E3 2021: Ubisoft’s keynote highlights

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E3 2021’s virtual conferences have kicked off with Ubisoft being the first publisher to show off their wares. In case you didn’t catch Ubisoft’s Forward at E3, here are the biggest announcement the publisher made. Strap in.

Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla is quite a bit of DLC

Ubisoft’s latest instalment in its historical franchise is getting a boatload of content over the next year or so. We’ve already seen the first story DLC Wrath Of The Druids and we know the second, The Siege Of Paris is in the pipeline

On top of that players can expect new infiltration missions, new armour, weapons, and more gear (maybe some new tattoos are in the offing) and some new enemies. Ubisoft also said that more expansions are coming next year, but in the meantime, Valhalla is getting its historical tour mode, Discovery Tour: Viking Age, which is coming in spring

Far Cry 6 examines a new enemy and a few old ones

The main reveal from Far Cry 6’s E3 reveal was an deep introduction – well as deep as four or so minutes can allow – to the new game’s villain Antón Castillo played by Breaking Bad’s Giancarlo Espisito. It’s a pretty chilling cut-scene that’s well worth a look.

Ubisoft also announced a season pass piece of DLC in which players will be able to take on the roles of past villains in this franchise including terrorist Vaas Montenegro, dictator Pagan Min and religious cult leader Joseph Seed.

Proof, if anything, you can’t keep a good villain down.

Rainbow Six Extraction arrives this September

Viewers got a look at Rainbow Six: Extraction, a spin-off from Rainbow Six: Siege (well a mode from Siege called Outbreak, if you’re being pedantic). In it, players in groups of three team up to tackle parasitic aliens in their lairs and complete a list of objectives.

Much like its predecessor, the gameplay is operative-based and asymmetrical. After being delayed – its original release date was last year – players will be able to get their hands on it on 16th September 2021 on PS4, PS5, Windows , Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S. Oh – and it supports cross-platform play.

Watch Dogs: Legion Bloodlines has a fancy trailer

In among the new announcements came a piece of information that anyone interested in Watch Dogs: Legion already knows: the Bloodlines expansion is coming early July and it marks the return of Aidan Pearce (he of the first Watch Dogs game with the gravelly voice)

What players may not have known is that it also marks the return of Wrench, the rather fun NPC with the wicked mask from Watch Dogs 2; if the trailer is to be believed, he may provide a light-hearted counterbalance to the stoic Pearce. Oh, and Pearce has a nephew in London – here’s hoping he doesn’t suffer the same fate as his niece. (Too soon?)

An Avatar video game is on the way

As James Cameron’s much heralded sequel nears release in cinemas – if such things exist anymore by the time it arrives – Ubisoft has announced Avatar: Frontiers Of Pandora. Whether this is a tie-in with the movie on the horizon or whether it’ll tell a different story is unclear at this stage.

What is clear is that – barring delays – it’s set to drop in the same year the movie Avatar 2 comes out – 2022. Let’s hope it was better than Ubisoft’s last attempt at an Avatar game back in 2009, which at best was ropy, and at worst had a 3D component that made players seasick.

Mario and The Rabbids are back

Beyond the guns and grit, Ubisoft had some family fare to announce. Top among them was Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope.

The sequel to Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle, this baby is landing on the Nintendo Switch next year. The trailer is a mere peak at the action, but it shows off some gorgeous environments, some great team mechanics and naturally a soundtrack for the ages.

Riders Republic is coming September

Dirt bikes? Bicycles? Track building? Stunts? Careers? No, this isn’t the next Trials game, it’s Riders Republic and it looks like it takes everything players loved about RedLynx’s game and goes widescreen. We could go into more details about the wing-suits, the jetpacks, the snowboards… but just watch the trailer. Really.

See – it looks absolutely mental. And it’s arriving in early September.

Learn to pluck strings with Rocksmith +

Ubisoft’s guitar-training game has been going for over a decade and at its keynote, the publisher announced the next instalment

Billed as “the future of music learning”, Rocksmith + is essentially a music learning subscription-based service, which budding guitarists can use to practice, hone their chops and (hopefully) get themselves ready to play stadiums at some stage.

 

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I've been writing about tech and games for around 20 years. Been playing games since I was tall enough to reach the controls on an arcade machine. Old enough to remember when games weren't something people yelled at each other about.

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