What can we expect from Beyond Good and Evil 2, the sequel 14 years in the making?
Teaser after teaser after teaser have been stringing along our hopes for Beyond Good and Evil 2 going on a decade now. Although I’d be pretty pissed at most developers for this, what we’ve seen of Beyond Good and Evil 2 (along with how fantastic the original was) has me hopeful.
Yes, I know that being hopeful in an industry full of false advertising, shady business practices, deplorable legal precedents, and massively unsustainable development is a recipe for disaster. Thankfully it’s not Ubisoft that I have faith in though: it’s Michel Ancel.
A little background knowledge about Beyond Good and Evil
The original Beyond Good and Evil was a fantastic game and still holds up today. Despite having a couple of camera issues and basic combat, the scope of the game was massive.
It was a game where the world completely sucked you in, letting the scope and plot smooth over any rough edges in the gameplay and textures. Every NPC had a personality (even if they only had one or two lines of dialogue), and they, along with the environments, story, soundtrack and challenges posed to the player, resulted in a world which felt alive and cohesive.
Unfortunately, despite critical acclaim, the original Beyond Good and Evil sold pretty poorly. An over-saturated market, combined with Ubisoft’s marketing focusing on Prince of Persia: The Sands Of Time meant that the title slipped under most people’s radar.
Because of low sales, the future looked bleak for Beyond Good and Evil 2. For four years after the original’s release fans were left hanging with a fantastic game which ended on a sequel tease.
Beyond Good and Evil 2: Original trailer, and leaked footage
After teasing his next project in an interview with Nintendo Power back in 2007, the series’ (and Rayman) creator Michel Ancel finally gave fans a lifeline. A cinematic trailer for Beyond Good and Evil 2 was released in May 2008.
Doubling up on that, a year later a second trailer (this time much more action-oriented) was leaked and later confirmed to be legitimate.
All the while, multiple sources repeatedly confirmed that the game was being worked on, and that delays were due to a desire to make the sequel as close to perfect as they possibly could.
Again, although the sheer amount of time between Beyond Good and Evil 2 and the original would usually piss me off, it’s comforting to know that it has always been on Ancel’s mind. To be honest I’d rather wait for them to take their time to get it right than get a rushed, uninspired follow-up.
So why the hell isn’t it here yet?
Well, to put it bluntly, those trailers and leaked footage aren’t representative of the actual game.
They’re a good snapshot of the prototype versions that Ancel and team were working on at the time, and that they were actually working on the damn thing. But it’d be naive to expect an almost decade-old teaser trailer to properly represent the still unreleased title.
The scope of the first game was huge, but in the sequel they want to push the bar further.The residents of Mammago Garage look a lot more intimidating in high resolution. Source: Michel Ansel’s Instagram
Space travel, planet exploration, a true open world (instead of a linear progression which is good enough to make you think it’s open): all of these are things that they wanted to include in the original. The available tech made that impossible.
But not anymore.
Beyond Good and Evil 2 was first confirmed by Ubisoft (officially – the original teaser trailer didn’t count because… reasons?) in a 2014 interview, and since then has been confirmed yet again (seriously, why can’t things just be “confirmed” once?) on Ubisoft’s Facebook account back in October 2016.
Meanwhile, Ancel has posted what appears to be concept art and maybe character models of the fresh version of Beyond Good and Evil 2 on his Instagram account, along with snaps of his other upcoming game named Wild.
Okay, so when will Beyond Good and Evil 2 release, and on what platforms?
Well… we don’t know yet.
In 2016 it was confirmed to be in “pre-production”, which essentially means that the team behind it was in the process of getting together a storyline, storyboards, design document. Once that’s complete the production phase starts (building the actual game), and following that you’ll have several rounds of testing (alpha, beta, etc) before release.
In other words, we could still be waiting a year or two.
As for the platforms it will release on there’s also very little officially confirmed. However, Laura Kate Dale (editor of LetsPlayVideoGames) leaked that Beyond Good and Evil 2 will be exclusive to the Switch for 12 months before being released on the PS4 and Xbox One. No news on a PC version.
Despite the lack of solid news, and the sneaking suspicion that Beyond Good and Evil 2 being an open world Ubisoft game will mean that they’re forced to follow the regular (boring) formula of almost every other open world game nowadays, I’m uncharacteristically hopeful.
I don’t trust trailers (and neither should you) or like getting hyped about games, but Michel Ancel’s games all have a real sense of passion which shows in the final product. You can tell that he had a lot of fun making games like Rayman, Rayman 2, the original Beyond Good and Evil, and Rayman Legends, and that fun and passion is something I’m willing to get excited for.
Have you tried the original title? What do you think to a sequel that’s 14 years in the making – labour of love or a money-grabbing reboot? I’d love to chat in the comments.