Ubisoft Forward 2023 highlights

ubisoft forward

The Ubisoft Forward showcase brought us new looks at Assassin’s Creed Mirage, Star Wars Outlaws, and long blue cat simulator, Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora…


It’s been a week that has brought us new trailers and hype for games of all sizes, from the indie delights of the Guerrilla Collective to the sprawling behemoth that is Starfield. Last night, it was Ubisoft’s turn to show off its upcoming wares. And while there were few surprises (something that’s becoming an endangered species in any case thanks to the leaky nature of the internet), there’s plenty of new information to chew over.

Here’s our pick of the highlights:

Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora

James Cameron’s sci-fi fantasy sequel may have come out months ago, but Ubisoft clearly isn’t making just another rushed movie-game tie-in with Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora. An open-world action adventure developed by Massive Entertainment (with an assist from several other Ubisoft studios), it looks something like a Far Cry game set in the movies’ dayglo alien world.

Frontiers of Pandora’s new gameplay trailer provides a guided tour of this Avatar product’s chief selling points: riding around on flying lizards, hunting and foraging for food, and blowing away pesky colonial humans using guns and rocket launchers. There’s even online two-player co-op, which isn’t something we were expecting.

Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora releases on 7 December for PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.

Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown

We were surprised to see that Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown had received something of a backlash when it was announced a few days back, with complaints that the 2D action game doesn’t particularly resemble the cinematic platformers of old. Maybe Ubisoft’s new gameplay trailer will put some of those grumpy takes to rest, as the action here looks pretty enjoyable to us. There’s the hero’s new time-warping powers for one thing – a suite of abilities that allow him to dash, undo mistakes (like, say, getting stabbed by a gigantic boss) and suck enemies into what look like black holes. It’s a ‘semi open world’ game, too, so maybe this could be next year’s equivalent of Metroid Dread.

Oh, and the trailer appears to end with the protagonist shrieking, “ARRGH BIRDS!!” Just give it a BAFTA already.

Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown is out on 18 January 2024 for Switch, PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.

The Crew Motorfest

You’ll note that we’re concentrating exclusively on gameplay trailers in this highlights post, and there’s a good reason for that. Things like ‘cinematic introduction’ promos may look pretty, but for us, that’s pretty much where their use ends. Rather than bother with The Crew Motorfest's “NOT ACTUAL GAMEPLAY FOOTAGE trailer, then, let’s focus instead on its gameplay, which looks as slick and smooth as you’d expect from the arcade racing series. In fact, the in-engine footage looks so good, we almost wonder why Ubisoft went to the expense of even making a CGI trailer, but hey-ho. The Crew Motorfest is clearly intended as a rival to Forza Horizon – to the point where some shots look uncannily similar to recent entries in Playground Games’ high-octane series.

The Crew Motorfest is out on 14 September for PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.

Assassin’s Creed Mirage

Posing in high places, stabbing people in the back, nimbly hopping across beams, collecting feathers – Assassin’s Creed Mirage provides a return to the simpler antics of earlier games in the series, albeit with yet another new historical setting: 9th century Baghdad. Given just how gigantic other recent entries have become, Mirage’s more compact campaign – which is said to last about 15 hours or so – could serve as a welcome change of pace.

Ubisoft’s mission to make an Assassin’s Creed game for every device known to humanity also continues with the announcement trailer for Assassin’s Creed Nexus VR for Meta Quest 2 and Meta Quest 3 headsets, and a fresh look at Assassin’s Creed Codename Jade, a China-set outing for Android and iOS.

Assassin’s Creed Mirage releases on 12 October for PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.

Star Wars Outlaws

Yesterday’s reveal trailer gave us our first glimpse of Ubisoft’s open-world Star Wars game, but last night’s gameplay trailer provided a ten-minute dive into its gameplay and plot. One of the neat points it shows off is what we’re calling Star Wars Outlaws’ critter mechanic. Squirrel-like sidekick Nix is capable of distracting enemies, scuttling off to activate switches, steal weapons, and more besides. It’s like a 3D, unfeasibly big-budget take on the lovely Planet of Lana. There’s plenty of gunplay, too, which immediately separates Outlaws from the Soulslike sword fighting of the Star Wars Jedi titles. Yep, we’re looking forward to this one.

Star Wars Outlaws releases in 2024 for PS5 and Xbox Series X/S.

This shooter

In among the Ubisoft Forward showcase’s other trailers and announcements, there was also some new footage for XDefiant, a multiplayer first-person shooter. It looks fine.

XDefiant is out this summer following an open beta phase that will run from 21 to 23 June.

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