Beyond Good and Evil 2 was a surprising announcement from the annual Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) press conference of Ubisoft earlier this week.
Revealed to be a prequel to the original open world action-adventure game, the long-awaited installment has taken over a decade to finally break its silence. However, we might have to wait a bit longer before we can actually get our hands on it.
Beyond Good and Evil 2 has for long been considered to be enduring a development hell. Following its announcement at E3 2017, Ubisoft has shared a few bits of information to shed light on what it has been doing in the past years. Adding a bit of research to that helps us see the full, though still hazy, picture of the current status of the upcoming game.
What is the development status?
There are two different statements when it comes to the development status of Beyond Good and Evil 2. According to Ubisoft, it is still in “Day Zero” of development. However, several other sources, Mashable for one, have confirmed that the game is at least three years old. Both carry a degree of truth, which can be clarified by delving into its alleged hectic development cycle.
Work on Beyond Good and Evil 2 is rumored to have begun around 2007 under creative director Michel Ancel, and was based on the same assets and engine from the first game. It was originally intended to release for previous-generation consoles but the absence of any acknowledgement from Ubisoft made it appear that the project had been canned. Ancel’s later departure to form his own studio only strengthened that belief.
Last year it was officially confirmed that Ubisoft did in fact pause the development to allocate all resources to Rayman Legends. There was a reason for this. The fifth main installment in the platform franchise allowed the developers to produce important tools that would help with the production of Beyond Good and Evil 2. Once Rayman Legends released in 2013, work on the long-requested game began once again.
Hence, in that light, Beyond Good and Evil 2 has indeed been in the works for the past three years or so.
Does that mean we might see a release soon?
Considering that most major modern games tend to see the light of day in about three or four years, it would definitely put Beyond Good and Evil 2 up for a release late next year. However, the truth of the matter is that Ubisoft has only begun actual work on the core game. This brings us to the developer’s recent confirmation that the project is in its infancy.
The first Beyond Good and Evil installment managed to earn a lot of praise but was ultimately considered as a commercial failure. At the time, Ancel explained that the game’s universe was simply too big to fit into a single installment. In addition, technological limitations meant that he had to forego several features and gameplay elements.
With Beyond Good and Evil 2, Ubisoft is going all the way and leaving no stones unturned to guarantee a “more accessible” experience. It is being termed as a very “ambitious” project and the development team has spent the past years to just create custom tools and an engine from scratch to cater to the game’s large scope. It should also be noted that the decision to skip over to current-generation hardware would have likely brought further goals for the team.
Was all of this preparation really necessary?
According to chief executive officer Yves Guillemot, it was. Speaking with IGN, he explained the importance of having internal technology and how it ensures total control over a timely schedule. Ubisoft is looking at it as a long-term investment, which will produce a game worthy for fans to sink their teeth in.
“If we were to make Beyond Good and Evil 2 at some point we needed something very, very big,” added managing director Xavier Poix. “For years and years we thought about it, but … the game had to be enormous. It had to be in space, it had to be with planets, it had to be. So we created this technology called Voyager that’s enabled us at least to get this feeling of travelling in space, going from one planet to another, to go from your ship to a bigger ship, to go out of your ship and be a normal person. That’s the technology we’ve been working on for three years.”
Where does that leave us?
This year, Ubisoft has completed the preliminary work on the tools required to start building the project. Hence, the real work has just begun. Without knowing further details, we can only speculate on just how much the actual game has shaped up. In the worst case scenario, we are in for the long haul and Beyond Good and Evil 2 is still more than a couple of years away before it starts hitting shelves.
Why even announce the game then?
Ubisoft has expressed the importance of incorporating feedback from fans during the development of the game. Timely details will be shared with the public to ensure that the second installment is done right in order to “create the best game possible.” Those interested in participating in the development process can be part of the “Space Monkey Program” by signing up here.
What are the platforms?
Beyond Good and Evil 2 has so far been confirmed to be in development for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Considering the ambitious take on the project, it is likely that the game will be receiving an update to take advantage of the more beefier hardware of the PlayStation 4 Pro and Xbox One X.
A rumor from earlier this year stated that Beyond Good and Evil 2 will enjoy an exclusivity period of twelve months on the recently released Nintendo Switch, after which it will arrive for other platforms. Ubisoft is yet to validate that claim.