Ubisoft Pre-E3 2012 Media Briefing Summary

by Erik "NekoIncardine" Ottosen on June 4, 2012 @ 6:00 p.m. PDT

During Ubisoft's Pre-E3 2012 Media Briefing, it presented new coverage for Just Dance 4, Far Cry 3, Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Blacklist, Marvel's Avengers: Battle for Earth, Rayman: Legends, Assassin's Creed III and Watch_Dogs.

The artsy décor in the Los Angeles Theatre was a strange accompaniment to the neon glows of the stage. Ubisoft trivia was shown on the screen, along with a few odd questions, such as, "What is the definition of insanity?"

Then, lasers came on and the lights go down, revealing six dancers and the new Just Dance, with "Moves Like Jagger" by Maroon 5, followed by "Wild Wild West" by Will Smith. The gameplay is the same at its core: new tracks; the WiiU's Puppet Master mode, which lets players guide the dance on the tablet as others boogie; and generally crazy footage. Battle mode and stand-alone play are highlighted to unveil Just Dance 4, which launches Oct. 9, 2012, with the WiiU as a signature platform. There's some footage from a Flo Rida concert.

A Web celebrity, Toby "Tobuscus" Turner, shows up on-screen as Ubisoft announces that its new priority is "Life Powered Play."

Far Cry 3 is introduced by producer Dan Hay. Tortured and beaten in the last game, you have new powers. "The island has changed you." The trailer starts with you making out with a tribal-tattooed woman who's topless and only clad in jean shorts. Your tattoo starts to glow. She explains that you are a warrior and your tattoo lets you feel the power of the jungle. You lead a tribe, make an inspiring speech and intend to lead people to glory. Seemingly live play starts, with you jumping into the water from a cliff knifing someone from the ledge of the dock.

You see signs of an unspecified villainous group's  cruelty, knife them and switch to a bow. A shot, then you leap in and knife two foes. You take a lot of gunfire in the process; your character is unnaturally tough, even by modern FPS standards. Then, it's another room. You enter a shack, screens light up, a man threatens you, and you switch to modern guns as the building goes up in flames. Your cover is destroyed, so you leap down and cut through theirs. You destroy a car and release a lion, which kills your foes and jumps at you. The leader cuts into your tattoo, you pull out the blade, and the world goes black. "You are me ... and I am you," the enemy leader says — or is it you speaking? — just as the trailer ends.

A world of terrorist plots comes next with Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Blacklist. Max Beland introduces the game, which was already shown during Microsoft's presser. The co-op is returning, as is Spies vs. Mercs. "Welcome to Fourth Echelon" trailer. Rogue agencies are depicted. The trailer appears prerendered, depicting a new robotic spybot to help you get information and save a hostage, who will help you when given a chance. It seems that Sam has support this time.

Then there's the Marvel's Avengers: Battle for Earth game. Wolverine and Venom are shown in a hyper-realistic style, and we see Magneto, Spider-man, Storm, and the complete movie Avengers team. WiiU and Kinect are highlighted. Ubisoft goes into the WiiU from here, with new ideas as a core theme for Ubisoft.

Rayman: Legends is used to demo the WiiU controller's new character, Murphy, who stands alongside a second player Rayman and is controlled via touch-screen. Murphy can cut objects, manipulate slingshots, etc. The core gameplay is 2-D but uses 3-D graphics. Five-player co-op will be available on WiiU: four players and Murphy. The platforming even includes some Sonic-style loops. Then, Murphy's screen switches to being a rhythm game in the vein of DJ Max Tecknika, creating the music in sync with the stage action to an amazing degree. All this was announced for the WiiU's launch.

Then, also for the WiiU, a mature-rated zombie survival thriller, which is a sequence composed largely of stills. The setting is Britain, complete with redcoats. ZombiU is the title, and it's exclusive to the WiiU. The initial demo showed killer freaks that slowly changed to zombies.

There's an emphasis on Ubisoft's diversity, and we see a bunch of trailers: Just Dance 4, Rabbid's Land, Sports Connection  and Your Shape: Fitness Evolved 2013.  

Assassin's Creed III takes place during the Revolutionary War. The character notes the fight for freedom and justice but wonders who it's benefiting. Then he goes into the battlefield on a horse and fights through an entire line of redcoats as Yankee soldiers watch on and ultimately jump into the fray as well. The protagonist finds his target, strikes him with an arrow and finishes him with a tomahawk. The ensuing applause is utterly massive.

Connor is joined by new figures: Franklin, Lafayette, Lee, Washington, etc. The scene opens in New England during the winter of 1776.  Connor runs, making jump after jump with acrobatic perfection. Trees are the new wires, and hunting is a gameplay element. Kill a deer, and a wolf approaches. The core play appears similar, with dynamic assassination strikes, and you can now use two weapons at once. A quest is set up with just one line spoken as you pass by. Another quest is filled when Connor turns in the meat from his kill. A quick trek through the woods leads you to a redcoat fort. Climbing the cliff and some trees gets you into the fortress. One shot destroys an ammo depot and creates chaos so Connor can chase down a Templar target and air-kill him with one of his own guard's bayonets. The game makes clear that the Templar are the enemy; it takes place across 30 years surrounding the Revolutionary War. A next trailer starts, showing glimpses of foes on both sides of the revolution.

Tobuscus introduces the e-Sport genre, with 17 million e-Sport viewers on TwitchTV. They're becoming more competitive. TrackMania developer Nadeo's new Shootmania is the latest entry to first-person e-sports. A match is set up. Elimination tag is the core in the alpha Elite mode, mixing single-shot elimination with point-capture, round-based gameplay. Wednesday features a tournament, and beta registration is live on shootmania.com. It will be free to play.

Another fast-paced trailer emphasizes the stats attained by Trials Evolution, Web-based The Settlers Online, PC-based Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Online, and other downloadable games, both traditional and free to play.

Yves Guillemot, cofounder and CEO of Ubisoft, comes in to show a product that he believes will change interactions between players. Two years have gone into this new game. What caused the power outage of 2003? One man, one virus shut the grid down. A modern, centralized operating system controls all sorts of systems in 2011. One computer controls a city, and companies control the computer. Individuality is evil. There are 2.3 GB of digital shadow based on your data. This information can be used to control world views. "All data is interconnected" on one network. One man shut down the entire northeast. Who knows what will be exploited?

Then the laser shows Jonathan Morin, the producer of the game. CtOS is the core of the game; a player explores not just the city, but the operating environment. A target's digital shadow is depicted, and you can try to bring justice to this acquitted murderer. You can observe other people's digital shadows and trigger an array of devices to immediately draw reactions from others. By hacking systems, you move and act through a strange art gallery. An acquaintance chats intensely and sets up the plan, passing you a gun. Tools allow you to identify targets and brutally beat down one man. Manipulate the traffic lights to create a mass accident and find your target, using a system of slow motion to fire your first shots, and then moving your way through a scene. With one last shot, you finish off the target, and the police are on you. You switch to another viewpoint character — an ally — and the scene is set. Finally, the game's name: Watch_Dogs.

More details, interviews, etc., are being shown on UPlay.

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