When we eventually do our "Who Won E3" piece, I'm pretty sure that Ubisoft will feature heavily. Not only did they have the best press conference by far (save for a terrible demo of ShootMania Storm), but they rode in and rescued those of Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo too.
There's a reason they had the best presser too, a really simple reason that most of the others compeltely forgot to do: show gameplay footage of those big, fat games that you have. It's simple, really fucking simple. Ubisoft do it every year, and they rightfully win the plaudits.
And what a roster they brought. New footage of Assassin's Creed III left us gobsmacked; the latest look at Far Cry 3 didn't need the gratuitous breasts at the start because the rest of it was so damn good; Rayman Legends did what Nintendo only managed to do with Pikmin 3 and actually made me genuinely excited for the Wii U; even Blacklist managed to overturn some of my scepticism. How? By showing me more of the game.
Aisha Tyler was the perfect host - an engaging hype machine who did nothing beyond introducing the next developer. Why the hell Ubisoft thought it was a good idea to have her partnered up with Tobuscus is beyond me, but it's not really her fault that he was an irritating douche.
The point is that the games were allowed to speak for themselves, surely that's what E3 is all about? Or did I miss the memo that said E3 is now turning into a crock of apathetic drivel?
Finally, Watch Dogs proved to be the first massive cheer-worthy surprise. Hats off to Ubisoft for delivering a brand new AAA IP. Have a high five. Have a Fuck Yeah! Just don't dumb it down into a mildly interesting TPS. Please! Pleeeeeease!
First of all, great choice getting Aisha Taylor for hosting duties; no one was going to mess with her over a bad joke. A shame the same couldn’t be said by the backstage guy, whose name I’ve chosen to remove from my memory. Thankfully though, that idiot was the blip on an otherwise sensational press conference filled with a range varying products to excite us.
Rayman Legends managed to impress me enough to begin an interest in the Wii U, and then the remaining part that wasn’t quite convinced saw the announcement of ZombiU to finish the job. Elsewhere, Assassin’s Creed III finally gave us some in-game footage that looked might fine with its tree-jumping antics. Sam Fisher’s return in Blacklist may not have everyone convinced just yet, but it certainly looks to build on the new foundation Conviction built last time around.
And then came Watch Dogs to blow everyone away. An open world game where you can hack anyone for information or anything to take advantage? Cries for help from pedestrians caught in the wake of your actions? Sign me up right now, please. Also, was it me or did I see a hint of multiplayer right at the end? I guess time will tell. At any rate, Ubisoft have provided one of the best offerings of E3 by bringing a huge range of titles for us to see. I doff the proverbial cap in your direction, Ubisoft.
The less said about Tobuscus the better.
So Ubisoft started strongly, relatively speaking at least. Far Cry 3 put in an early showing, capturing the collective imagination of geeks the world over with a heady mix of sex and violence. For the second year running though, it's Vaas that had me entranced. His unhinged ramblings and obsession with insanity are eminently watchable, and showcase a standard of writing that for my money has been notably absent from the AAA scene as of late. A couple of hallucinogen-induced dream sequences flesh out the mental motif, adding extra depth and character to an already strong narrative. And to top it all off, it looks the business too. I am very excited for Far Cry 3.
It may well have stolen the show too, were it not for Ubisoft's pièce de resistance: Watch_Dogs. Not only does this futuristic cyber-Hitman bolt from the blue look to be a genuinely intriguing new IP from Ubisoft, but the ensuing furore is proof that, jaded as we are by Microsoft forcing Kinect down our throats and EA talking about yet more DLC for existing games, E3 is still an event capable of enrapturing its audience.
It just takes a brave developer, and a very well-kept secret.