The video games publishing giant, Ubisoft, is looking set to have a fantastic year, as they prepare to roll out their next generation titles, which include the much anticipated Watch Dogs and The Division. Both titles have generated huge interest from games critics, and fans alike, suggesting we could have some stellar hits on our hands.
I recall watching live video footage of The Division from the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3). As the camera panned across the snowy rooftops of a crippled city, the game’s engine seamlessly transitioned from a cutscene into actual gameplay. The city, although in an absolute state of anarchy and lawlessness, seemed vibrant and alive, as the main protagonist traversed the streets in pursuit of his objectives. Movement of characters was fluid, the holographic map was inspired and the developer’s attention to detail was remarkable. Listening to the reaction of audience members, after the game’s reveal, conveyed the sheer level of enthusiasm others had for the game; rivaling game developers, who had also attended the event, remained well and truly in the shadow of The Division.
The Division’s developers have recently confirmed the game’s release on the PC. Initially, there was a conspicuous absence of any official release date for the game on PC, causing much consternation amongst the community, who then campaigned for the game to be brought to the desktop platform. Their wish has now been granted, as was the proud announcement of Ubisoft’s Communication Manager, Gary Steinman:
“You asked for it (at least judging from the hundreds of comments on this UbiBlog post when the game was first revealed – and the thousands of comments on Facebook, Twitter and elsewhere). And now Ubisoft is delivering. Today, Ubisoft confirmed that along with the previously announced PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions, Tom Clancy’s The Division will be available on PC as well.”
Ubisoft’s The Division is a third person shooter (with a camera angle akin to Watch Dogs) that will take inspiration from a variety of sources, including tactical, role-playing and action shooter genres. In terms of plot, the game focuses upon the uncontrollable spread of an infectious disease, resulting in the United States’ immediate collapse. You are rolled out as part of the Strategic Homeland Division to stoically save the day, and curtail unfolding events. As reported by GamesRadar, Ubisoft boss Yves Guillemot, recognizing he has a stellar hit on his hands, had this to say during a company sales call:
“After years of investing in the technologies, expertise and production capacity required for regularly releasing open world titles and for integrating online and social innovations, Ubisoft is now ideally positioned to continue on its path of winning market share and enhancing its financial performance.”
This news was followed by the latest gameplay footage from Watch Dogs, another one of Ubisoft’s big hitters. Watch Dogs is set in Chicago, and provides the gamer with a unique form of combat — technology. You star as a computer hacker, called Aiden Pearce, who is able to access the authority’s advanced computer network to retrieve data on the bustling city’s residents. As well as this, you are granted the ability to manipulate some of the region’s key electronic subsystems, including security cameras, traffic lights and electronically-operated bollards, to name a select few.
The latest Watch Dogs trailer introduces a vigilante group, called DedSec, who articulate their dismay at the city’s highly flawed security system, as evidenced by Aiden Pearce’s ability to hack the network, unabated.
However, the endless stream of Ubisoft-related news did not end there. It seems a Watch Dogs film is currently in the works, with Ubisoft Motion Pictures collaborating with New Regency and Sony Pictures to bring their vision to the big screen.
Ubisoft should be commended for bringing fresh and invigorating new ideas to the table. The French publisher is starting to develop a rather pleasant habit of unveiling new and innovative intellectual properties. At Gamescom 2013, held in Germany, Ubisoft revealed its rather impressive roster of new games, which also includes a new racing game (The Crew), alongside the return of games from their more staple franchises, including Rayman Legends and Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag.
Ubisoft’s attempts to bring new concepts to the table, combined with their apparent commitment to reducing intrusive, draconian anti-piracy measures, is likely to place the company in much better stead with gamers. It seems that Ubisoft is well and truly on a roll, churning out stellar concepts, including Watch Dogs and The Division. If they are able to keep up this intensity, the publisher is likely to perform very well throughout this next generation of gaming.
By: James Fenner