Ubisoft Promises Best Ever Line-up At This Year's E3

By: The Associated Press
By: The Associated Press

Forget a keyboard, joystick and mouse - those days are long gone when it comes to gaming.

Just Dance 2014 is a dance game developed by Ubisoft - and has got players up on their feet around the world.

It's the fifth version of the game - first released towards the end of last year and has become a big title in the interactive gaming world.

Players have to copy the dance moves they seen on screen and - thanks to gaming console sensors - are judged on their performance.

Here at a regional Ubisoft office in the suburbs of Paris, a group of real-life dancers are demonstrating how the game was made - with the use of green screen technology.

Matthiew Tomkinson, "Just Dance" Game Director, says they're trying to provide a global "night club" experience with the latest additions to the game.

"We've done the first massive multiplayer game for dancing in Just Dance 2014 that is called the World Dance-floor," he explains.

"It's a game mode where everyone dances, all together at the same time, on the same songs. So it is really like entering the night club and dancing with everyone in the world but just in front of your console."

Thanks to new connected consoles, integrated kinetic systems and video cameras, game developers can use their imagination more these days.

Tomkinson says the advances have enabled "Just Dance" to grow.

"In Just Dance 2014, it was an opportunity for us, for example, to do a six people choreo (choreography) where you end up even doing a human pyramid in the middle of the dance," he says.

"And that is the kind of interaction that you can do thanks to new technologies. So it's really the kind of things we try to do every time we see a new (technological) opportunity in (game) consoles."

Veronique Halbrey has also been working on "Just Dance", as a character designer.

She says creating models for production can be challenging.

"Every year we are making tests in order to see what the (technical) limits are and to define a strategy for the whole year, so we don't make tests all the time for each costume. It is to find a perfect match and yes, there are (technical) limits regarding colours, size of details (on costumes) and fabric assembly," says Halbrey.

Away from the dancing, one of the newest offerings from Ubisoft is "Assassin's Creed Unity" - which is due to be released later this year.

It's an action-adventure game set during the French Revolution.

Alain Corre, Ubisoft Executive Director for Europe, Middle East and Africa, says it's one of the games that will be taking centre stage at this year's E3 event.

"We are going to bring our big franchises. "Assassin's Creed Unity" will be there and the graphics and innovations in the game will make "Assassin's Creed Unity" the best in the series," he says.

"I would say that if, that's my belief, if the game and the beauty of the game and graphics, I think they will push some of the fans to come to Paris to check if in Paris it is as good and as beautiful as in the game."

Corre says Ubisoft has it's best ever line-up at this year's E3.

"I believe that this E3 will be very buoyant because the fans are back. Thanks to the PS4, the XBOX One and the PC, and what we can bring in terms of creativity, they are back and they are back in numbers," he adds,

Ubisoft will not be focusing all of its efforts on "Assassins Creed Unity" though.

The company says it also has "a lot of other surprises" lined up for E3 this time round.

"We are going to show some new things on (Tom Clancy's) "The Division" - that we showed last year for the first time. Also on "The Crew," (there) will be something new and we will have some other surprises, but that, I can't give you much more today," says Corre.

"Tom Clancy's - The Division" is due to be released later this year, along with "The Crew."

Ubisoft is also behind "Watch Dogs," which was released at the end of May.

It's a game the company says has notched up record first week sales figures - with four million sold.

More than 800 people have worked on producing "Watch Dogs," which is set in Chicago and explores the impact of technology on the world.

The user plays the role of a hacker and former thug.

Cyril Masquilliere, works in the "Watch Dogs" division at Ubisoft in Paris.

He says gaming development is moving fast and, in the future, players will be able to do more to personalise their experience.

"You like driving all around the world, but you don't like challenges with people with guns. So probably the game won't push you too much (to play against) people with guns, but more (you) will collect things (in the game), to go and, for example, exploring stuff," he explains.

"You can imagine that we will have very different experience between you and me or any other player (of the same game)."

This year's E3 event is expected to attract leading computer and video game companies, analysts and others from more than 100 countries.

Organisers say they'll be all sorts of new technology on show - for computers, consoles and handheld devices.

Will Findlater, Editor-in-Chief of "Stuff" Magazine says the gaming industry is enjoying a strong year - with some "fantastic" titles being released.

"I'm sure there's going to be some more announced at E3. That's what E3 is all about. It's not actually about gaming hardware, it's about fantastic games," he says.

"So there's absolutely no reason to think this is a dud year for gaming. You don't have those big hardware headlines, but then they happen every seven years or so. You can't expect that every year."

E3 is being held at the Los Angeles Convention Centre from 10 June to 12 June 2014.

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