Ubisoft's E3 conference was held this evening at the WiFi-challenged LA Theater this evening and the results were decidedly mixed. Though the publisher showed plenty of great titles from its upcoming lineup, there were a few moments that were less than spectacular.
The evening opened without any preamble or explanation. A lone figure stood in the center of the stage and began playing a Kinect game that combined the concepts of Tempest and Geometry Wars. As he moved his arms around, he took out brightly colored diamonds, giant globular worms, a squid with glowing tentacles and even some bizarre lady popstar. I would say it's so much like my dreams, it's scary, but my dreams tend to have a better framerate. The end of the demo revealed that the player in question was none other than Tetsuya Muzuguchi, creator of Space Channel 5. His new epilepsy-simulator is called Child of Eden: Hope and Happiness.
Joel McHale, star of NBC's Community and E!'s The Soup, was back this year to emcee the proceedings. He kicked things off with an amazing trailer for Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood. The trailer panned across a city as a hawk flies overhead. A voice says, "Remember for whom we assassin's fight." The scene shifts to a papal procession outside of the Pantheon in Rome. Ezio, dressed in his finest assassin garb, lingers on the edges of the crowd. As the papal litter approaches, Ezio makes his way through the crowd. He takes out guard after guard, and even seems to have some allies in the distance who fire arrows into the enemies. Once he reaches the pope, Ezio is confronted by his nemesis, a member of the Borgia family who happens to be riding along with the pope. As the pope's guards come rushing out, Ezio is joined by the members of his Assassin's Brotherhood.
From here the demo shifts to show the lead in to the fight. It's now three years earlier and Ezio is attacked by the Templars in his home villa. The fight, which was demoed in real time, showed off plenty of new features, including horse riding and new combat moves for multiple opponents. Most interestingly, the team promised that, for the first time ever, players will be able to play head-to-head in Templar vs. Assassin multiplayer. That's definitely hot. Gamers will have to wait until November 16 to play the game, but we'll have hands on impressions from the show.
Shifting gears, the show focused Shaun White Skateboarding. Rather than creating a regular skateboarding game, Shaun and the game's creators showed off a game that allowed players to reshape the game environment to make for a better trick environment. The basic premise is that the player is skating in a world that has been oppressed by a fun-hating Ministry. The Ministry has sucked all the color out of the world, and it's up to the player to restore life and color to the world by performing tricks. Successful tricks will also allow the player to reshape the world, creating new ramps and rails to trick off of.
The evening was seemingly interrupted by six attractive people playing Laser Tag. The two teams, Blue Sharks and Yellow Pumas, jumped around the theater shooting each other as their kill scores updated on the big screen at the back of the stage. After the match, Gael Seydoux explained the new game is called Battle Tag. Consisting of guns and sensor harnesses and a few extra accessories, the game allows players to shoot at each in real life without getting the police involved. The really amazing thing is how Ubisoft has taken such a cool idea and tried to fit it in a stage that wasn't suited to show it off properly.