Ones To Watch In 2014: The Ubisoft Cross-Platform Special

War, races and deception.

Welcome to the latest entry in TSA’s Ones To Watch In 2014, where we talk about the games we’re excited for in the upcoming year. Today’s entry is the second to cover cross-platform releases, but has the unique twist of focusing purely on Ubisoft and the wide selection of games they’ve announced for next year.

1TW-ChildofLight

Child Of Light was revealed in late August, but we had to wait a couple of weeks for more information to be released about the title. The game is being developed at Ubisoft Montreal by some of the key members of the team responsible for Far Cry 3, and uses the UbiArt Framework engine, the same engine used in the recent Rayman games, and one which allows for lovely 2D visuals.

It is a side scrolling RPG that will have turn based battles, and has been heavily inspired by older JRPGs such as Final Fantasy VI. The story, all written in verse, follows Aurora as she must try to retrieve the Sun, Moon and stars from the Queen of the Night. If Aurora does not succeed in her quest, then she cannot return home.

This charming looking title will be releasing on PS4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Wii U and PC as a digital download.

1TW-ValiantHearts

Valiant Hearts: The Great War was announced at the same time as Child Of Light, but is a 2D puzzle platformer with a much more sombre tone. The game is being developed by a small team at Ubisoft Montpellier, and is set during World War I, also known as The Great War. The UbiArt Framework engine is being used for this too, but features a very different feel and style to the artwork.

The story focuses on five characters from different sides of the war, all playing a part in helping a young German soldier find his love. All of characters also have experiences with the same dog, who helps each person on their journey. What’s interesting is that the narrative is based on letters written by soldiers who fought in the war and what they experienced, with some personal ties to the relatives of the development team. It definitely looks like an interesting title.

Valiant Hearts: The Great War is coming to PS4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, and PC.

1TW-SouthPark

South Park: The Stick of Truth is a game that I’ve been following the development of since it was first announced. The game was supposed to be out by now, which is why it was in 81st place for last year’s TSA’s Top 100 of 2013, but has since been plagued by delays. The latest release date is set for March 4th 2o14, as the game comes to PS3, 360 and PC, provided the developer doesn’t run into more issues along the way.

The game also has the distinguished factor that it wasn’t originally a Ubisoft funded project but by THQ instead. Of course, THQ has been confined to the history pages of the industry, but it was Ubisoft that bought the rights to South Park: The Stick Of Truth and gave people hope that this game would be released.

As a bit of a tie in to the game, the latest South Park TV season introduced these fantasy-based twists on the regular cast of characters, as it covered a three-part story that tackled the yearly Black Friday hordes, console launches and Game of Thrones.

1TW-TheCrew

The Crew is Ubisoft’s attempt at redefining the racing genre, with a huge focus on multiplayer. It’s being developed by Ubisoft Reflections and Ivory Tower, and is incredibly ambitious in scale, effectively making the whole of the US the game’s map. Obviously it has been scaled down, but it’s still a huge map.

Apparently The Crew’s rendition of New York City is the same size as GTA IV’s Liberty City, with plenty other major cities featured, while it will take 90 minutes to go coast to coast, but that’s only if you’re driving an incredibly fast car and going flat out!

The single player and multiplayer are dynamically linked so that you can join a friend in their race or challenge without switching modes. Car customisation will also be incredibly important, as different set ups will be required for different jobs. There will be a lot of in depth options and fine tuning available to perfect your vehicles to cater to both on and off-road driving.

I played a little bit of The Crew at EGX and thought it was pretty good. It looked great graphically though I thought the handling was bit off, but that could have been due to the car I was driving (or my poor skills).

The Crew is set for release on PS4, XBO and PC, but, as with the next game in this list, has seen a delay, and will now be releasing in late 2014.

1TW-WatchDogs

Watch Dogs was a surprise reveal by Ubisoft, back at the company’s 2012 E3 conference. Development is being led by Ubisoft Montreal, and they have been working on it for four years now. Originally intended to coincide with the PS4 and XBO launched, this saw a last minute delay that pushed it back to spring 2014, where it will also launch on PS3, 360, PC and Wii U.

The story follows Aidan Pearce, a guy who can hack into the CtOS network, which controls all the functions of the game’s version of Chicago and holds everybody’s personal data. There’s very little information on what the plot is actually about, but it certainly revolves around Aiden and dealing out vigilante justice. There will also be an optional multiplayer which allows players to hack into one anothers’ games and mess around.

Though it has promise some of the allure has been lost for me. I watched a presentation at EGX this year, and Watch Dogs almost felt like an Assassin’s Creed title set in the modern age. Maybe it’s just over exposure to the game that has turned my hype down, so hopefully it will come back when the game actually releases.

1TW-TheDivision

Following in Watch Dogs’ footsteps, Ubisoft’s 2013 E3 Press Conference saw The Division as a surprise announcement, and it stole the show for many. The game is being developed by Massive Entertainment and, much like The Crew, will focus on the multiplayer capabilities of the PS4 and Xbox One.

The story follows a viral outbreak that collapses society in a matter of days. The Division is set three weeks after the fall and focuses on players following Directive 51, which is a fictional piece of legislation set up to counteract any threats that would occur as civilisation breaks down.

The game looks fantastic and that is down to the Snowdrop engine. Because of the ambitious scale of the game, it is only coming to PS4, XBO and PC, which allows them to push boundaries with accurate lighting and physics as well as dynamic weather and day-night cycles, all of which affect the city’s decay. It all plays out as an MMO, with one persistent map where lots of players roam New York City, and with opportunities to work together or fight when crossing other players’ paths.

17 Comments

  1. 1. Tom Clancy’s The Division
    2. The Crew
    3. Watch Dogs
    My list of ‘what to look for’ next year from Ubi.

    • Yep, Thats the same order for me too.

  2. Why oh why aren’t they releasing South Park on next gen (well current gen now….) as well. Real shame if you ask me, lots of people flog off their old consoles to fund new ones, so a lot of people will miss out what is looking to be a cracking little game.

    Can’t wait for Watchdogs and Division though :D

  3. Not a big Ubisoft fan but I will definitely be picking up at least three of their games this year (Rayman Legends, Child of Light, Valiant Hearts). Division is a “maybe” at the moment as I really struggle to get into Ubisoft’s larger titles for some reason.

  4. The Division is looking better and better. I may end up cancelling my Watch Dogs pre-order in favour of The Division.

    • I wouldn’t be suprised if The Division doesn’t get pushed back to 2015 going on UBIsofts previous form – so you might be waiting a long time :P (hope I’m wrong, but saying “late 2014” means “maybe, more than likely be 2015” pfft).

    • I was thinking the same, the more I see of The Division, the more I think I can probably let Watch_Dogs pass me by. Not that they’re entirely similar, but WD looks a bit bland by comparison, and I worry it could get repetitive like the Assassins Creed games.

    • I feel the same way. I am just worried that the Division will end up being an online shooter with some elements of rpg…

  5. The Division looked good until I realised it was online so I’ll skip that one.

    I’ll play Watch Dogs but I’m not convinced it’ll really be that fresh when it comes out. I’m hopefully for a decent plot and characters otherwise it could be a big let down.

    The Crew release window will put it up against too many other games I’d rather play so it’ll probably get missed.

    I’m still quite interested in South Park but it needs to come out at a time with not too much else around.

  6. I have not heard of Child Of Light but it’s definitley on my Must Have Games list not. Sound like its fully lavished in win!

    • *now, not not

    • Same here. Never heard of Child Of Light but I am looking forward already.

    • Following this one closely. It looks lovely and it’s great to see Ubisoft trying their hands at some real diversity.

      Other than the South Park game, count me in for all of them. A rare moment in time for me to say that with gaming lists of things to look forward to.

  7. Watch Dogs and The Division are the only games I’m interested in here, oh and Assassin’s Creed Liberation HD, although I’ll probably wait for some reviews to see how good the PC port is.

  8. Well deserved for Ubi, best E3 surprise in 2012 (Watch dogs) and 2013 (The Division).

    Note to EA: this is the kind of buzz you can get from new IP’s!!!

  9. I’ll probably end up buying all of them. In my opinion Ubisoft is the most interesting and consistent publisher these days. Yes they push out AC games like there’s no tomorrow but Black Flag is my favorite entry into the franchise so far so it’s not deteriorating like some other franchises.
    They also have a quite diverse line up with Child of Light, Rayman, The Crew, AC / Watch_Dogs and The Division.

  10. I like the look of Child of Light, other than that nothing on this list interests me. I can’t quite put my finger on it but Ubisofts games have a tendency to bore me. Assassin’s Creed 2 was fun, but I gave up on that series after Brotherhood and Far Cry 3 was highly overrated. I don’t get all the buzz about Watch Dogs, footage of that game just looks dull.

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