Ubisoft Conference E3 2009 Live Blog

Hollah, it’s the Ubisoft conference left today, or tonight if you’re on my side of the big ole’ globe, and we’re all eager to see a lot of titles from these folks: everything from the confirmed Assassin’s Creed 2 to the heavily anticipated (and rumoured) Beyond Good and Evil 2.

The blog is no longer live, as the event is now finished. It was a great event full of animated speakers, and brilliant games.

For those not wanting to read everything, the following games were discussed and announced: Assassin’s Creed 2, Raving Rabbids Go Home, Splinter Cell: Conviction, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Smash Up, No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle, Petz Nursery, Style Lab, Shawn White Snowboarding: World Stage, Red Steel 2, Academy of Champions, Avatar,  along with footballer Pele and film legend James Cameron.

6:55 PM:

It’s over, and there’s been no mention of Beyond Good and Evil 2. Next year. *sob* Next year.

6:50 PM:

Assassin’s Creed 2! Finally! All that’s left on my list is Beyond Good and Evil, but that’s a long shot.
The original sold eight million units. Not too shabby, really.
November 17th is the release date for the sequel, and here comes the trailer!
1486: Venice, Italy, we are told.
Various dodgy dealings going on, carnivals, et, and a pair of local ladies of the night appearing regularly in all of these areas. Not sure why, yet, but I think they might just be a distraction for the guards…
In comes our assassin, quick as you like, and slits the throat of the fat man who wanted to dance.
He uses a variety of dodges and disarms to tak ecare of some guards, not before persuing the last one across the city using the series’ trademark parkour ability.
The leader waits for the assassin, who appears in front of him. Guards are in wait, but our hero doesn’t see them. However, he seems to know they’re there.
Holy crap, he has a projectile weapon inside his glove! Fantastic. The man dies, trailer ends. 

6:43 PM:

In comes the president of Ubisoft North America, Laurent Detoc, to speak about a franchise "celebrating its 25th anniversary," Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Hell yeah. He says they call it a "shellebration." No one laughs. Cretins. It was funny.
Moving on, he then talks about the game, and asks some friends of his who worked on the game to stand up in the audience and take a bow. Nice of him. Trailer time!
Looks like the recent film. Shredder’s there, along with april dressed like a samurai. We’re focusing on two turles only in the introductions. Odd. This better not be two-player again.
Loads of destruction, especially the environment, though that’s to be expected, as it’s called Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Smash Up.
Another title is announced: No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle.
He speaks about yet another title, while congratulating Tetsuya Mistabushi on his work with another "stand up and take in some gamer love." Aww.
Here it comes. New post!

6:31 PM:

Joel introduces the guy behinds Rabbids Go Home: Adrian Fernandez Lacy. Plus three rabbids in shopping trolleys.
The Rabbids are going home, it seems. Well, they think their home is the Moon. Why? We don’t know.
To get there, they’re making a mountain of garbage stolen from humans. Adrian scares me a little. He keeps touching Joel and giggling, repeating the phrase "it’s GENIUS!" over and over again.
The shopping trolley is, in fact, your tool for collecting things. Looking at you, Katamari, with your… ball.
The Rabbids just stole Obama’s clothes. He’ll love that. He even has a Wii in the Oval Office.
Hazmat-suited men getting ambushed by Rabbids as they steal things to make the mountain.
Just Adrian now, showing us a live demo, but first, Jaque, his Ubisoft buddy.
Adrian is insane, I’ve decided. He hears noises in the controller. Apparently, the video tells us someone’s in the Wiimote. It’s also part of the game. Is it a Rabbid? Guess.
It’s quite impressing. Press a button near him and he runs over and looks at it. Adrian makes a joke about male self-enjoyment. The world cringes.
You can inflate bits of him, even his eyeballs. This is mental, but I want it so badly.
You can also make him wear a hat. Made out of a plate of jelly
Supermarket Sweep time. "Super Racket in the Market," which includes the Rabbid you just customised! Finally, a recurring protagonist! Wonderful.
Humans aren’t too keen on you taking their stuff. Neither is Rayman I suppose but he’s nowhere to be seen, sadly.
Verminators, the green hazmat-suited fellows are strong antagonists, but take a leaf out of Jade’s book in Beyond Good and Evil and hit their gas tank, and they panic, running around in circles. Sorted.
They made skate parks. I’m watching someone trying to 1080 a shopping trolley. I love Ubisoft.
The Rabbids have taken over a plane on the runway, and stolen a jet engine, because he wants to strap it to the bottom of his trolley. Into the airport he goes, and in come the Verminators.
It’s amusing watching the Rabbids fly around the airport just above the ground, and the humans get burnt. Odd he stated the airport was fictional. We guessed, dude.
Next game, apparently! Hi Joel!

6:17 PM:

Ubisoft VP of Marketing Tony Key comes onstage and Joel leaves.
He asks people to guess which title sold the most units. He states no one’s seen it yet today. Everyone’s wrong so far. This is quite amusing.
"The Best Kept Secret in Gaming" appears on screen.
Oh lord, the imagine games. Of course. The "tween brands," as Tony calls them.
Number two publisher on the DS, and delivered the #1 and #2 third-party brands for the last two years. Pretty impressive, go twelve year-olds!
Short video about Ubisoft’s "tween games" built on the 3I’s principle: integration, interconnectivity, and invention.
Petz Nursery comes up on screen, and shows transfers between this and other Petz titles.
Style Lab, a new brand that allows people to invent their own style by taking their own picture on the DSI and create their own hairstyles and makeup choices, and then make jewellry they can buy in real life. Nifty, to be honest.
Tony back on stage. Talking about Ubi’s tween MMO that’s prospected at 4.7 million unique users after a year. Jesus. Blizzard, take notes.
Anyone ever noticed tween titles are very feminine? I’d say we’ve got a lot of male tweens too, but the definition’s kinda stuck now. Oh well.
He’s asking the audience another question: "what’s the fastest growing genre in the last 12 months?" Of course, it’s fitness.
The tv people have just announced DJ Hero is coming up soon. Thanks, G4!
He’s talking about Natal, and then introduces Felicia Williams, one of the key designers at their studio in Montreal.
She says the Natal will "completely revolutionise the way people think about fitness games." This much is true.
It also allows for a "unique diagnosis" of your body, and real-time feedback on your moves. I want one.
They don’t seem keen on the Wiimote, but weights are okay. Add weights to the Wiimote? Naw, too complex. We’ll stick with something simple: Natal. Wait a second! Hmmm.
Fitness games and tween titles. I’m beginning to wonder if they thought about who was going to E3. Even Joystiq agrees, it seems.
Fitness video. Lady excercising in various ways, using the camera, though the Natal camera they show is different to the one shown in the MS conference. Either a VisonCam replacement to showcase the concept, or a previous prototype.
A Wii game too, it seems, using a USB port. By, Felicia. Hey, Joel.

6:13 PM:

Ruse is now on screen, the RTS that allows you to zoom out to orbit, and into the pores on someone’s face, without any loading. It’s a big title, that’s for sure, if the tech has been anything to go by the past few months.
Two men sit at a table, making moves on a holographic board. Lots of tanks taking on a lot of boats. All the boats land, open their doors, and mannakins fall out, confusing the opponent. In come planes and battleships, and down goes the enemy. Clever mother.
Up comes the title and the logo. Sweet.
"Is that not the coolest table you have ever seen?!" Cries Joel. I agree. I want one.
Next game though, it seems.

6:00 PM:

Joel talking again, and Alex Perizo and Max Beland are now on stage – the men behind Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Conviction.
"In Conviction, you’re going to feel like a powerful predator." Big words, let’s see if the trailer matches them.
Or, we could watch the same trailer! You know, I was more excited when I mistook Sam Fisher for Max Payne. The hell is Max Payne, anyway?! Moving on.
Not much to say, see the MS live blog for more details on this one. Revenge, rebellion, it’s all part and parcel of a classic "that’s it, I’m breaking the rules, you took my daughter" 24 experience.
I like the continuity of the piano keys making a sound as his head gets shoved into them.
Another gameplay demo, but I’m curious if this will be the same thing.
"He’s left the agency… free of any constraints," says Max. Very Hitman 2.
More details on Marked Execute – putting the player in a certain area and then swooping in to kill them by planning out the kill beforehand.
Gameplay starts.
It’s the same level, but it’ll be interesting to see if he goes a different way, or if this is just a movie. The cameraman isn’tmaking it too clear.
Aha, more details that are new. Interrogation gameplay allows him to extract information, while bursting in on some dude going to the loo. Odd bit of realistic consistency, that
The mirror contains the logo. I’d have mentioned that earlier, but meh, it’s a little tacky.
It is indeed a live gameplay demo, so let’s see if he goes a different way.
Aa, he is. Showing us a clearer view of the misson objective ghost-projected on the building in the distance.
He takes a new route to yank someone backwards off a bridge as he hangs, hidden, off the side.
He comes in with a hostage, a la GoWII, and Alex talks more about the sandbox environment, whilst going through the window and taking out two thugs.
The mission projection moves to different surfaces until you’re ready to move on. This is smart: it eans you won’t forget what you’re doing or where you’re going.
Some heavy gunplay here, and the Last Known Position system, showing a ghostly holographic representation of Sam Fisher in the last known position according to his enemies. Useful if you want to know where the opposite to their searching spots are.
EMP grenades, which take out the lights; works well for Sam Fisher’s deadly variety of work.
Using the mirror to look under the doorway, he heads in with a shotgun, kicking arse and taking names. Duke Nukem, eat your heart out (if you ever become three-dimentionsal, anyway).
Fisher finds his daughter’s killer, and the mission ends the same way as last time.
Lots of cheering, more so than in the MS conference, which is odd.
Released this fall, exclusively on the 360 and the PC. Sucks, Sony crew.
And off they go. Next game?

5:46 PM:

Trailer appears after some more jokes and introduction by Joel.
People trashing various bits of upholstery. If this is what happened to the protagonist of Mirror’s Edge when moving house, it might make sense. But this isn’t EA, so it doesn’t.
Ooh, they made a snowboard ramp! Aha! It’s a snowboarding title.
Shawn White Snowboarding: World Stage, apparently. I’m sceptical, mainly because SSX 4 wasn’t announced today and I’m bitter.
Now he’s talking about soccer. Either this is linked, or he has ADHD.
He’s just brought Pele onstage, world-famous football (it’s not called soccer, shut it) player.
He’s here to announce the title Academy of Champions, but it doesn’t seem to be loading, though we’re treated to a static image of a cartoony Pele.
Joel is being asked if he speaks Spanish or Porteguese. Nope, but he speaks Swahili. What’s going on?! Oh, a translator.
Pele seems to have improvised well, giving a talk on football and videogames. Possibly the most relaxed person in the room right now, considering the game isn’t working.
"Football gave me everything," says Pele. I’d agree, looking at the nice clothes. Seriously though, he speaks passionately and at length, and so far we’ve had great speaker after great speaker tonight. This is what makes a keynote noteworthy: good speakers. Not trailers we’ve seen ten times this week already. Bioware, I’m looking at you.
Preview time, finally.
"Comic mischief," says the ERSB rating. Quick, look away kids! Not that they’re not scarred already from EA and Microsoft’s wonderfully predictable "subtle nudity."
Little fella looking around a football academy, with the photos framed on the walls moving as he looks at them, and our antagonist comes in the form of a laughing evil portrai who grabs the cup from the wall next to him.
Opposite tea are predictably gothy and evil looking.
The five-on-five matchup and mental game mechanics remind me a lot of SEGA Soccer Slam! A good thing, methinks.
Pele speaks more about his experience teaching children about playing football, hoping that children will "profit from this game," saying he engaged deeply with acting as a mentor in the title.
Seems he’s off, so next game, perhaps?

5:34 PM:

Joel’s back on stage, being very funny.
Red Steel 2 getting a very strong push.
"When I look down, I’m not reading from a teleprompter, it’s just how I gather my thoughts." He really is a hoot, this bloke.
Trailer time.
Interesting, it’s in a combination of GCI andlive-action.
A very cowboy-esque samurai is being controlled by a very suave looking man with a Wiimote. Note the Motion Plus attatchment on the end of the controller.
Lots of first-person samurai action.
Our dude won. No blood though, interestingly. But we do have a gun. Makes sense to me.
Joel brings on Jason Vandenburghe, the creative director of Red Steel 2, with his lead designer Roman NameI’mnotgoingtotryandspellonaliveblog.
Gameplay demo of the first level, set in the desert, as the protagonist, in true Western style, heads home to find things aren’t as he left them. Dead and dying, presumably. Maybe with flames. Let’s see.
Opening shot is of a motorbike with a rope attached to the back. Oh, we’re on the end of the rope. Well, this sucks. I wonder how it’ll pan out.
Narrowly missed a lorry, there, and we’re heading down a subway. Everything looks very suburban or citylike, a lot of industry. Well, up until the cyclist crashes and we get to our feet.
Now we have full control of movement and camera. Our first objective is to re-arm ourselves. Well, considering we just found a sword, mission accomplished. A conveniently placed wooden training dummy shows us the chopping motions used with the MotionPlus. Very slick and impressive.
Hard slashes? More damage. Hard slashes? More broken TV screens!
Graphically very impressive, a lot of natural light which makes a nice change to neon-infested urban environments we’ve been inundated with this year.
Armoured opponent (called a "Jackal," my girlfriend reliably informs me) is de-armoured with some strong attacks.
New powers as you move further in, such as some slow mo shooting, and a glowing sword that sends you and the enemy up into the air for a juggle combo.
Big enemy. Really big. They call him the Heavy, but there’s no minigun in his hands, just a huge hammer. Medic?
The protagonist-avatar seems quite agile, and the block mechanic seems reliable enough.
They’re aiming for an average of 60fps. That’s pretty high, but looking at it it’s hard to doubt them.
The game comes bundled with the Wii MotionPlus, in the same way DK64 came with the Expansion Pak. Good lads.
Joel back on stage, bye guys.

5:20 PM:

James starts off by talking about taking the Avatar project to his coworkers twenty years ago. Phwoar. Apparently, they thought it’d ruin them as the tech wasn’t around to support it. Now it is, conveniently.
Talking about advancements in facial mo-cap and performance-cap
Avatar takes place in the 20th century on Pandora, a small H-congrous rainforest moon orbiting Pandora, in the Alpha Centuri star system.
Primitive tribes called the "Navi" who are ten feet tall, blue skinned and long tailed, quite fierce and warrior-like but calm and harmonious with the environment when not provoked. Native Americans is the image this conjures, if not the Zulu tribes of Africa.
The "Avatar" body, a huge robot is linked to a coma-like pilot. In the protagonist’s case, James Sully, a paralyzed marine who is sent to Pandora to be able to walk again thanks to the Avatar suit.
He then begins to wonder who’s side he’s on, as he finds himself drawn to the native blueskinned alien Navi, which doesn’t please the humans.
He’s going really into depth with the concept of Avatar, and I can’t express how ridiculously awesome this all sounds.
Now discussing Ubisoft and his collaboration with them to produce the game of his film.
"The game should not be a slave to the movie, it should follow its own storyline, it should exist in parallel to the game world with its own characters and creatures…"Well, I’ll be f*cking damned. He’s answered the prayers of every movie-to-game consumer in the games industry. It’s because T101 won’t save him otherwise, I reckon. I wonder if that’s who Yves is. Moving on.
It has a completely different storyline to the film, which is refreshing. It’s almost like a dual experience in two industries. I’m excited. Please show a trailer.
If you want to experience a certain point in the game from a Navi perspective, you can. But you don’t have to. This is inspiring.
He makes a good point: different storyline, no spoilers! Means apparently we’re getting the game prior to the film. Fantastic.
He’s closing up, urging people to visit their booth over the week. It’s a spectroscopic game, so the screen will wrap around the player. Sounds amazing. Off he goes. 

5:14 PM:

Yannis Mallat onstage now, talking about "putting things in motion."
Speaking about Ubisoft Digital Arts, their own development studio using a hybrid of Hollywood and videogame technology to bring together "two different talent universes."
Avatar mentioned again, James Cameron’s latest Hollywood creation, and his intended collaboration with Ubisoft.
Mentioning various game engines, namely, the one used in Assassin’s Creed, and the mo-cap processes that go into making Ubisoft’s titles.
The image above was taken three days ago on the live set of Assassin’s Creed 2, seems they’re using a combination of Hollywood-level mo-cap and heavy-duty data input to give the best content possible. Finally, someone’s doing it. Go them.
"For us, the true convergence is the one that happens in people’s minds when they play our IPs." Big words.
Yves back onstage with Yannis, introducing James Cameron onstage. Seems everyone’s pulling out the big-name celebs this year in force.

5:02 PM:

Opening: "someone’s going to pay me to talk about video games! Yes!" Oh, lord.
Joel McHael (the speaker) talking about his son. Kinda cute, in an "omfg stfu and show gamez kk" way.
Funny FaCry 2 references to his son. This guy is pretty funny, I’ll give him that.
Rom coms? Are you mad, man? At E3?
My god, please. First game?
Yves Gulliemot, CEO of Ubisoft, onstage now, and Joe’s gone. Yves seems very keen on feedback. Probably the first developer in history (sorry Valve, but Left4Dead 2? Where the hell was Episode Three?! You lost the title).
Major emphasis on realtime worlds, here. Big planet in the background. Not of the LittleBig variety.
"This is what we call confluence," says Yves. I thought I’d stopped studying English. Then I watched E3.
Has announced "Uplay", an online system for creating "interactive and non-interactive content, to share online with friends."
Uplay, online gaming.
Uhelp, go figure.
Ushop, take a wild stab in the dark.
Uareobvious? No, I’m kidding. It’s .
Mentioning the Avatar title a lot. Probably reminds people of the only game marketed through its gamerscore-giving ability (1000G for an easy combo level in five achievements).
Peter Jackson is making a return, it seems, as well as Speilberg and Kennedy alongside Paramount.
Talking about new interfaces – DS, Wii, iPhone.
Mentions Red Steel 2, as the original was the first game to make full use of the motion controls via the Wiimote.
"We are always jealous of what’s happening in the movie industry," with their budgets, you should be, Yves.
First project time!

5:00 PM:

Off we go! Last one of the day!


  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Myspace
  • Google Buzz
  • Reddit
  • Stumnleupon
  • Delicious
  • Digg
  • Technorati
Author: Christos Reid View all posts by

One Comment on "Ubisoft Conference E3 2009 Live Blog"

Leave A Response

You must be logged in to post a comment.