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E3 2013: Two new ones from Ubisoft

- June 10th, 2013

Which one’s fast, and which one’s furious?

Call it World of Carcraft.

Ubisoft has taken the wraps off The Crew, a next-gen driving game that’s kind of like an MMO on wheels. Set in a virtual USA that includes detailed recreations of New York, Chicago, Miami, Las Vegas and more, the game will urge players to form up into groups and take on Fast & Furious-style missions ranging from races to taking down an armoured truck

I went hands-on with the game Sunday afternoon, and it shows some promise. Developed by new studio Ivory Tower, which includes members of both Eden Games (the Test Drive franchise) and Reflections (the Driver series), the game will allow players to hop into any spot in its sprawling, persistent world, in which each city is the size of Grand Theft Auto IV’s Liberty City.

The game is developed with “co-opetition” in mind, where players group up for missions but then receive individual scores based on how well they perform. There’s a staggering amount of car customizability, and doing missions earns you the automotive equivalent of loot, netting upgrades that improve various aspects of your ride.

I played a very early build of the Xbox One version of the game (which marks my first time using the new Xbox One controller to actually play a game – felt great), and while there’s plenty of visual shine, it’s still got a ways to go. But that very specific Venn diagram overlap between car nerds and MMO fans should go nuts for the game when it comes out early in 2014.

The Crew will feature lots of licensed vehicles to race, roll and wreck.

Also coming up from Ubisoft is a new next-gen Tom Clancy game, called Tom Clancy’s The Division. Now this… THIS sounds intriguing. Based on the idea that society is always “nine meals away from anarchy” – that is, three days without food, water or services until all hell breaks loose – the game will cast players as a decidedly non-super soldier, part of a group of jacks-of-all-trades trained to activate if the world goes to hell.

The backstory of the game involves a pandemic spread through currency on Black Friday, and the game will play as a third-person shooter melded with an open-world online RPG – think Watch Dogs meets Day Z. It’s an ambitious departure for Ubisoft and the Clancy franchise, and I can’t wait to see more.

Assassin’s Creed IV sets sail, mateys

- February 28th, 2013
Assassin's Creed IV Kenway

Yo-ho, yo-ho, an assassin’s life for meeeee.

The first time I played the seafaring segments of Assassin’s Creed III, I thought, “Wow, this looks really cool. But why would Ubisoft go to so much trouble to design all this naval warfare stuff? It seems like a lot of work for such a minor part of the game.”

I think we now have the answer.

Read more…

Globe & Mail says Assassin’s Creed III “distorts history”

- November 15th, 2012

This just in: video games are not historically accurate.

In an editorial that sparked a minor twitter firestorm Thursday, the Globe & Mail lashed out against Ubisoft Montreal’s action-adventure game Assassin’s Creed III, claiming the game “distorts history” by imagining a Native American hero who fights against the British redcoats during the American Revolution. That sound you hear are thousands of gamers’ palms simultaneously slapping against their faces.

Don’t be fooled, youth of Canada. This Native American assassin killing redcoats as part of a secret war against the Templars, as experienced by a guy from 2012 who is inside a high-tech brain-scanning machine that also allows him to visit the First Crusade and the Italian Renaissance, is NOT historically accurate.

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