Ubisoft's E3 lineup bets on familiar franchises, fitness, and fast cars

Sure, there was Assassin's Creed, The Division, and Just Dance—just like you expected. But nobody saw a new Rainbow's Six coming.

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Aisha Tyler may be the host but games are the star at Ubisoft's E3 presser

"Here at Ubisoft, we start big and go bigger," said Aisha Tyler, following Ubisoft's first trailer of the day—Far Cry 4. One of the most anticipated games of the year led off Ubisoft's E3 press conference, and Tyler promised that was just the beginning of a memorable show.

Did the rest live up? Read on to find out.

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Far Cry 4

Ubisoft already revealed Far Cry 4 last week, so unfortunately this announcement didn't pack quite the punch it would've otherwise. Still, it's interesting to see another Far Cry—outside of the generally miserable story, Far Cry 3 was a fun theme park experience.

Far Cry 4 throws you into the Himalayas, abandoning the franchise's penchant for hot environs. The game opens with you on a bus, hanging out with a monkey. Unfortunately that friendly opening is quickly derailed by a group of terrorists who blow your bus up and murder most everyone. I'm sorry to say I can't confirm whether the monkey lives or dies.

Soon after, we got a glimpse of the new villain—the white-haired, purple-suited man from last week's reveal. He's no Vaas, but his "And I got blood on my $@*%#ing shoes," quote indicates someone similarly deranged. Far Cry 4 is scheduled for a November 18 release.

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Just Dance 2015

Well...okay. Far Cry 4 to Just Dance 2015? That's quite a transition, but we can roll with it. And while Just Dance 2015 sticks to consoles, the more intriguing development is Just Dance Now. Instead of being limited to a few players for multiplayer, Just Dance Now connects with your phone to track score. Anyone with a smartphone and a view of the TV can participate, with Ubisoft claiming 2000 people could play at the same time.

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Tom Clancy's The Division

Are you ready for a dark, twisted future where millions of people have died and only a few soldiers can keep order? Ubisoft showed off yet more of The Division during its press conference today, though it stuck to a CG trailer this time around instead of the gameplay footage showed during this morning's Microsoft's press conference.

The latest trailer showed the state of the US in its post-pandemic world—babies crying, women crying, men crying. A lot of crying.

All kidding aside, The Division looks great—I just want to get my hands on it instead of watching more trailers.

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The Crew

Ubisoft claims that I can drive from Miami to Los Angeles in The Crew, an open-world racing game that recreates the entire United States, with zero loading screens. We'll see what that actually means when the game releases. Apparently missions can take two hours to finish. Insanity.

There's a beta coming in July before the game's full release in November.

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Assassin's Creed Unity

What's left to say about Assassin's Creed Unity? It takes place during the French Revolution, it looks more like old Assassin's Creed than ACIV's pirate-themed side-step, and there's four-player cooperative play. You'll climb buildings, leap off said buildings, and stab people in the neck. All in all, well, it's Assassin's Creed.

If there's anything to be gleaned from Monday's demo, it's that the new series protagonist looks a bit more nimble than his predecessors. Other than that...well, it looks like Assassin's Creed, only prettier, with larger NPC crowds, and without forcing you to a loading screen every time you enter a building.

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Shape Up

Are you tired of boring, old "working out"? Why not turn it into a video game? Once again, a company is trying to trick you into getting in shape—this time it's Ubisoft with Shape Up. Do some push-ups. Run in place. Watch donuts explode on-screen.

You can do it all, with Ubisoft's Shape Up.

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Valiant Hearts: The Great War

Ubisoft's UbiArt Framework has powered some pretty beautiful games—Child of Light and the two latest Rayman games.

Now Ubisoft is using it to bring some beauty to one of the most horrific events in human history: World War I. Taking a break from the bombast, Valiant Hearts showed off a dark, poignant trailer about the consequences of the Great War, ending with your dog companion laying in a cemetery surrounded by graves.

I teared up. No shame.

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Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Siege

One last surprise from Ubisoft: Rainbow Six is back. We haven't had a Rainbow Six installment since Vegas 2, and most would argue the two Vegas games weren't even "real" Rainbow Six games due to the lack of tactical planning.

This new Rainbow six looks like it's taking full advantage of next-gen, with a ton of destructibility and (as a result) a ton of options. Want to blow a hole through the floor in order to drop in from the second floor? Well, you can do that. No need to stick to doors and windows. I guess those years off really primed us for a great Rainbow Six comeback.