Ubisoft Forward is happening soon. Like next week soon. The week that would normally be filled with E3 conferences is instead going to be filled with everyone live streaming pre-recorded Showcases and Direct type events showcasing whatever games they’ve got in the pipeline. Hopefully most of them releasing over the next twelve months or so. We know already that Microsoft has confirmed there’ll be zero CG trailers for first party announcements. That doesn’t mean they’ll all be gameplay trailers though. It could just mean they’re cinematic trailers created in-engine. We will have to wait and see what happens on Sunday.
Anyway, getting back on track, Ubisoft’s own event known as Ubisoft Forward is certainly going to be interesting this year. After reports circulated multiple gaming websites and social media itself that an email went around to all the employees effectively saying this year is make or break for Ubisoft. I’m not going to speculate as to whether that suggests the company is in dire financial crises as that’s already been a big question everyone has been asking. But it does certainly put a lot of emphasis on just how important this event will be for the publisher. The last several years haven’t been too kind for them in terms of quality of output or the sales. It’s something that became apparent in the financial statement Ubisoft put out earlier this year.
With that said, what can we expect to see this year at Ubisoft Forward? Well, the biggest game to be shown is certainly Assassin’s Creed: Mirage. We know this because it’s their biggest franchise in terms of sales. It’s also coming out this year. We also know that this latest outing is taking the franchise back to its roots. It’s certainly a 180 change in direction after the past three instalments saw the games take on larger, more RPG focused worlds. The first proper trailer for Assassin’s Creed: Mirage shown during the PlayStation Showcase just a couple of weeks ago did make it a focus that this instalment is all about going back to what Assassin’s Creed used to be. Side note, it’s interesting that it was first shown during a Sony event and not a Microsoft one as in the past Xbox held the marketing rights.
Is it too soon for anything Far Cry to be revealed? Yes, if you are wanting the seventh game in the franchise but there’s a chance we could see a spin-off game as has happened multiple times before between the main numbered entries. So I have some expectations that we will see something this year.
A big recent leak has made it pretty easy to guess that a new game in The Crew series will be debuting at Ubisoft Forward. Im actually surprised. I know the first game did well enough, despite being described as Assassin’s Creed on wheels. But I didn’t realise the second had done that well. It kind of just came and went. But what do I know? Perhaps it’s just Ubisoft trying to make something happen with a franchise that’s not selling. Maybe they’re desperate for a racing game to fill that genre and so keep pushing The Crew. Or maybe it really is doing better than it seems.
Avatar, a game that seems to have been as long in development as the first sequel film took to make. We know that this game is 100% going to be shown. The Twitter account made that pretty obvious. This game was supposed to come out last year for current generation consoles and Stadia. Remember Stadia? Well, it’s apparently definitely coming out this year. We will see if that happens and of course, what this game is supposed to be like.
Should we talk about Tom Clancy? No I really don’t want to either, but Ubisoft did go through a phase for a good few years of just shovelling Tom Clancy badged crap out the door and hoping something sticks. And then all of a sudden they started cancelling them and removing the name from anything that’s left in development. I guess Ubisoft finally realised that there’s only so far you can drag a name through dog shit before everyone is starting to smell it. Like XDefiant which somehow survived that scrap heap and had the Tom Clancy name removed. It looks like a budget Call of Duty that was scraped together by some people in suits at a table late at night. Even that name feels like a management thing to call a game. It’s just bad. And I guess we should expect to see that game at Ubisoft Forward too. Curious to see if that game does well or if it ends up disappearing right after actual launch as I’m not counting the beta test period.
Skull & Bones or Skull & Crossbones or whatever it’s called. That’s still a thing apparently. And it’s been delayed so many times you got to wonder how bad it must be if Ubisoft are scared to release it. They can’t cancel it because they sunk so much money into it and they’d be fined heavily by the Singapore government due to the investment they put into the studio. Perhaps the best thing to do is just quietly shadow drop the game and if it fails they can just move on. That’s all I’m saying on this game.
What else is there? Splinter Cell? There’s something in the works but it’s probably too early to show anything unless Ubisoft think a CG trailer for a game that’s a few years away from releasing is a good idea. And they probably do. Because it’s Ubisoft and this is an industry staple with big games it seems. More Just Dance is inevitable because it’s annual and though the target audience likely won’t watch these events, and don’t need being told about the fact a new game is on the way, Ubisoft will still show something. Sales are falling though so will be interesting to see how many more years this franchise can keep going. Prince of Persia has to be a no show right? It’s been totally rebooted by a totally different studio within the company. That game isn’t coming out any time soon. So let’s move on. Watch Dogs again probably won’t have anything. The last two games didn’t do great sales wise so that maybe the end of the road. But, again Ubisoft may just keep trying in the hopes it someday turns around and becomes a huge seller. There’s a new Immortals Fenyx Rising in development but again I think it’s too soon to show anything. And again, why? The first didn’t seem to sell well and I didn’t think it reviewed all that well either.
So, after all that and knowing I’ve missed some games, let’s wait and see what actually happens this year at Ubisoft Forward. I’m sure I’ll write another opinion piece after it airs.