Ubisoft's show started with a dance routine set to Don't Stop Me Now, and then Aisha Tyler came out and made a genuinely heartfelt statement about the Orlando shootings while a man in a giraffe suit stood next to her. Which is perhaps the most 'E3' and 'video games' thing that has ever happened, as Tyler herself intimidated, but it was a welcome touch from the company to at least acknowledge the events of the weekend.
After that we were told that Just Dance was at the forefront of video game innovation, which was interesting, and that the newest version would soon be available on all video games consoles, so look forward to that ColecoVision version.
Ghost Recon: Wildlands was the first really big game to be shown, and you knew it was good because Aisha introduced it with a swear word. A CGI trailer then followed, where a gruff man talked about killing a lot of people you love. Given the opening statement of the show, maybe that could have been handled a little bit better, eh?
The game itself was one of the highlights of my time at last year's E3, existing as some kind of Tom Clancy greatest hits mixed with Mercenaries 2. Dominic Butler, lead game designer, sold the backstory: cocaine has fucked everything up in the narco state of Bolivia, and your mission was to go and shoot all the other people very, very dead. Like last year, the demo showcased the massive gameworld, freeform vehicle play, multi-point objectives, and troubling foreign policy. The co-op stuff really appeals, and if it's as agency driven as it appears it'll be a hit. One thing, though, publishers. Cut the fake co-op chatter; tango down and all that shit. Nobody talks like that: they're too busy questioning the reputations of various people's mothers. Anyway, it's out in March 2017.
Trey Parker and Matt Stone then headed for the stage, which is always a highlight, given they famously don't give a shit about promoting games at these things. Or, not that seriously at least. Just ask Microsoft. They talked a bit about South Park: The Fractured But Whole, in between trying not to laugh about how ridiculous the whole thing is, which is exactly what they should be doing.
South Park got a lot of time, going over the game's story (a piss-take of Marvel's Cinematic Universe, and Civil War in particular) and combat systems, and with the crowd that warmed up, that hyped, what could possibly follow it? The Division DLC, of course! Ahem. One of the most exciting bits of news was that, to celebrate Ubisoft's 30th birthday, you're going get three...outfits. Like the one Splinter Cell man wears. Iconic, you see. A pre-rendered trailer for one of The DLCs then followed, showing off the bleak and uncompromising world of a game where you shoot people to rescue irradiated chinos.
Eagle Flight was up next, a VR game for Oculus (other VR platforms are available) which was described as being a bit like football (only not) by commentator and Greg Davies character Carsten Myhill. Which, amazingly, wasn't the weirdest thing about it: Oculus billionaire Palmer Luckey was on stage, and he was wearing shoes. Well, flip-flops at least. Huh. Anyway, like most VR games it was difficult to really 'get' how good Eagle Flight was, so we'll have to see on that one.
Red Storm's David Votypka then took the stage to talk about how VR was going to open up video gaming's final frontier. No, not making games which don't near-exclusively feature the use of lethal force, but instead VR Star Trek. The video even had Star Trek actors in it, so you knew it was good. But wait, is it actually good? No idea, no matter what Levar Burton says. I mean, who the fuck has three Star Trek-loving friends, let alone three other headset geeks?
Well, good question. Here's another one: why was the trailer for, er, For Honor so incredibly boring? Designer Jason VandenBerghe took the stage after it, and was far more engaging than the promo, maybe because you're always thinking to yourself 'is that Warren Ellis? It fucking is Warren Ellis'. But it's not. It's Jason Vandenberghe. Some gameplay footage followed - it's always nice when that happens - and it turns out the game is like a co-op Ryse.
Once I had woken up from a mild coma induced by the fact the rather boring For Honor footage seemed to go on forever, it was on to Grow Up, which was one of the 200,000 games that had leaked before the show. I haven't played Grow Home, but my people tell me it is really very good. So, um, yeah. Check it out.
Two guys in babygrows then took the stage, which was interesting. At first I thought they were there to promote Irritating Dickhead Simulator 2017, but it turns out it was the guys who did Trials and, erm, Blood Dragon. They've had a baby, we were told, and there it was: Trials of the Blood Dragon. It's out now.
There was then some chat about the Assassin's Creed movie, which any sane person simply tuned out, before moving onto Watch Dogs 2, which feels less like a game making a point about control and corporations and more like a Nathan Barley tie-in. At one point a lad was wearing a pair of goggles with hashtags on them, which, er, what? I won't lie, it was at this point that I thought about going to bed. When they announced that there would be a Watch Dogs film, I knew all was lost.
Anyway, Yves strutted out to announce new action sports title Steep, which had actually been revealed earlier on social media. Silly Yves. We know more about you than you know about yourself. That's the plot of the Watch Dogs movie, actually. Steep is an open world game where you do skiing and snowboarding and stuff and I by this point, two hours into the show, I had no idea whether or not I had hallucinated it, so do let me know, eh? There was a clown at one point. It looked kind of cool. Bye.