Gaming

Mario, Rabbids, pirates and the return of a cult classic at Ubisoft’s E3 press conference

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Matt Tate
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Far more than a warm-up act to Sony’s showing a few hours later, Ubisoft had a conference packed with unlikely collaborations, exciting new additions to their biggest franchises, the now obligatory Just Dance demonstration, and a surprise announcement that fans have been craving for years. 

Here’s everything you need you need to know about what happened in LA.

Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle

It’s been ever-present in the rumour mill for weeks, but now it’s official. Ubi kicked off their conference by bringing none other than Nintendo wizard Shigeru Miyamoto on stage to introduce a new crossover game starring his most famous creation, Super Mario, and the deranged Rabbids that began their gaming life in the Rayman series.

Miyamoto entered the room – endearingly huge grin plastered on his face – holding a life-size replica of a weapon from the game. As far as some people were concerned, Ubisoft had already won E3. 

And the game in question, Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle, is a tactical, turn-based combat game (think Mario meets X-Com – no, seriously) with adventure elements and set in the Mushroom Kingdom. In the on-stage gameplay demo we saw the legendary moustachioed plumber getting to grips with his new Rabbid pals, before jumping into a fight. It probably shouldn’t work, but it really does. 

The game launches exclusively for the Nintendo Switch on August 29 of this year. Have a watch of the behind the scenes video Ubisoft has since posted to its YouTube page. 

Another look at Assassin’s Creed: Origins

We found that yesterday that the next Assassin’s Creed game will base itself in Ancient Egypt, and Ubi had a new trailer that gave us a better idea of some of the spectacular pyramid-littered playgrounds we’re going to be exploring when the game launches on October 27. It really looks like the freshen-up the series needed.

A whopping 30 minutes of gameplay was also streamed after the conference had finished. 

The next South Park game has a new trailer 

As well as putting a good case forward for best video game title in history, South Park: The Fractured but Whole is, after a series of delays, finally due for release on October 17, and judging by the new trailer it looks like the game will lampoon every superhero trope out there in a way only our favourite foul-mouthed cartoon kids can.  

A VR game featuring Elijah Wood was announced

It’s been fairly quiet on the Virtual Reality front at this year’s E3, but this one should catch people’s attention. 

We don’t know a massive amount about the psychological thriller Transference yet, but it was a smart move from Ubi to have a Hollywood big-timer talking about it in the creepy first trailer.

Skull & Bones is another online pirate game, and it looks great

Did you enjoy the swashbuckling naval combat in Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag? Skull & Bones looks like that, but it’s multiplayer-focused (a trend at this year’s E3) and the piracy level is turned right up to “Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum. In the developer’s own words, your mission is to become the “ultimate pirate kingpin”. Up for that? So you should be. 

We saw cannons, ship-tattering collisions, looting and very nice sail animations. With this and Microsoft’s Sea of Thieves, the gaming landscape has never looked so promising for opportunistic Long John Silver wannabes.

Coming next year on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC.

Far Cry 5 is almost certainly going to be amazing

In Far Cry 5, it’s up to you and any resistance fighter you befriend to liberate the fictional Hope County, Montana, from a violent religious cult, and following its official reveal last week we were treated to the first proper gameplay trailer. 

Anyone who’s played previous Far Cry games will be familiar with the combat scenario we see in the new video. A load of bad guys throwing their weight around, just begging for you to intervene, and the only limit to how you dispose of them is your imagination. In this situation, the player was able to call upon his sniper teammate to swiftly pick off any leftovers, an order that never gets old in video games.

We also meet his other secret weapon, a dog – or “fangs for hire” – named Boomer. This is going to be fun. 

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Beyond Good and Evil is actually, finally happening

With an already excellent conference under their belt, it was very much a case of saving the best for last, as the famous French publisher announced the long-awaited sequel to cult classic 2003 action-adventure game, Beyond Good and Evil, to a roomful of cheers. 

Although it’s not technically a sequel, as an emotional Michael Ancel (the original game’s designer) revealed the BGaE2 will take place before the events of its iconic predecessor. We didn’t find out a whole lot about the game, but the audibly excited audience was promised a ‘vast and seamless online playground’, where you can explore a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural human society either on your own with friends. 

Sure, it won’t come out for years, but it’s reveals like these that give E3 its magic. 

We’ll be covering every major press conference throughout the week. For a lot more E3 content, head over to http://e3.game.co.uk/