The original Beyond Good and Evil was released in 2003 for the Xbox and PlayStation 2 and it’s definitely one of the most beloved games from Michel Ancel. Unfortunately this game wasn’t as financially successful as it was critically acclaimed; everyone I have spoken to gushes about this game and eagerly awaits a sequel. When I finally put my copy in I enjoyed the time spent playing immensely even though I only got about halfway through it.
The biggest detraction I had was the fact that you had to find almost every pearl to advance Jade through the game. Things like that tend to bother me in a game, but other than that flaw the world, the characters and the story were very enjoyable. A sequel would be welcomed tomorrow and if the pearls were not a must have item I would buy the game on day one.
There had been rumblings of this game in the press; Nintendo Power interviewed Ancel and he mentioned that he was working on a game of extreme importance to him and later in the interview he spoke of Jade, the protagonist in the first game. In an interview in 2008 with a French magazine, Jeux Video, he let it slip that Beyond Good and Evil 2 was in production. Approximately two weeks later fans got a glimpse of what Ancel was working on during Ubidays, which just so happened to be a trailer for Beyond Good and Evil 2. And now, before things had even begun, they were starting to fall apart.
Later that year Ancel stated that the game had been in development for a year and a half and that Ubisoft was giving them free reign with the project. A few months later in 2009 Ancel then told an interviewer that the title was only in pre-production as the team decided what type of vision they felt fit the title. At Gamescom in 2009 Ubisoft stated matter of factly that Beyond Good and Evil 2 was indefinitely on hold for the foreseeable future. Does anyone else see a pattern here? For two years the game was touted then pulled back, it was a dangerous and terrifying circle for any fans of the game.
What seemed to have been the final nail in the coffin for Jade and her motley crew was the rumor that Ancel was set to depart from Ubisoft citing internal fighting over Beyond Good and Evil. Thankfully this was debunked soon after when Ancel spoke at Montpellier at a Game conference quelling fears by telling fans that the game is in active development, but with a much smaller team. This dancing around the issue happened for four more years until Ubisoft finally delivered a press release stating this,
“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.“
While this is good news, it was released three years ago, and Beyond Good and Evil 2 is still not sitting on my shelf.
The dancing still continues from Ubisoft and Ancel, the good news is that after Rayman: Legends release the development team can now focus on Beyond Good and Evil 2. Seeing as the title has been in development for almost nine years and through an entire generation of consoles I can see that development may be a tad more difficult. No one but Ancel knows just how far in development the game is; maybe the game was almost completed but now they want to upgrade to current generation consoles. I am not a developer so I honestly don’t know how difficult it is to upgrade from old generation code to new generation code.
If it is difficult and they have a substantial part of the game finished, it may take a bit of work to recode it. I would also think that they would want to take advantage of all the bells and whistles of the current generation. I enjoyed my time with the original and I simply cannot imagine what Ancel could do if he takes his time and upgrades to the Xbox One and PlayStation 4. I want nothing more than this game to be released and to succeed; I miss the days of creativity in gaming and Ancel is one of the developers that sticks to his creative routes.