Ubisoft E3 2019 report card: Watch Dogs Legion, Ghost Recon and more

Ubisoft /

Ubisoft has a history of making some pretty bold bets at E3 2019. Will any of these gambles pay off in the long run? Here’s our conference report card.

Ubisoft E3 2019 Briefing: Presentation

Typically, Ubisoft’s E3 presser opens with a big, cringy Just Dance dance number. This year’s conference did not. Instead, the press conference opened with a preview of the Assassin’s Creed Symphony world tour. While pop culture-focused symphony tours are generally pretty cool, one wonders if Assassin’s Creed has enough iconic musical moments in its repertoire to be worthy of a symphony tour. The series itself has always been good to great, but the music has never been a standout element.

The slower symphony sequence set the pace for the conference. This year’s conference was light on announcements and real surprises given the leaks that popped up before the conference. 2020 is looking to be a banner year with the expected release of Microsoft’s next-gen console, so it was expected that this year would be a little lighter. Regardless, it was still somewhat disappointing.

Gods & Monsters key art
Ubisoft /

Ubisoft padded the run time by talking about its new non-game projects, specifically The Division movie and Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet. The latter is a new TV series headed by Rob McElhenney about the developers of an MMO on the cusp of its first expansion. Always Sunny co-star Charlie Day is also involved as an executive producer on the series. The downer is that it’s an Apple TV+ exclusive and this doesn’t look like it’ll be AppleTV+’s killer app.

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  • The Division movie, directed by John Wick‘s David Leitch and starring Jessica Chastain and Jake Gyllenhaal, will come to Netflix. Netflix has no shortage of original action movies, so it’s not surprising to see them snatching up the rights. One hopes that it is better than Assassin’s Creed.

    The conference tried to match Keanu Reeves by putting Jon Bernthal on stage to talk about Ghost Recon: Breakpoint, but it had neither the shock factor nor the star power to measure up. Bernthal did have a dog with him. Dogs are always nice.

    Ubisoft E3 2019 Briefing: Games

    Ubisoft has a history of making some very big bets at these conferences. The Big Bet in recent years has been Beyond Good & Evil 2, but the game didn’t show up this year. Ubisoft decided to double down on the boldness with two announcements that could go awry if they don’t work out: Watch Dogs Legion and UPlay+.

    Watch Dogs Legion was leaked prior to the presser and the rumor about being able to recruit and play as NPCs turned out to be true. The mechanic seems to be more limited than what it initially sounded like, but it could either work out brilliantly or crash and burn.

    Legion was the only game to get any real gameplay; even then, the trailer made it clear that the gameplay was edited for time. It looks like more Watch Dogs, with the NPC mechanic being a separate element rather than something woven into the gameplay itself (it doesn’t look like you can switch mid-fight, which is a shame).

    The game also has a March 6, 2020 release date that might end up being pushed back. The leak stated that the new mechanic was giving developers some trouble and although what we saw looked pretty polished, some extra time might be necessary to work out the problems. It’s not a guarantee, but don’t be surprised if it doesn’t hit that date.

    The other bet Ubisoft is making centers on its subscription service, UPlay+. It’ll cost $14.99 a month. Similar services like EA Access and Xbox Game Pass are much cheaper and when tacked on to Google Stadia, UPlay+ looks like an even tougher sell.

    Ubisoft also announced new IPs in Roller Champions and Gods & Monsters, but no actual gameplay was shown. Most of the Gods & Monsters details were shunted into a press release, even though the game closed the conference. It looks like Ubisoft Quebec will return to the setting of Ancient Greece after last year’s Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, but with a completely different aesthetic.

    Props should give where they are due: everything shown this year should be out before E3 2020.

    The Best of Ubisoft E3 2019:

    • DOG!
    • Watch Dogs Legion looks like it could be a ton of fun.
    • Rainbow Six Quarantine is a new 3-player co-op shooter, which has my interest piqued.

    The Worst of Ubisoft E3 2019:

    • It was so slow.
    • No big knock-your-socks-off moment.
    • UPlay+ is way too expensive.

    C. Ubisoft’s E3 2019 was slow, light on content and largely uneventful. The company made some big bets that may or may not pay off. It says something that one of the highlights of the conference was a dog sitting on stage.. . . Ubisoft E3 2019

    What did you think of the Ubisoft E3 2019 conference? Let us know in the comments below!