Now it's time for the slowest portion of the presentation. Senior VP of sales and marketing, Tony Key, addresses the conference. He lets everyone know that girls and tweens make up a key demographic for Ubisoft. As such, two franchises, Imagine and Petz, stand at position one and three respectively for handheld software sales over the last year. That perked up everyone's ears. Petz alone has sold 13 million copies worldwide since its inception. Upcoming games in the Petz series will include more Catz, Dogz, and even Monkeyz. Imagine has sold over 4 million worldwide, future games include Fashion Designer (DS), Movie Star (DS), Rock Star (DS), Interior Designer (DS), Teacher (DS), Fashion Party (Wii), and Party Babies (Wii). Ubisoft has also decided to expand into girls' sports. Ener-G titles will focus on girls' sports with games such as Adventure Riders, Dance Squad, and Gym Rockets coming holiday 2008.
Andů it's back to the good stuff! Shaun White Snowboarding is coming out for all three home consoles. Separate development teams have been delegated authority to produce the Wii and PS3/360 versions. Producer Louis Lamarche takes the stage and demonstrates the wide open environments of the 360 version. The game is very free flowing. You can investigate four different mountains covering a massive amount of terrain. There are hits and tight lines everywhere and even various terrain parks to take on pipe challenges. If you find an area you particularly like, you can set markers and warp back there instantly. However, hidden areas and fun lines are found by observing them from the chairlift. If you see something you like, you can simply hop off the chair and jump right in. Online play will allow players to join in with up to 16 friends. Joining together is done seamlessly, without having to exit to and wait for lobby screens. A surprise guest takes the stage to give the demonstrators a few tips on how to board, it's Shaun White! He pointed out that they sucked and needed a few lessons.
The moment we've all been waiting for is finally here. We get a glimpse of the new Prince of Persia trailer. The game's cel-shaded visuals are really neat; they mimic a comic and anime styles quite nicely. The Prince looks to be as athletic as ever, and his partner and he team up to pull off some pretty impressive combinations (it looks as though she won't be dying too often). In addition to combat, the acrobatic platforming puzzles look very fun and smooth.
It looked as if that was going to be it, but Ubisoft hit us up with a surprise trailer of I Am Alive. This post-apocalyptic survival adventure follows the life of Adam, as he struggles to cope and survive in an urban wasteland that was once Chicago (I wonder if he'll find Eden?). The graphics look tremendous and the overall feel of the title (after watching the minute-long trailer) is that it will be an engrossing, cinematic experience.
That concludes the Ubisoft conference. It was solid and informative. They have a bevy of intriguing and demographic-specific titles for the future that should do quite well in stores. Unfortunately, there was nothing new on the Beyond Good and Evil front. Maybe we'll get something at TGS.
CCC Editor / News Director