I apologize in advance because this is going to be a short, very acerbic post.
The highlight of the Ubisoft presser was that you can play as an elderly woman who executes soldiers, assassin-style in Watchdogs Legion. For me, everything else was just background noise.
I had started Watchdogs and had acquired Watchdogs 2, but I had some creative differences with the controls in the former and have never gotten around to the latter. Generally speaking, I didn’t expect to find another Watchdogs game in my “smash that pre-order button” list, but here we are. The promise of the game is that you can recruit any NPC in the game for your rebellious cause. Like in the previous games, you are able to scan individuals and receive dossier information on their particulars, except in Legion you are basically looking at NPC stats. Need a drone expert? Hacker? Brawler? Sniper? Anyone on the streets may have the skills you are looking for. You then play as any NPC in your roster to accomplish your goals. In this way, it’s like X-COM, but in an action RPG third person mode.
I kind of skipped over the Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey news, but the idea that you can make your own missions is cool, and that they are adding an “edutainment” mode to the game, as they did with Origins, is also a great way to leverage a popular franchise for actual good. I liked what I have played of Odyssey, and should be higher on my “return to” list than I am allowing it to be.
Then we launched into Ubi’s bread and butter, the Tom Clancy category. Why are all of these types of games populated by bushy-beard sporting white guys? Seriously, every mil-shooter these days has a guy that looks exactly the same, with or without those douche-worthy Gargoyle shades.
So Ghost Recon: Breakpoint is Ghosts vs your stereotypical “why are we not fighting for our own benefit?” ex-Ghosts. Rainbox Six: Quarantine is apparently a co-op shooter vs zombies or aliens, which lead me to believe that they wanted to get out ahead of the “we’ll release when it’s ready” game GTFO which has a similar focus but looks way better (to me, and hopefully to all the Aliens fans out there).
Ok, now the weird stuff. The Division movie is still moving forward and none of the names associated with it (Jake “Forget Prince of Persia, please” Gyllenhaal and Jessica Chastain) have changed, but it’s coming to Netflix which is awesome because I hadn’t intended to pay to see it anyway. In a similar vein, Ubi is collaborating on a “TV series” called Mythic Quest, which is probably intended to be The Office but set in a game development studio. Sadly, this one is going to Apple’s streaming service, AKA “find somewhere else to download it from”. Generally, video-game themed-other-media has totally missed the mark, so this could go either way. Making it true-to-form would generate a lot of in-jokes for nerds but make it to dense for anyone else, but relying on stereotypes to give it more mass-market appeal might just cause it to be overtly disingenuous. It’s a fine line, and hopefully, they can walk it, but I’ve lived this long without Mythic Quest, I think I can keep on living without it.
Surprise! Ubi is starting a subscription service called Uplay+. Let’s tally our score so far: We have Xbox Game Pass Ultimate for $14.99 a month, PS+ for…whatever it costs per month, all your TV and movie streaming services, your music streaming services, maybe an MMO or two, and now Ubi’s all you can eat buffet service for $14.99 per month as well. Hmmm. This is asking a lot, really. I like Ubi’s stuff OK, but I don’t think I personally like everything they offer to the tune of $14.99 a month. Technically, the best aspect of this is that Uplay+ will be accessible via Google Stadia, which solves a critically unanswered issue: if you sub to Uplay+, you should have access to all games they offer either on native PC or within Stadia. If you also then buy a game through Uplay+ (to keep forever), then you should be able to access it via native PC or through Stadia. That way, if Stadia shuts down, you don’t lose the games you buy through Uplay+…right? RIGHT?! Hopefully.
The stream closed out with two new games, Roller Champions — a competitive multiplayer F2P roller-derby game — and Gods and Monsters. We kind of skipped over these because we wanted to get to the Xbox presser that my friends hadn’t seen. I’ll look into Gods and Monsters later on, but I’m sure it’ll be fine.
There was nothing really of value here for me, personally, except the “yeah, ok…cool” look at the collaborative Avengers game being made by Marvel, Crystal Dynamics (“Home of Lara Croft!”), and Square Enix. I’m fairly cool on the Marvel properties — I like ’em well enough, but I’m not going all Bethesda-Audience-Guy over them. Still, an Avengers game that has action combat, but isn’t all action combat? Like, with actual story and dialog and really well-done cut-scenes? I can dig it.