Ubisoft’s ‘Media Briefing’
Let’s make one thing clear here: press conferences are incredibly complicated events. Orchestrating several of a publisher’s highest-ranking executives delivering well-worded announcements and teases alongside highly-honed gameplay demonstrations is an art form that almost all of the biggest studios on hand performed better than usual. In fact, with the events being so meticulously planned and structured, seeing those on stage deliver off-the-cuff statements (look no farther than Michael Irving during EA’s presser) can quickly become a highlight.
But sometimes, people go too far. And in the case of Ubisoft, they had some help. We’re not prudes, so we’re not talking about the parade of short-shorted dancers demonstrating Just Dance 4. We know as much as anyone that attractive people having fun playing games is a great way to advertise a lifestyle. Host Aisha Tyler’s claim that the girls were the attention of everyone present since we’re “all a little bit gay” was a bit of a surprise, but we didn’t know what we were in for. Those not in attendance may not have heard the catcalls and cheers from some of the ‘press’ assembled at the sight of bare breasts in the Far Cry 3 segment, but in retrospect, it set the tone for what followed.
Tyler’s continuing references to ‘girl wood,’ premature ejaculation jokes and banter with with her co-host that was more cruel and uncomfortable than anything else had us longing for the professional demeanor of last year’s ‘Mr. Caffeine.’ Even if he was a bit abrasive and irritating, he never descended to juvenile. We don’t hold anything against Aisha Tyler, since she was sought out by Ubisoft. But it seemed that too much attention was paid to giving those in the theater what they wanted – some cheered for digital boobs, remember – instead of the millions around the world looking at what would define the studio for the coming years. For a quick lesson on how a company should match pride, experience, optimism and dignity under such weight, simply have a look at Sony’s show.
The worst part of all of this is that Ubisoft probably had the most games that we are now anticipating on display. Watch Dogs and Splinter Cell: Blacklist were game-changing and surprising respectively, and Assassin’s Creed 3 and Rayman: Legends showed that the studio is intending to improve even their most successful franchises. Had Ubisoft merely ran the trailers and demos without any host, nothing would have gotten in the way of our excitement.
So there you have it: our list of the memories we will carry with us as the lowest of the low, or at the very least the most confusing. You will likely have some of your own that we’ve missed, so feel free to share them in the comments. E3 2012 wasn’t all bad, so be sure to check out our 5 Best Cinematic Trailers and 5 Best Gameplay Trailers of E3 2012 too.
We’d like to say that the issues we have with the individual developers and minds behind the press conferences should be corrected after such monumental disaster. But then again, there’s always next year!