Player 2 Vs Ubisoft Forward September 2020
Ubisoft today hosted their second “Ubisoft Forward” stream highlighting a host of existing and upcoming titles for gamers to get excited about. Leaks and rumours had been swirling for weeks pertaining to several Ubisoft IP, but today the curtain was properly pulled back. Matt and Paul have swung into action to provide you with their thoughts on this latest Ubisoft Forward and all it contained in this latest Vs piece.
Yves Guillemot Pre-Show Speech
Paul: To not embed this (even if it was recorded at the last minute, which it shouldn’t have been!) in the final product is completely baffling to me, and indicates that whatever change has taken place off the back of recent controversies is still considered so minor that they don’t need to place it at the forefront of proceedings and declare to the world that they won’t stand for discriminatory or other inappropriate behaviour. For the social media team (under instruction no doubt) to then trot out the line that “due to timing constraints, we chose to release the video as a standalone message” is utter bullshit, and indicated that they were happy for the message to then get buried by the gaming content. Other companies have been quite responsive when something like these controversies emerge, but what we see from Ubisoft makes me question just how deeply ingrained this behaviour is, and whether Yves and his team are just trying to blow smoke up our asses.
Matt: Look, the way this was handled leaves a little to be desired. The video wasn’t included in the presentation because of a lack of time? It is your presentation Ubisoft you can make it as long or as short as you want. This goes a long way to undermining what Yves was saying and it still seems that Ubisoft has a long way to go in regards to its social and moral obligations. I am very much a person willing to forgive if they can get on the front foot, apologise properly and show that they have fixed the problems, but by hiding this message and not making it the first thing players see during the event means they are not yet willing to accept the blame and that isn’t good enough.
Immortals Fenyx Rising
Paul: I was pretty into Gods & Monsters when it was first revealed in 2019, and now that we’ve seen more, I’m a big fan of the tone that the game is going for, both in terms of the verbal dialogue, which looks to be lighthearted and fun, and visually with the clearly BOTW inspired look. The name change is horrendous, and I’m confused as to how Ubisoft thought that was a good idea, so it’s fortunate that the game itself seems pretty solid. Early December is an interesting window to be shooting for, given they’ve already released by that point AC: Valhalla and Watch Dogs in fairly short succession, with big hitters coming early 2021 as well, but hopefully, the game is strong enough to stand on its own two feet.
Matt: Despite the stupid name, I am quite keen on this one now. Kind of a Zelda game with good combat (*insert wink.gif) and a story set in mythological Greece. I love the style the developers have gone for and I am always a sucker for this setting. There seems to be quite a bit more to the game than i was expecting too which is a nice surprise. Oh and any trailer that uses James Brown gets bonus points from me.
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time Remake
Paul: The trailer did emphasize that what we saw was an Alpha build, but I hope that Alpha build is verrrrrrrry old, because for as excited as I am at the prospect of playing a Prince of Persia title again, let alone a remake of Sands of Time, this game looked pretty rough, and it’s coming far too soon if how it looked in that trailer is even partially representative of what the final product will look like. Visuals aside, I’m hoping to see the games combat improved, among other little tweaks and for this to not simply be the PS2 game with a new look. Ratched & Clank 2016, Resident Evil 2, and Final Fantasy VII have all shown us what top tier remakes of acclaimed games can and should be like, and my fingers are crossed that we can soon add Sands of Time to that list.
Matt: I am both excited and worried for this one. I am excited because it is great to see the Prince back, there has been nothing quite like the franchise since it disappeared from our release schedules. I am worried because when compared to recent remakes like Final Fantasy VII or even Destroy All Humans! It doesn’t look like a current-gen game. Granted there are a few months of polish ahead and graphics aren’t everything but it still has to be mentioned. I am keen to step back into the Prince’s shoes and if they can get the movement right, I will forgive the below-par looks.
Paul: The game hasn’t done anything for me up to this point, and I don’t see that changing off the back of what was shown here. Since Hyperscape launched in July we’ve seen two Battle Royale (ish) titles emerge in the form of Spellbreak and Fall Guys, both of them are far more enjoyable than what Ubisoft has presented us with in Hyperscape. I hope they can carve out a niche, but I won’t be a part of it I suspect.
Matt: How come a game that looks so cool in the trailers can be so dull to play. I think this one is going to need a big shakeup to remain competitive in a market with Fortnite, Apex Legends and fighting upstarts like Spellbreak. It needs to do more and it needs to do it differently and this trailer hasn’t convinced me that Ubisoft have gotten that message yet.
Rainbow 6: Siege
Paul: This constant Sam Fisher shoehorning needs to stop. Ubisoft have conceded multiple times that they know of the fan outcry, and yet they persist with their Sam Fisher DLCs in their various titles, whilst seemingly ignore giving him a proper new outing. Ubisoft, enough! Just give us a bloody Splinter Cell game damnit! Rainbow 6 in the meantime continues to smash it and whilst it’s not really my cup of tea, to see how it continues to develop in the esports space is impressive to me.
Matt: Honestly Ubisoft, either put Sam out to pasture or give him a new game. At this point in time he feels like a washed-up Big Brother contestant that gets trundled out for a celebrity version of a game show. Give the man the respect he deserves! As for Rainbow Six: Siege, I can’t get over how well Ubisoft has done with this game, the world championships look like they are going to be massive and the fact players are getting a free next-gen upgrade is very cool.
Scott Pilgrim Vs The World: The Game
Paul: Never played it before, but I’m acutely aware of the fan demands on this one and so it’s good to see Ubisoft find a way to resolve the licensing issues around the game. Maybe they can continue the franchise from here on.
Matt: I never understood the reverence many have for this game. Don’t get me wrong, it is a fun, stylish beat-em-up but nothing more than that. It is certainly not Streets of Rage or Final Fight. But that being said, I am glad the licensing stuff was sorted and it can once again be played with ease, because whenever a game disappears thanks to licensing, I die a little inside.
Watch Dogs: Legion
Paul: So Watch Dogs is an IP that I’ve failed to click with yet, and most of the damage to my perception of the franchise stems from the original game. I know I’m not alone in that sentiment so it’s baffling to me that they would try to lure people in with Aiden Pearce, a character that most people detest. That said, it at least presents us with a character that people can get around, because my only concern with Legion so far is the total lack of a core protagonist. The play as anyone idea isn’t doing it for me at all, despite how great the moment to moment action looks to be. Maybe I’ll be convinced otherwise once the game launches.
Matt: Hey everyone, here is a game where you can literally play as any character in the game, so we decided to give you our most boring protagonist ever as DLC. Look I love the look of Watch Dogs: Legion it is a game that has so much potential to be something truly new, I just wonder why they felt the need to sully that forward vision with a character that is pretty much universally disliked, if not outright hated. Getting Marcus from Watch Dogs 2 would have been a much better call I feel. Besides that, I am a day on purchase on this one, it really appeals to me.
Paul: Extreme sports just aren’t my go, but Riders Republic looks pretty sweet. It pulls on the Steep concept and blows it wide open, which is quite appealing to me. I’ll want to see more of the game in action, but I can see myself spending some time with this one.
Matt: I loved Steep, I thought it was a fantastic new take on the tired extreme sports genre and while it had issues, it also had a lot going for it as well. Riders Republic is Steep 2 in all but name and has mountain bikes to boot. I am excited to see the formula evolve and I hope that it lives up to its huge potential. Also after showing the trailer to my son who is all about bikes, skateboards and scooters right now, I know I am going to have to buy two copies.
Paul: The presentation wasn’t a mind-blowing one, though there were some cool premieres in the form of Immortals Fenyx Rising, Prince of Persia and Riders Republic. Nothing really shot the lights out though which is something I usually expect from Ubisoft presentations, E3 or otherwise. There’s usually that one really big thing that takes my fancy, last time it was Far Cry 6, but that game, and that shocked feeling wasn’t here. I honestly believe that given the way they presented their BLM/Diversity messaging via Twitter was worse than if they’d said nothing at all. The overall slate, particularly between October-February is impressive, and I’m going to get quite accustomed to seeing the Ubisoft logo through that time, but I’m now left pondering the future beyond Feb 2021. Beyond Good & Evil 2 and Rainbow 6: Quarantine (surely the subtitle gets changed) are seemingly a way off still, while COVID has surely slowed down some other projects. It’s time to see what’s further down the road Ubi.
Matt: Honestly it is hard not to feel a little down about this presentation because of Ubisoft’s response to Black Lives Matter, bullying and sexual assault issues plaguing the company. They haven’t done enough to convince the world that these things are something that has been firmly placed in the past. That being said, it is also an injustice to the hundreds of employees under Ubisoft that have done and always will do the right thing, so it is important that we celebrate their achievements. The games Ubisoft have coming over the next 6-12 months are some of the best I have ever seen from the company and there seems to be some original thinking and new ideas being added to the tried and true franchises. In fact it is hard to think of any other third party having such a strong slate of titles coming up. Well done on the games Ubisoft, now fix up your broken corporate culture ASAP.