After years of rumors, the project finally resurfaced in April, 2016, when Ubisoft re-filed the game’s trademark. Months later, at E3 2016, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemo said the project was still alive. Michel Ancel, the game’s creative director, teased the project in late September, and a month later, Ubisoft confirmed its Montpellier Studio is working on Beyond Good and Evil 2. A CG trailer released during E3 2017 only got fans even more excited.
If you’re as excited as us for Beyond Good and Evil 2, then you can keep up with news, rumors, and everything we know about the game right here.
Shortly after E3 2017, Ancel released the first in-engine footage in a narrated, live tech demo. The scale is truly impressive. It starts with the player’s mothership, which will be an important hub of activity, exploration, and crew collection during the game. A smaller, more nimble ship then pops out of an opening in the nose, and then like Russian nesting dolls a gorilla character exits from the top of that ship. It jetpacks around the two spaceships and then the giant, Ganesh-like elephant statue at the heart of the city below, showing off the contrasting scale of the gorilla standing atop the enormous statue. He then takes this much further with a little Powers of 10 demonstration, zooming out to show the city situated on a continent, then the whole planet in orbit around another, larger planet. The smaller ship flies around at upwards of 20,000 km/hr, showing off how seamlessly the player will be able to explore across vast distances. Finally, he flies around to the other side of the planet, which is being bombarded by meteors, to demonstrate the engine’s impressive simulation capabilities, with circular waves of force radiating out across the planet’s surface surrounding impacts.
During a developer live-stream in December, Ancel and his team confirmed there will be at least five different types of ships to use. These include the mother ship, scouting ship, cargo frigate, small fighter, and “Tuk-Tuk.” All of these will be fully customizable, and most of the cosmetic changes will have an effect on gameplay. For instance, the shape of your craft will affect wind resistance, resulting in greater or lesser speed. You will also be free to steal other characters’ ships when visiting cities, though they won’t let them go without a fight.
Despite the name, the game is a prequel
The Beyond Good and Evil franchise was planned as a trilogy. Poor sales changed the trilogy’s timeline, as Ubisoft was not eager to fund additional installments. Now that Beyond Good and Evil 2 is moving full-steam ahead, Ubisoft chose to make the game a prequel.
According to Dale’s source, Beyond Good and Evil 2 will be a partial reboot.
Taking place in “System 3” in the 24th century, Beyond Good and Evil 2 centers around a system of “interstellar trade and colonization” after hybrid animal-human creatures have been turned into slaves. In a trailer breakdown video, Ancel added that this slavery system also exists between animal hybrids as well.
“While private enterprises fight over resources and power, the first colonists weave together the rich and diverse spiritual cultural heritages of Old Earth to give meaning to their existence,” Ubisoft said.
The publisher emphasized the game’s multicultural elements after the initial reveal trailer and this could be a hint of what to expect from the game’s story. Ubisoft has taken inspiration from several civilizations, including the ancient Egyptians, in the creation of its “hybrids.” One concept design featured in a developer live-stream took influence from cow gods in both ancient Egyptian religion and Hinduism.
If Laura Kate Dale of Let’s Play Video Games is correct, the game could still feature some sections that take place after the first Beyond Good and Evil. According to Dale’s source, Beyond Good and Evil 2 will be a partial reboot. It will retell important aspects of the original game, dive into Pey’j’s backstory, and go forth after the events of the first game — this seems to gain credibility from the game’s re-reveal trailer, in which the pig Zhou utters the word “Pey’j” at one point. Ancel mentioned that the name could be common, possibly referencing a deity of some kind.
Watch the trailers
Ubisoft showed the first extended trailer for Beyond Good and Evil 2 during its E3 2017 press conference. The video opens with a pig creature named Zhou Yuzhu speaking to a chimpanzee with an English accent named Knox in the city of Ganesha. Zhou is given a golden statue in exchange for a CD, but the statue turns out to be Swiss chocolate, and the chimp makes his escape from the ceiling of the bar they were in.
After grappling his way through several rooftops, Knox jumps onto a flying motorcycle driven by his human friend Shani and the two are pursued by an aircraft firing machine guns. Before their plane is destroyed, the two manage to commandeer another vehicle and fly to safety. Returning to their friends and captain, a woman named Dakini, at their enormous ship, the two hand over the CD, which reveals the location of a distant planet.
Prior to the 2017 reveal, the 2008 Ubidays trailer remained the only official trailer for Beyond Good and Evil 2 from Ubisoft for nine years. You can view it below, but it is no longer indicative of the final version of Beyond Good and Evil 2.
The game may be bigger than we thought
There is nothing out there so far to suggest that Beyond Good and Evil 2 will stray from its action-adventure roots but that particular genre was in its heyday in the PlayStation 2 era. So far, Ubisoft simply said the prequel will be bigger — way bigger. The company describes the game as a “vast and seamless online playground.” The final game will feature more cities to explore, planet exploration, and space travel. Ancel said the world will not be procedurally generated — each planet and region will be designed by Ubisoft directly, resulting in locations with detailed stories to tell. Players will also be able to recruit special “legendary” characters in each region, who can help with learning new abilities and upgrades on the player’s ship.
Play your way
Though online cooperative play will be a major feature in Beyond Good & Evil 2, Ancel told fans the game could also be played solo offline during a December 2017 developer live-stream. According to Ancel, players will be able to customize the experience to best fit their personal playstyle.
In a similar vein, Ancel showed off an in-game character creation tool, which may or may not be available to players. Shown off during the stream, the character-creation tool offers tremendous control over a hybrid’s appearance, with selectors for physical build, sex, and species — we saw monkeys, pigs, rhinos, alligators, dogs, and sharks.
Potential features teased
Beyond Good & Evil 2 is still in the early stages of development, but we now have a little bit more information on both gameplay and story features courtesy of a Ubisoft survey email.
Shared with members of the “Space Monkey Program,” a fan club for the upcoming game, the survey asks users for their opinion on a few elements we already know will be included in the game, such as “a huge and varied open world” and “a multiplayer/connected approach that allows interaction with other players.”
However, the survey also gauged users’ enthusiasm on role-playing elements, player-versus-player content, and post-launch update support.
The protagonist of the original game, Jade, doesn’t appear to be included in the prequel — it takes place far too early for her to be alive. However, the survey also asked users how important they found the character, as well as the secondary characters like Pey’j and Mammago. This could point to some strange time-bending element, and this seems to be further implied in a third section of the survey, when users were asked their opinion on other science-fiction franchises. Among them is Assassin’s Creed, which features the time-exploring Animus device.