Ubisoft Has the Only Justifiable Third Party E3 Conference
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The Xbox One X Looks Nice, But Twice as Nice as the Xbox One?Super Mario Odyssey and Other E3 Nintendo Switch Games That Aren’t Zelda Stay on target We enjoy ragging on Ubisoft for running a video game company (now with a boring new swirl logo) like a European colonial superpower churning out increasingly similar games. But you know, there’s a reason why those powerful empires lasted as long as they did, and it wasn’t just racism. Ubisoft’ E3 press conference this year, half as long as their tedious show from last year, was the only third party press conference full of enough interesting games to justify its own existence.As I sat down in the theater I couldn’t help but notice some Nintendo employees in the crowd amongst the planted, overly enthusiastic Ubisoft employees. And sure enough, the first game showed was the leaked, ludicrous cartoon crossover strategy game Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle, coming this August. Mario mastermind Shigeru Miyamoto himself appeared on stage to give his blessing for the most important character in gaming teaming up with furry minions. And based on the footage showed I think Ubisoft is determined to both meet Mario quality and surpass audience skepticism.Closing the show was another game we all vaguely knew about but were stoked to see confirmed: Beyond Good & Evil 2. The CGI trailer had swearing monkey people and promises for diverse online space pirate adventures (that players themselves somehow help develop?). But this was really just another chance for Michel Ancel to confirm the troubled prequel to the cult hit, announced like a decade ago, is in fact still coming. So stay tuned to learn more about what it actually is.Other reveals included Starlink: Battle for Atlas, a toys-to-life sci-fi game in which players create their own physical toy spaceships. It’s a curious move in a post-Disney Infinity failure world. The safer bet was Skull and Bones, a pirate game building off of the beloved pirate mechanics of Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag and turning them into a full-blown multiplayer nautical battle royale. It makes me feel bad for Sea of Thieves, the other “Pirate Destiny” coming in 2018. Elijah Wood and his production company SpectreVision tried to sell us on a VR game called Transference that seemed like Get Out for white people.The rest of the show were known quantities, but they’re pretty solid known quantities. Superhero satire RPG South Park: The Fractured But Whole finally got an October release date after several delays, and a new South Park mobile game is also coming. They’re making a sequel to The Crew for some reason. We didn’t learn much new about Assassin’s Creed Origins after the Microsoft event, but it was still nice to see (and play) the game regardless. Of course, Just Dance still exists. Steep is getting an expansion. And watching Trump voters get the violence that’s coming to them in Far Cry 5 will always delight.While you may not care about all these games, compare this lineup to something like EA (Star Wars, Need for Speed, Sports) and Bethesda (Wolfenstein, Evil Within, VR? Mods?). Those third parties have some cool games to announce, but not enough to justify wasting our time with corporate ego-inflating press conferences. It may just be an anomaly, but Ubisoft’s press conference this year was the first to convince me that third-party press conferences weren’t the biggest E3 mistake since booth babes and public admission. Well, Ubisoft’s and Devolver Digital’s cyber nightmare.