Ubisoft Forward + Devolver Direct 2020: Our Highlights and Verdicts

Video Version of Event Review:

Highlights of the Show:

Reclaim Your Future: Watch Dogs Legion Short Film – Hands down the most interesting part of the show was the Watch Dogs Legion Short Film directed by Alberto Mielgo. In the short film we are shown a release date for the game, October 29, 2020, which takes place in a high-tech London which has been bombed and subjected to martial law under a PMC (Private Military Corporation) instead of government. Nigel Crass is our story’s antagonist, the CEO of Albion, the PMC running London now. In one clip he is seen shooting the chief of police, giving bold confirmation of his corruption and ulterior motives of gaining world power to achieve a dictatorship for himself. While Albion will likely be the ultimate enemy of DeadSec which has been labelled a terrorist organization in the game, and is supposed to represent a fictional hacker / resistance group, even though Ubisoft has crafted a misnomer by using the name of a real life hacker group with its own court cases and controversies. The adrenaline packed Watch Dogs: Legion Short Film is well worth watching, check it out below.

Far Cry 6 Story Trailer – In the Story Trailer we are shown Breaking Bad’s Gustav (actor: Giancarlo Esposito) as a dictator in a fictional country overrun with internal conflict. El Presidente is shown teaching his young heir a life lesson on a rooftop with a hand grenade as riots surround them and a statue of El Presidente is seen being torn down. He compared the people of his country to the handle on the pin of the grenade and told his son he must clutch them closely. Then he tells his son to prove himself which we assume means throwing the grenade into a crowd of rioters to establish order. The clip cuts before we see if he throws it or not, possibly a player choice in-game, and we are given a release date of February 18, 2021 for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, Epic Games Store, Xbox One, PS4, and Stadia. Unfortunately we weren’t shown any gameplay at all, otherwise it could’ve been the highlight of the show. Far Cry is a series which is in desperate need of a gameplay overhaul, and Ubisoft will need to prove they’ve done that with FC6 as they’ve done with AC Origins, Odyssey, and now Valhalla. One thing’s for sure, the story writing seems on point.

Watch Dogs Legion Gameplay Trailer – Originally when Watch Dogs 3 was revealed as Watch Dogs Legion Ubisoft practically promised players that every NPC in the game would have its own side story and be playable. Clearly that has been toned down by the look of things according to this new gameplay shown at the event, but veteran gamers likely never expected a literal manifestation of those ideas. Rather, something limited by the time and budget of the game and technology available at the time during development will result in what could feel close to that goal or far from it, depending on how the final product turns out. That being said, there’s a big open world London mapped after the real life city with an absolutely mind blowing amount of diversity between the weapons, action, characters, combat, missions, loot, outfits, art styles, and even the game’s enemies themselves (which could be a strong point for the game over previous Watch Dogs titles). Watch Dogs Legion releases October 29, 2020 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC and is expected to make its way to PS5 and Xbox Series X as well.

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla Extended Gameplay – After so many positive changes have occured in the AC franchise throughout the last two releases, fans have high hopes for a Vikings themed entry. A storyline cinematic that was also shown recently by AMD was given a world stage during Ubisoft’s show which eventually led up to gameplay, and you can also see some of your favorite influencers have been playing the game and publishing their first impressions as well. The work-in-progress gameplay has been criticized by gamers for not looking very next-gen compared to previous teasers, but overall the closer look at combat changes was met with optimism in the community. Assassin’s Creed Valhalla releases November 17, 2020 for PS4, Xbox One, PC, Stadia, and is expected to get PS5 / XSX versions as well.

HONORABLE MENTION

HyperScape Story Trailer – It was really great how Ubisoft gave more meaning to the world HyperScape takes place within. Although right now we are only playing the Battle Royale within it, the HyperScape is actually a dystopian future world similar to that of the film Ready Player One in which almost all of humanity escapes to VR for the majority of their waking hours meanwhile the company running this shared VR world is trying to come up with ways to use this technology against humanity to gain world power through aggression. I look forward to trying out HyperScape now that it’s in Open Beta and out of its technical testing phase. The story behind it gives great context to the game and allows for an expansion of the franchise if it ends up gaining a fanbase.

UBISOFT FORWARD JULY 2020 PRESENTATION GRADE: C-

FINAL VERDICT

Overall this was a presentation which many view as a dissapointment. Info that was already out there, a lack of gameplay for Far Cry 6, seemingly underwhelming visual fidelity of the actual broadcast stream itself, and a lack of E3-season worthy announcements are some of the reasons why a lot of gamers might rate this presentation even lower than I have right now.

The gameplay and trailers which were shown were great on their own but the lack of literally any new game announcements for an E3 season presentation is a large detractor. A lot of the content could have very well been launched as part of a press release or trailers uploaded to YouTube as not much was shown in the overall spectrum of things. Typically, Ubisoft and EA have had the weaker presentations of the annual E3 season, year after year. This is just another average year for them in some ways. However, in some ways it’s worse since nothing new was shown.

The only reason they received a C- instead of a D is because of the same reason we had to keep in mind for Xbox and PS5 events this year. Big game companies are splitting their announcements up into pieces to be spread throughout the course of the Summer. This is likely only half or one third of Ubisoft’s presentation plans, an approach we have seen across the board.

FULL UBISOFT FORWARD 2020 REPLAY