Not everything from E3 that was given to the public to play was a demo. During their press conference, Ubisoft not only announced but launched the surprise Trials of the Blood Dragon game. The game promised to be a crossover of the crazy action of the Trials series with the setting and motif of Far Cry: Blood Dragon. As much as critics and gamers love each of those games individually, when you combine the two franchises, the result is the exact of what you would expect from either franchise.
Another edition of the Electronic Entertainment Expo, also known as E3, has come and gone. While there was a lot of hype going into E3, I feel as though the buzz during and after E3 was a little muted in comparison to years past. That’s not to say that there were a few surprises and high points from this year’s week of E3 fun and frivolity. So let’s look back at the best and worst of E3 2016.
A few years ago, an Ubisoft executive said that the company wasn’t interested in a game if they couldn’t build a franchise out of it. It certainly looks that way from this year’s press conference where even Ubisoft’s experimental titles are getting the franchise treatments. Grow Home gets a sequel. Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon and Trials get a cross-over game. The only Ubi game not getting a sequel is Beyond Good & Evil. But there was one new IP unveiled. It’s an extreme sports game so it might not be for everyone.
Poor Ubisoft. They started off the 2000s so well but have been finding themselves the butt of more jokes than the likes of EA or Microsoft. It takes a long series of disappointments to get people to roll their eyes at any announcement that you make but that’s the point we’re at with Ubisoft. However, they’re cycling Assassin’s Creed out of rotation and hoping they can reinvigorate their brands.
It’s not unusual to see console manufacturers step in to bail out third-party publishers to help them make games that wouldn’t otherwise be made. In the last year, we have seen Sony step in to fund Street Fighter V while Microsoft stepped in to continue Lara Croft’s adventure in Rise of the Tomb Raider.
Rumours suggest that Nintendo is getting in on that act. A source for accurate games industry news leaked documents to the press that indicates that Nintendo is throwing its money on a sequel to Beyond Good and Evil.
When you’re a PC gamer, you’re used to terrible ports. I’m on AMD hardware so I get it worse than most. Considering that it’s easier to optimize the game for consoles and, anecdotally, there are more people whose primary gaming platform is a console, it makes sense to prioritize them when launching a game. Not everyone is Rockstar who spent two years perfecting their GTA V PC port.
It’s seldom that companies are up front with information that might make gamers concerned about a PC version of a game so no wonder why Ubisoft sprang into action to backtrack. A developer on Tom Clancy’s The Division told YouTube’s Team Epiphany that Ubisoft Massive had to “keep [The Division] in check with consoles.” Ubisoft quickly fired back with a statement saying “this is simply not true.”
During Steam’s Monster Summer Sale, I noticed something during the Tom Clancy franchise sale. The price of the upcoming Rainbow Six: Siege is $80 CAD. The US dollar price is $60. If you were to pay for the game in USD and have your credit card company convert it to CAD, a Canadian customer would spend $73. That’s an inexplicable loss of $7 as a sort of living in Canada tax (when no sales tax is charged by Steam in Canada) from a company whose biggest development studio is in Canada and receives subsidies from various levels of Canadian government.
It’s not just the Canadians who are losing out for not living in America. According to the Steam All Region Price Checker extension, British customers are being charged the equivalent of $80 USD and others in the EU will be paying the equivalent of $68 USD.
So why are certain countries paying more than other and who is at fault for the price discrepancies?
I know Ubisoft said that they loved franchises but I didn’t realize that they now considered South Park to be a franchise. They opened with a new South Park game, added a new Ubi-combat based medieval battle game and closed off with another Tom Clancy game. So while Ubisoft is all about doing games that are part of franchises, they actually had one new game that wasn’t part of an established franchise. That’s got to count for something, right?
I feel as though that title is part trolling Ubisoft and part the absolute truth. Ubisoft is a tricky company to figure out. While they will put money into new games, they all tend to be very formulaic unless they’re of the smaller or experimental variety. So will they have anything new for people to play in the near future?
Wilde posted a column on PC Gamer advocating for the end of the term “PC Master Race” (while making some comparisons of the term to the Nazis) but I don’t think he expected what the fallout would be. While he had to weather the unfortunately expected personal attacks, he also had his personal life dragged into the matter. That’s because Wilde is dating a communications specialist for Ubisoft while still writing about Ubisoft for PC Gamer without disclosing his relationship.