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E3 17 Predictions: Ubisoft

What surprises has Ubisoft got in store for us this year?

And we're off. Electronic Arts has kick-started what will hopefully be a fabulous week for gamers with their EA Play conference yesterday, and there they brought a few games that really got everyone hyped. The fact that we didn't know exactly what they were going to show probably helped, so it'll be interesting to see what people make of Ubisoft's conference. The French publisher has been leaking more than a sieve, while also announcing quite a few of the games that will show up during at their conference at 9pm BST / 10pm CEST on Monday night. We already know about Assassin's Creed Origins, Far Cry 5, The Crew 2, South Park: The Fractured but Whole, and a few others. Fortunately, we think they might have some interesting stuff to show from these games, while also having their now traditional "one last thing surprise". Let's predict what they'll show.

They haven't technically revealed the game yet, but it's still one of the most obvious announcements. We're obviously talking about Assassin's Creed Origins. Leaks have apparently revealed its title, release date, the protagonist, and a whole bunch of other details. Then why are we still looking forward to it, you ask? Because there are still details we haven't heard about. What are these online aspects that Ubisoft has been talking so much about? Do multiple characters mean that it'll be co-op perhaps? How will the parkour system work in Egypt? Will we see more of the modern setting? And the most important thing of all: we want to see it in action.

A game that Ubisoft almost managed to keep secret before they announced it was Far Cry 5. The announcement confirmed the February release, that the game is set in Ubisoft's version of Montana, plus a few bits of story and some gameplay details. What we don't know much about is how the new setting will affect the gameplay. This will be the first time we get to fly real helicopters in the series, and that makes us curious as to how big the world will be. There's also the question of how they will address what some consider to be a controversial topic and setting. Expect to see gameplay from one of the game's early missions, while also getting some more details about the game itself.

The Crew 2 is an unknown quantity at the moment. All we know is the game's title. The first one came under fire because of some technical problems, microtransactions, some boring missions, and a few other things. You can be sure that Ubisoft will talk about most if not all of these during the conference. How will this be any different from the original? Maybe we'll get to travel across their version of Europe (a five-minute drive from England to Italy anyone?). There's also the release date to consider. During the latest investor meeting, we were told that it would launch before April. Will Ubisoft actually release the game this close to Assassin's Creed Origins, Far Cry 5 and their competition's respective big hitters these next few months? We hope not. If they want the game to succeed they'll have to delay it to the second quarter of 2018 or thereabouts, and we think they will.

A fourth game we know of, not thanks to Ubisoft themselves, is Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle. The leaks have already given us some basic information about the game, but we want gameplay and real details. They're going to explain how the turned-based combat will work, why we will love the "special humour", and show off the co-op. This is a weird combination and we think this will be reflected in the reveal as well. Expect some weird-looking Rabbid to reveal the August or September release before Mario shoots it.

Two games we don't think will get that much stage time are South Park: The Fractured but Whole and Just Dance 2018. South Park has already gotten its fifteen minutes of fame, but will definitely get a few more to make sure everyone knows the new release date and gameplay mechanics. Our reasoning for Just Dance 2018 is easy enough. The last six numbered games in the series have all been revealed during Ubisoft's E3 conference and this won't be an exception. The only question is if it'll have a virtual reality component.

Now, let's talk expansions. We know that Rainbow Six: Siege, The Division, Ghost Recon: Wildlands and For Honor will get more content. As all of them are doing well in terms of sales for Ubisoft, we're sure at least some of them will get some time on the stage. A classic: thank you for the support so far, this is what you'll get in the future. The French studio really loves "live games".

Finally, we have what you might call Ubisoft's trademark at E3, the final surprise. These surprises have usually been kept fairly secret until the show, so we hope they've managed to keep the lid on this at least. We only have a few candidates for this position.

If you've played Watch Dogs 2, you might have come across a mission that tasks you with hacking into Ubisoft San Fransisco's offices. Do this, and you'll get a teaser trailer for a game that most of you probably thought was just part of the Watch Dogs universe. That's not the case. This trailer is for a game that was in development at the same time as Watch Dogs 2. Said game was supposed to be the big surprise for this year, but last autumn we heard that the development had halted due to some "creative disagreements". We haven't asked about it since, so these problems might have been resolved. If that's the case, this might well be their big surprise.

Are you sitting down? Good. We have shocking news. Ubisoft has actually managed to keep the development of a game secret. We've been told that they're working on an online-focused game inspired by Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag's success. It's said to be a mix of Black Flag and The Division where you live a pirate's life in a world filled with other players. It sounds like a more mature version of Sea of Thieves, with a few more MMO aspects. This game also endured a few teething pains a while back, but they were so small that we'd be surprised if they've caused too much of a delay. Still, we know Ubisoft wants to be extra careful when they announce a new IP because of the other major titles stealing the spotlight in the coming months, so they might save it for another time.

Finally, we'd like to remind you that Ubisoft has said that they would release new entries in "three established franchises" by next April. We already know about Assassin's Creed and Far Cry, but what could the third be? Maybe they kind of tweaked their words a bit and meant Mario + Rabbids, perhaps that means The Crew 2? Nah, we'd rather dream big. Different folks at Ubisoft have on different occasions said that we'd get more Sam Fisher after Splinter Cell: Blacklist. Well, we've waited four years, and rumours about Michael Ironside reprising his role have started surfacing. Has Ubisoft been so stealthy that we're actually getting a big, pleasant surprise on Monday? We sure hope so.

What do you expect and hope to see at the conference?