Was Ubisoft Forward Worth Watching or Was It a Step Back?

Ubisoft’s big digital showcase finally happened as Ubisoft Forward showed us a glimpse into what’s coming this year and beyond from Ubisoft’s biggest studios. It also didn’t show us glimpses into a bunch of other things as well, and in case you missed it, Beyond Good and Evil 2 has once again eluded our grasp.

What a strange showing this was. Before the stream even went live, Ubisoft released an odd statement claiming that the pre-recorded showcase was filmed a while ago and so they couldn’t address the current allegations and harassment stories that have been making the rounds over the last few weeks. Many top brass Ubisoft executives have been ousted amid multiple misconduct investigations while Ubisoft scrambled to release a digital showcase in which they apparently could not edit in time for the show.

It is truly a strange way to go about this. It would’ve meant a lot to the survivors and employees of the studios if they had delayed the video and addressed this important matter from the offset but instead we got nothing. Quite frankly, what compounds this even more is the fact that Ubisoft Forward wasn’t anything groundbreaking to begin with. We could’ve totally waited. I could’ve totally waited. The Game Fanatics stand with the survivors and we hope Ubisoft understand this and enforces true change.

But what did they show? Watch Dogs Legion had a lengthy 15 minute showcase that really drove home the idea that every NPC in the game would be recruitable and that many of them have insane combat skills. From a construction worker who wields a wrench to  a drone expert who can sneak around and stealthily deploy more gadgets than Batman himself. The game looks to be a solid improvement over the redemptive Watch Dogs 2 and thankfully it showed well during this showcase. We just hope the story lives up to all the wackiness we’ve seen up to this point.

Before they showed us more of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, they teased and trolled us with a Sam Fisher cameo in what they called Tom Clancy’s Elite Squad; a free-to-play mobile game starring characters from Ghost Recon, Rainbow Six and of course Splinter Cell. Another strange decision here. Was anyone else turned off by Sam Fisher’s character model?

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla finally had the stage and boy it did not disappoint. The brutal combat looked punchy and satisfying, I cringed every time Eivor performed a stunned attack with a giant hammer. The showcase showed off all the different ways Evior can approach combat, whether you dual wield shields or hunt enemies down with a viking harpoon, it is truly a sight to behold. You can also build settlements ala Fallout 4 and have settlers provide you with services that can aid you in your journey. The game also promises vast exploration and if the map is anywhere near the size of Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, then we’re in for a massive treat.

I’m personally excited for the climatic assault battles. Assaults are these large-scale battles where you storm heavily guarded fortresses with your squad and it looks awesome. Although the game doesn’t look jaw-droppingly gorgeous, it’s not hard to imagine the scope of this game being anything other than impressive.

Ubisoft’s big closer was Far Cry 6, a title that had previously leaked. Despite the entire trailer leaking, there’s no denying that this new Far Cry title seems to be going back to what made Far Cry so successful in the first place. Tropical island setting, detached and crazy villain and a sense of freedom not found in many video games. This time around, we’re dealing with Antón Castillo as our big bad and he’s voiced by the venerable Giancarlo Esposito of Breaking Bad fame. Giancarlo Esposito’s soft spoken yet deviously sinister delivery works really well here and we can’t wait to face off against him and his army. The trailer also hints at his son being possibly playable; he has a son whom he’s grooming to become his successor after he’s gone. Everything about Far Cry 6 has us extremely excited and we can’t wait to learn more.

Far Cry 6 is slated for February 18, 2021 for PS5, Xbox Series X, PS4, Xbox One, PC, and Google Stadia.

Far Cry 6 was arguably the best game shown during Ubisoft Forward despite it being leaked which tells you a lot about what kind of show Ubisoft had. Yves Guillemot promises another Ubisoft Forward in the near future so hopefully that’ll be the knockout show Ubisoft needs. What did you think of Ubisoft Forward? Better than EA Play? Leave your hot takes down below.

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