Ubisoft E3 2009 Conference Round-up

3am (well technically 3.45am by the time this goes up) – I’m tired, grumpy, have a stupid cut in my nostril which is rather painful and just sat through two hours of a rather lackluster Ubisoft conference. Luckily for you though, we’ve put together a nice little summary showing you just how much talking there was and how little game anything there was.

The first 30 minutes had nothing about games, not a single one. It consisted of three different speakers talking at length about new ways of interacting with games (motion, cameras, voice, etc.), creating something to help them make games and films at the same time, allowing customers to create content with a Nintendo Club-like system called Uplay. That Ubisoft are working with Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson on TinTin tie-in, that short movies made using Assassin’s Creed 2 engine; all before James Cameron came on stage to talk about Avatar for an awfully long time.

Avatar: Set in 22nd century, where 1000ft trees are common place on a moon named Pandora. Na’vi are the race that roam Pandora (10ft tall, blue-skinned), although there are also humans and human-Na’vi hybrids, with the game focusing on technology vs nature themes. Make sense to you? No, me neither. Cameron mentioned how he doesn’t want anything about Avatar to suck (shame about the presentation then).  Currently set for a December 18th release. Still. No. Game. Footage. Ubi had access to CG assets, animation and MoCap and worked together a lot with the team working on the film and shared ideas. Cameron states that Avatar will be the first 3D stereoscopic game (which has been internally demoed to him). Unfortunately we don’t actually get to see anything of the game. Shame.

Redsteel 2: Uses Wii Motion Plus and will be bundled with it at launch. Looks very similar in style to the first game, however with the Motion Plus is can utilise 1:1 motion detection and measure the velocity of your movements. The art style is a mixture between cell-shaded and ‘realism’ but was completely bloodless and death animations were old-school flashy flashy.

SWSWS – Shaun White Snowboarding World Stage: Acronym madness. All that was shown was an advert with about 4 seconds of footage so not much to say here.

Academy of Champions: Pele is paraded around stage before some sort of technical glitch halts the showing of the trailer making everyone on stage very awkward. There was plenty in our notes for this section that just can’t be written, so lets just say it was becoming a bit of a train wreck at this stage. Finally they get the trailer going which opens saying that Academy of Champions is rated for “comedy mischief”, whatever that means, but then what was to follow was simply bizarre. Enchanted paintings! Comic books! Playing in a quidditch stadium? Against the baddies from Dodgeball movie? With a Jelly Football? Designed exclusively for the Wii? What. The. Hell.

Splinter Cell Conviction: Finally, something decent! Shows the same pre-rendered trailer from MS conference, before a live gameplay demo similar to that of the MS one, but not the same. By trying to keep the immersion of the game as high as possible dynamic mission updates and storytelling projected into environment, which is lovely! As is the whole game. Really beautiful. Each area is like a small sandbox for you to utilise new gameplay mechanics to gain the best tactical advantage.

RUSE: Same trailer that has been on the PSN for some time. Still looks really hit-hot though.

Then some casual games melted the staffs brains for a period of about 15 minutes, with Tween Games 2.0 and Petz coming to the DS.

Your Shape – Wii Camera fitness game live feedback of workout on screen. Coming Summer. Custom Camera.

Rabbids Go Home: Rabbids build a pile of trash to get to the moon. Yes you read that correctly. A trailer showing nothing from the game, but at least there’s a live demo. There’s a Rabbid in a virtual Wiimote? Any you can bash him about? Well it seems that torturing Rabbid’s is legal (or so the presenter joks ).

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: After making an awful joke about the TMNT 25th year “shellebration” a trailer runs, and it looks like Super Smash Bros but with Turtles. Release date is September 22nd.

No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle: No information, just an announcement.

And finally Assassin’s Creed 2: The original is the fastest selling new IP ever and has sold over 8 million units. Sitting rather grouchy, my mood was purkened by a upcoming trailer, before sinking once more. Pre-rendered. Lovely though it may be, not worth sitting through the rest of the conference for. A shame really. But wait…he (main character) has a gun? A secret hidden gun that fires star darts no less. Lovely. Release date is November 17th.

Urgh. Over.