E3 Expectations: Ubisoft

Coming from a very strong presentation last year, Ubisoft should have another great showing this year as they appear to have a good lineup of games. Even though Bethesda has been giving them a run for the craziest conference, Ubisoft should reclaim the title with another bizarre and entertaining presentation.

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey


Again suffering from leaks, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey should have a major presence on the presentation focusing on the changes compared to Origins. According to reports, it will have a much heavier RPG influence and we’ll probably see a gameplay highlighting those changes and introducing ancient Greece. We should get the release date, either Fall 2018 or early 2019, let’s hope it’s not in February.

Skull & Bones

Skull & Bones

Skull & Bones was one of the surprises last year and it felt like a Black Flag sequel but focused on multiplayer. Delayed to 2019, it should have a gameplay demo to show how it differentiates itself from Black Flag and to announce a Beta coming later this year, early next year.

Watch Dogs 3


This is more of wishful thinking than a guarantee as nothing leaked about the project. It’s been almost 2 years since Watch Dogs 2 came out and an update hinted at a London sequel. Since they already have The Division 2 and AC Odyssey on the show, I believe that they will only announce it next year so it won’t overcrowd their conference.

The Division 2

The Division 2

Coming from a gameplay at Xbox’s conference, The Division 2 should be another game to have a big presence at Ubisoft’s presentation. Located in Washington now, we should find out more about the story, the improvements, and promises related to content. We’ll probably see a developer talking about how they are looking to fix the mistakes made on the first one and a new gameplay.

Splinter Cell


The probable surprise that closes the show, clues about a Splinter Cell comeback seem to corroborate this assumption. Michael Ironside hinting at a new project at Inside Xbox and Sam Fisher’s presence in Ghost Recon: Wildlands show that Ubisoft wants to bring the character back to the spotlight.

The fact that Metal Gear appears to have died also creates an opening in the stealth genre so that Splinter Cell could dominate. Fans have been clamoring for a sequel and this should be a great time to announce it.

Just Dance 2019

Just Dance Panda

The cringe-worthy moment of the conference every year, Just Dance 2019 will make a comeback and let’s hope it will be like last year. A singer went there, sang and that was it, making it easier for everyone. Personally, I would like to see the dancing panda back.



A strange psychological thriller that was announced last year, Transference should make a quick appearance with another trailer and a release date. Originally slated for 2018, no news came out about the project and we should hear more about it on the conference.

UbiArt makes a comeback


This is more a personal wish, as the UbiArt games have been some of my favorites this generation. I absolutely adored Child of Light and Valiant Hearts and it would be amazing to see sequels or maybe an entirely new project using the engine. These projects didn’t have the scope of most Ubisoft titles but they showed a lot of creativity and heart.



A game that feels some years too late, Starlink was announced last year to little fanfare. The toys-to-life genre died a few years ago and it feels strange to see Ubisoft releasing a title focusing on it. We should see a trailer, maybe a gameplay with a release date.

The Crew 2

The Crew

Coming out this month, The Crew 2 should have a quick showing just to remind people that the release date is close. They might talk about the season pass but I don’t think it’s likely, we’ll probably just see a trailer, a developer talking about the success of the closed beta and the date of an open beta.

Siege and Wildlands Update


This should be quick as they will only talk about new characters, missions, maps or another season pass.

Aisha Tyler Back

Aisha Tyler Ubisoft

Loved by some, hated by others, Aisha Tyler as host of Ubisoft’s conference became a staple of E3. Last year she wasn’t a part of it but we could see a comeback this year.


Hellblade’s Lesson on Managing Resources

Most games nowadays boast on how massive they are, how the map is the biggest ever in their franchise or in the industry, how many characters are part of it, the thousands of lines, planets, possibilities. But we rarely see games that rely solely on a more concise approach to storytelling, combat, that has its strength in its simplicity.

Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice is one of those examples. A game that was made with a budget of less than $10 million, a team of 20 employees, and that somehow managed to become profitable three months after its release selling 500.000 copies and received critical acclaim, winning several awards in the Game Awards, the BAFTA, just to name a few.

A feat that becomes even more impressive when we hear about titles that in spite of selling millions of copies still can’t become profitable. Like Sleeping Dogs, that sold more than 2 million copies, and the Tomb Raider reboot, that sold more than 5 million copies in the first month, and still left Square Enix “very disappointed”.

Through a smart management of scope, especially when compared to some bigger titles such as Shadow of The Tomb Raider, that had a budget between $75 – $100 million without accounting for marketing, Hellblade found success.

Ninja Theory managed to accomplish that with an intelligent use of its limited resources. The main character was played by an editor of the studio, that did an amazing job, all the motion capture was made in their boardroom. Their marketing strategy was much simpler, consisting of trailers and a myriad of development diaries, a smaller presence in conferences, and Sony’s support due to a timed exclusivity.

By creating a linear story it didn’t require huge environments, but smaller areas, that felt part of the story, instead of huge, lifeless maps such as in Ghost Recon: Wildlands and Mafia III. It also told a straightforward story, that due to a charismatic, troubled and relatable protagonist created a bond between the player and the game, helped by the fact there were no distractions, as it didn’t have side quests, only environmental puzzles.

The Crew
The Crew is another example of a game with a huge but lifeless world

Since they didn’t have a publisher spending millions they had a lot more liberty than they would otherwise. The subject of mental illness would hardly be tackled if the project was backed by a huge publisher. It allowed them to go even further, treating it with respect and honesty.

And we see that in how they worked with Hellblade’s sound, creating an experience that was unique and disturbing through the use of binaural audio, truly immersing you to the point that playing it can become oppressive, without the need for an orchestra. By recording using two microphones to simulate a 3D space, they simulated the feeling of having voices in your head.

Senua Sacrifice

The smaller budget created a situation that we used to see on older consoles, but in a different way. Whereas in the SNES developers had to use their creativity due to memory limitations, Ninja Theory used theirs due to a lack of capital. And with that, they achieved a quality unseen in many games.

In an age in which AAA titles appear to all feel the same with its Games as a Service mindset and aversion to risks, that when you invest $100 million on a project you have to mitigate as much as you can, Hellblade stands out. I’m not saying that we don’t have great AAA titles, but we see more and more titles being massive just for the sake of it, in a pursuit of grandiosity without content.

Hellblade’s success also represents another path to single-player games, that can create interesting stories without the need for a major investment. Some sacrifices would be required but it has proved to be viable and profitable, possibly igniting a resurgence of the mid-tier games that apparently had died in the 360/PS3 generation. And it leaves a lesson to bigger projects, that less could be more if resources are used responsibly and carefully.




E3 Highlights

E3 has come and gone, and despite not having as many announcements or incredible moments as the previous years, it was a great show. And here I’ll talk about my favorite games that were part of the conferences.

A Way Out

Sometimes a new project comes with real innovation, and this is a perfect example of that. We always hear about innovation on games, but we rarely see it, and A Way Out brings it to not only storytelling but to gameplay as well. A couch co-op game in which you control two inmates willing to escape from prison.

The difference is that each player will control a different character at the same time with different perspectives, and ways to push the story forward. Creating scenarios that could be played in several ways, with each character having personalities that could make a situation easier or harder to deal with. It’s great to see EA bringing an experience with such an unusual approach to the market.


Speaking of EA, here’s a demonstration of their range. From an indie game like A Way Out, to a colossus called Anthem, a huge AAA project from Bioware. Closing Microsoft’s conference, Anthem, a Destiny with an apparent bigger focus on story, impressed everybody with an incredible demo, showing what Bioware’s main team had been working on for years now.

The graphics looked simply breathtaking, to the point it was too beautiful to believe sometimes, we’ll hardly see it looking like that on consoles. What was very surprising was how easily the game could change from a jetpack, to ground combat, to water without hiccups or meaningful changes. They claim it will be released next year, let’s hope.

Assassin’s Creed Origins

A prequel to the franchise, Assassins Creed Origins looked to show how the franchise would shape up after taking a year off. And from what we could see, it looks like a soft reboot, telling the story behind the beginning of the brotherhood in ancient Egypt, a setting that allowed the team to make some interesting changes.

With a larger focus on the RPG aspect, Origins appears to be a lot more profound the previous titles of the franchise, something Unity tried to do before. Combat was revamped, taking notes from Dark Souls, with a slower pace, that requires players to think before attacking. The world looks beautiful, reactive, alive, the animations on the other side didn’t look like they were very improved. If they deliver on what they promised this could be not only an amazing AC game but an amazing game overall.

Far Cry 5

Beyond all the controversy surrounding it, Far Cry 5 has been getting a lot of attention for the changes that have been made. After Far Cry 4 and Primal’s underwhelming results, showing signs that the franchise seemed to exhaust its formula, Far Cry 5 feels like a real step forward, at least from what we’ve seen.

Instead of lush environments, Montana is the new setting, a change that can bring new gameplay experiences. The demo spotlighted the co-op experience, showing NPC options to assist you in your missions, as well as with other players. Like Assassin’s Creed Origins, the world around the player will react to your actions, assisting or fearing you. If the villain is great, and the new features work well, it can be a comeback.

Need for Speed Payback

The reboot was a good game that unfortunately didn’t really resonate with the fans of the franchise. The FMV cutscenes were criticized by many, personally, I found it strange and funny at times. When it came to gameplay, it was neither horrible nor incredible, the graphics were mesmerizing, on the border of becoming photorealistic. But the world felt lifeless, and the always online feature would punish those who wanted to play offline or that had an unreliable internet connection.

With all that baggage, I didn’t expect much from Payback, however, what we saw was a silly, fun, high-octane game with a heavy Fast and Furious atmosphere. And that can be a smart way to bring the franchise back, when it comes to simulators there are worthy competitors, Forza Horizon 3 was everything an arcade game needs to be. Feeling like a Burnout game with a story, charismatic characters, customization options and great gameplay can be what the franchise needed.

Marvel’s Spider-Man

Last year a trailer revealed an important exclusive for Sony, a Spider-Man game produced by Insomniac, and the hype train started. From that moment on, we heard nothing else about the project.

This year, an extended gameplay showed how the game runs, and in the end, it looks like an Arkham game with color. The combat resembles the Arkham series, but with flashier movements, a more acrobatic style. New York looks stunning, with traversal looking simple and loose. As we can expect from Spider-Man, there was a lot of bantering, jokes, a lighter tone. My only concern is with an excessive use of QTE’s, that if used wisely, only during action sequences can work very well, but if exaggerated can remind Resident Evil 6.

Sea of Thieves

At last, it looks like we finally know what Sea of Thieves is all about, after 2 years of demos that wouldn’t really show much. And despite being a little too long, the gameplay demo shown this year followed a crew on a mission, and it does look different, and fun.

Teamwork seems to be the best way to play it, as things can go bad quickly. Storms can affect the way the ship handles, special treasures can change gameplay, other crews can attack you. This might be the cause why the game won’t succeed, as it relies heavily on multiplayer, as we saw with Evolve, Battleborn. But Sea of Thieves looks like a much richer game than the examples above, with more things to do, a lot of features, and a unique style.

The Crew 2

This one was unexpected to me, when I saw that it was The Crew 2 I thought about checking my email or doing something else, I’m glad I didn’t do it. It appears to be another case of Ubisoft’s great improvement on the second title in a franchise. The first title was very underwhelming, wasting an immense potential. With The Crew 2, it looks like we’ll finally get what we were promised before.

Visually it is a lot superior to the first Crew, with New York looking amazing, the game also uses an effect that reminds Inception to change locations ocasionally. The fact that you can change from a car to a plane to a boat immediately is something we haven’t seen in a racing game, hopefully, it will be better implemented than it was in Steep. From an insipid title, we may get an alive one, much like the Watch Dogs to Watch Dogs 2 transition.

The Last Night

Sometimes a smaller game comes and steals the show, and The Last Night was one of those gems. An example that graphics aren’t everything, it has a special art style, pixel art, something I was tired of, in a futuristic cyberpunk world that looked like nothing else we saw this year. Whether it will be great we’re yet to see but it shows a lot of promise.

Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus

Crazier, more beautiful, with an improved story, an even bigger focus on the characters, that’s all that a sequel should have. And Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus looks like exactly that. The New Order was well-received but didn’t seem to explode as it should’ve, in part to some gameplay choices, in part to a very slow start in the campaign.

From what we’ve seen, MachineGames heard the criticisms and greatly improved on them. The story, that was very good in The New Order, appears to be even more interesting, bringing Nazis to America, making you fight them as part of the revolution. The characters are bizarre, the villain scary, if it is anything like the trailer it will be an amazing ride.

Those were my favorite games, did I forget one you liked? Comment.







E3 Expectations: Ubisoft

The craziest, funniest conference, sometimes for some strange reasons, comes back in their usual Monday slot. Ubisoft has released a small video “hyping” what we could see in the conference, promising a lot of surprises and unexpected things. With franchises coming back and awkward moments, what can we expect from Ubisoft this year?

Silly Just Dance Moment

Just Dance E3 - 3
All jokes aside, that’s why I love their conferences

Every year, sometimes in the beginning, it is a certainty that we’ll see a bizarre, to the point it gets funny, moment revealing that year’s Just Dance. Enthusiastic dancers with colorful clothes will dance to the sound of a pop song, and maybe the singer will be there to join them. In the end, we’ll get a release date, some novelty on how to play, and I guess it will lose the number, and embrace the Just Dance Unlimited subscription model for future iterations.

Assassin’s Creed Origins


It’s not a secret anymore that the next Assassin’s Creed will be set in Egypt, and will be called Origins, mainly because of leaks from shirts. Expected to be a reboot, this is the game I’m most curious about, if this extra year was used for improvements on gameplay, mission structure, we can probably see a renaissance of the franchise.

There are no doubts that they can create beautiful, lively worlds, but without relatable characters and an interesting story, something the AC franchise has struggled a little, it wll be just another entry in the franchise. A clean slate enables them to rework the Abstergo story, enhance the missions, highlight the world, bringing the long requested Egyptian location as the background. It will probably be released this Fall, November maybe, and I think will appear with a trailer and an extensive demo.

Splinter Cell


As part of my expectations from Microsoft, I mentioned that the series may come back as an exclusive title for the Xbox. 4 years have passed since Blacklist was released, to positive reception from the media, but lukewarm sales. Reports of Michael Ironside’s return as the voice of Sam Fisher have surfaced, and I think it’s been long enough for the franchise to return.

I believe they might try to reboot the franchise, calling the game only Splinter Cell, as a fresh start, with some gameplay changes willing to appeal to a larger market. My guess is that it will come back in less than one year. I don’t know if it has the strength to be released during the Fall season, so Q1 or Q2 2018 would be a nice time to release it.

Far Cry 5

Far Cry 5

Following the reveal trailer that garnered some hate, we’ll probably see gameplay for the first time. Set in the US, it looks like an interesting change of setting, as some mechanics might require some changes since the landscape is very different. The controversy around it has the chance to propel the game to an even higher height, receiving attention from groups that might’ve not noticed it otherwise.

New mechanics, like flying planes, will be part of the game, there will be some player customization, and the trailer appeared to focus a lot on the characters, with the most relevant side characters receiving individual pieces. We can expect a bigger attention when it comes to the story side, and if it follows the pattern of past games, the villain will probably steal the show. This is a game that I didn’t really care, but the news coming from it got me cautiously optimistic, let’s see.

The Crew 2

The Crew

Despite having a great potential, and an impressive world map that recreated the US with a scale we haven’t seen before, The Crew never fulfilled expectations, being a little underwhelming. Heavy focus on microtransactions, a heavy DLC system, an uninteresting plot and a world that was huge but lifeless ended up leaving a bad taste in their consumer’s mouth.

But Ubisoft’s track record of greatly improving on their second games creates hope for The Crew 2, as we saw with Assassin’s Creed 2 and Watch Dogs 2. I’d guess it will have a new setting, a gameplay demo and for the release date, my bet is Q1 2018.

Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle


Everything about it leaked, the marketing strategy, amiibos, pretty much all that mattered. A turn-based RPG exclusive for the Nintendo Switch, with focus on exploration, bringing mascots from both companies with different abilities and weapons. According to the leaked material, it is expected to be released in August/September, and sounds like an awesome idea.

South Park: The Fractured But Whole

South Park Whole

Returning for yet another E3, South Park: The Fracture But Whole must bring back Trey Parker and Matt Stone to the stage with a new trailer and some more gameplay.

UbiArt comeback


It’s been 3 years since Child of Light and Valiant Hearts: The Great War came out, to very positive critical and commercial reception, representing something different in the AAA publisher’s market. Games marked by beautiful visuals, stories that didn’t need words to be told, interesting gameplay. There are no rumors regarding a comeback, but that would be something that I would love to see return, after all, quality, introspective games are never enough.

IP That Appeared in Watch Dogs 2

A possible candidate for the final surprise of the conference, a new IP set on space may be unveiled after appearing in a trailer within a mission in Watch Dogs 2. According to reports in the media, sources claim that the game is in development, and it would be an interesting way to end the show, as they did last year revealing a new IP, Steep. Maybe they could repeat.

Other Possibilities and 1 Crazy Thing I’d Like to See:

  • A new IP inspired by Black Flag, focusing on pirate life, and since that came out 4 years ago, it’s been enough time to develop a new game.
  • A new Rayman game.
  • Prince of Persia reboot.
  • Beyond Good and Evil 2 trailer
  • Another new IP coming out of the left field, probably, the surprise in the end.

1 Crazy Thing I’d Like to See: I know remasters can suck, but I’d love to have the Sam Fisher collection, all past games in one package with gameplay and graphics enhancements.