Jun 12, 2021 - Technology

E3 2021: Nintendo and Ubisoft team up with 'Mario + Rabbids' sequel


Image courtesy of Nintendo

Two of gaming’s biggest companies are creating a game together for the third time in five years with a Switch sequel, “Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope.”

Why it matters: Nintendo rarely lets other companies work with its characters, making its continued partnerships with Ubisoft a rare sign of trust.

  • The game is a crossover that combines Ubisoft’s feral bunnies with Mario characters in a series of strategic turn-based battles.
  • It follows 2017’s hit “Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle” and 2018’s “Starlink: Battle For Atlas,” which co-starred Nintendo’s Star Fox characters in its Switch version.

Between the lines: Announcements of Nintendo games seldom leak, while Ubisoft’s do often.

  • But “Sparks of Hope” seemingly leaked this morning via Nintendo when a product page went live on the company’s website hours before Ubisoft’s E3 showcase.

Ubisoft’s event Saturday also showcased several other games.

“Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora” (launching in 2022) was teased years ago but finally shown Saturday, offering a look at an upcoming action game set in the James Cameron Avatar franchise.

  • This was Ubisoft’s show closer, a sign it has high hopes for the game.
Image via Ubisoft

Rainbow Six Extraction(launching Sept. 16), a new 1-3 co-op humans-vs.-aliens game that follows from Ubisoft’s phenomenally successful competitive multiplayer game “Rainbow Six Siege.”

  • It was announced at E3 2019 as “Rainbow Six Quarantine” but has received a name change due to COVID connotations.

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla,” the company’s big fall 2020 Viking adventure will get a paid summer expansion and a free fall update that turns the game into an educational tour of the Viking age.

  • Ubisoft announced that more expansions are on the way, indirectly confirming that there will be no new “Assassin’s Creed” for some time.

Rocksmith+” is a music learning subscription service that goes into closed PC beta today. It leaked earlier today.

Riders Republic” (launching Sept. 2) is a massively multiplayer extreme sports game.

The event did not include direct mention of the company’s ongoing issues with workplace misconduct that started making headlines a year ago.

  • Last month, the hashtag #holdubisoftaccountable trended, following a report that Ubisoft had not sufficiently improved things.
  • At the end of Saturday's showcase, CEO Yves Guillemot did thank his developers for their work during a “challenging year,” a reference that could, of course, have been referring to COVID.
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