Day 2 of Gamescom, and we managed to secure ourselves access to Ubisoft’s private press presentation for their next 3 big titles – Driver: San Francisco, Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood and Ghost Recon: Future Soldier.
All 3 games were shown by developers playing through sections of gameplay on a large cinema screen while talking us through some of the main features of each game.Driver: San Francisco
The presentation began with Driver: San Francisco. The story is returning to the series’ origins, featuring Tanner from the first game and Jericho from the second. The game is obviously based in San Francisco, and has the largest area of the city that has ever been mapped in a driving game, with 208 miles of roads to explore, from highways and bridges to dirt tracks. The game contains over 100 licensed vehicles, and special attention has been paid to the city’s environment, with pedestrians and other vehicles constantly going about their business at a crisp 60 frames per second.
The first sequence we saw required the player to follow one of Jericho’s gang members through various parts of the city in Tanner’s traditional Dodge Challenger. Various landmarks could be easily identified as we hurtled through the city, including the Ferry Terminal and the Bay Bridge.
We can safely say from yesterday’s hands-on with the game that the driving is responsive, and the cars handle predictably.
Once we had trapped the offending gang member, the devs took us through some of the unique features of the game. The most notable of these was the shift feature – at any point in time, you can change your vehicle by simply pressing X, zooming out on the map, and the selecting another vehicle from the hundreds driving around the city. The further you progress in the game, the more shifts you are allowed to make in a mission. They showed us a great example where they shifted out of a truck just before a junction and caused a large pile-up, inflicting damage on another member of Jericho’s gang -- very cool!
Another interesting shift-related feature they showed us was that as you shift into another car, you have the opportunity to take on a mission from the car’s driver. This means there are hundreds of side missions that you can choose to do whenever you like if you want to take a break from the main storyline.
The game is due to be released next year.
Moving on to one of our most anticipated games of the conference...Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood
We’re both big fans of Assassin's Creed 2, so were eager to see where they would take this next encounter.
The good news is that Ezio is back, and in the first scene we saw he was just recovering from a spot of jiggy-jiggy with his missus in the bedroom, when a cannonball flew through the wall. Quickly grabbing a pair of strides, he dashed out of the villa (yes, the same one you made home in AC2) and discovered the templar’s launching a large scale assault on your hometown. Climbing the ramparts, Ezio mans a cannon to return fire on the attackers. Even after some well-placed cannonballs take out many of the attackers, brave Ezio is shot and passes out.
We then saw what looks to be the major innovation in the new game – recruiting, training and equipping your own team of assassins. This looked very cool indeed, as a mere whistle from Ezio saw his fellow assassins drop out of the sky to reign death on their unsuspecting victims.
Other notable new features include riding horses within the cities, a huge model of the Rome Coliseum, and an improved and more aggressive AI. The fighting system has also been re-written to reward faster and more accurate attacks.
The game is release on the 16th November, and I am really looking forward to spending some more time on the rooftops of Rome.Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Future Soldier
The final game we were taken through was the latest instalment in the Ghost Recon series. As the name suggests, the game is set in the near future, which allows them to include some awesome tech which is currently only in the prototype stage.
Our preview began on the coast of a Northern European country. The ghosts are now equipped with full camo-suits that make them almost invisible to the enemy. Although this seemed a little far fetched, we were assured that tech like this is a real possibility at some point in the not-too-distant future. As is common with this series, stealth plays a huge part, and for that reason silenced weapons and sneaking up on the enemy featured heavily.
The objective was to take an enemy high value target alive, but of course he was protected by a squad of soldiers. In this part of the level, you are assisted by a single fellow Ghost, and between the two of you you make light work of the squad. Calling in more Ghosts, the final scene sees the remaining security taken down in a stream of bullets, while you move in and knock out the target.
We then saw some more traditional FPS action, with a full scale battlefield assault including choppers and a futuristic buggy. This part looked every bit as much fun as COD or Bad Company.
It should be noted that the game featured 4 player co-op, and you can get your hands on it some time in 2011.