E3 09: Ubisoft Press Conference Quickies

Ubisoft was up next with the press conferences today. For an awful conference where little happened, here’s my attempt at quick takes:  

          Nothing against Talk Soup host Joel McHale, but having “personalities” open conferences with 5 minutes of lukewarm jokes sucks unless they’re really funny.

          Ubi CEO Yves Guillemot takes the stage. Hooray for presenters with super-thick accents! Guillemot’s rambling opening represents one of the things I dislike about Ubisoft: they’re full of themselves. Don’t tell us how great you are; SHOW US. That’s why we’re here.

          Some Other French Guy is on stage talking about James Cameron’s Avatar, and I swear he just said “dEEEv-LOPPing.” It’s a pointless 5 minutes, because …

          …James Cameron is on hand to talk about the game. Nice! But he goes on a long time, losing the audience. Seriously, a half-hour in, Cameron is still talking about Avatar (it’ll have a unique story apart from the movie plot) we’ve not seen footage of a single game. I want to watch The Beatles Rock Band trailer again.

          McHale is back to introduce the Red Steel 2 trailer, which has awful footage of people playing in front of their TV. There’s actually a live demo afterwards, which looks mildly fun, but nothing super cool.

          Shawn White Snowboarding: World Stage: another snoozeriffic trailer featuring White and live actors.  

          Ubi’s got a soccer game, Academy of Champions, and Pele is here to show it off. Another good get. Of course, the video doesn’t work, leading McHale to riff awkwardly with Pele, who, for someone who “doesn’t speak English,” is easier to understand than the French guys. They finally get the trailer up, which has a very kid-friendly feel — it feels like it’s set at Harry Potter’s Hogwarts, except at a school for soccer instead of magic.

          Splinter Cell: Conviction time. The trailer looked OK, and more French people telling us about new abilities before a live demo. For some reason, I just can’t get excited for Splinter Cell games.

          On to a RTS called Ruse. Is it a RTS? Again, it’s a trailer with lame live-action gamers moving units on a holographic tabletop. Awful.

          Annoying Marketing and Sales Guy Tony Key is out to talk about the Imagine brand, a huge success on the DS aimed at tween girls. The next five minutes are essentially a shareholder presentation. Yawn.

          Felicia Williams comes out to talk about fitness games. Camera integration will REVOLUTIONIZE your games! Of course it will! Your Shape will be a camera-integrated game for the Wii, and out holiday 2009.

          Rabbids Go Home: they’re back and they want to go home. Hey, me too!

          Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: seriously, this might be a decent beat-em-up, but by this point, I’ve lost the will to live.

          No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle: No trailer, no demo, just a splash screen with a logo. Really, the jokes write themselves now.

          There’s a project from Tetsuya Mizuguchi’s Q Entertainment that Ubi is publishing. Not even a logo, just that he’s in the audience.

          Finally, the merciful end: Assassin’s Creed 2. It’s just a trailer, but it’s the first thing all afternoon I’ve found myself remotely interested in playing.

Overall: an awful press conference with too much clichéd boasting and little in the way of interesting demos. D.