E3 is a glorious time for video gamers everywhere. As writers, this was our first time covering the event, and Ubisoft's pres conference was the first one for Rob, Jason, and myself (Rory had the EA one just beforehand).
So what was it like you ask? Is it everything I had always dreamed it would be? Well, sort of.
Lets start out with the setting. The event was housed in the Los Angeles Theater, which was a nice venue. But when it's a hot day outside, and you stick hundreds of people in there with no air conditioning whatsoever, it's a little much. But enough with the minor complaints, because that's not what we're here for.
The event was hosted by Joel McHale, which I was unaware of beforehand. It was a pretty neat surprise, because I am a big fan of his work on The Soup, and especially on NBC's Community.
The first game up was Child of Eden, a strange Kinect game that looked like a combination of Rez and Flow. The game is controlled with your hands. Visually, it actually looked pretty neat with vivid / bright colors everywhere.
Following this brief demonstration was a trailer for Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood. It was pretty slick; look for it to show up on the site soon. The improvements to the game seem pretty minor, but neat nonetheless. New horse gameplay (advanced horsefighting," can be used within cities, etc.), more combat options, and a beautiful new setting in Rome. It's Assassin's Creed 2.5 for sure, but it still looks like it's full of fun.
Next up was Shaun White Skateboarding. I know, I know, another skateboarding game. But this one has a strange twist.
Joel looks confused by what's happening on the screen. I don't blame him
Shaun White shows up on the stage to (obviously) talk about the game. They're creating a skateboarding game that is different from the others on the market. How, you ask? Well, by changing the environment dynamically, and creating skating surfaces out of thin air of course!
The green rail you see there is being created out of thin air as he skates upon it
When you start out on a level, it looks pretty plain. But as you keep skating, you're given opportunities to change the environment around you, to eventually make it into a beautiful skating heaven. The idea still seems strange, but in action it did look quite fun.
That green quarter-pipe...yeah, it didn't exist 5 seconds ago
Directly following Shaun White's exit, and interrupting Joel mid sentence were a bunch of people running down the aisles playing laser tag. That's right, laser tag.
Laser tag. Tag...with lasers.
This isn't your ordinary laser tag game though. It's called Battletag. It has a central hub that is connected to your console, which keeps track of all of your stats etc. There are multiple game modes that are controlled by the "game master," and you can share your stats and whatnot online with friends.
I'm not sure if I understand why this exists. Unless it has amazing range, playing laser tag in your family room will get old pretty quickly methinks.
Joel won his quick competition vs the developer of the game
Next up was potentially the most boring thing of all E3 (so far at least). It's called Innergy, and it's a game about breathing. Yes, breathing. Well, at least that's all they showed us so far (thankfully).
This is Innergy man. He has red hair. Joel made fun of it. We all laughed.
When I say this it a game about breathing, I'm not kidding. You put on a vitality sensor, health meter thingy, and then you breathe, and watch your breaths go up and down on a screen. Yes, it is as boring as you think.
More like "yawn in, yawn out"
Usually you'd expect something boring to be followed by something exciting, or at least decently entertaining. Sadly, that wasn't the case here. A video for Motionsports ran, and just as you'd expect, is basically a bunch of Wii sports-style games with a HD makeover using the Kinect.
It wasn't a total copy job though, because the games featured were skiing, soccer, and football. But still, it's not anything to get excited over.
These characters were the main event in the Motionsports trailer
Keeping the motion control vibe going was a trailer for Raving Rabbids: Travel In Time. The trailer showed the Rabbids and their antics in different eras throughout history.
A bit later, one of the Rabbids pulls out a lighter and gets the fire going
From the caveman days, to Egypt, and midevil times, the Rabbids will leave their mark. Not much else was shown, but we can assume that the Wii exclusive game will revolve around mini-games from different time periods from the past.
Next on the agenda was my most anticipated game from Ubisoft, Ghost Recon: Future Soldier. The presntation opened with a short trailer that went over some of the new features that these super-soldiers would have in their arsenal. From cloaking, to rocket launchers mounted behind you shoulder, as well as new optical and ammunition tech, these guys are ready to do some serious damage.
This man is about to be assassinated from behind, by an invisible man (you)
After the trailer was a decently long live demo, in which they showed off a lot of these new abilities, mainly the cloaking. The game looks quite nice, and pretty polished for a game set to arrive early next year.
I wasn't lying about that guy getting assassinated
The game will feature 4-player campaign co-op, and looks very promising to say the least.
Driver: San Francisco was up next. It's a return to form as far as the main character and setting go, but gameplay wise, it's quite different. The car chases looked pretty entertaining, but they have a twist to them.
The car you're chasing leaves a blur trail from its tail lights, which makes them easier to keep track of
The twist is that if you happen to crash (and die), it's not all over for you. Instead of starting over, or simply having your car reset, you have the ability to choose another car from your close surroundings to continue the chase in. At first you're only allowed the smallest area to choose from, but a the game moves along, you can change to different cars on command from all of San Francisco. The ability can only be used a limited number of times if you're not only using it after a death, but you can earn more swaps as you progress in your chase.
The beginning, more restricted, car swap screen
This man is extremely French
I have no idea what Project DUST is truly about, but it reminded me of games like Populous and Black & White.
This is the land of Project DUST
Rayman looked like Rayman, but all high-definitiony and pretty. All the platforming goodness appeared to be intact, but now with the origin story of our favorite...floating hand, foot and head guy...thing.
He's back, and as strange as ever
The last of the three projects...contained three projects. From the world of Trackmania comes Maniaplanet. What Trackmania is to racing games, Shootmania and Questmania will be to their respective genres. These three platforms will be held under the Maniaplanet umbrella.
That's a whole lotta mania
Mr. CEO heads off the stage, and we are told there is one last announcement. Ubisoft tells us that they have signed a "legend." Dancers appear and put on quite the performance to some of Michael Jackson's tracks.
These dancers were dancin' hard
I think it's safe to guess that this is some sort of dancing game, but who knows, it could be a Moonwalker remake. All we know now is that it's apparently called Michael Jackson.
Michael Jackson is...Michael Jackson, in Michael Jackson the video game
And that wrapped it up. We gathered our things, tried not to slip in the pools of sweat that were left behind (I kid), and head for the now nicely chilled outdoor weather.
And that was day one for me. I hope you enjoyed the journey through Ubisoft's press conference. Make sure to stay tuned (I hate that phrase) for more E3 2010 coverage over the next few days from the crew here at Game Rant.