Everything Shown in the Very Political Ubisoft Forward Conference

"Everyone can be a hero."

On July 12, Ubisoft held its Ubisoft Forward conference, showing off the company’s impressive upcoming games. (Though not an acknowledgment of the abuse allegations many Ubisoft executives have faced in the last several weeks.) Here’s every game that was shown off during the live stream — most of which are pretty explicitly political, in my humble opinion.

Watch Dogs: Legion

Watch Dogs: Legion looks to be deeply political, even starting off with an appropriation of the Holocaust poem titled, “First they came…

“First, they came for the foreigners, and I did not speak out because I was not a foreigner,” says a man in the segment’s opening moments. “Then, they came for the protestors but I did not speak out because I was not a protestor. Then, they came for the journalists but I did not speak out because I was not a journalist.” Bizarrely, he ends the poem by connecting it to street artists before saying he now realized, “they’d come for me and there would be no one left to speak for me.”

The tone of the trailer is a bit messy, with Watch Dogs‘ tongue-in-cheek nature conflicting with the usage of real-world political phrases such as “welcome to the resistance.” It feels like the phrase is almost cheapened, used as a means to market a product rather than express solidarity with a real political movement. But it is ultimately the idea of a political revolution that Watch Dogs: Legion is centered on, for you can recruit anyone you see in the open world to join your activist team. The team you build will form the secret hacker group called DedSec, which is being framed for terrorist bombings by a group called Zero-Day and must subsequently expose the truth.

While the segment didn’t do much for me, I still really want to play as an old grandma. How Watch Dogs: Legion handles its explicit political themes and imagery remains to be seen. It will be released on Oct. 29 for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. Editions of the game for next-gen consoles are also on the way.

Brawlhalla

On Aug. 6th, you’ll be able to play Brawlhalla on iOS and Android devices and have the ability to cross-play with everyone. It’s a free-to-play 2D fighting game with 50 legends to enter battles with. It has single-player and co-op modes online and locally with up to 8 players. Ubisoft has announced that the game has over 40 million registered players across platforms.

Might & Magic Era of Chaos

Across the last seven months, 30+ million hours have been played and 100+ million battles have been fought in Might & Magic Era of Chaos. Join Queen Catherine Ironfist on a quest to restore the Kingdom of Erathia ravaged by war, exploring a massive world, gathering warriors and creatures, and leading troops along the way.

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Tom Clancy’s Elite Squad

Tom Clancy’s Elite Squad is a free-to-play military RPG coming to mobile devices. Assemble a strike team across multiple Tom Clancy franchises, including Splinter Cell, Ghost Recon, Rainbow Six Siege, and The Division. So, it’s like Tom Clancy’s Avengers with a Fortnite-ish art style. You’ll be able to command your team against other squads in real-time tactical firefights. If you pre-register now, you’ll be able to secure the exclusive reward of Montage’s tier 2 weapon. A semi-automatic pistol. Cool. Fine. Go forth.

Hyper Scape

I’m frankly distressed by how attractive so many of Hyper Scape‘s characters are. It’s like Ubisoft knew that, as someone who isn’t huge on battle royales, I would take some convincing. They also must’ve known that, as a bisexual, I am happy to play a battle royale if a game’s characters are attractive enough.

Hyper Scape takes place in 2054, a time when a company is launching the virtual world of the Hyper Scape where “everything converges.” In the Hyper Scape, you’ll be fighting your way through the unique districts, rooftops, and interiors of Neo Arcadia. You’ll have special abilities known as Hacks that you can pick up on the fly to adapt your tactics. One of them makes you turn into a ball, which is frankly what I’d rather be in a battle royale, to be honest. I don’t stick with battle royales for long, but I love the look and potential for fun that this one seems to have. An open beta is now available on PC for all players worldwide.

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla

More Assassin’s Creed except with Vikings. This is the first gameplay look we’ve gotten of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, which will apparently even allow you to switch male or female Eivor. The game looks gorgeous, as has come to be expected from the series. While you’ll engage in brutal combat, you’ll also have sections where you’ll operate under stealth, as the real Vikings did. As Eivor, a Viking from Norway, you’ll lead warriors across the sea to the British Isles.

The music and presentation reminded me of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, which is always a good thing. Except the battles look more fun. And, not to be dramatic, but lady Eivor can kick my ass. The game will be released this holiday series on Xbox Series X, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC, and Google Stadia.

Far Cry 6

Ah, yes. Far Cry 6. I’ve written about my apprehension about this game already, so I’ll spare your time and mine with rehashing the reasons as to why. The game stars Giancarlo Esposito — who I hope the executives on this game know is not Latinx — as Antón Castillo, the ruthless dictator of the fictional island nation of Yara. He is preparing his son Diego — played by Anthony Gonzalez — for the brutal reality of ruling “with an iron fist.” Ubisoft has shared an interview with Giancarlo Esposito regarding the role.

On Antón, Esposito says he is driven by the goal of creating a better world for his people. He’s “very smart in how he manipulates Diego and puts him in the position he needs to be in. He’s questioning him constantly about what he thinks, what is your truth. He has a saying: ‘truth or lies’… and truth is always going to be the winner.” On Diego, Gonzalez says that what he’s gone through with his father really made him resonate with and feel for Diego.

It seems we’ll be getting yet another fatherhood story from a giant video game series, since we haven’t gotten enough of that, yeah? It might be a little different this time since it’s a fatherhood story focusing not on white people but rather on a Latinx boy in a Latin setting. I’m not particularly expecting Far Cry to handle representation well, as it never really has, but time will tell. Far Cry 6 will be released on February 18, 2021.

You can watch the entire Ubisoft Forward conference below. It starts at 1:28:15.

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Natalie Flores

Natalie is Fanbyte's Featured Contributor, with bylines at places like VICE, Polygon, PC Gamer, Paste Magazine, and more.

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