As part of today's "Ubisoft Forward" event—which began with a statement from CEO Yves Guillemot apologizing for years of abusive behavior and a recent PR faux pas—the game studio revealed a game that, in light of the company's issues, seems like a weird flex.
The two-hour demo I played of Immortals: Fenyx Rising, a third-person adventure in the vein of Nintendo's Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, feels like a game from a problematic Ubisoft era. (It's been around for long enough, having originally been revealed as a game called Gods & Monsters, but now has a new title and a December 2 release date.) Before I get into the game's mechanics—which rip off BotW so shamelessly that I wonder whether Nintendo may press charges—I want to talk about its tone.
“Get a room, already”
The game stars Fenyx, a mortal Greek woman with supernatural powers like flight and telekinesis, on a mission to restore order to Mount Olympus. At first glance, you may look at the armor-clad hero and think Ubisoft has continued its streak of cool-and-powerful game heroines, following Assassin's Creed Odyssey's Kassandra.
But my two hours with the game included very little dialogue from this heroine. Instead, she mostly toils in silence, while Zeus and Prometheus serve as overbearing narrators, riffing like a Greek-god version of the Muppets' Statler and Waldorf. This starts out cute enough, with meta-jokes like Zeus asking Prometheus in the demo's opening to cut an elaborate story short. "It's called dramatic effect," Prometheus explains. "It's called, where's my skip button?" Zeus retorts. That sort of thing.
But by the end of the demo, these narrators' constant needling, meant to lighten the game's mood, instead sounded like the stuff of a low-brow locker room shouted over a leading woman's heroics. "A lot of poetry for something they're just going to stick in their mouth," Zeus quips about a description of an in-game food item. "Isn't that what the best poetry's about?" Prometheus replies. Um.
Other commentary directly undercuts her actions. After Fenyx completes one trial, Zeus says, "OK, I get the picture, she's our hero. Can we skip forward?" And when Prometheus describes a beautiful vista in the distance, Zeus seems to insinuate that this is somehow a flirt toward Fenyx: "Over it. Just get a room,Read More – Source