Ubisoft has offered an official response to recent sexual assault allegations

Ubisoft

Right now, the games industry is going through a difficult phase. After the outing of popular content creator Tom ‘Syndicate’ Cassell being a potential abuser of multiple past partners, other women have spoken up. Amongst these are several past employees of French games publisher Ubisoft.

The most accused candidate is game designer and writer Chris Avellone. According to several first-hand accounts, Avellone has gotten women “blackout drunk,” in order to make his non-consensual advances easier. Also, Avellone allegedly went on to do much worse at other game conventions.

Ubisoft’s official response

assassins creed valhalla announcement

Although it took them a little while, Ubisoft has now published a formal response to these allegations. The notice reads: “we want to start by apologizing to everyone affected by this.” The publisher goes on to ensure fans it is “dedicated to creating an inclusive and safe environment,” for its employees and players. If this is just typical PR talk or meaningful words is to be seen.

Although exact details weren’t provided, Ubisoft has confirmed that it is now formally investigating the allegations. No names were provided but the publisher is supposedly using “specialized external consultants,” to avoid potential bias. The response is rounded off by confirming that “additional measures,” will be put in place shortly to avoid this happening again.

This controversy couldn’t have happened at a worse time for Ubisoft. On July 12, the French studio will be hosting its own COVID-19 secure digital conference, Forward. It was set to be a grand event where gamers would get to see all the exciting upcoming titles.

However, it now looks as though the new Assassin’s Creed or For Honor are the least of players’ concerns. Unless the company’s higher ups can address these issues and call out those responsible, Ubisoft’s reputation may never truly recover.

So, what is your opinion about this news? You can leave your comment in the box below.

Video Games That Tackle Social Issues

Ellie and Riley

Video Games – we all enjoy it. Whether you’re young or old, a student or an employee looking to pass the time with a little fun; we all enjoy video games. It is a means for us, an outlet, to do the things we can not do in real life; to experience the things that is not readily accessible to the most of us. Video games also help us understand different types of people by having diverse and – for some games – very realistic characters. But, not a lot of us see the underlying meanings behind the video games we play and enjoy. The implications hidden behind the realistic graphics, the heart-warming soundtrack, and the innovative gameplay. Here is a list of some of the video games that tackle different social issues. Sit back and let us dwell deeper into the meaning of these well-known video games.

War“This War of Mine” 

Video Games: This War of Mine is a video game about civilians surviving in a war-torn city.
https://wallpaperscraft.com/image/this_war_of_mine_the_little_ones_survival_stealth_shooter_105983_1280x720.jpg

Let’s start with a very well-known topic – war. We’ve all heard of different stories about war. And war has been a choice of topic or genre by a lot of video games. But, the creators of This War Of Mine, 11 Bit Studios, approached this genre in an innovative and immersive way. In this game, you don’t play as a well-trained-muscle-torn super soldier equipped with a planetary cannon. Here, you play as a civilian caught very deep in the war-devastated fictional city of Pogoren, Graznavia. You will struggle, because ‘gather’ is putting it lightly, for food. Scavenge for medicines or supplies and try your very best not to bump into soldiers or other hungry survivors.

The day and night cycle plays a significant role in the game mechanics. During the day, you’ll be managing your hideout in a very detailed manner; while keeping an eye on that sniper whose not letting you out. When darkness falls, you’ll be sneaking into buildings and areas for supplies; while avoiding being killed by other people seeking means for survival. You will also be making a lot of moral decisions; whether you’ll kill that one annoying person to save the whole group or watch as everyone slowly suffer. Add to that, the beautifully-made charcoal-style aesthetics; and you have a game that will leave you thinking and reflecting about war and its effect on the human soul.

 

Privacy“Watch Dogs 1 and  2″ 

Video Games: Marcus Holloway and the gang
https://images6.alphacoders.com/740/thumb-1920-740347.jpg

Have you ever felt like being watched? Like Big Brother is always around you, lurking in the dark, studying and recording your every move? We are living in the age and time of information and the improvement in technology is far from slowing down. Also, the number of people uploading all of their information in the internet is increasing. Which is why black hats are more eager to steal any sensitive information they can get their hands on.

Watch Dogs, is a video game about hackers waging war on the government for manipulating information and invading the privacy of their people. This video game does not really tackle or explain ‘hacking’ in detail; but it shows what hackers can do with the information that the people, themselves, gave out there in the internet. This game is a sweet reminder that internet privacy is sometimes just an illusion to make us feel safe. It also reminds us that the internet is a very dangerous place to be placing all of our information.

 

Social Difference – Multiple Video Games (Witcher SeriesLife is Strange, The Last of Us, other video games)

Video Games: The Witcher
https://images2.alphacoders.com/600/thumb-1920-600255.jpg

So what if you have white hair, feline eyes, sterile, and has high resistance, if not immune, to diseases? So what if you have pointy ears and lives longer than humans? We are all living things and we can co-exist if given the chance and consideration.

The Witcher series, which is set in the world of Temeria, is flooded with racism and discrimination. Elves and Dwarves are discriminated for not being human, despite the humans being the invaders of the land. Basically, humans are the foreigners and, yet, they are pushing away and abusing the original inhabitants of the land. Luckily, Geralt, despite being discriminated himself, acts as the median between the two worlds. That of humans and of ‘non-humans’. Geralt does not make any rush decisions when doing a job. He investigates first and looks for a way for both parties to work together. With an exception, there is no consideration to be given for evil-tainted individuals, human or non-human.

Video Games: Life is Strange
http://www.imgbase.info/images/safe-wallpapers/video_games/life_is_strange/58862_life_is_strange.jpg

Life is Strange is a video game that takes place in a small town called Arcadia Bay. A place where a lot of things happen. Including alcoholism, bullying, and child abuse. Child abuse being a social issue that’s very rampant nowadays; this video game shows the whole issue in a different perspective. You play the game and see the world through the eyes of a teenager with the ability to control time, Max Caulfield. The game also includes other issues like teenage pregnancy, social anxiety, and brats who think like they are on top of everyone. Max’s story is also a depiction of how it feels like to be bullied for being “not among the famous”. This is a game definitely worth checking out if you want a relaxing soundtrack and a story that is full of twists.

Video Games: Riley and Ellie
https://www.bhmpics.com/wallpapers/the_last_of_us_left_behind-1920×1080.jpg

The Last of Us: Left Behind, sparked a controversy when Ellie and Riley hinted quite a number of times about their feelings with each other. We all remember that photobooth scene, right? How about that scene where they dance to a tune and then unknowingly attracted a horde of infected? All of these hints led to one conclusion and a lot of people were shocked. Some related and found themselves in the position of the protagonists in terms of personal identity; some accepted the fact and were happy for the pair; but, for some…they just do not approve of the whole charade. The relationship they have and the characters themselves doesn’t actually raise an issue; but the different ways people responded to the writing of the game, present an issue on sexual discrimination.

There you go. Here are just some of the games that tackle some of the issues we are facing up to this day. There are still a lot of games that depicts issues not mentioned here. If you have played a game with an interesting theme, comment them down below and let’s have a talk. Looking forward to hearing from you!

The Next Assassin’s Creed Game Eyes to Bring the Franchise Back to Relevancy

Assassin's Creed Assassin's

Assassin’s Creed Game

A decade ago, Ubisoft introduced us to a world like no other. The world of Assassin’s Creed, where the Assassin’s are the good guys and the Templers (those who stand for the wrong goals) are the bad guys. Since then, the Assassin’s Creed franchise has built a platform on the seemingly endless battle between Assassin’s and Templars. Venturing from location to location across history’s greatest time periods. From: The Italian Renaissance, Ottoman Empire, the American Civil War, Victorian England, the Age of Pirates, and the French Revolution.

For now, the next installment of the franchise will continue their tradition of fighting within the past. If following the rumors, it looks like the next title game for the Assassin’s Creed franchise will be called, Assassin’s Creed: Empire. However, Ubisoft has yet to confirm this.

So, where will they take us this time?

Easter Egg Within an AC Game

Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag
http://www.thegamerzfunk.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/ac4bf_wallpaper1920x1080.png

Scouring the internet is a lot of fun. Especially when the fandoms are in full force yelling at one another about the who, what, where, and when. However, Ubisoft themselves have dropped a few Easter eggs to the next possible Assassin’s Creed game.

Let’s start with the oldest one that got a lot of rumors flying. This one dates to Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag.

Now, if you were strictly the story you may have missed this one. This was not one that in the heart of the game, rather it is found when the present-day character can move about Abstergo Industries. Looking through the emails on the computers, you would come across one that shows the name Osiris and a view of pyramids. Hinting of a possible character/title and the location. Ancient Egypt, perhaps?

Osiris after all is the Ancient Egyptian God of the dead who laid final judgment of your place in the afterlife. Kind of fitting since Assassin’s basically lay a similar judgment upon their enemies.

Easter Egg in Ubisoft’s 2016 Game

Watch Dogs 2 gameAnother playful and clever tease and Easter egg Ubisoft unleashed upon its Assassin’s Creed fan was within its big game release of 2016, Watch Dogs 2.

In one of the side missions offered, you’re tasked with stealing the newest game trailer for Ubisoft’s upcoming game. As part of the mission, you intercept a phone call between two Ubisoft employees discussing the security of the trailer. One employee stating the after the leaked trailers of Unity, Syndicate, and Osiris, they want assurance it won’t be hacked and leaked. There’s that name again!

Subtly hinting that the rumors a leaked picture and trailer (check video below) on the web that were allegedly of the next Assassin’s creed title could be true.

What to Expect

Assassin’s CreedExpectations on Assassin’s Creed games have always been high. Especially after the release of the original Assassin’s Creed and its direct sequel, AC II. This is when the company started pushing out a game annually to satisfy their fans. This started a decline in the success of the franchise. The franchise could have possibly saw death with the release of Assassin’s Creed: Unity. Thankfully, Syndicate kept the franchise above water for the time being.

This sparked a change of winds for Ubisoft and Assassin’s Creed. They went on to make the decision that they will not make a yearly game anymore. Allowing the developers to release games that are complete and full of their best work. Meaning no more bugs, glitches, and poor execution. Even if that means yearly gaps. Not to mention, Ubisoft has been looking to get rid of the boring dialogue dominant story and turn their focus to be more decision based. Much like The Witcher III setup.

This brings us to now. It’s been over a year since we last saw an Assassin’s Creed release and we’re only left with leaks and Easter eggs.

Will we see the Assassin’s in 2017? As of now, we probably won’t. But one thing is clearer than ever. Ubisoft has all of us on the edge of our seats again. Let’s see this time around if a lengthy wait will be truly worth it.

Michel Ancel Teases Beyond Good and Evil 2

Evil

Michel Ancel, creator of the Rayman series and cult classic game Beyond Good and Evil, posted a very interesting piece of artwork to his Instagram today.  The image portrays a mysterious man with a small, humanoid pig on his shoulder and is accompanied by Ancel saying “Somewhere in system 4… Thanks #ubisoft for making this possible!”  Many are taking this as a hint that development of Beyond Good and Evil 2 is back on as System 4 is the setting of the first Beyond Good and Evil and the game is well-known for having a variety of anthropomorphic animals inhabiting it.  Most notable is the humanoid pig Uncle Pey’j, the adoptive caretaker of the game’s heroine Jade.

Assuming that the pig in the art is Pey’j, it seems that Beyond Good and Evil 2 may be a prequel or spread its story across the past and present.  Fans have been waiting anxiously for the series to make a return following a cliffhanger ending in the original game released in 2003.  A trailer announcing the long-awaited sequel was released in 2008, but Ubisoft went mostly quiet afterwards and many assumed that it had been cancelled.  Members of the development team have said time and time again that the game is still in the works, but they’ve never had anything to show for it.

While Beyond Good and Evil garnered an incredible amount of critical acclaim, it sold poorly and the hesitation of Ubisoft to commit to a sequel is understandable.  Sales were so low that Ubisoft actually resorted to packaging copies of the game with mozzarella cheese roughly a year after the sequel was first announced.  The contrast between the critical and financial reception of the original Beyond Good and Evil combined with the years of waiting has made its sequel into one of the Holy Grails of the industry, along with Half-Life 3, Shenmue III, and Duke Nukem Forever.

There has been a persistent rumor that Nintendo has agreed to help publish Beyond Good and Evil 2 in exchange for it being an NX exclusive.  This new tease does nothing to confirm or deny that rumor, but it does seem like a logical possibility.  It follows the same line that led to Nintendo publishing Bayonetta 2 and Nintendo has worked closely with Ubisoft Montpellier in recent years.  Nintendo published Rayman Legends in Japan and licenced Mario and Luigi costumes for the Wii U version of the game, while Ubisoft Montpellier personally created character models of the main characters of Legends to be used as collectible trophies in Super Smash Bros for Wii U.  Alternatively, Ancel began work in 2014 with his own independent studio, Wild Sheep Studio, with Sony publishing its first title simply called WiLD exclusively for the Playstation 4.

Are you eagerly anticipating Beyond Good and Evil 2?  Who do you think the mysterious man in the art could be?  Could this just be another empty promise?  Leave a comment below and let us know what you think.

Assassin’s Creed Syndicate – Ubisoft’s Comeback

Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed series lost considerable credibility last year after the release of Assassin’s Creed Unity. The game suffered major instability issues in regards to frame rate, general gameplay and even the multiplayer. All of which remained untamed for a lengthy and almost cringe-worthy amount of time after Unity’s initial release. This consequently caused major aggravation among players, also rendering a lot of the games newer features as pretty much useless. As a result of this, the game was widely criticized for being seemingly rushed and it appeared that Ubisoft got knocked down a few pegs as it’s annual Assassin’s Creed release failed to maintain the standards of it’s predecessors. However, upon the release of highly anticipated Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, it is apparent that Ubisoft have rediscovered their Assassin’s Creed finesse.

For those yet to sink their hidden blades into the new installment, Assassin’s Creed Syndicate is set in a typical Assassin’s Creed rendition of Victorian London in which the Assassin/ Templar battle still rages on. The player may take on the role of interchangeable protagonist twins Jacob and Evie Frye (Assassins) in order to prevent the Templars ultimately dominating London.

Assassin’s Creed Syndicate has redeemed Ubisoft after the last Assassins’s Creed installment. That said, let’s delve into it’s brilliance and what exactly makes it such a pleasure to play.

Two Protagonists

Assassin's Creed® Syndicate_20151025192545

 

The option to play as two differing protagonists is a concept alien to the Assassin’s Creed installments to date. Jacob Frye is the more confrontational, combat orientated option of the two characters. He is hot-headed and always keen for action. Evie Frye is the stealthier and more typically Assassin-y of the two characters, working more with pedantic logic and by assessing situations thoroughly. The player may change between either character as and when they please to suit specific missions and situations. By completing missions/ objectives the player collects skill points which can be applied to the Jacob’s and Evie’s combined skill tree. This is a convenient and all round great feature as opposed to having the separate skill trees as it negates confusion and allows the player to simply get on with the game. There are a few separate skills that only apply to either Jacob or Evie alone however, they are found in the same interface as to not become hard to comprehend.

Jacob is an awesome character. He brings cheeky humour to the game with his very cocky personality. His play-style exploits the new combat style also which is great. Below I have provided some gameplay with Jacob:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XYc-l8PsrmQ

Evie is equally a lovely new addition to the list of Assassin’s Creed protagonists. Not only is it great that she is a female but it is great watching as she logically flaws all of her brother’s reckless endeavors during the game. She may be a kill-joy but she is a funny one. Her play-style gives the player opportunities to appreciate the more ranged and stealthy ways of tackling situations. Below I have provided some gameplay with Evie:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9N4pMgVLwRc

 

Combined, the twins provide great, banterous humour that anyone with or without a sibling is able to appreciate. They exhibit the cheekiness that brings a more light-hearted side to things within a game orientated around war and control.

A More Modern Setting

Assassin's Creed® Syndicate_20151025192403

 

A Victorian London setting for an Assassin’s Creed game is one that has been fan-demanded for a long time and to finally be able to play such a well developed setting is sensational to say the least. The setting is dull in regards to it’s city setting however, it is made exciting with it’s content. Buildings heaving with cheap labour, manufacturing all sorts under Templar observation, accurately portraying England’s renowned manufacturing glory days. Commoners bark insults at you as you push past them and children charge through the streets without a care in the world. Furthermore, women make more of a significant appearance within Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, most noticeably as enemies. It is a great way to make the game come across as increasingly realistic. Ubisoft has definitely done well to incorporate the necessities within the Assassin’s Creed series within this setting. Haystacks for leaps of faith, hiding spots, viewpoints and shops are all tied in exceptionally well into the more modern setting without depriving Assassin’s Creed Syndicate of it’s practicality or plausibility.

The Assassin’s Creed series is associated with more dated settings and time periods and it is great to see that Ubisoft can pull of something more up to date and still make it work with the typical Assassin’s Creed game mechanics. The Victorian London setting has allowed Ubisoft to tease us with some intriguing upcoming DLC which I am sure will keep this title interesting for some time.

Gameplay and Combat

Assassin's Creed® Syndicate_20151025192256

 

Much like the less successful Assassin’s Creed Unity, Syndicate maintains the downwards free-running style which admittedly is much smoother and easier to appreciate in this considerably more stable game. Combat on the other hand has changed. As oppossed to Unity’s ‘fencing-style’ combat, Syndicate features a much more fast paced and brutal style of combat, including combos. Although different to any Assassin’s Creed fighting-style to date, it is easy to come to grips with and ultimately a lot better. It works much faster, narrowing down time spent fighting hordes of enemies waiting to counter each one which makes it more hands-on, exciting and ultimately less time consuming. Assassin’s Creed Syndicate also features the use of Horse and Carriages in which the players can hijack, hide in and race. This is a nifty and fun addition to the series.

A Major Improvement

Despite Assassin’s Creed Unity being an easy act to follow, Assassin’s Creed Syndicate excels in not only being an improvement but also reigniting the Assassin’s Creed fire. The game was pretty much fully operational upon it’s release date unlike Assassin’s Creed Unity and in being so, players have been able to downright appreciate all of Syndicate’s awesomeness.

If you are one of the many hesitant about buying this installment after the release of Unity, that is understandable however, I’d honestly recommend giving this title a go.

 

8 Worst Moments of E3 2015

All things considered, this year had a pretty phenomenal E3.  Between The Last Guardian, Shenmue III, Final Fantasy VII Remake, Earthbound Beginnings, Fallout 4, and so much more, almost everyone had a dream come true.

That said, it was still a long way away from perfect and there were plenty of embarrassing and frustrating moments to spoil the fun.  These are the worst moments of E3 2015, in our opinion.

HitmanTrademarked

8) Name-Recycling

Name-recycling is what I like to call the trend of giving a sequel, reboot, etc. the exact same title as the original.  The gaming industry has had numerous examples in recent years: Mortal Kombat, Tomb Raider, Twisted Metal, Crackdown, Prince of Persia (twice).  I don’t know why so many companies keep pulling this stunt, but it is one of my major pet peeves.  I’m not saying that any of those games are bad, but their naming convention frustrates me to no end.  I’ll let it slide if it actually is a remake of the original game that it’s named after (i.e. Ratchet and Clank for PS4) or if they’re trying to reboot a franchise that’s been dormant for a decade (i.e. Splatterhouse).  When it’s an entirely new entry in a well-known series, it gives the impression that the creators of the game just don’t care.  Naturally, I was less than thrilled to see this pop up no less than three times at E3.  We already knew that the newest Doom game would just be called Doom going in, but then we had EA announce the newest Need for Speed game as Need for Speed and Square-Enix reveal the next Hitman game called Hitman.  I’ve officially had all I can stand with this trend, so I’ve decided to come up with my own names for these games.  Doom 4 is an obvious title for the new Doom, while I’ve dubbed the new Hitman game Hitman: Trademarked.  Hey, its already got that trademark logo in the title and that actually is a surprisingly good subtitle for a Hitman game.  Finally, the new Need for Speed can be called Need for Speed: Subtitle.  Yeah, I completely copped out on that one, but it’s still more effort than EA put into naming it.

project_setsuna

7) Project Setsuna is a New Low in Non-Reveal

When discussing all of the things that I didn’t want to see at E3 this year, the one thing I wanted to avoid most and knew was the most unavoidable was for an entirely new game to be announced, but have no actual details on how it plays or who should even be interested given.  I actually came incredibly close to getting my wish this year as almost every new game had actual gameplay attached to it.  Games like For Honor and Horizon: Zero Dawn immediately arrested my attention with their demonstrations.  Even titles that I don’t have much personal interest in like Sea of Thieves and Trackmania Turbo were still able to catch my eye thanks to their focus on mechanics over cheap theatrics.

Sadly, we couldn’t escape non-reveals entirely and there were still a few particularly egregious examples.  It looks like Hearthstone copycats are the next big bandwagon with Bethesda and EA revealing their own digital card games based on the Elder Scrolls and Star Wars universes respectively.  What they both failed to mention was how these new games would actually differ from Hearthstone and manage to stand out on their own in what’s about to be a very crowded genre.  While I’m a big fan of Hearthstone, I’ll be the first to admit that it has plenty of problems and either of these new games may be able to convert me.  However, I need actual details before I even consider switching.  I’m also tempted to bring up Media Molecule’s Dreams on the topic of non-reveals, but I think that has more to do with even Media Molecule themselves having no clue what they’ve created with that thing.

The worst of the bunch, without a doubt, was Project Setsuna.  Being developed by Square-Enix’s newest studio, Tokyo RPG Factory (ha ha), Project Setsuna is an entirely new JRPG… And that is literally all we know about it at this point.  It hasn’t even gotten past the concept art phase of development and Square-Enix decided that it was the best way to close out their press conference.  That image pictured above is literally one third of all there is to know about the game.  The idea was to send the message that Square-Enix is still committed to RPGs as the genre that put the company where it is today.  Given that  they had already shown off Final Fantasy XV, Kingdom Hearts III, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, NieR 2, and Star Ocean 5, I highly doubt anyone was going to walk away thinking that RPGs were dead.  Plus, Project Setsuna could end up just being a mobile game for all we really know about it.  There’s simply no point in taking an interest in any of these games until more actual details emerge , and we’ll likely be left dwelling on nothing in the meantime.

MetroidPrimeFederationForce

6) All the Right Nintendo Games in All the Wrong Ways

I don’t think Nintendo’s showcase was nearly as bad as a lot of people are making it out to be, but I certainly share in the frustration.  There has been a great deal of anticipation for a new Metroid game and an Animal Crossing game on Wii U and we technically got both of those, but not in the ways any of us were hoping for.  Metroid Prime: Federation Force drops the isolation, exploration, and darker tone for a co-op shooter with a cartoony art style and an FPS soccer minigame.  Animal Crossing: Amiibo Festival brings Animal Crossing to the Wii U in the style of a board game reliant on amiibo figures in order to be played.  Neither of these look like bad games by any means, but fans of these franchises have been left waiting for years and these announcements came across as a slap in the face.

The backlash against Federation Force in particular has been massive, to the point where the only thing that seems to come up in interviews is how much Nintendo is trying to run damage control.  I’d like to call it an overreaction, but Metroid fans have not exactly received the best treatment in recent years.  After enduring the infamous Metroid: Other M, there was five years of silence with nothing but crossovers with Nintendo Land and Super Smash Bros, and now the silence is finally broken with something that just seems to move further and further away from everything that made the series great in the first place.  On the bright side, it seems that this could be building up for a Metroid Prime 4 announcement from Retro Studios, possibly as a launch title for the NX, but that hypothetical is little comfort after how badly fans have been burned.

As for Animal Crossing: Amiibo Festival, the general opinion on amiibos has started to turn around as customers are continuously exhausted to try and find their favorite figures, so a game completely reliant on having specific figures isn’t exactly joyous news.  While the game itself is a free download, those compatible figures are bound to be in short supply and every player needs to have at least one of their own in order to play.  Not only that, the game that people were actually hoping to see was an actual, mainline Animal Crossing game for the Wii U.  It’s been three years since Animal Crossing: New Leaf released for 3DS, so the timing seemed right.  Instead, fans will have to make due with meager spin-offs for the time being.  I understand Nintendo’s decision to focus on the immediate future as they can make major announcements whenever they want with their Nintendo Directs, but they definitely came up short compared to Microsoft and Sony this year.

PitchAMeme

5) Aisha Tyler Drops Some Dank Memes, Yo

Aisha Tyler (pictured left-center), the main spokesperson for Ubisoft for the last few years, has a fairly divisive presence at E3.  Personally, she’s grown on me and I really feel that the Ubisoft press conferences are general made better by her.  She has a great deal of charisma and always keeps a high amount of energy going at the show.  However, there are definitely times where she tries too hard to be funny and this year had her biggest dud yet.  After approaching an Assassin’s Creed cosplayer in the audience, Tyler asked for him to “pitch a meme”.  Anyone who actually knows thing one about how internet memes work knows that they have to happen naturally as a public response to things and can’t just be manufactured on the spot.  It seems like the cosplayer was at least aware of that as he timidly tried to get this whole awkward affair to pass as quickly and painlessly as possible.  Once Tyler started going on about “who left the Christmas lights on during the apocalypse”, I think he may have been scared that she was about to turn into a giant mantis and eat his face off because reality was clearly ripping itself apart before his very eyes.  On the bright side, Ubisoft did get their meme out of the whole ordeal.  Unfortunately, it was all centered around how laughably out of touch the company is.

KH3Disney

4) Kingdom Hearts III Gets Dangled Like a Carrot

Kingdom Hearts III was easily one of the most anticipated titles for the Square-Enix conference and, boy, did we ever have to work for it.  Square-Enix easily had the worst conference this year and the unending build-up for the new KH3 trailer was the worst part of it all.  First, we had the executive producer for the Kingdom Hearts series, presented as such, take the stage and expectations were immediately raised.  Producer Shinji Hashimoto began speaking, but it seems that his translator fell asleep on the job as this segment was only presented in Japanese.  It probably wasn’t anything too important, though, because all he had to follow that up with was the exact same Final Fantasy VII trailer that had already been shown at Sony’s conference.  After that, Hashimoto, now with translation, said it was time to present a Kingdom Hearts game… For mobile phones.  Yeeeeeah.  But then, it finally came time to talk about Kingdom Hearts III, starting with… Two random guys from Disney telling us that we’d be seeing a Tangled world in the following gameplay trailer.  Yeah, because why just show when you can tell?!  Finally, we get to see the latest gameplay footage of the long-awaited Kingdom Hear-Wait, one of the guys we just had onscreen is actually right here in the audience, so why don’t we all wave hello to GET ON WITH IT!!!  At that point, it seemed like Square-Enix was just being intentionally malicious with how much it was holding out on their audience.  It’s a good thing that the trailer was actually really good because that crowd was gearing up for a full-scale riot at that point.

Hololens

3) The Microsoft Hololens Demonstration Was a Blatant Lie

Microsoft’s public demonstration of the Hololens impressed many with its ability to recreate a Minecraft world on a simple table and allowing users to directly manipulate virtual landscapes with their own hands.  It was certainly an inspiring look into what virtual reality is capable of, but there was one minor problem with Microsoft’s little showcase: it was completely fake.  It’s actually abundantly obvious that none of the footage we saw during the demonstration was actually taken from the Hololens display as the man we’re supposed to be seeing through the eyes of is constantly on-camera alongside the prerendered graphics imitating virtual reality.  While virtual reality has a great deal to offer the gaming industry and technological progress in general, Microsoft’s dishonest demonstration of how their headset works is bound to leave a lot of customers disappointed with how it actually looks.  If the first games that come to mind while playing with the Hololens end up being Watch_Dogs and Aliens: Colonial Marines, now you know why.

DeruloRejected

2) Jason Derulo Exists

In my article on things I didn’t want to see at E3, I briefly mentioned the trend of pop stars showing up at E3 press conferences for a short performance that only ever serves to eat up extra time.  In 2012, both Usher and Flo Rida performed at the Microsoft and Ubisoft conferences respectively.  Yes, these appearances are meant to hype up rhythm games and that makes sense, but having these artists perform one of their songs like their giving a concert when these events are meant to promote the actual gameplay just ends up being frivolous and pandering.  I also mentioned that the trend seemed to have finally died in that article, and I should really learn to keep my big mouth shut (cue obvious ribbing from the hecklers) because guess how Ubisoft decided to promote their latest Just Dance games.

To make things worse, they chose the single most boring musical act in the industry today (unless you actually count Florida Georgia Line as a musical act).  Jason Derulo, the man whose entire claim to fame centers around sampling a song that was best known for its involvement in a Saturday Night Live sketch and using it for what may be the insincere apology song that isn’t a joke.  Honestly, I’m surprised that he has yet to brag about how desirable he is over the tantalizing melody of Nyan Cat.  Although, it may have all been worth just for that brief moment where Derulo tried to get Aisha Tyler to dance with him on stage and she just pulled her hand out of his and stayed firmly seated like anyone with a sense of dignity would in that situation.  Still, it wasn’t the worst case of a celebrity wasting everyone’s time.  That honor goes to…

Pele

1) Pelé

EA has one of the worst press conferences at E3 every year without fail.  Admittedly, this year had one of their better showings with Mass Effect: Andromeda, Unravel, Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst, and Star Wars Battlefront 3 (that’s what I’m calling it and you can’t stop me).  Sadly, they couldn’t resist bringing up some of their classic bad habits.  It’s pretty sad when the most detailed demonstration at your conference goes not to Mass Effect, Star Wars, or even Garden Warfare, but to a generic cow-clicker starring the minions from Despicable Me that grandparents and toddlers will throw too much money at for about a week and then completely forget about.

However, the award for worst of the worst naturally goes to their EA Sports segment.  I understand that sports games are the single greatest pillar of EA as a company and expecting them not to feature them during every press conference is like expecting Nintendo to not have a game featuring Mario.  The difference is that Nintendo never dedicates a good chunk of their presentations to assure us that they’ve tirelessly worked to improve Mario’s jumping animations, whereas EA does just that every single year.  They did have some interesting announcements, like the face-scanning app for NBA Live 16.  Just quickly showing off substantial innovations like that for their latest sports games would keep the energy of their presentations active rather than delving into redundancy.  Instead, they went with Pelé.  Now, I can’t exactly blame Pelé himself for not having much to say about actual video games while onstage at E3.  Expecting a 74-year-old soccer legend to be a well of knowledge on game design isn’t exactly realistic.  The problem is that EA wasted everyone’s time so that they could publicly shoot the breeze with a famous athlete.  At least when Ubisoft brought out Derulo, it was a (failed) attempt to just entertain all of the investors, journalists, and loyal fans in attendance.  EA invited Pelé to their conference purely for their own amusement while we got the privilege of watching them.

I certainly could have kept this list going with more missteps from the expo, such as the Nintendo World Championships focusing more on advertising Nintendo’s games than the spirit of competition or how the PC Gaming Show was essentially Day9’s three-hour public podcast, but I think that’s enough complaining from me for one year.  What was your worst moment from E3 2015?  Are there any moments from this year’s E3 that made you cringe missing from this list?  Can you come up with a better name for a Need for Speed game than EA?  Leave a comment below and let us know what you think.

Yves Guillemot Says Digital “Doesn’t React As Fast On Consoles Than It Does on PC.”

Digital

Digital

CEO Yves Guillemot was in an investor’s call yesterday and he explained why digital games’ price stay the same on PSN and XBL instead of matching other online retailer’s offers such as Amazon or eBay. He stated that PC tends to do better in terms of digital sales than consoles while consoles do better in the physical sales. Guillemot says that they depend on its sales once the game is one or two years old which means that the game isn’t as available at retailers as it was at launch.

“Digital is more reactive than what we put in stores, but at the same time, it doesn’t react as fast on consoles than it does on PC,” Guillemot admitted.

“What we can say is that when games are older than one year, digital is a lot more dynamic on console because there are less units in stores. It’s a new business, a new trend, and we think all this will get more in line with time, but for sure, at the moment you see all sorts of prices depending on who is doing a promotion for that specific week.”

Ubisoft CFO Alain Martinez responded saying that lowering the price of digital sales to become lower than physical won’t happen but after a couple of weeks of the game’s release “things can change.”

“On digital we will not sell [a game] for a lower price compared to physical. After a few weeks or few months things can change, and as Yves has been saying, sometime you might have a promotion on Amazon [that is] not on GameStop, but we can also react on its side,” added Ubisoft CFO Alain Martinez.

“We are actually more aggressive on the PC side where digital is very, very strong. We tend to be more conservative on the digital side for more console and more flexible on PC.”

Do you think that this is a good strategy or should they try to balance both prices’ ? Tell us in the comment section. (Credit: VG247)

Rainbow Six: Siege Will Not Feature Squad AI on Single Player

Rainbow Six

For those who don’t know, the Rainbow Six series has long been an important name in the genre of tactical shooters. But as longtime fans of the games know, with each release, the newer versions become less and less like the original Rainbow Six (1998, Red Storm Entertainment). Whether or not Ubisoft’s newest take on the franchise turns out well or not remains to be seen. But according to a recent interview with Rainbow Six: Siege‘s animation art director Scott Mitchell, we already know it will be different from the other games in one (potentially) key respect. There won’t be AI teammates in any of the single player: neither for the campaign, or the iconic ‘terrorist hunt’ mode. Specifically, Mitchell said:

When you’re playing through single-player there are no supporting characters…But you can play as a lone wolf, as well as play the game’s whole story campaign. That said, it is more difficult. We do offer difficulty settings, but the AI has access to all of the options you do.”

This represents a departure from previous games in the series, which incorporated AI squad tactics centrally into the offline game design. That being said, if Siege’s online mode emphasizes teamwork and coordination, it might make up for this change up.

Following up on this quote, a Community Manager on the Ubisoft official forums had this to say:

“Just to let you know there is a single player experience which is done through Missions. These pre-set scenarios expose the player to the content and mechanics of the Siege and are specifically designed to be played solo as a Lone Wolf, but can also be played cooperatively with up to four friends.”

As fans of previous Rainbow: Six games know, you’ve always had the choice of playing through the game in “Lone Wolf” mode (i.e. without AI companions). Yet that made the game quite difficult, since every Rainbow Six game’s levels are designed around the principle that you have an entire squad behind you. It seems the idea here is to make Lone Wolf mode a more viable option; and thus provide players with an experience unique from that of online, as well as reducing the potential for some of that infamous bad companion AI these games have sometimes been accused of.

Rainbow Six: Siege will be available October 13th.

Can there Be Winners and Losers at E3?

E3

The E3 week is now over, and as usual it came with a lot of new games, old games, fun games, less fun games, unexpected games and expected games. When nearing the end of the week, one thing we have learned to count on, is that almost all sites covering E3 will discuss who “won” E3. And this year marks the year where we have had the most press conferences before the actual expo ever. Aside from the usual big three that are Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo, we have also seen the now mandatory EA and Ubisoft conferences. But also going full throttle this years was Bethesda, Square Enix and one completely dedicated to PC gaming.

The press conferences this year came and went like always. They were held in great theaters hosting seats for a couple hundreds of reporters all eager to first break the news that where soon to be unrevealed. With the exception of the PC gaming conference which was more like a talkshow then anything, a show which lasted almost 2,5 hours, and that was not a good thing. All of them streamed all over the world to a huge number of players eagerly waiting for something new or a reveal of their favorite game, and like always, some people where very happy and some will probably not watch it again next year. But let us return to the question at hand, the big questions everyone seems to have an opinion about now, ironically even me: Which company won the E3 press conferences? and which game won on the show floor?

Talking about winners and even loser like most people tend to do when discussing E3, seems like the wrong thing to do here. Because, can someone really win at a press conference? And can someone lose after showing part of\ or the whole portfolio of games? Of course not, it is a very absurd thought. If we were talking about winners and losers, that discussion would instead focus on how well the company sell those games promoted, and most of them are not showing up for a long time, so everything can happened.  Even if we strictly view the economic side, and how well a game sells compared to how much money has poured into the project, it still would not really tell us if someone won or lost. Only that the market was focusing on this and that.

We could instead focus on what presentation we thought was best and liked the most, in the most subjective way, which of course could be a good reading or completely not agreeable with our own thoughts. Or we could discuss which game might be the biggest winner in the long run in term of player-base or how well it sells, but that stuff should not matter at all to us gamers. They will of course play a vital role for the companies behind them, but a good game is a good game no matter what, and that thought is extremely subjective. Still, there is no winner or loser to be found at E3. There are only some games which some people like better and some games which other people like better. And by saying that a company won the press conference, or that a game won on the floor, is like saying the other games lost. But we all know that a game does not lose, it only appears to a smaller audience then anticipated in the end.

The most common answer to these questions on the E3 winners I have seen floating around internet, is that we the gamers are the true winners. And while that might be true, and one of the biggest stereotypical clichés to say. I still cannot honestly say that it is we the gamers who won the E3 shows, because we where sadly not invited. We were given a small amount of teasers and in-game trailers compared to all the business talk in-between that only a few people actually care about. As for the game who won on the show floor, gamers didn’t win anything there at all. Because we have seen very little about what was actually shown on the floor, and with time we will, but we will surely not get our hands on it. Which of course is only natural, since it is the journalists job to provide us with that information at this stage, but we still did not win E3 only because a few games was shown to us.

Talking about winners and losers at a semi-public event only made to sell the ideas of products to the consumer via other people in the business, such as the journalists, but also through retailers and other marketing partners, is a completely ludicrous idea. I as many others, watched the press conferences through streaming services and watching a few of the in-game movies taken from the show floor. I have enjoyed some of it, and I did not enjoy some of it.  But neither game nor company won E3 for me, they all succeed I doing what they intended to do; showing us games, which in the end is a good thing for a gamer. So let us stop talking about the “winners and losers” of E3, and instead only focus on the games, follow the games you found interesting at E3 here at VgamerZ, and enjoy playing them when they arrive. But this is my opinion in the matter, and I would love to hear your thoughts on the matter, so please, write to your heart’s content about who won or lost this year E3, or if it is even possible at wining there.

South Park: The Fractured But Whole Revealed

South Park

South Park: The Stick of Truth was one of those rare few licensed games to garner critical acclaim, capturing the unique look and feel of the long-running animated series it was based on.  

In a surprising opening to Ubisoft’s E3 conference, a sequel was announced with a new take on the vulgar franchise.  South Park: The Fractured But Whole trades out the fantasy theme of the previous title for a focus on super heroics.  However, it will follow directly with the events of the first game as it’s all just the role-playing shenanigans of the childish protagonists.  

The creators of the show, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, will return to lend their creative minds to its development and promise to take everything they learned in the first game to make this one much better.  You can see the foul-mouthed reveal trailer here:

It has all the familiar role-playing trappings, but with the cheeky and bizarre twists you’d expect. You’ll be collecting a myriad of armor, weapons and equipment options, following your objective menu, talking to far too many NPCs, all of that good stuff. But you’ll also be equipping some very suspect things to your bows and spears to increase their ‘gross’ stat, and be put down by King Cartman every opportunity he gets.

In short, this much-anticipated release could be a lifeline for everyone tired of the disappointment of licensed games. 

SP: The Fractured But Whole will release on Playstation 4, Xbox One, and PC.