Company Spotlight: Ubisoft

Posted by WhenYourGodGivesYouLemons On 9:53 AM

Founded in 1986 Ubisoft is a French based video game developer and publisher. It has grown to be one of the biggest video game studios, generating 1 billion euros in revenue for the 2008-09 fiscal year. The studio is behind such games as Assassins Creed, Prince of Persia, Brothers in Arms and a host of Tom Clancy games like Ghost Recon, Splinter Cell and Rainbow Six.

The studio has a big future ahead of it with the highly anticipated release of franchise games like Assassins Creed 2 and Splinter Cell Conviction. I've already spoken exhaustively about these two games as they look to be some of the best games of the year. Just as a quick refresher Assassins Creed 2 once again sees you playing an ancestor of Desmond, this time its the Italian Ezio during the time of the Italian Renaissance. You'll have a huge arsenal of weapons as you can use your enemies weapons and a huge range of gadgets at Leonardo DaVinci is like your Q from James Bond. It promises less annoying build up to assassinations and a more challenging action experience. Splinter Cell Conviction sees you controlling a familiar face in Sam Fisher, secret agent. It promises to look stunning, have one of the best stories going round in gaming and some of the best action as you're fully decked in the latest weapons and gadgets. This will truly be a blockbuster experience, playing more like a Summer blockbuster movie than any game if Ubisoft get it right. Both of these games are scheduled for release in 2009 around the busy holiday period.

Now to some games I haven't really covered before. Ubisoft has pulled off what some could say is a major deal for them as they secured the rights to build the game for James Cameron's highly anticipated film Avatar. Now normally there isn't much hype about a movie adaptation game but considering how big Avatar is and how much hype is surrounding it yet how little we know the game has been attracting some serious interest. It has provided most of our first looks at the universe Cameron is creating. The game is a third person shooter and promises full customisation of your character ranging from weapons to skills as well as the chance to play as the human RDA mining company or the native Na'vi. If this is released before the Avatar film, so far all it says is 2009, regardless of how good it is it could sell millions purley out of peoples curiosity for what Cameron is creating. The game does look good visually from what I've read so far and it's helmed by Hollywood bigshot John Landau so hopefully it's worth more than curiosity. Red Steel 2 is a game I'm looking forward too immensley, purley because it means there'll be soemthing else to buy for my Wii. Highly anticipated Wii titles and me are few and far between but Red Steel 2 has changed that. I was impressed with the first game and how it melded gunfighting and swordplay but it did suffer from controller response issues which didn't make it as fun. The game has been redesigned with a Western feel, kind of like Sukiyaki Western Django and will support Wii Motion Plus. This means that however you move your Wii remote your character on screen will react the same, so if you see a guy and freak out and wave your arms so will your character on screen. It'll mean that you can block bullets with your sword and for the first time how hard you swing the remote will be reflected in game. All this promises to create a fun and challenging game experience. Once again this is scheduled for release in 2009.

The final two games I'll be looking at are completley new titles in the Ubisoft universe. They are I Am Alive and R.U.S.E. First off I Am Alive is a hugely ambitious title, it sees you playing just an ordinary citizen who happens to be in Chicago when 10.3 magnitude earthquake hits the city destroying pretty much everything. For some reason, conspiracy, the help doesn't show up so you are left to fend for yourself. It promises a true survival experience as you must find water and food to survive whilst creating a refugee camp in hopes of gaining someones attention. Apparently you'll have to survive for 7 days and find your missing girlfriend so it promises to be a long game. What is interesting are the choices you'll have to make in the game, obviously violent groups are forming and fights for water will take place and you must choose whether to fight or hide, who to save and who not to save and whether you'll bring order to this broken city. All we have to go on is one trailer to go on but considering its release date has been rumoured to be pushed back to 2011 this should hopefully be a pretty graphics intensive game, I can't wait to see the initial earthquake and it should have some cool scripted moments where rubble will collapse. R.U.S.E. is a real time strategy game that will really emphasise the strategy part. Set in the familiar World War 2 setting it looks to revolutionise the genre and period via its deceptive gameplay. The game is built around using deceptive techniques like decoys (cardboard tanks and scarecrow infantry), camoflage and radio silence to trick your enemy into making the wrong move. Play the wrong trap though and you could pay a heavy price. The game features six nations, what are said to be the largest battlemaps in any RTS, a new interface powered by IRISZOOM engine and a vast range of units. It wowed the critics at E3 2009 with many saying it was the most anticipated strategy game and PC game and the trailer looked amazing with the two guys playing on table screen. Where it certainly looks to shine though is multiplayer where you'll test you're powers of deception against real people. I'm really looking forward to this game as I love real time strategy and the Wolrd War 2 setting so anything which looks to implement these two in new ways is ok with me. I am concerned with the learning difficulty attached to pulling off a successful RUSE, how much planning needs to go into these tactics and whether they are always neccessary. I don't doubt it's a cool idea and the trailer looks impressive but I wonder how long it will take before it becomes a fun experience? I'm sure it will have an exhaustive tutorial and will be a great experience.

Tune in again for a look at another company and don't forget to vote for your most anticipated Ubisoft game.



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