. Although he knows how to get the most from characters such as Gus Fring and Moff Gideon, I’m curious to see how well he’ll do with the Yaran dictator Anton Castillo.
Esposito showed some of that cunning and intensity in the E3 trailer. It’s an interesting performance with the actor donning an accent from the fictional country inspired by Cuba. The scene looks like something from early on in the game as it shows the female Dani trying to get aboard a boat presumably to flee Yara. I’m curious to know if the pandemic had an impact on some of Esposito’s performances in the game as the health crisis reportedly created challenges that have delayed other games.
Additionally, Ubisoft announced Season Pass Holder content for the project. For the first time ever, players will be able to experience the villain side of the “Far Cry” stories as players delve into the minds of series iconic villains Vaas, Pagan and Joseph in a series of episodes. I doubt these contain full-blown open worlds, but I suspect they’ll take a more level-based approach as the game is described as inspired by the “roguelite genre.” It could be appealing to hard-core fans, but as one of those players just interested in the core experience, it doesn’t catch my interest.
“Far Cry 6” is scheduled for release Oct. 7.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qpW7ZLMWXno4. “Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora” may unlock the potential of the franchise better than any film. For a movie that has made $2.8 billion, James Cameron’s space epic hasn’t had the cultural footprint that franchises such as the “Avengers” have had. In fact, the “Terminator” series is bigger in pop culture than the Na’vi.
That could change as Ubisoft is bringing the “Avatar” universe to life in the best way possible. It’s creating an open-world game that explores Pandora’s never-before-seen Western Frontier. From the trailer, the game looks gorgeous and it pushes Ubisoft’s Snowdrop engine. The game looks to bring the diverse creatures and landscape to life in a way that’s comparable to what they’ve done with “Tom Clancy’s The Division” series.
The project has two factors going for it. The first is that the “Avatar” sequel is scheduled for release Dec. 16, 2022, and the game is slated for launch the same year. That means the world of Pandora will already be in the public’s imagination and a game could feed into that. The second is that it appears it will launch for the current generation of consoles — PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S. That means the developers don’t have to worry about creating a game designed for lesser-powered systems. They can take advantage of everything the newer consoles have to offer. Players should expect visuals that raise the bar on anything that’s already come out on the systeems.
The exploratory nature of the open-world genre means that fans can get a deep dive into the world of “Avatar” and the subjects that the film gives a cursory glance to can be explored in wider detail. This could be the game that brings the franchise to life for a new generation of fans. It could also outshine the movie.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NI9dqyTwZYk5. Despite the new projects, Ubisoft isn’t abandoning games that it already published. In fact, the company seems to be doubling down on its projects by offering compelling downloadable content for the next year or so.
“Assassin’s Creed Valhalla” gets a second year of content. It’s already receiving a second expansion with “The Siege of Paris” DLC, and for those into education, Ubisoft is bringing back its history-focused project with “Discovery Tour: Viking Age.”
Meanwhile, “Watch Dogs Legion” will see a new expansion titled “Bloodline.” It brings back fan-favorites Aiden Pearce and Wrench, who don’t appear to see eye to eye in the trailer. This will be a treat for those who have been playing the series since the beginning. The bigger piece of news “Watch Dogs: Legion of the Dead” mode, which came out recently.
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Author: Gieson Cacho