Much like people have their favourite sports teams, I have favourite publishers. For a little while it was Activision, mostly because I adored the Call of Duty and Tony Hawk franchises, but in the past couple of years that love has waned. Now, I have a new favourite publisher, and it’s one I certainly didn’t expect it to be…
While I was in my love affair with Activision, I saw Ubisoft as the “Assassin’s Creed” publisher, sure, they had other titles too, but their standout games, at least for a distant onlooker, was Assassn’s Creed. This was a series of games I just couldn’t get on with, and for the most part, I turned my attention away from the company.
That was until E3 2014 when the company unveiled Rainbow Six Siege. Say what you will about the game, but nothing caught my eye more than this tactical team-based shooter. It was forever in my mind from then on, despite not actually launching until December, 2015.
As my affair with Activision slowly faded, thanks to Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 and of course, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5, I was on the look out for another publisher to call my bae. Then E3 2015 rolled around and the company had more Rainbow Six Siege to show off. But that wasn’t all, they also unveiled more gameplay from The Division as well as announcing Ghost Recon: Wildlands and of course For Honor. By this point I was hooked.
December rolls around and Ubisoft held a ton of closed and open betas for Rainbow Six Siege which had be pawing for more. Though it had its issues, the game was a breath of fresh air from the staleness of the Call of Duty series. The the game launched, and my spark for Ubisoft really ignited.
For me, Rainbow Six Siege was a turning point for Ubisoft as they took a more soft approach for their DLC releases. Everyone got the same maps, but players could purchase a Season Pass to access Operators early, or alternatively earn them in-game once they’d fully launched. There was no push to have you purchase DLC, you could happily doddle through the game without spending a penny.
Though admittedly, it wasn’t until I got my hands on Far Cry: Primal that my love for Ubisoft really bloomed. This game just had me in awe, and for me was an unexpected hit. Before Primal I hadn’t touched a Far Cry game, for no particular reason, I just never really got around to playing them, so I was a little apprehensive to dive into it, but I’m glad I did.
Then, to further confirm my love for the publisher, The Division launched. This was a game which hoped to rival Destiny, a first person shooter RPG from Activision, and also the begging of my divorce from Activision. The Division did away with fancy space sci-fi and offered a real-world look at chaos and disaster.
Again, like Rainbow Six Siege, the game had and still has problems, but as a whole the game is incredibly enjoyable, so much so that I pumped in around 48 hours of gameplay in the first week…
Finally, E3 2016 rolls around, and Aisha Tyler walks on stage, as usual, and we’re given an extended look at the company’s upcoming release slate, one of which is an extended gameplay walkthrough of Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands, and it just looks fantastic. As always, I try not to think too much about the experience on-stage, but this game seemed to have blended the best parts of The Crew, Ghost Recon, and Grand Theft Auto V into one game, and I’m just hoping the same experience can be found in the game at launch.
If that wasn’t all, we were also introduced to Ubisoft’s newest IP, Steep, an extreme sports game with social elements, allowing you and friends to snowboard / ski, paraglide, and wingsuit your way down huge mountain ranges, creating your own lines or playing other player-created lines. Again, it looked fantastic and on paper it seems like it could be a killer game, but I’ll hold my reservations until launch.
Although this piece seems like I’m blowing smoke up Ubi’s ass, the company hasn’t been without its let downs for me. The Crew was one of them, an ambitious title which fell flat on its face as it felt more like a car-based grind than anything truly enjoyable. Then there’s the upcoming releases: Watch Dogs 2 looks like a chaotic mess – but not the good kind.
Of course, with Ubisoft being the publisher of three of my more favoured games over the past year-or-so, I feel that I could be in a sort of honeymoon period with the company, which could all come to an end if their upcoming releases fall short.
So we’ll see, I guess.