It feels like 2020 is one of the most grueling years in a long time. Between the coronavirus pandemic, the economic ruin, the debate over systemic racism, and tech companies still behaving badly, there isn’t much to be excited about. If you’re looking for a little escapism, though, Microsoft and Sony, along with their publishing partners, are getting set for the upcoming launch of their new video game consoles: the Xbox Series X and the PlayStation 5.
And on July 12, French video game maker Ubisoft will hold an event called Ubisoft Forward, where it plans to discuss upcoming titles, including ones designed for the new consoles. Those new games include Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, the latest installment in the company’s historical fiction series, this time set in the Viking era of the 9th century. There’s also Watch Dogs Legion, a game about a group of hackers fighting evil corporations and societal ruin following a Brexit-like economic and political calamity (even escapism sometimes draws inspiration from the world’s grim realities). The company is also expected to discuss a new installment in its FarCry series of lone-wolf-against-the-world shooting games, starring actor Giancarlo Esposito.
Microsoft debuts game footage of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla…
The event comes at a tough time for Ubisoft, though. The company became the center of sexual misconduct allegations around four current and former employees, which so far have forced the creative director for Assassin’s Creed Valhalla to step down from his role and take a leave of absence. Ubisoft has said it’s investigating the allegations.
“I have gathered all of my direct reports to address this subject and your feedback,” Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot wrote in a memo to employees, earlier reported on by Business Insider and CNET sister site GameSpot. “I would like us to thoroughly review all of our systems so that these types of situations cannot happen again.”
It’s a safe bet we won’t hear much about that during the event, but it’ll nonetheless be an issue hanging over the company as it tries to hype up fans for its next big releases.
Along with our sister site GameSpot, CNET’s global team will cover Ubisoft’s event, as well as other conferences that have shifted online amid the coronavirus’ spread. And our coverage will include the real-time updates, commentary and analysis you can only get here. So stay tuned.
Ubisoft’s FarCry series has pitted players against fictional gangs, cult leaders and dictators.
Ubisoft Forward is set for Sunday, July 12, and is scheduled to start at noon PT / 3 p.m. ET / 8 p.m. BST / 5 a.m. AEST.
Ubisoft will be streaming the event on its YouTube and Twitch channels. It’ll also be streamed on Ubisoft’s website, with subtitles in other languages and a video stream of a sign language interpreter.
What to expect
Aside from updates on Assassin’s Creed, Watch Dogs ($12 at Amazon) and FarCry, Ubisoft plans to discuss its postapocalyptic shooting game Tom Clancy’s The Division 2, its popular party game Just Dance 2020 and its racing title TrackMania.
During the event, Ubisoft will also be giving away free copies of its well-received 2016 hacker adventure game Watch Dogs 2. Ubisoft said that anyone who logs in to the company’s service between the beginning of its preshow at 11 a.m. PT / 2 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. BST / 4 a.m. AEST and the end of its event will receive a copy. GameSpot has more-detailed instructions about how to sign in to Ubisoft’s service.
“This outing errs on the side of irreverence and unapologetic fun,” GameSpot’s Peter Brown wrote in his positive review of the game shortly before its release. But as we said earlier, even escapist concoctions sometimes draw inspiration from the stark realities of life — Brown adds that the game’s “gleeful exterior masks a troubled society in the throes of gang violence, political corruption, and rampant hacking.”