Tom Clancy's Endwar Endwar
was one of the newest titles on show at Ubidays and as such details for it were very thin on the ground, with little more than a pre-rendered rolling demo on show and some enthusiastic developer-hype.
Set in the future, Endwar
is a strategy game about the 'war to end all wars'. Hence, the name.
The story, which basically seems to involve a fuel crisis that occurs sooner than everybody expected, is expected to tie in heavily to the Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter
, Rainbow Six
and Splinter Cell
universes and will focus on the conflict around Europe. Rumours are that the UK will be stuck in the middle as it is forced to choose between siding with the US or with the European Union in a global war.
Designed from the ground-up as a console RTS, the game will be appearing on both 360 and on PlayStation 3 before making its way to PC. Because of the console staging though, the game is set to focus much more on smaller-scale battles than the massive conflicts seen in titles like Supreme Commander
One of the most interesting things we found about Endwar
was the complete lack of nuclear weapons. This is mainly due to the fact that the designers envisage that anti-ballistic measures will soon make these superweapons rather obsolete and push the world towards nuclear disarmament.
Though, just because you can't nuke the enemy doesn't mean you don't get access to the big guns. Rumours regarding the story, coupled with evidence seen in the rolling trailer, lead us to think that space-based weapons will play a large part in the campaigns, with press releases mentioning that the US operate a permanent space-borne military platform that is sabotaged towards the start of the game.
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Also of note was the idea that the game will incorporate numerous MMO elements, though what exactly these will be and what effect they'll have for those with a preference for single player gameplay remains to be seen.
Although we didn't get a chance to get hands-on with the game, it turns out that this may be a deliberate part of the game design and that the entire game from start to finish may be playable using only voice commands. Developers from Ubisoft's Shanghai studio mentioned that the game is a lot slower to play in this manner, but that many play testers seem to prefer it as they find it makes the game more immersive and involving.
We managed to get some hints about how advanced the voice control will be in Endwar
, and discovered that it will function very similar to the command system used in Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter
with a button press bringing up a menu of branching commands that can be used to sacrifice wave after wave of gloriously advanced polygons.
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Billed by the developers as "World War III in your living room"
is certainly going to be a game for console owners to keep an eye on and, though footage of actual gameplay was extremely limited, it looks like it may be an excellent squad-based RTS. Our only concern about it thus far is how well the console gameplay would translate to a PC platform, where the ultra-zoomed in viewpoint may be a bit too restrictive for gamers of the keyboard and mouse persuasion.
With Ubidays 2007 now finally over, we're able to fully sit back and take stock of what Ubisoft has in store for gamers this year.
For console gamers the new version of Dark Messiah
will provide a chance to re-explore one of last year's best RPG/FPS hybrids from the comfort of your sofa and HDTV. For stealth fans, Splinter Cell: Conviction
will bring a load of new (though not revolutionary) features to the series. Seriously hardcore gamers will have both Assassin's Creed
to look forward depending on what their tastes are.
Ubisoft also had a few other titles on show, mainly in the casual games front on the DS. Games like Jam Sessions
, a guitar simulation that makes clever use of the touch screen, and Horsez
, a stable-running simulation game, will help bulk up Ubisoft's output this year, though we weren't massively impressed by any single title in the casual game line-up.
As for how successful Ubidays 2007 was as an event, it's still very hard to gauge. There were a series of disappointments and organisational failures that marred the events of the first day, but the games shown on the second day managed to help Ubisoft's recovery and so ultimately the two balanced out. The event was a definite success, especially for games like Haze
which managed to outshine other previously popular titles like Assassin's Creed
Is Ubidays the new E3? We doubt it, though it certainly won't do any harm for one of the world's most respected publishers and we can't wait for it to come around next year.