Ubisoft Forward, a showcase of the publisher’s upcoming games, returned for 2023, with a number of games appear during proceedings – including the new Prince of Persia 2D platforming game announced during the 2023 Summer Game Fest showcase, and an extended gameplay demo of Star Wars: Outlaws, a new game from Massive Entertainment (The Division), which was announced during the 2023 Xbox Game Showcase.
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Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora
Ubisoft Forward kicked off with a trailer for Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora. It tells the story of a Na’vi warrior who was raised and trained by the human faction of the universe, and then betrayed – but not before being put into a long cryosleep, only to be revived several years later.
It appears as if she’ll be rediscovering the magic of the Na’vi world along with the player, in a first-person game, as they run, shoot, and fly through the world and wage war on Pandora’s invaders.
Avatar director James Cameron followed the trailer, to speak about how closely his company Lightstorm Entertainment are working with Massive Entertainment (The Division), the developers of the game. Ditte Deenfeldt, the director of the game, then took the stage to announce a release date.
The game will launch on 7 December 2023.
An extended gameplay demo was then shown. The story begins when the human faction, the RDA, abducts you from your Na’vi tribe in an effort to turn you against your brethren. 15 years later, you awaken, and rediscover your heritage.
You’ll explore several open-world biomes, including forests, floating mountains, grasslands, and different Na’vi tribes and clans. You’ll learn to fly with your own personal Ikran, the universes’ flying animals, which you can customise.
In the game, you’ll be able to take on the combat styles of two worlds – human ballistic weapons, as well as Na’vi bows and other such tools. You can use your Ikran for aerial combat to take down vehicles, mark enemies in a Far Cry-like fashion, and craft new weapons and meals. The game will also feature skill upgrades, which can improve your movement or stealth abilities, weapons, and mounts.
You’ll be able to play the game in single-player, or in an optional two-player mode.
Ubisoft spoke about the success of the first closed beta of its first-person multiplayer competitive shooter, XDefiant. It then announced an upcoming open beta on 21-23 June 2023, with plans to release completely in 2023.
The game will launch a detailed roadmap, with 4 new factions, 12 new weapons, and 12 new maps, and the company teased lots of unexpected Ubisoft franchise crossovers.
Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown
A stylish animated trailer for the newly-announced Prince of Persia game was then shown, portraying the titular prince fighting and failing grand strokes, emphasising the flashy combat manoeuvres and sense of style.
The game director of The Lost Crown then took the stage to introduce the game. You play Sargon, the youngest member of a squad of elite warriors, called the Immortals. When the prince is abducted, it’s up to you and your brethren to set out and save them.
An extended gameplay demo was then shown, demonstrating snippets of narrative, and several platforming sections in dangerous, supernatural environments. The game’s world is described as ‘semi open-world’.
There’ll be characters to interact with, and plenty of enemies to fight, as a brief montage showed some of the regular-sized and massive enemies. Sargon himself is incredibly agile, with plenty of flashy moves in his arsenal, and many cinematic finishers.
The time-shifting powers of the series are back, allowing Sargon to rewind time, with a small handful of abilities to run circles around your enemies and perform complex melee combos.
The game will be released on 18 January 2023
Captain Laserhawk: A Blood Dragon Remix
Adi Shankar, the producer and showrunner of the Netflix Castlevania series, then took the stage to talk about the TV adaptation of Far Cry: Blood Dragon, called Captain Laserhawk: A Blood Dragon Remix.
It’s Ubisoft’s first anime series, and it’s a mix of different satirical and comedic styles, which is fitting, given that Blood Dragon is Ubisoft’s most tongue-in-cheek and irreverent game. The show will air on Netflix, sometime in 2023.
A teaser trailer featured several easter eggs and references to video games from both Ubisoft and otherwise – Assassin’s Creed, Mega Man, and Watch Dogs.
The Division Resurgence
A CG trailer for the upcoming mobile version of Tom Clancy’s The Division kicked off the next segment, underscored by Bloc Party’s ‘Helicopter’. The game will be free-to-play and release on iOS. Beta tests for The Division Resurgence are beginning in June 2023.
Skull and Bones
A closed beta for the upcoming pirate game will be held from 25-28 August 2023.
Roller Champions X Jet Set Radio
A brief trailer announced a crossover between Sega’s beloved Jet Set Radio franchise and Ubisoft’s roller derby game, Roller Champions.
Riders Republic – Skateboarding
Ubisoft’s Extreme Sports game Riders Republic will be adding a whole new sport: Skateboarding.
The Crew Motorfest
A CG trailer for Ubisoft’s upcoming racing game sequel The Crew Motorfest was then shown, depicting several different styles of racing, set in the new location of Hawaii. We see vintage cars, off-road dirt racing with a variety of different vehicles, and nighttime street racing. We also see a clip of Formula 1 racing.
The director of the game took the stage to speak about the ongoing success of The Crew 2 (it sees ‘millions’ of players every month, according to him) and speak at length about the diversity of the playlists that will be available in the game. He highlighted some of the vehicles in the game, including a partnership with Lamborghini, and cutting-edge electric cars.
He also announced that existing players of The Crew 2 will be able to import their entire vehicle collections into Motorfest, for free.
A gameplay trailer of The Crew Motorfest was then, shown, which once again emphasised the diversity of different vehicles and race experiences.
The game will be released on 14 September 2023.
Assassin’s Creed Nexus VR
A lifestyle/CG trailer for Ubisoft’s upcoming Assassin’s Creed VR game, called Nexus, was then shown. We got a look at three different protagonists – Conor, Kassandra, and Ezio, all from previous AC games – and a glimpse at the first-person fighting, parkour, and assassination action.
The game will be exclusive to Meta Quest 2.
Assassin’s Creed Codename Jade
Ubisoft then announced an upcoming beta test for its free-to-play mobile Assassin’s Creed game set in Ancient China, Assassin’s Creed Codename Jade. No date was given.
Assassin’s Creed Mirage
A story trailer for the upcoming Assassin’s Creed Mirage was then shown. Set in Bagdhad in the 9th century, It depicted a young Basim, the assassin previously seen in Valhalla, as a street thief, being saved by the Master Assassin, Roshan (played by Shohreh Aghdashloo of Destiny and The Expanse fame). We see him rise as a fledgling assassin, but also see him deal with internal turmoil, as the trailer teases themes of self-sacrifice, fate, and inner demons.
Narrative Director Sarah Beaulieu then took the stage to talk about some of the aforementioned themes of the game and the setting. An extended gameplay walkthrough was then shown, which demonstrated the game’s back-to-basics philosophy, which sheds the RPG elements introduced in the most recent games, and returns to the action stealth gameplay the series began with.
Assassin’s Creed Mirage will be released on 12 October 2023.
Star Wars Outlaws
Julian Gerighty, the director of Star Wars Outlaws then took the stage to speak about Star Wars Outlaws. He spoke about protagonist Kay Vess and her companion Nix, who live a hard life as outlaws, and hope to take on one big job to secure their place in the galaxy.
The game will feature ‘open world locations’ and the ‘wilds of space’, where Kay and Nix will encounter several criminal organisations, which will provide opportunities and danger. A gameplay demo was then shown.
The trailer opens with Nix, a kind of land axolotl thing, pilfering a gem to deliver to Kay. She’s hiding behind cover, and sneaks up behind an unknowing guard to knock him out with a punch, shaking her hand in pain afterwards. Coming up to a group of three guards, she orders Nix to hit a button, which moves a box on a crane for Kay to grab onto and get across the space, unseen.
Kay’s discovered, unfortunately, and as she tries to talk her away out of things with her hands up, she performs a quickdraw to dispatch the guard, and races to cover. The demo then turns into a full-on firefight. Kay asks Nix to retrieve a blaster rifle from a fallen enemy for her, and she lays down suppressing fire and makes a run for it.
As she leaves the facility, she hops on a speeder bike and races out of there, with enemies in pursuit. She slows down time to mark two fast-moving enemies with an ability, and takes them out. She has a quick chat with her accomplice over the radio, and arrives in a nearby town, making a beeline for the cantina.
Kay enters the cantina’s VIP area to chat to a local crime boss, and debrief on the job. An empire officer also sits at the table, and attempts to strike a deal with Kay. The option for Kay to bribe the officer is given, but she refuses, pulls out a blaster, and leaves with the credits for the job.
As she walks out, a city-wide warning for Kay is sent out, which brings up a big ‘Wanted’ status. Kay boards her starship, and quickly zooms up into the atmosphere, and eventually into space in one seamless transition.
They’re suddenly pursued by TIE Fighters within a field of space debris. After shaking the fighters off, they jump into hyperspace, escape the Empire, and complete the quest.
A transition to the interior of the cockpit shows Kay bonding with Nix, and a brief montage of the game’s various locales is shown, followed by a standoff with an AT-ST and several space battles.
Star Wars Outlaws is slated for release in 2024.