Beyond Good & Evil 2
|Beyond Good & Evil 2|
Beyond Good & Evil 2 is a video game in development by Ubisoft Montpellier and published by Ubisoft. It is the sequel to the 2003 video game Beyond Good & Evil. Intended as the first part of a trilogy, the original Beyond Good & Evil won critical acclaim but failed to gain commercial success. As such, the status of the sequel was unknown for several years until it was unveiled at Ubidays 2008 in the Louvre in Paris, France, on 28 May 2008.
Since its first revelation, Beyond Good & Evil 2's development has been characterized in the media by uncertainty, doubt and rumours about the game's future. On 28 May 2010, a French website claimed to have insider information of Michel Ancel leaving Ubisoft Montpellier, thus putting the game on hold. However this was denied by Ubisoft representatives shortly thereafter. Appearing at the Montpellier in Game conference on 25 June 2010, Ancel stated that the game is in development and that they are experimenting with new development practices to keep the development team small and preserve its artistic spirit. As such, the development will take "a while", but Ancel encouraged listeners to be patient. In 2011, it was revealed that Ancel and his team took a break from the development of the game to work on Rayman Origins.
Speaking at an exclusive Ubisoft dinner in 2011, Ancel stated that Beyond Good & Evil 2 was far into development and targeting a release on the next generation of consoles. No more information came out on the development of Beyond Good & Evil 2 until 2016. The product said to be released on next gen consoles was never released. Ancel has said that Beyond Good & Evil 2 is being developed from scratch and it is not expected to be released for a few more years at least. There is no information on what has happened to the development made in 2011.
The original Beyond Good & Evil game was meant to be the first of a trilogy of games. Michel Ancel has stated that he wrote the story of the Beyond Good & Evil-universe to be longer than what is included in the first game, but because of the poor sales of the original game, Ubisoft was reluctant to invest in a sequel.
Michel Ancel first gave a hint about Beyond Good & Evil 2 in an interview with Nintendo Power, where he confirmed that he was working on a new project that means a lot to him. He also talked about Jade (the protagonist from the original game) and said that he really hopes that she will continue to keep her values and her personality.
Many rumours about a possible sequel appeared after the release of the first game, all of which seemed to be false until May 2008 when Ubisoft revealed a teaser trailer for Ubisoft Montpellier's new project which featured characters and remixed music from the original Beyond Good & Evil.
Speaking to a French magazine, Ancel cited that Beyond Good & Evil 2 is a very personal project to him, and that he and his team wish to dedicate as much time as they feel necessary to it, in order to achieve the result they desire. He also affirmed that the gameplay will reflect aspects more in tune with the third-person style of Assassin's Creed, than the first-person perspective seen in Mirror's Edge.
Michel Ancel first talked about Beyond Good & Evil 2 being in production in an interview with the French magazine Jeux Vidéo Magazine, where he stated that the game has been in pre-production for a year, but was yet to be approved by Ubisoft. Less than two weeks later, a teaser trailer of the game, recorded entirely inside the game's engine, was shown at Ubidays. However, the game was presented only as the next project of Michel Ancel and Ubisoft Montpellier; no specific details, release date or title was announced. The trailer, showing off the highly advanced graphics of the game engine, depicts a broken-down hover-car on the shoulder of a desert road. Beside the vehicle sits Pey'j, one of the supporting characters from the original game. A woman resembling Jade, the protagonist, sits on the trunk in the background. Not much is revealed about the game itself. The Jeux Vidéo Magazine article also stated that Beyond Good & Evil 2 is under development for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, but this is not confirmed.
On 18 December 2008, at the VGL event in Paris, Ancel stated that Beyond Good & Evil 2 has been under development for a year and a half and that the development team have received total freedom from Ubisoft, giving them the opportunity to make the game how they want.
In an interview on 21 March 2009, Ancel stated that the game was still in pre-production and that they would not start actual development until they had decided on all the tools and processes needed to realize their vision of the game.
On 8 May 2009, a video was released onto the Internet showing a character resembling Jade running through a city, dodging its police force. On 22 July 2009, Laurent Detoc, CEO of Ubisoft North America, confirmed that the video had been leaked but said that this was not done intentionally. He continued to state that they had started working on Beyond Good & Evil 2 because they didn't want to abandon the IP as it has a cachet and authenticity about it, but also emphasized that although they are definitely working on the game it doesn't necessarily mean it's ever going to be released; that's something the future will decide. The authenticity of the trailer was confirmed by Michel Ancel at E3 2011.
During the Gamescom convention in August 2009, Ubisoft representatives stated that the game's development was officially on-hold. However, shortly after the convention Ubisoft stated in an interview that work on the title had been neither abandoned nor put on hold. When fans asked for clarifications regarding the mixed signals coming from Ubisoft, a UK forum manager stated that it was not technically possible for the game to be delayed since it had not actually been officially announced. In November 2009, Geoffroy Sardin, the General Director of Ubisoft France, said that the rumours about the game being put on hold were false and that development was still on-going. This was confirmed again in January 2010 by Ubisoft representatives talking to IGN.
On 28 May 2010, (exactly two years after the initial announcement) the French website Wootgaming claimed to have insider information of Michel Ancel leaving Ubisoft Montpellier due to internal problems with the development of Beyond Good & Evil 2, and consequently putting the game's development on hold. The rumours were later denied, however, by Ubisoft PR representatives, as well as sources within the studio, and reassured that the game is still under development.
On 25 June 2010, Michel Ancel appeared at the Montpellier in Game conference and spoke about Beyond Good & Evil 2. He assured that the game in fact still is in development, but is being worked at by a relatively small number of people and thus will take a while to finish. Ancel wants to keep the development team as small as possible to preserve the game's artistic spirit and avoid it becoming just a commercial product. The team has been working on tools that will enable developers to create 3D-games in a similar way as the tools being used for the 2D-game Rayman: Origins, which has enabled a small sub-team of only five people to create the game's levels.
On 19 August 2010, Yves Guillemot, CEO of Ubisoft, told Kotaku that work continues on Beyond Good & Evil 2 and had never stopped. We were, as we are, working on the game. What is very important with this next product is that it will be perfect.
A HD re-release of the original game was released in March 2011 on Xbox Live Arcade and in June 2011 on PlayStation Network. The producer of the updated version, Wang Xu, said to "keep the faith" for the sequel. He has also said that he does not know if the HD version is used to test how customers feel about the franchise.
On 7 June 2011, Ancel revealed that he plans to develop Beyond Good & Evil 2 for the next generation of consoles, which were yet to be announced.
In May 2012, it was announced by Michel Ancel that the game had entered an 'active' development stage specifically for new-gen consoles, with them working on the in-game engine. They also previewed a screenshot of the in-game graphics.
On 31 July 2014, Ubisoft officially confirmed that Beyond Good & Evil 2 is in active development at the moment. The exact words from publisher's press person were:
In many ways, BG&E is an inimitable game - it appeals to all generations of gamers and is an inspiration behind many of Ubisoft Montpellier's past and future games. It's still far too early to give many details about this new title, but what we can say is that while Michel and the team at Ubisoft Montpellier are working with the core tenets of BG&E, they're developing something that aspires to push past the boundaries of a proverbial sequel and leverages next-gen technologies to deliver a truly surprising, innovative and exceptional game. The entire team is excited about the direction this extremely ambitious project is taking, and we'll have more to share later, as it progresses.
This statement was made shortly after Ancel's announcement of starting a project of his own game studio—dubbed Wild Sheep Studio—which employs 13 people, including Michel himself.
On 3 March 2016, Destructoid published a rumor that the game was being partially funded by Nintendo as an exclusive for their upcoming "NX" system. On 8 March 2016, it was revealed that Ubisoft requested that Destructoid remove the article, with the site refusing to comply.
On 1 April 2016, Ubisoft files for a trademark for the Beyond Good & Evil IP.
On 13 June 2016, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemont confirmed that the long-awaited sequel is still alive during the YouTube Live at E3 broadcast. However, he did not confirm when exactly it would be revealed. "It's difficult to say." Guillemont said. "Michel is working on it, but he's doing two games at the same time--he's doing Wild at the same time. It's coming along, but he has to spend more time on it, so we can see it faster."
On 27 September 2016, Michel Ancel posted a teaser image on his Instagram showing what appeared to be a young Pey'j, sparking speculation that the game could be a prequel to the original, or would explore Pey'j's past.
On 4 October 2016, Michel Ancel posted additional art of similar nature over the week, culminating with a statement that his new game with Ubisoft is in pre-production mode, though Ubisoft did not confirm if this was Beyond Good & Evil 2.
On 6 October 2016, Ubisoft officially confirmed the game's development via a Facebook post "If you've been waiting for news about BG&E ... Well here you go! We are delighted to confirm that Michel Ancel is currently working with the Ubisoft Montpellier studio on a new Beyond Good & Evil game.", although they did not state what platforms the game would be on.
On 19 October 2016, Michel Ancel provided an explanation as to why Ubisoft's Montpellier studio didn't continue development of the game after it was announced in 2008. "The game was playable with many prototypes, all videos were real time, but we had too much technical issues. We wanted planet exploration, space travel, cities. All this was also supposed to be in the original. Instead of not doing the game of our dreams, we decided to return to 2D, have fun with Rayman, and go back at work for Beyond Good and Evil 2. We still have lots of work, but now the tech is ready and the team is fantastic!"
On 24 November 2016, Michel Ancel said that his team have been working on the sequel properly since Rayman Legends' completion. He warned it's still a long way from release, and needs to be "more concrete" before a full reveal. He also said that "Beyond Good & Evil 2 is a very serious development for Ubisoft, big questions that are so big you can't know the answers because no physics engine can handle all of the dimensions and speeds and things like that, It's like 'Okay, if no physics engine can do it, how can we achieve that? It's crazy and difficult to explain to people how technical making a game is. Now it's not anymore about polygons and things like that, it's about millions of behavioural AIs, systems, and giant spaceships crashing on big planets."
It is unknown if the cast of the original Beyond Good & Evil is coming back to work on Beyond Good & Evil 2. However, it is confirmed that composer Christophe Héral, who scored the music for the original game, will be returning. In an interview with Jeux Vidéo Magazine, Ancel stated that a small team had already been working on the pre-production for a year.
In an interview with Next-Gen, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot stated that Beyond Good & Evil 2 will be made more accessible to the new generation of players, in an effort to make sure the sequel does not suffer the same commercial failure the original did. Guillemot clarified that statement later on, saying that they do not intend to make the game more casual player-oriented.
Plot and setting
In the interview with Jeux Vidéo Magazine, Michel Ancel stated:
"[Beyond Good & Evil 2 will] be in continuity with the first game, with a big variety of levels, lots of emotion in the gameplay, and characters we care about. This time we are dealing with the planet's future, and the relationship with animals..."
On April 3, Eurogamer.net published a translated interview with Ancel talking about the inspirations behind Beyond Good & Evil and its sequel:
"It was a mix of experiences. It was a phantasm to create an adventure game, a universe too. It was the game I wanted to create for a long time. [...] There were a lot of inspirations: the Miyazaki universe, my own inspirations, politics and the media; the theme of September 11 – the CNN show with army messages and the fear climate. And it was a mix from other universes."
He also answered the question of whether or not the game will be a direct sequel to the first game:
"Yes! But it is better to discover that when you play, ha ha! But it is clear we want to continue the story – we won't create characters, story. The story continues and we'll react on important events of the first."
Ancel also talked about the sequel being more immersive and complex compared to the original, largely because of the possibilities of current-generation hardware, but as a result will take longer to develop.
"We'll conserve the spirit of the first game, but the form will change. For [BG&E], we wanted to create a more cinematographic game, but we didn't have the technical ability to do that. So we simplified. It was fun, because I remember we had to work for Sony to demonstrate how original our game was in order to get the development kit. We wrote BG&E like we were in a film. After, we understood it would be very tricky to reach that immersion on that console! But now, with the next-gen consoles, we feel it is possible to develop the game we thought of for the first. [...] It is very difficult to answer [when the game's going to be released]: there is an unknown aspect."
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