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Beyond Good & Evil‘s oft-requested, long-teased sequel has finally, officially been confirmed by its publisher Ubisoft. The company’s 2017 E3 press conference ended with BG&E2‘s bombastic reveal via a lengthy, pre-rendered sequence.
Even without real-time gameplay or a confirmed release date, BG&E2‘s reveal stole the show with a zany heist sequence loaded with original-game callbacks. The reveal starred a larcenous talking monkey who tricks a black-market trader into accepting a fraudulent trade. (This black-market trader, by the way, goes by the name Pey’j and looks just like the talking pig of the same name from the original adventure game.)
This game’s leading monkey has a robotic hand that extends as a grappling hook, and he escapes, alongside a black, female hero, in an explosive flying sequence while dodging high-tech police vehicles. The duo returns to a base of ragtag rebels and delivers its payload, a data-loaded disc, to a woman with bright green eyes. Game director Michael Ansel confirmed that the entire game takes place before the birth of original game hero Jade, which means this green-eyed woman may be Jade’s mother. It will also contain a “seamless online playground,” but details on how the game will actually play are still unknown.
Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle
The conference began with Ubisoft’s least surprising “surprise”: a collaboration with Nintendo, dubbed Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle. To re-introduce the game (whose existence and details leaked last month), Nintendo legend Shigeru Miyamoto took the stage. He confirmed that Kingdom Battle‘s three years of development began with a mission statement to the game’s Ubisoft development team: make a brand-new type of Mario adventure with zero emphasis on jumping mechanics.
The result, as you may already know, is an adventure game in the Mario universe with XCOM-flavored tactical combat. Battle footage shown in the Ubisoft conference included a few Mario-specific twists, and most of these revolved around how characters move in a tactical battle. Like in XCOM, players have a limited amount of movement and actions per turn, but new to this Mario+Rabbids offering are multi-character moves. We saw Mario run toward a Rabbid (dressed like Luigi) and springboard-jump off his new cartoony ally to launch much further across the battlefield. Your heroes can jump into objects like warp pipes to move and warp around, while certain pieces of cover can be destroyed or exploited in explosive, cartoony ways.
This Nintendo Switch exclusive will launch on August 29. Miyamoto also swore to the crowd that he is such a Rabbids-franchise fan that he has their toys on his work desk. Soon after, Ubisoft announced a slew of Rabbids-as-Mario-characters toys immediately on sale. They are not Amiibo, if you’re wondering.
Starlink: Battle of Atlas
Speaking of toys: Starlink: Battle of Atlas looks like Ubisoft’s first serious toys-to-life product. It will launch in the fall of 2018 for Xbox One, PS4, and Nintendo Switch, and it will support a toy-attachment rig for whatever controller you play with. Game footage was paired with controllers that had spaceship toys clipped to their tops, matching the spaceships that flew across space and over colorful planets. An Ubisoft producer insisted that downloadable ships would be supported in the game as well. The reveal footage hinted at motion controls, but it did not clarify whether these toy-clip systems would include motion-control support. (Though PS4 and Switch controllers have gyroscopes, XB1 controllers do not.)
The Crew 2
Ubisoft’s Ivory Tower dev studio announced racing sequel The Crew 2 with a vague release window of “2018.” The sequel looks like an X-Games version of Diddy Kong Racing. Meaning, its gameplay will combine on- and off-road racing, plane racing, and speedboat racing.
A pre-rendered trailer appeared to have these four vehicle types racing against each other simultaneously, but the actual gameplay reveal showed these four race types cordoned off from each other. (If you were wondering whether dune buggies were superior to prop planes, you’ll have to race them some other way.) The footage didn’t make clear how checkpoints will be presented to racers in boat and plane races, but those vehicles did fly through and over the game’s forest and city landscapes (which combined elements of New York City and San Francisco).
South Park: The Fractured But Whole
The endlessly teased South Park: The Fractured But Whole RPG game finally got a release date: October 17 of this year. That month, Ubisoft will also launch the first dedicated South Park smartphone game, South Park: Phone Destroyer. Though its RPG battles resembled The Stick of Truth, its interface also included a series of cards, so the game may very well be yet another mobile card-building battle game.
Elijah Wood appeared in a video announcement on behalf of his apparent new video game company, dubbed Spectrevision. The eerie trailer revolved around a conceit of a ’90s research project that required its subjects to don giant headsets and be experimented upon. Unsurprisingly, the game in question, Transference, will require a VR headset, though the reveal video seemed to contain VR headsets that don’t actually exist, as opposed to existing Oculus, Vive, or smartphone options. Transference will launch Spring 2018.
Skull & Bones
New game Skull & Bones sure looked like a new Assassin’s Creed game, with a pre-rendered cinematic sequence showing a battle between various pirate ships. Instead, it’s a standalone series emphasizing online five-on-five battles between pirate armies. That sounds almost exactly like Sea of Thieves, which Rare has been developing exclusively for Microsoft platforms for years.
Both games appear to play very similarly, with pirate team members needing to communicate and coordinate in order to master the various asymmetric control systems of a big pirate ship. We didn’t see anything in S&B‘s brief gameplay reveal that made it look immediately like the best in this apparently burgeoning online-pirate genre, though it does have far more bustling pirate ships full of AI crew members. Ubisoft’s salvo in this genre, made by its Ubisoft Singapore studio, won’t be out until October 2018.
Also, Just Dance 2018 exists. FYI.
Far Cry 5
Far Cry 5 appeared near the end of the press conference with a revealing snippet of actual gameplay. The game revolves around a takedown of a militarized Montana cult, and the mission we saw had players directing their AI squadmates to various posts before initiating combat. We also saw more footage of the game’s helpful dog, along with weapon-loaded cars and planes and all kinds of explosions.
The bustling presentation also included a reveal of Steep‘s first expansion pass, coming this December with a “Road to the Olympics” theme, and another taste of Assassin’s Creed: Origins gameplay. We’ll try to go hands-on with those and the other “coming THIS year, not next” games on the E3 show floor.