Developers Represent: EA and Ubisoft E3 Highlights


Now that things have settled down, and the fallout between Microsoft and Sony’s press conferences are sifting to a murky haze – let’s take a look at some other announcements from two of the industries leading developers. Ubisoft and Electronic Arts hosted their events on Monday and treated fans to an array of new titles, much anticipated sequels, and a lot of cars going left. I kid, but the push for racing games from every conference yesterday shows what a strong market there is for the new age of racers.

We’ve already seen what Forza had to offer from the first Xbox One announcement a few weeks past, but EA pushed hard their Need For Speed franchise announcing Rivals. The cars look alright, with a slightly futuristic take, but some of the lighting effects make me feel this will look just as good on the 360 or PS3. You’re spending a lot of time running from the cops (and dodging airstrikes from helicopters) but it had great pacing without feeling like I needed to drive through a crowd of hookers every time I wanted to make a get-a-way. After the demo, Breaking Bad star Aaron Paul took the stage to talk about Disney’s upcoming Need For Speed movie. As a fan of over the top car movies like Fast and Furious, and being a huge fan of Paul’s work – this is a no brainer for me to go out and see. It looks fun.

Ubisoft got in on the cops versus cars action with The Crew. The graphics are slick, almost enough to rival Forza. I hope some of the shots in the trailer are actual in-game action, because that would just bring a whole new level to these street racing games in terms of angles and play. I couldn’t tell if I was watching a new Mazda commercial or a video game trailer, which in my world is a good thing. Either way, this is a game to play if you live for speed.

For me, the top three titles announced at the developers’ conferences were the long awaited sequel (or prequel as it may end up being) to Mirrors Edge, Star Wars Battlefront 3, and Dragon Age: Inquisition. Mirrors Edge 2 is in the very early development stages, and producer Sara Jansson asked fans to be patient. The game will arrive “when it’s ready.” Footage showed the protagonist, Faith, getting her iconic tattoos interspersed with some game play shots. It looks pretty true to the original title which will keep fans happy.

Star Wars Battlefront was such a tease! Thirty seconds from the first person perspective on an icy planet (Hoth? Gotta be Hoth!) while you dodge debris and the foot of an AT-AT stomping down near you. It was enough to leave me screaming! Hope to see more of this from EA this week.

Now RPG fans, this one is for you. EA and Bioware dropped the trailer for the next installment in their Dragon Age series. In game footage is just beautiful, with the depth of character and scenery we’ve come to expect from this series. The icing on it all? Narrated by what sounds like Claudia Black, Morrigan from the previous games – and a nice shot of her at the very end. While we didn’t get a Mass Effect nugget from this presser, I’m happy to see Bioware going all out for their flagship fantasy game. The downside is we wont see this until 2014.

We saw a lot of sports titles from EA, which is to be expected. As always, they look more and more like watching a live game. EA brought rapper Drake to introduce the next installments of NBA Live 14, Madden 25, and Fifa ’14. With the Ignite engine running these games, they’re going to be fancy and fun.

We had seen some footage of Battlefield 4 earlier in the day, but now EA is touting the multiplayer capabilities of the game. Throughout E3 they will be running a 64-player beatdown, with leaders running 5-person squads. If you’re into real time battlefield action, this is the game for you!

Other titles to look forward to from EA include a TF2-like version of Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare which will launch of Xbox One before it hits the PS4. We also saw more footage from Titanfall, the Xbox console exclusive. Still looks like this is one of the top games to come out of Monday.

Ubisoft treated us to a whole different experience. I’ve been saying for years that companies need to hire professionals to run their conferences, and it looks like Ubisoft did just that! They brought comedian and gaming fiend Aisha Taylor to the stage to MC their show. If you’re fans of the FX series Archer, you’ll know her as the constant sweater dress wearing Lana Kane. Taylor was a great fit for Ubisoft, and she really got to show fans (and haters) how much she really gets into these games. The banter between her and Ubisoft execs and developers was worth watching the presser just for that! But anyways, on to the games.

Ubisoft opened with a new book by Tom Clancy. I mean wait, the next in the line of Splinter Cell games. Blacklist is just what you would expect from the series. Side note, I actually got into the Splinter Cell games because my mom is a huge Clancy reader. We talk about the books, and I always update her on my stats in game. I think she secretly wishes I was a mercenary spy on the hunt for terrorists. Seriously though, the game is great looking and a lot of the best features are back including Versus mode.

Next up was some really enchanting games, like the return of Raymen in Legends. Now with some 120 levels to conquer, this is gonna be a game to keep playing for months to come. We should see this one drop on Sept. 3rd. Ubisoft surprised us with a free-to-play game titled The Mighty Quest For Epic Loot, a charming and fun game that is all about stealing from the people around you. It’s quirky and funny and the voice over reminds me of Brad Pitt’s Metro Man from Megamind.

A new Just Dance, a South Park title and more Watch Dogs footage rounded out the mid-section of the conference. Ubisoft ended with what looks to be their two biggest titles: Assassins Creed 4: I’m On A Boat Black Flag and a new Tom Clancy title. I’ve not played any of the AC titles, but in terms of visuals it looks just about as good (or bad, depending on your take on the series) as the predecessors. It has a very Pirates of the Caribbean feel with the opening sequence, and I secretly hope for a Lonely Island achievement. The difference with this one is I will actually pick it up. I don’t know if it’s because of my undying love of pirates or my progression as a gamer, but this title looks worthwhile.

The new Clancy game is not what you would expect, an open-world, online shooter titled The Division. Powered by the new Snow Drop engine, the game takes place three weeks after a massive pandemic hits New York City, during the Christmas holidays. One of the first things that popped for me was the menu features. It pops up on your wrist controller and really brings you into the game. You have a lot of good places for cover and sniper options, which even running solo will make good for most rogue types. If you want to take a break from your World of Warcraft styled and other fantasy MMOs, and I hesitate to call The Division an MMO, this is a great new experience for shooter game play.

With all the major press conferences out of the way by time of writing (still have to play catchup with Nintendo), it’s a matter of wait and see for game play and what other gems companies will surprise us with during the rest of E3!