The digital market is coming in leaps and bounds, and Ubisoft is one of the companies at its forefront. Ubisoft's digital business has grown 45% in the first half of 2011 alone, and they devote over 20% of their resources to funding and publishing digital titles, whether they be "AAA" adventures like I Am Alive, more conventional titles online titles like Babel Rising, or their mobile line up. At a recent showcase in London, we sampled a selection of what Ubisoft is bringing to the table in 2012:
Babel RisingBabel Rising is a wonderful little score attack game in a similar vein to that of From Dust. You take the role of God - the Christian one this time, as He watches in ire as the people build their massive Tower of Babel.
Of course, we all know how this story ends, and you're not going to just idly sit by and let those upstart little so and so's show off their engineering prowess. So, after having chosen two out of four elements, your job is to basically kill the workers before they finish the tower.
Very Old (Testament) School. Each element has a light and a powerful attack (as well as a super attack), and you have to be very strategic in how you use them, as there are things like cool-down times, and they can even be negated.
An important thing to note is that, eventually, you WILL lose. The tower itself goes through three stages, and once a stage is complete, it can't be destroyed. You can damage a stage whilst it's being built, in addition to killing workers, but eventually you'll just get overwhelmed and it will be game over. The test is in how long you can last, and what score you get.
Babel Rising has a 'story' mode, which basically eases you in to the various concepts the game can throw at you, a standard sandbox mode, and even competitive multiplayer. It's also fully Kinect Integrated, and supports the PS Move. It's due to release in 2012.
Ghost Recon: Online
When you sit down and play it, there really seems to be two main draws: There's the tactical combat, where you work in small teams and compete against each other in a variety of games modes - so far we've seen a conquest like mode and an attack/defence mode.
There's also the social and customization elements. Taking a page from Future Soldier's book, there's a lot of weapon modding and fitting options, to really give players a personalised experience (shame there's no cool kinect interface to go with it, but never mind).
Now, being a free-to-play game means it's going to be a buyer market, as it were. Everyone earns points through playing, but you can get ahead by buying more points, and a lot of things cost points as well. Levelling is present, which unlocks new weapons, but you still have to buy those weapons, and then you also have to buy the mods, etc... there are three classes, and each class has two unique abilities that help augment their gameplay.
Ghost Recon Online is due out in 2012, but a closed beta is due before the end of 2011, with an open beta starting early next year.
Haste focus' on tricks and stunts, with you spending a lot of the time in the air spinning, and trying to avoid hitting various obstacles. It's quite easy to get to grips with, almost too easy, and after one match we found ourselves coming first all the time.
There's a boost metre, to help you go faster, and some kind of 'special' metre which is used to trigger shortcuts, and possible other things as well. You can choose different quad-bikes depending on the situation, and there's also a variety of game modes, from simple races to stunt challenges, and more. The tracks are varied and windy, and take place in forests, hills and we imagine a host of other varying locales as well. It's also due out in 2012
Shoot Many Robots
It's a side-scrolling game, and robots of all shapes and sizes pour into the world and you have to stop them with whatever weapons and accessories you brought with you.
From Machine Guns, to laser rifles and jetpacks, there's a wide array of items to play around with. The game has a campaign mode, and a two-player co-op survival mode where you have to fight through waves upon waves of enemies.
It's a simple game, although there are more RPG elements to it in the form of loot and levelling, but essentially what you see is what you get. Anyone looking to fight their own robot war should keep an eye on this title when it launches in 2012.
And that's a wrap - Ubisoft's growing Digital Presence isn't limited to just the games we've talked about here mind - the company is expanding a lot into mobile and more browser based games as well, but these are four of the more interesting titles that (we feel anyway) are worth keeping an eye on. Bring on 2012!