We already knew about Ubisoft’s new Splinter Cell, the new Rayman, the next Rocksmith, whatever The Mighty Quest is supposed to be, Watch Dogs, Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag, more insufferable Rabbids, more Trials, and another Just Dance. What we didn’t know about were the standouts of today’s E3 presentation. Some former Test Drive Unlimited developers and Driver: San Francisco developers are working on The Crew, an ambitious open-world driving game set on a map of the United States that makes me wonder why anyone would bother with Forza 5 and Need for Speed: Rivals. As some cars rounded a bend overlooking Las Vegas, the guy presenting the demo said, “You could drive all the way down there and drag race the Strip.” That’s what I like to hear.
The Division, from Ubisoft’s Massive studio in Sweden, is an equally ambitious and enthusiastically presented MMO/shooter, laid out in a canned demo convincingly acted by a group of players who put to shame EA’s godawful commander mode gameplay session for Battlefield 4, in which 63 people rode boats to the top of a skyscraper while a 64th player identified himself as a commander as he poked at a tablet. In The Division demo, a group of players used various cool gadgets to liberate a besieged police station, showing off gameplay that would do any single player shooter proud. The Division claims it’s a massively multiplayer open world with some players on the ground while other players fly drones around. And sometimes PvP just breaks out. Then confetti fell from the ceiling. Ubisoft knows how to make a party out of a presentation.