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UbiSoft 2008 Preview

I met with Ubisoft the other day and talked to them about the games that they are working on for 2008. I saw a bunch of demos, and played some games. They even brewed a fresh pot of coffee for me.

Rainbow 6 Vegas 2 - It's the 10 year anniversary of the franchise and it returns with a bigger (meaning more game play) story. Due out in March 2008. There's a greater degree of character customization in equipment and experience points can be applied to better weapons. Enemy and squad AI is better. There's been a huge expansion of co-op game play - friends can jump in and out of the game on the fly without restarting levels. It's the same core game play as version 1 with simple team controls. They've worked hard to add verticality to the levels such as looking up and seeing an enemy through a skylight and then having to go outside and climb up onto the roof to get him. There's destructible cover so you can't sit in one spot and hide. You sort of have to think and plan rather than charge right in. There are 7 locations and each location has multiple scenarios.

Far Cry 2 - They set out to keep the best parts of the original. The intention is to keep it real yet exotic so this version takes place in Africa. There's 50 square kilometers of open game world, mostly savanna with some jungle. All objects are coded meaning that nothing is just a stupid graphic so trees grow while you're playing and everything can take damage. There's wind and light from the sun that change as the day progresses. No mission will ever be exactly the same because there's a randomness about how enemies are deployed; they're not always in the same place at the same time. It's fast paced and from what I saw there was a lot of fire which is always a good thing. One fascinating thing that Clint Hocking (Creative Director) brought up is that it is now cheaper in terms of utilizing system resources to create vegetation procedurally than it is to make it animated. The game is due out roughly around holiday 2008. It will be the same game on console as on PC with the PC version having higher resolution.

Petz Bunnyz - This cute little DS game is basically targeted at young girls who want to play with fluffy bunnies at Easter time. It's not my kind of game, but if you have a daughter who wants to raise a virtual bunny and play with it then this would be a hit.

Imagine Figure Skater DS - Ubisoft is courting the young girl market with another title and this one is about learning to figure skate. Balance school, social life, and skating while learning how to make different moves using the stylus. I thought it was cute because you can customize outfits and hair styles. This is due out in late February.

Petz Wild Animalz - Tigerz - This Nintendo DS game is about raising 2 baby tigers. You train them and some other animals (monkey, dog, bear, elephant). There are mini-games and you learn a lot about tiger care.

Quick Yoga Training for DS - This is more of a database of yoga facts than a game. THis goes over the basics with lots of text and diagrams, teaches poses. You pick an area of the body that you want to focus on and it tells you how to train it. You set up profiles and build custom training routines. This is due out in April/May 2008.

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