Ubisoft has just held its E3 press conference, but since it started at 1am UK time we wouldn't be too surprised if you didn't watch it. So here's a round-up of everything that took place.
The show kicked off with a surprise appearance by legendary film director James Cameron, who then proceeded to talk about the video game version of his upcoming movie Avatar.
Cameron summed up the general story of the game - it's set in a planet called Pandora where humans come and mess things up, taking control of the alien residents' bodies (hence "avatar") - and then went on to discuss the making of the game.
Apparently he allowed Ubisoft free will to create some of the characters and vehicles, and he gave approval on the designs they created. He also suggested that, since the movie will be fully in 3D, they should do the same for the game. As a result, the game will indeed be a 3D stereoscopic game. More details will be released later today (Tuesday).
After Avatar, the first level of Red Steel 2 was shown. It's looking damn good. The level begins with your character's wrists tied up with rope as he gets dragged across the desert by an enemy on a motorbike. The rope catches fire and the player's right hand comes loose, allowing him to shoot the motorcycle and cause it to explode.
A later part in the level was then shown, to demonstrate the combat mechanisms. You can use your sword whenever you want (as opposed to during set battles in the first game), and use Wii MotionPlus to swing it exactly as you want to. The game also picks up how strong your swipes are, so some stronger enemies will require strong slashes if you want to do any damage.
A couple of nifty special moves were shown. One showed the player swiping upwards to knock the enemy high into the air, then quickly pulling out the gun and plugging a few shots into them as they fall. Another showed them knocking the opponent into the air again, but this time jumping right up into the air after them and knocking them to the ground with the sword. It looks ace.
It was confirmed (as has been reported before) that Red Steel 2 is Wii MotionPlus-only, and will come bundled with the peripheral for those who don't have it.
After Red Steel 2 was a brief trailer for Shaun White Snowboarding: World Stage. Not a lot of in-game footage shown.
Then it was onto Academy Of Champions and the introduction of another special guest, Pele. After a bit of a technical cock-up (the video didn't work at first, leading to some awkward chat between Pele and the incredibly unfunny comedian host), the trailer for the game was eventually shown. It's set in a football academy run by Pele and US women's "soccer" star Mia Hamm.
Pele explained that since he's too old to play football he had to look for other ways to inspire children to play football, and this was a great way to do it.
Pele left and Splinter Cell Conviction was shown. A five-minute playthrough was shown, similar to the one shown during the Microsoft conference. Still as impressive to watch.
After a bizarre teaser trailer for Ruse, the conference started to take a downward turn when Ubisoft's casual range became the central focus.
It was claimed that Ubisoft's Imagine range has sold more copies than Nintendo's Brain Training games in America, and isn't too far behind the Pokemon games. If that's true, it's worrying stuff. Though, having said that, they also claimed that Petz is "the number one pet simulation on Nintendo DS" so best take their stats with a pinch of salt.
After a trailer showing some games in Ubisoft's "tween" range including Imagine Artist, Style Lab and the game with the worst title ever, Petz Hamsterz Superstarz, a new fitness game was announced.
Your Shape for the Wii is "the first camera-enabled fitness game", according to Ubisoft (they obviously never played Eyetoy: Kinetic then). The game comes with a USB camera which scans the player as they perform exercises and tells them what angle their body should be tilted at for the best results.
It's a decent idea, but one cheapened a bit by the Ubisoft chap's dig at EA Sports Active when he said that "there's still a lot of innovation to come in this young genre [fitness], and I don't think it's in the form of a pair of $20 rubber bands", a comment that got a few boos from the crowd.
Rabbids Go Home was next, and after a funny trailer the game itself was shown. It's similar to Katamari in that you have to go around in a shopping trolley collecting as many objects as you can in order to build a tower high enough to reach the moon. In later levels you can get power-ups for your trolley (the example showed the Rabbids nicking an engine off a passenger jet at an airport).
There was also a funny mini-game shown where a Rabbid is shown inside your Wii Remote. When you shake the Remote or press various buttons the Rabbid reacts accordingly. Seems like a nice diversion.
A brief trailer was shown of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Smash-Up which desperately tried to cling onto the fact that it was being developed by a team that did some initial work on Super Smash Bros Brawl (though of course, the claim during the presentation implied that they were wholly responsible for it). The trailer even had the word "brawl" in it a couple of times, to drive the point home. It does look nice, though.
A couple of other games were briefly mentioned without any info (No More Heroes 2,which is being published by Ubisoft in the US as opposed to Rising Star who are handling it in the UK, and Tetsuya Miziguchi's new project which was named Project Eden), and the show finally ended with a trailer for Assassin's Creed II, which we'll stick on the site soon.
In all it was a good show for Ubisoft, and despite the sour taste we had in our mouth after all the praise for their casual rubbish, the rest of the games and the surprise celebrity guests meant that it can be considered a general success.
We'll have screens and videos of everything shown during the presentation very shortly.