E3 2016 - Ubisoft Predictions

Day 4 of E3 2016 prediction week brings us to Ubisoft. As one of the conferences that has consistently aimed to make their show into a piece of entertainment in recent years (hiring Aisha Tyler as host, inviting Jason Derulo to perform for a Just Dance segment), it often makes for an interesting change of pace between the potentially more "business"-centric conferences (and occasional rivalry) seen from Microsoft and PlayStation. With Assassin's Creed taking the year of game-wise, one of their conference tentpoles is most likely off the table (but might still appear...see below). So here are five predictions as to what we'll see Ms. Tyler bring out this year.

1. Michael Fassbender to promote the Assassin's Creed movie. Hot off the press tour for X-Men: Apocalypse, I think Ubisoft absolutely cashes in on having a star like Michael Fassbender in their film take a few minutes to come out and talk to Aisha Tyler about why Assassin's Creed might be the first "good" video game movie or something. After all, if Ubisoft is serious about branching out beyond their gaming arm, what better time to highlight the film. I think this interview will also feature a world-premiere clip/scene from the movie. Perhaps featuring the first meeting between Fassbender's Aguilar and costar Ariane Labed's Maria (seen together above).

2. Watch Dogs 2 is the big focus of the show. Alongside the gameplay and a trailer, they'll discuss having learned their lessons from the first game. Having learned their lessons from the overly-long promotional period of the first game and Bethesda's widely-lauded Fallout 4 marketing campaign, Ubisoft came out yesterday with nearly 20 minutes showing the first official announcement of the game, a trailer, some gameplay, behind the scenes interviews, and said "and it's coming out November 15, 2016." Moreso than most of the other pre-E3 announcements this week, which are coming from games that might not have made the E3 conference cut or those whose publishers aren't presenting, the Watch Dogs 2 announcement is setting the stage for a bigger showcase piece during the conference itself, likely introducing the main character Marcus Holloway and some of his allies and enemies. I suspect we'll get a taste of an Aisha Tyler cameo in the game (just like in the first Watch Dogs).

3. Matt Stone and Trey Parker return to show South Park: The Fractured But Whole. Release window of 2017. One of the biggest surprises out of last year's E3 was the announcement of this game. Stone and Parker had gone on record saying how their hands-on involvement on South Park: The Stick of Truth had taken a lot out of them so it was unlikely they'd ever do a follow-up. So to have this game announced so close to the first one was a welcome surprise for fans of it like myself. And it's being pretty much radio silent since. As the first one dealt with studio changes and delays, it makes sense. They don't want to over-commit again. So I imagine the last year has been spent hard at work on the new title and we'll get it announced for sometime next year. Still somewhat non-committal, but a time frame they'll think they can hit.

4. Ubisoft will reveal two new IPs. One Triple-A title with a cinematic/gameplay trailer highlighting some type of multiplayer gameplay. And another using their UbiArt engine. In recent years, Ubisoft has, more than most, embraced showcasing new IP at their conferences (For Honor, Watch Dogs). I imagine that trend continues with an effort to break into the multiplayer market this year (even if it's for a 2017 game). Additionally, some of Ubisoft's most critically acclaimed projects in recent years have been Child of Light and Valiant Hearts: The Great War; both developed by smaller teams using the UbiArt engine. I expect we'll get a new entry in that vein revealed here as well, likely releasing later this year.

5. Just Dance 2017 will be announced. And feature a performance of Meghan Trainor singing "NO." Because why not?

So there are my five predictions for Ubisoft and their potentially-star-studded conference. Think any of them are plausible? We'll find out Monday at 1PM PT.