The Cheerer and the Jeerer - Ubisoft's show at E3 2019 as it happened
Liveblogging, but better
Brendan: We were not invited to Ubisoft's press conference this year, Matt. So we are sitting in our hotel across from each other, pretending to the masses that we are special, when in reality, we are not. We could have done this from our beds at home. All this puts me in a grouchy mood. I think I'll be jeerer for this one, if you don't mind.
Matt: Brendy! You’re back! I’m so relieved I’m only capable of cheer anyway.
Matt: Ice T is on the pre-show stream telling people how to be nice while playing games online. This is wonderful. You tell ‘em, T.
Brendan: He is swearing an awful lot as he does it, which is not leading by example. Bad T!
Matt: This is, ironically, an example of fighting fire with fire. Leave him be, B.
Brendan: Don’t you dare acronymise my name. You know I hate acronyms. Anyway, they are still doing some pre-show chat, and have announced a couple of small additions to Assassin’s Creed: The Greek One. Including a "discovery tour" mode and a some sort of editing “story builder” mode too. I am certain the fans will come up with some impossible and ridiculous Aegean warfare. And won’t just somehow arrange NPCs into a large penis-shaped formation.
Matt: We’re also learning about when Spartans were allowed to grow moustaches. You had to reach 30 years old! We should adopt this at RPS. No wait. Stay away from me.
Brendan: I’ll razor you after the show. It’s going to start soon. Let’s see if they can top the panda dancing of last year. As the Jeerer, I doubt it.
Matt: They’re opening with the Assassin's Creed Orchestra! I will take moody cello-enhanced stabbing over dumb pandas.
Brendan: Are you joking? Pandas are much better. Also, you say the “Assassin’s Creed Orchestra” as if that is some sort of internationally renowned group I am supposed to know, like the London Philharmonic. These people are just rubbing some wooden boxes with big sticks until they make a noise. Anyone could do that. I could do that. But we weren’t allowed to attend. So I’m not going to.
Matt: You couldn’t play a triangle. I have so much respect for this lengthy musical intro, after every other show has pinged us between games like journalistic pachinko balls. That was lovely.
Brendan: Be honest, Cheerer - did you recognise that “iconic” music? Which of the Ass Creeds was that from? You don’t know! Nobody does.
Matt: I dunno and I don’t care, you philistine.
Brendan: Look! They are starting the show with Watch Dogs Legion, it’s LAAAHNDAHHN.
Matt: He mentioned war dogs. Who watches the war dogs? Everyone is more British than any actual British person. We get to spend like 60 hours being surrounded by these accents and I genuinely have no problem with this.
Brendan: The character who is our "hero", Ian Britman, is walking through the crowd, trying to find a "drones expert". Good luck, mate, that's a really specific job title and-- no, wait, they've found him. God, that’s helpful. The third person they checked happened to be the drone pro. I guess overpopulated megacities are handy like that.
Matt: The Americans have vastly overestimated how much we like flags. Oh! Ian just died! We lost Ian! Our temp-protagonist. And now we're someone else. So this is what the “play as every NPC” means. You get to jump into the shoes of posh grandma hackers. Hall of the Mountain King is playing as the old lady releases a spider drone into a base. The spider drone just electrocuted somebody’s face off. The lady is slowly, oh so slowly, vaulting over a fence. Oh, this is wonderful.
Brendan: I should point out to the reader that Matt is cackling like some sort of broken animal as he types. It’s disturbing.
Matt: Sorry. I’m trying to get a hold of myself but so much of this is landing. Oh. Oh no, it’s human trafficking again.
Brendan: There's that Ubi tonelash we all love! Also, it still has guns. Guns were the thing in Watch Dogs 2 that just didn’t belong. It was about a happy-go-lucky gang of hackscamps pestering big companies. Murdering with guns didn’t feel right. And shooting up the streets of London feels doubly strange to me.
Matt: You’re not exactly wrong, but I’ve murdered enough vidgam men for that not to really bother me. Suspend your disbelief, Brendy. We just jumped into the shoes of a plucky teeneager.
Brendan: I suspend nothing. But yes, this will excite a lot of people. But I have a nagging feeling, and it all comes down to voice acting. How many good voice actors - how many unique voices - will they need to make sure I don’t hear the same person twice within the first couple of hours?
Matt: A man is on stage now, Clint Hocking of Far Cry 2 fame, and he is talking about the grisly impact of Brexit. They should be playing up how ridiculous this all is but instead he’s doubling down on how horrible the future is. That’s fine, though. Once I’m actually playing I can just run around launching electro-spiders at people.
Brendan: Oh man. The silence that fell over the crowd when he said: “You can play as anyone!” Everyone in the room knew this days ago, because of a leak, which sort of sapped the impact of that moment. Also, may I just point out: having such an open recruitment policy is going to be a nightmare for Dead Sec’s internal security team.
Matt: I am hyped regardless. But look, the man from It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia is on stage. I don’t know yet know why.
Brendan: Yes, we’ve taken a break from Watch Dogs Pandering to... advertise a TV show?
Matt: That.. that is what’s happening. Wait. No. It is a videogame? It’s a TV show about a pretend videogame.
Brendan: Matt, our lunch is here. Let’s eat while this is happening.
Matt: It's over. Now, I think we just watched a short clip of Commissioner Gordan shooting people in Rainbow Six Siege, for some reason. Now we’re watching Adventure Time. I am bewildered. Um. Cheerily bewildered.
Brendan: Are you going to eat those fries?
Matt: Ah right, It’s an Adventure Time Brawlhalla… expansion? It’s an Adventure Time Brawlhalla something. I like both of those things. Oh, now the Punisher is here. Why is so much TV happening?
Brendan: He is here because he is the big character in Ghost Recon Breakpoint, which is now on the big screen. The plot of this instalment is that there has basically been a schism in the elite group of bullet idiots. I don't know the details but perhaps half of them thought blowing up Bolivia was an unwise part of US foreign policy. The other half were sorry the explosions were confined to only one Latin American nation.
Matt: The Punisher just declared his squad of villains were wolves, then looked a bit scared of them. He’s adorable. Especially now that he’s on stage with a dog.
Brendan: Somebody free that dog right now. It looks depressed.
Matt: He’s just having a kip. I am a big fan of this superfluous dog.
Brendan: “We are ghosts,” says The Punisher, as a man fires an impossibly loud minigun. Ghosts: famously the loudest, most militarily violent of all mythical creatures.
Matt: This has been a very ghost-heavy E3 so far. Look, there’s another one in this Rainbow Six Siege… tactics game? Which also has Sam Fisher in it?
Brendan: I’m not sure I understand the significance of that little Terminator tease just before this either. Is the T-1000 going to show up in Ghost Recon or something? I’m so tired, Matt. Can we go home? They’re now showing a kind of mobile smash bros but for Ubisoft characters. There’s nothing here for us. Let’s go back to Europe. I like Europe.
Matt: Oh, it’s Tom Clancy’s Elite Squad. Of course. We’re tired and this has been an exceptionally confusing conference but look, it’s okay. A Bowie-esque man in a sparkly jacket is talking about how great dancing is.
Brendan: The PANDA. Shutting down jeer mode. Back in a few minutes.
Matt: The Just Dance panda is back. He’s got a rainbow mohawk now. I’m going to jeer at it, seen as you’ve abandoned your duties. They’re doing a big dance.
Brendan: Jeer mode REACTIVATE. Wasn’t that rubbish? Awful. Who would enjoy that? Not me.
Matt: The dancing is over, and it’s time for half-naked men with spiky face masks and shoulder pads. Yes, For Honor. This could be a new hero pack, could be something larger. This show is being frustratingly opaque to cheer at.
Brendan: Perk up. It’s a new hero, Sakura, which I think we knew about before the show. But it’s likely the update they’ve just shown will have other stuff attached. She looks angry. Or apathetic. I identify with her.
Matt: We’re onto the Division 2, which is going free for a week. He’s also wearing a t-shirt with a skull made of cats, which has made me the happier than anything else has in this show. And earlier they had a real live dog.
Brendan: I hate him. That should be MY t-shirt.
Matt: We’re all going to the Zoo! And an overgrown college!
Brendan: I gave up on the Division 2 after the Black Tusks showed up. They were the furious tough boys of the post-apocalypse and they made me feel small and weak. I don’t like feeling inadequate. I like feeling adequate.
Matt: MORE TV. Skull-cat dude just announced a Division movie, coming to Netflix at some point in the future, starring Jake Gyllen... Gillanha... Gyllunhal...
Brendan: No time to consider the ramifications of Jake Glibberflibberhall gracing 100% of the screens in our houses with an inevitably bad videogame adaptation, Matt. We’ve got something else here. Something... business-y.
Matt: Right you are, we’ve moved on to Uplay+, another subscription games service that gets you access to Ubisoft games and… presumably others?
Brendan: It’s 15 dollars a month. Do you know how many cat t-shirts I could buy with that? Probably one half. One whole half a cat t-shirt.
Matt: As cheerer, I choose to celebrate your financial priorities.
Brendan: Roller Champions has now been announced, with a shint trailer. It's a multiplayer sports game about being a futuristic rollerskater who hates balls enough to incinerate them in large hoops attached to the walls. Like a terrifying dystopian version of that ancient Aztec sport they play in The Road To El Dorado. But with rollerblades.
Matt: You can play it right after the show he says, right at home on your computer machines.
Brendan: I’m busy then.
Matt: Course you are. Meanwhile, we actually get to see how it plays, through all these cinematic slow-mo bits. It looks like football crossed with ice skating crossed with Quidditch.
Brendan: Yves is on now. The big Ubiboff himself. He says they have something new to show us. Could this be a cool end-of-show game? A big 'un? A new man has come to the stage, and is really hyping it. He is talking about “transcending the limits” of our human frame.
Matt: I just want to roll around on that lush grass on the screen behind him. Maybe take a splash in those rivers. Gimme the rivers!
Brendan: Gods and Monsters is the new game. And it barely transcended the short, non-descript trailer we just saw, never mind the limits of human life. It looks like a videogame. That’s all we can say with any certainty. And a bit like Disney’s Hercules,perhaps, but it probably won't have songs about refusing to admit to your own cripplingly deep emotions for another human being.
Matt: Mhmm. I am 80% sure it isn’t a TV show.
Brendan: Okay, that’s it. That’s the whole Ubiblast. I’m frothing at the mouth with jeer. I’m just about ready to throw my shoe at my computer. This is why we weren’t invited, you know.
Matt: I feel a strange, inexplicable urge to go watch It’s Always Sunny.
Brendan: Let’s do that. There’s some time before the Square Enix conference. Say goodbye to our [quick count] six readers, Matt. They’ve been very supportive. Even though I must say for the jeer record that they are awful.
Matt: Love you. Bye!
Brendan: Fuck off.
Note: This liveblog is over now, but you can join us again for Square Enix later tonight.
See our E3 2019 for the rest of our coverage from the show, including all the news of the conference collected by Alice O.