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Ubisoft hosted their first ever Ubisoft Forward, the online-only replacement for their usual annual E3 conference. Ubisoft plan a number of Forward events moving forward, possibly suggesting a long-term replacement for hosted conference events.
The event showed a number of new announcements — unless you’ve been closely following all of the leaks! — and gameplay footage of their upcoming games.
Watch Dogs: Legion
First up on Ubisoft Forward is the next instalment in the popular hacking open world franchise, Watch Dogs: Legion. A cinematic trailer sets out the world of Legion, set in a post-Brexit civil war-stricken London, England.
The key mechanic of Watch Dogs: Legion is that it allows players to recruit from anyone they find on the streets, adding to their party a range of misfits to join their rebel cause. The gameplay trailer shows off how playing these different characters changes the dialogue in cut scenes, allowing you to play the entire game with your favorite NPCs from the mean streets of London.
Gameplay highlights included the construction worker who uses his wrench in combat and can summon a floating assembly platform to take to the skies. The drone expert also uses floating machinery, but hers are controlled remotely, allowing players to scope out areas and engage in battle from afar.
We also meet Mickey, a drunk cockney brawler who fights with his fists — at least, until he passes out.
Watch Dogs: Legion is coming soon, releasing on 29 October 2020.
Blue Mammoth Games’ popular free-to-play 2D fighting game Brawlhalla is coming to Android and iOS mobile devices. Ubisoft Forward showed off some of the Smash Bros. inspired gameplay and announced that the mobile port is available from 6 August 2020, with over 50 legends to play from and a free skin available to all players at launch.
Might & Magic: Era of Chaos
Ubisoft isn’t stopping at just one mobile game — also announced at Ubisoft Forward is Might & Magic: Era of Chaos, a new Android and iOS game set in the popular fantasy franchise. Era of Chaos is available right now from the Google Play and iOS App stores.
Tom Clancy’s Elite Squad
Also coming to Android and iOS mobile platforms is the next game in the long-running Tom Clancy franchise. Elite Squad features a range of unique heroes and villains from the history of Tom Clancy games, including Rainbow Six Siege, Ghost Recon, The Division and Splinter Cell — including, of course, one Sam Fisher.
Elite Squad takes the form of 5v5 online battles, including player vs player, guild vs guild and a full campaign mode. The game is coming soon, but players can pre-register now to claim a bonus item — Montagne’s Tier 2 m1911 semi-automatic pistol.
Rainbow Six Siege
Ubisoft couldn’t run an event without mentioning their biggest esports hit to date. Rainbow Six Siege appeared at Ubisoft Forward to celebrate hitting the 60 million players mark. Ubisoft PR Specialist Neelam Kumar also reminded players that the popular online shooter is currently running its Operation: Steel Wave update as part of Year 5 Season 2, including new operators Ace and Melusi.
One of the most exciting parts of the Ubisoft leaks was science-fiction battle royale Hyper Scape. At Ubisoft Forward we were shown more of this upcoming online shooter, including a story-based cinematic and some gameplay footage.
Hyper Scape is set in a Ready Player One-esque world of overpopulation and poverty in the year 2054, where the only solution for humanity is to instead escape to a digital virtual reality world known as the Hyper Scape. The game-in-a-game also features an online battle royale called Crown Rush, which works exactly as you might expect — a number of players enter the fictional city of New Arcadia and must fight to be the last person standing.
Gameplay looks like a mix between the cartoon customization of Fortnite and the parkour first-person gunplay and abilities of Apex Legends. Abilities (such as teleportation) in Hyper Scape take the form of “hacks” which are found in the game world rather than being linked to specific characters.
Interestingly, Ubisoft also highlighted that the game is being designed to support real-world streamer voting. Watchers can use the in-game Twitch extension to vote for changes inside live games, such as gravity changes or infinite ammo, that the players (read: streamers) will have to adapt to.
Hyper Scape is going into Open Beta on uPlay PC right now, and players signing up now will get a free Battle Pass.
Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla
Every year, Ubisoft “reveals” the next instalment in the blockbuster Assassin’s Creed franchise via some pre-E3 leaks. This year was no different, with the next game being Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla. The follow-up to Odyssey’s voyage of Greece is a Viking-inspired raid into Anglo Saxon England.
Ubisoft Forward showed a cinematic trailer to set the scene. Players take on the role of Eivor, a male or female Viking chieftain who is fleeing their homeland of Norway to settle in England. Valhalla is taking huge nods from its Norse mythology and the Pagan roots of the opposing Saxon force.
We also saw Eivor in action, showing off a number of big gameplay changes to the franchise. The combat system from Odyssey has been revamped, including additions of stealth and deception returning to the game. Eivor can pull up the trademark assassin hood for crowd concealment, returning to the series for the first time in years. Of course, the hidden blade also makes a return.
We also see Viking sailing, and the new raiding mechanic, allowing Eivor to land at ports and besiege them, setting fire to thatch roofs and claiming areas to develop settlements in. Eivor has some new tools in combat too — Ubisoft Forward showed off that players can now dual wield any weapon, including new additions the harpoon and throwing axes. There is also a new stun system, and Eivor can also assault Saxon fortresses in huge siege battles.
Outside of battle, Eivor can engage in hunting, foraging and even fishing. There are also symbol matching mini-games reminiscent of the other Norse action game, Hellblade.
Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla was recently delayed, its new release date is 17th November 2020.
Far Cry 6
The final reveal of Ubisoft Forward was the next instalment in the long-running Far Cry franchise. Ubisoft’s huge open world first-person shooter makes its return with Far Cry 6. Unfortunately, all we got this time around is a cinematic trailer. Now set in a fictional equivalent of Cuba, known as Yara, and starring Breaking Bad star Giancarlo Esposito as “big bad” dictator El Presidente Anton Castillo.
Players will, of course, oppose Castillo as local hero Dani Rojas, and we can expect guns, vehicles, and many many explosions. For now we’ll have to wait to find out more details and gameplay improvements from Far Cry 5 which released in 2018.
What was missing?
So, thanks to an abundance of traditional Ubisoft leaks, the line-up for this Ubisoft Forward held no major surprises for fans. A few popular franchises and games were, however, conspicuous by their absence.
Long-running sword-fighting simulator For Honor received no mention, not even patch updates or season pass changes. There were also no new expansions announced for Trials Rising or The Division 2, both of which released last year.
Ubisoft also neglected to give updates on its previously announced games Skull & Bones, The Settlers, Rainbow Six Quarantine, or Beyond Good & Evil 2 — all of which may therefore be having some development issues. Gods & Monsters also was conspicuous by its absence, having had an interesting announcement trailer at E3 2019.
Of course, long-time Ubisoft fans will also have noted the lack of a new game for two beloved franchise icons — the Prince of Persia himself did not appear, and there’s no new Splinter Cell on the immediate horizon. Sam Fisher’s only appearance is in a Tom Clancy mobile game.
In more positive news, there also wasn’t a single mention of Just Dance or Rabbids. You win some, you lose some.
However, watch this space. There’s still a chance for some of our missing favorites — Ubisoft Forward concluded by announcing another Ubisoft Forward, due to take place later in 2020.
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I have had a passion for writing almost as long as my passion for video games. Which came first, the controller or the pen?
My earliest memories include stapling A4 papers together to make books to write on, and playing Super Mario on the NES with my brother. Now I play a huge variety of game genres, platforms and styles, from indie to AAA, from 2 hour experiences to 50 hour marathons, from RTS to FPS to RPG and every three letter acronym in-between.