The Ubisoft E3 keynote is set to begin in about an hour and we're on site at the Los Angeles Theatre. We've got our heavy game scoopz
lifting gloves on, ready to haul all of the previous gaming news away and onto our webzone here, for you, dear reader.
Feel free to let us know what you're looking forward to in the comments below. As for us, we're going to spend the pre-show time trying to make Beyond Good & Evil 2
exist ... with our minds
6:34PM Oh, and before we go. No Beyond Good & Evil 2, Ubisoft? Really? If that game is really canceled, it's over between us. OVER!
6:30PM Alright, that's it. Team Joystiq is about to take the stage and show these chumps how to really dance. Now, if you'll excuse us ...
6:29PM Six totally-cooler-than-us dancers take the stage in what appears to be a DANCE OFF! Is this some kind of motion-controlled dancing game, ala Harmonix's Dance Central? We're not seeing any gameplay just yet, just dancing. There's a Kinect camera at the front of the stage they seem to be dancing towards, but it seems like there isn't much more to show at this point outside of the CONCEPT of a Michael Jackson game. The dancers are from Michael Jackson's "This is It" apparently, giving them lots of street cred. And those moves!
6:26PM Yves has one more announcement: "We've signed a legend," he says. And the game: "Beat It." It's a Michael Jackson simulator, folks!
6:25PM Yves is talking about a new "platform" called "Mania Planet." This is built by the Trackmania folks. It's the first "user-powered PC gaming zone." This is some kind of game creation system to make games based on three genres: FPS, racer, and RPG. You can create or play games created by others. Trackmania beta in Q4 2010, Shootmania beta in Q1 2011, Questmania beta "coming soon."
6:22PM It's got a very attractive 2D art style, more reminiscent of recent indie games, with lush hand-drawn graphics. It's called "Rayman: Origins" and the tools used to make the game are called Ubi Art Framework. Only five people worked on this game.
6:21PM Ubisoft created tools to help artists create games – those artists chose to return to a classic Ubisoft franchise. Rayman, in a new digitally distributed title! The audience claps!
6:19PM I wanted to show you three new projects we've been working on. First is called "Dust" by Eric Chahi, famed designer of Another World. This will be a digitally distributed title. This is exciting, people! It shows a tribal group living in a world on the verge of extinction. The whole world could "crumble to Dust." The date: Spring 2011.
6:16PM McHale sounds like he's wrapping up ... instead, he's bringing out Yves Guillemot, CEO of Ubisoft.
6:16PM They're got hands-on with both single player and multiplayer demos at the Ubisoft booth. You can bet we'll be checking out both this week.
6:15PM We're into a gameplay demo – "For the first time in Driver history," there's real licensed cars. "And we damage them," Edmondson adds. He's showing off a "brand new gameplay innovation" called Shift. Tanner is in a coma, but he does not realize he's in a coma. At any point, you can pull back, scan the city, and "shift" into any other vehicle. Want to do a 180? Shift to another car going in the other direction. There's over 208 miles of roads with plenty of missions. "Shift is your key to accessing these missions."
6:12PM Another CGI trailer to intro the game – it's a chase across the Golden Gate bridge. One of the cars is a classic muscle car, another is an armored truck driven by "Jericho." A head-on collision ends the video. Creative Director Martin Edmondson takes the stage. "We've gone back to the roots of what that original Driver game such a unique experience." They've got undercover cop John Tanner back, along with his enemy Jericho from Driver 2.
6:10PM The entire campaign is playable in four-player co-op, and in stereoscopic 3D if that's your thing. Next up: Driver, returning to car chase capital of the entertainment world: San Francisco.
6:08PM And we're onto another level. The player targets a helicopter pilot. "Three, two, one, mark." Boom! The helicopter, and the cargo it's towing, go careening around the level. A firefight after that and we're done with the demo. "Thank you guys for coming. That was the greatest thing I've ever seen," McHale quips.
6:06PM The optical camouflage allows for close quarter combat, Morado says. The troops are sneaking around, taking out enemies in an attempt to capture an individual. The cross-comm feature allows you to spot all the enemies and highlights in the level. It has a very predatory feel, sneaking around and picking off groups of enemies. Catching up to the mark, the player advances behind him while his teammates snipe the three soldiers around him. Boom!
6:02PM "They're a highly trained precision unit," packing the latest (ie: not yet invented) equipment. "What kind of army has invisible suits?" McHale asks. Apparently the US does! Optical camouflage is pretty futuristic, we agree. We're into a gameplay demo.
6:00PM Next up is Ghost Recon: Future Soldier! A pretty slick CGI trailer introduces us to the Ghosts. Adrian Lacey and Rafael Morado take the stage to talk Future Soldier.
5:58PM We've got a CGI video for another Rabbids game. They're got a washing machine-shaped time machine, and those wascally wabbids are bouncing through time, getting into all sorts of trouble. Cavemen? Check. Ancient Rome? Check. Knights? Check. Raving Rabbids: Travel in Time is available November 9th for Wii.
5:56PM To be honest, the kickboxing demo looks like fun. Smashing those blocks looks really satisfying. Felicia says she's going to have some ice cream as a reward. McHale jokes, "You worked out for three minutes!" Ha!
5:55PM A friend sends her a challenge online -- this wasn't something we saw during this morning's demo. "You can also brag about your results and send challenges" out to social networks like Facebook. You hear that, Joystiq audience? Can you handle the Joystiq push-up challenge? The average Joystiq editor can do nearly seven push-ups. DO YOU HAVE WHAT IT TAKES TO ACCEPT OUR CHALLENGE?
5:53PM This demo is identical to this morning's, so we're going to skim over much of this. Speaking of the heat-mapped avatar on the screen, McHale quips "You're on fire." We'd suggest she has a more "lava-based" appearance, more than "fire."
5:50PM We're about to hear the Your Shape pitch again, with "Hollywood trainer" Michael George and Ubisoft's Felicia Williams.
5:50PM We're sure one of these is Your Shape, which Ubi demoed extensively this morning during the Microsoft conference. The first video shows some kind of sports package. There's ski-ing, soccer, football, more. It's called "Motion Sports" and it's a Kinect exclusive.
5:48PM We've got a promo video about making physical games – lots of big talk about the philosophies behind "games you can feel." We're going to see two brand new Ubisoft titles developed for Kinect.
5:45PM "Innergy can help you with a job interview or simply to help you sleep at night." Apparently, if you "practice it every day" it can help you live longer or give your immune system a boost! Maybe we're just cynical monsters, but this sounds like hooey. McHale sends him off-stage with a rather blunt burn on his "dye job." Burn!
5:44PM "When you breath this way, you change the pattern of your heartbeat," he says. "This is called cardiac coherence, and reaching this state allows you to rid yourself of the negative effects of stress on your mind and body." We told you, New Age-y, right?
5:43PM We're kidding, it's an energy sensor you place on your finger. This looks like Nintendo's Vitality Sensor ... and we mean it REALLY looks like the Vitality Sensor. The "game" is asking him to breath in, and breath out. "Try to focus," Francois says.
5:41PM Tommy Francois is the "new concept director" and he's here to talk about "Innergy." This sounds awfully New Age-y – he says when we're stressed, we die creatively. So he's going to show us how to fix everything with AN AMAZING NEW DIET!
5:40PM In North America, the kit comes with two guns, four "tags," the Ubi Connect, and two harnesses. No word on price though ... but it sounds pricey. There was alo no word on console support, but the demo appeared to be running on PC.
5:39PM There are small blocks that you can distribute around your house, as you pick them up you scan them with your gun controller, and then fire back at the "Ubi Connect," which appears to be some kind of receiver. So it's like a race. McHale and the creator race to gather the blocks and shoot back at the receiver.
5:37PM "It's a combination of two worlds," the developer says. Lazer Tag and a shooter video game. "The Game Master challenges you and keeps score."
"It's a video game you play away from the screen," he explains. We're still not sure we follow. So basically it's Lazer Tag but the game system keeps score in real time? What if you're playing outside?
5:36PM "It's a real live shooter you can play at home with your friends."
"If your friends are models."
It's called "Battle Tag."
5:35PM Okay, the next demo is ... well, to be honest, we're not sure. A bunch of (rather attractive!) people are running around the room firing Lazer Tag style guns at each other and there's some software on the screen that seems to be tracking it.
"Wait to go. You beat models," McHale jokes.
5:33PM "You can basically fall so hard your guy explodes." Wait ... was that a joke or for real? The demo ends in a giant explosion, leading us to believe that might be for real. The demo is playable in 3D as well. Just like real life!
5:31PM "I just like how out of every game I've ever played, it's always just that set level," White says. Now you can change that level and "making this unique skate park to you, as you're playing," Harper adds. As you kick your flips around town, you're going to be bringing life back to the city. Take that, Ministry!
5:29PM He's explaining the narrative background behind the game: as you change the world (through skateboarding!) it changes, and you're simultaneously removing Ministry control. What's the Ministry? Why, a totalitarian regime that totally wants to make everything gray and keep you from grinding that rail, dude. "So, the cool innovation for us is what we call 'shaping.'"
5:26PM Creative Director Nick Harper is out, explaining some of the background on the game. "It's strange. The way you would look at a street, I would see it completely differently," White says. Hence the ability to change your environment in Shaun White Skateboarding. Demo time!
5:25PM "Have they motion-captured your hair?"
"They tried, but it was too complicated. How could they capture that?"
5:24PM Look, we're sorry about the Carrot Top gag; he gets a bad rap. Joel and Shaun are talking about how many medals he's won this year, thrilling stuff. So they're talking about how you may think Shaun White is synonymous with snowboarding, that's evidently not true! He's good at skateboarding also. Yeah? Well ... we're good at lots of stuff too.
5:22PM Next up: Shaun White's Skateboarding. He's like Carrot Top, but talented. And here comes Mr. White himself!
5:21PM They're not showing off the multiplayer component, but they invited all of us to check it out at their booth this week. Will do, accented Ubisoft guy!
5:20PM Ezio watches the enemy kill his wife, and falls off a rooftop. Now, he's moved to Rome and will establish a brotherhood, ostensibly to exact some (hopefully bloody!) revenge!
5:19PM "We're giving the player new moves and new fight mechanics [...] and we've made the AI way more aggressive." It looks like a group of guards won't stand around and watch you kill their colleagues anymore. Ezio used a wrist-gun to take two of them down, and later tossed an axe into another guard's head. Yikes!
5:17PM Ezio grabs a cannon for himself, messes some dudes up. "Gameplay diversity is still a priority for Brotherhood," we're told. There's some really nice moments here, with some really cinematic camerawork scripted in there.
5:16PM It's strange to see Ezio running around the city sans white costume. They say one of the goals of the game is to fully exploit the role of the horse. He's riding around the narrow streets on horseback. The siege outside the city walls appears massive; cannon fire is ripping the city apart. "We're striving to give players different experiences, such as this cannon gameplay sequence."
5:14PM We've got two Ubisoft developers on stage and, notably, neither of them are Patrice Desilets. The Assassin's Creed creator just left his post at Ubisoft, but of course all things Assassin's Creed will continue in his absence. Now we're getting some gameplay footage. "Ezio has become a legend," we're told. The templars are attacking his villa.
5:11PM This is the E3 trailer we posted this morning, so you could always go watch that instead of reading this. We're just going to sit back and enjoy the show, meet you back here in a couple minutes.
5:10PM A video for Assassin's Creed Brotherhood fills the entire stage. It's more of a montage than a video, to be honest. Now we're onto the actual game on a smaller screen. Game, yes. Gameplay, no. But you all know what Assassin's Creed 2 looks like.
5:08PM He says Ubisoft told him that they're making "games you can feel." McHale jokes about neck-stabbing and being burned alive, which always gets a laugh. Aren't video games great? It sounds like Ubisoft is really pushing physical gameplay in a big way – that seems to be the theme of this year's show.
5:07PM "This is my new game, Child of Eden," Miz says. And there it is, it uses Kinect. Will this be a retail or an XBLA title? They don't say, but Joel McHale is taking over the show.
5:06PM Mizuguchi looks like a conductor up there, conducting a particularly blast-y video game orchestra with a distinctly techno flavor. And the title: Child of Eden! And they introduce Mizuguchi.
5:04PM It's got that vectorized, Rez feel. Like if Rez, Tron, Tempest, and Kinect had a baby. Just ... just let that scenario play out in your mind. It's pretty weird if you really think about it.
5:03PM It's music, bright lights, trippy visuals, shmuping, and lots of sweeping hand gestures.
5:02PM A man on stage is playing a game that's awfully similar to Rez using -- get this! -- only his hands. What is this? The future. This is Mizuguchi's Child of Eden, we presume, and it looks like classic Miz.
5:00PM The lights are down, things are getting quiet. That means it's go time!
4:58PM Sorry -- did we say Children of Eden? As you can see, the teleprompter mentions Child of Eden. We're a squeezed into these seats -- the vision's a little blurry.
4:53PM Just under ten minutes to go!
4:44PM From the teleprompter: "Ladies and gentlemen, the world renowned creator of Lumines, Rez, and Space Channel 5..." Looks like we'll be seeing Tetsuya Mizuguchi here at the show today, showing off Children of Eden.
4:38PM Also, Ubisoft is coming down to the wire -- we saw them still editing the teleprompter script up until just a few minutes ago.
4:37PM We're here! Sitting in the audience, we can see the teleprompter from here, and so we know to expect a Children of Eden demo first. Show doesn't start for another 20 minutes plus, though.
4:10PM And we're inside. Things don't kick off for quite awhile, so we're going to go radio silent for a bit. For now, some sights and sounds: here's a pic of the stage and, for backing music, the unexpected Cat Power.