For the past few years, Ubisoft's E3 press conferences have been relatively on-point. Sure, there are cringe-worthy moments every year (such as the painful, meme-ridden conversation between the host and some random cosplayer), but for the most part, Ubisoft focuses on what the fans want to see: actual games.
What's strange about the publisher's E3 2016 showing is that, for the first time in a while, no one really knows what to expect. A more detailed look at The Division: Underground is almost inevitable, as is a bigger focus on Ghost Recon: Wildlands — but without something like Assassin's Creed or Far Cry to anchor the show, what does Ubisoft have up its sleeve?
With any luck, the multiplayer-focused For Honor will have a bit more time in the spotlight, as will South Park: The Fractured, But Whole and Watch Dogs 2. Otherwise, there's really no telling what Ubisoft will show — and while that may be a concern to some, it also means that there's plenty of room for surprise reveals.
As it turns out, Ubisoft's E3 2016 show was...well, let's just say that it was all over the place. From South Park to Ghost Recon to For Honor, there were plenty of great games on display - and quite a few oddities as well.
Just Dance 2017
Ubisoft has been accused of filling its press conferences with useless nonsense in the past. Well, this year, the team decided to start the show off with the weirdest Just Dance 2017 performance that anyone could have hoped for.
At least Queen was playing, right?
Ghost Recon: Wildlands
Ubisoft really kicked things off with an extended look at Ghost Recon: Wildlands. The game has come a long ways in the twelve months since the publisher last showed it off - for a full breakdown of the demo, check out our full recap.
South Park: The Fractured But Whole
If you were worried that the South Park sequel would be anything but hilarious, don't worry: it's looking like Ubisoft has yet another hit on its hands, and that's only based on a short demo.
Want to see the demo for yourself? You can find it right here.
The Division: Underground
The Division hasn't had the smoothest of launches, but that doesn't mean Ubisoft is giving up on its shared-world shooter. The publisher showcased the game's first DLC expansion, simply titled Underground - but aside from a short trailer, there wasn't all that much in the way of new info.
That's not all, though: Ubisoft also teased the game's second expansion, Survival. Whether this is something similar to modes seen in other games like Fallout 4 or something entirely new has yet to be seen - the only thing the publisher was willing to show was a simple title card.
At the very least, Ubisoft confirmed that the game will hit Xbox One on June 28th, while PC and PS4 players will have to wait all the way until August.
As it turns out, Ubisoft isn't afraid to experiment with virtual reality - and as the Just Dance demo proved, they're not afraid to get weird, either.
The publisher's first VR demo, Eagle Flight, may sound relatively simple at first. It's a simple capture-the-flag multiplayer shooter, with a big focus on traversal and large maps.
That's just the start, however: opponents don't play as soldiers, or jets, but eagles. Maps aren't military facilities or alien worlds, but a vibrant post-apocalypse reclaimed by nature. There are no guns, simply bursts of wind.
It's bizarre, sure, but Eagle Flight does look like it could be a lot of fun. The demo on stage featured some extremely precise controls, and the stylized graphics impart some personality while keeping the frame-rate high. It's clearly still a tech demo, but there's also quite a bit of potential - hopefully, the game is more fleshed out by the time it hits store shelves this fall.
Star Trek: Bridge Crew
Speaking of virtual reality, Ubisoft had one VR game in particular that stood out from the rest. Star Trek: Bridge Crew is one of the most fully-realized VR games at this year's show - and it should cater to anyone who's ever dreamed of sitting in the Captain's Chair.
For more on the game (including a look at some early gameplay), make sure to check out our full recap.
For Honor may have started out as a multiplayer-only game, but Ubisoft has clearly listened to the fans. Not only does For Honor now feature a full story mode, but it's far more intriguing than one may initially think.
In a world not too different from our own, three factions have been at war for a millennia: the Vikings, brutal and strong; the Samurai, vicious and precise; and the Knights, who were oddly absent from the demo. Ubisoft's press conference demo focused solely on the Vikings, though the trailer made it seem as if stories for each of the three factions will be included.
The gameplay looks just as brutal as it ever has. Not only that, but a number of graphical improvements have made their way into the game since last year's debut: rain is particularly pretty, along with the particle effects and animation. There's clearly some polish left to apply, but from a visual standpoint, For Honor looks great.
Thankfully, Ubisoft finally confirmed that For Honor will be launching on Feb. 14, 2017 - not only that, but players can sign up for a chance at entering the upcoming alpha test over at the game's official site.
Ubisoft Reflections may not be as well-known as the other Ubisoft studios, but Grow Home still managed to find its own dedicated fanbase. Apparently the fanbase is big enough to warrant a sequel - and, as one would expect from a series about growing, Grow Up takes everything about the first game and makes it bigger.
Ubisoft teased a few new mechanics during the short trailer, but not much of the game was shown. Thankfully, there won't be much of a wait for Grow Up: the game is due out this August.
Trials of the Blood Dragon
Hey, remember how ridiculous that last Trials: Fusion DLC was? Oh, and what about Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon?
What if, for whatever reason, Ubisoft decided to combine the two?
That's exactly what Trials of the Blood Dragon is: a combination of the momentum-based action of Trials and the absolutely ridiculous shooting of Blood Dragon. Not much was actually shown during the press conference, but there's a good reason for that - why bother showing a demo when fans can simply go out and play the game?
Yes, it's true: Trials of the Blood Dragon is now available on all major platforms!
For anyone who missed the debut trailer for the upcoming Assassin's Creed movie a few weeks back, Ubisoft's brief detour during their press conference should come in handy. For everyone else...well, let's just move on.
Watch Dogs 2
The original Watch Dogs wasn't necessarily a bad game, but there was definitely a lot of missed potential. The hacking was great, but the combat, driving and story needed a lot of work. If Ubisoft's extended E3 demo for Watch Dogs 2 is any indication, a lot of the prior game's mistakes may have been corrected.
Right off the bat, Watch Dogs 2 looks great. Like Ghost Recon, it may not be pushing the boundaries of gaming tech, but the size and scale of the world are still hugely impressive. There's also a huge amount of environmental detail - once the demo enters into the high-rise apartment building, it's easy to see just how far Ubisoft is willing to go when designing a virtual world.
Gameplay has also received a much-needed shot in the arm: many claimed that shooting and traversal felt sluggish in the original, but Watch Dogs 2 seems determined to go up against the biggest names in the third-person action genre. Not only to players have more options than ever before, but using them is far more streamlined - from what Ubisoft has shown, the clunky menus and controls of the first game are gone.
Watch Dogs 2 is, if anything, promising: the game looks like an noticeable step up from its predecessor, and it's clear that the team is trying for something that's truly unique this time around. It won't be long before gamers can find out if they came through or not: Watch Dogs 2 is set for launch on Nov. 15.
It's been a long time since extreme sports games were on top. The glory days of SSX and Tony Hawk's Pro Skater are far behind us, leaving only pale imitations in their wake.
However, it seems as if Ubisoft is finally taking a shot at the extreme sports genre. Not just one sport, mind you: everything, from parachuting to snowboarding, is up for grabs in Steep.
The main draw of the game is its seamlessness: players are never stuck in one sport if they don't want to be. With the simple push of a button, gamers can switch between any number of extreme sports. Entering into events is even simpler, with players simply choosing whichever sport they want and passing through a gate. From there, the race simply starts - no lobbies or loading screens required.
It's also worth noting that Steep is gorgeous. The particle effects could use some work, true, but the lighting is some of the best ever in a sports game. Just watching as the sun reflects off the snow is soothing, even if you're flying through a forest at 100mph.
There's no solid release date for Steep just yet, but this is definitely one to keep an eye on.
One might assume that the lack of an Assassin's Creed game would hurt Ubisoft's annual press conference - but that couldn't be farther from the truth. Of course, Ubisoft's E3 showcase is just one of many: for everything E3 2016-related, make sure to check out our updated coverage hub!