Final Fantasy XV, Duke Nukem Forever, and Alien: Colonial Marines all endured “development hell,” announced years (and sometimes decades) before launching, and undergoing multiple iterations and restarts during development. Although many of these games have released, there’s one big title still stuck in limbo: Beyond Good and Evil 2.
Going on 13 years of development — some of which weren’t spent on active development — Beyond Good and Evil 2 is, unfortunately, still a few years away. In the meantime, here’s what we know about the release date, pre-orders, multiplayer, and more.
Beyond Good and Evil 2 was announced in 2008, but Ubisoft halted production indefinitely shortly after the announcement, originally to focus on Rayman Origins. It was at E3 2017 that Ubisoft revealed that the game wasn’t dead. Ubisoft showed cinematic trailers for the game at E3 2017 and E3 2018, but didn’t mention the game at all during E3 2019. The above trailer is the most recent, from summer 2018.
The Beyond Good and Evil 2 release date has been a topic of great discussion ever since the game was revealed. After re-announcing the game at E3 2017, Ubisoft showed off the trailer above at E3 2018. Since then, Ubisoft hasn’t shown off the game at all, leaving many fans to speculate that Beyond Good and Evil 2, like many current Ubisoft projects, is stuck in development limbo.
We should hear more soon, though. The latest update is from September 2020, where Ubisoft said it plans on showing more of the game in 2021. We would normally expect more information at E3 2021. However, Ubisoft hosted its own digital Ubisoft Forward events throughout 2020, and we expect that to continue into 2021. There’s no saying when the next Ubisoft Forward event is, though we expect to see one during the summer, around E3.
Although we don’t have a release date, we can speculate. The latest update references staffing up, passing internal milestones, and allowing players to try the game. Given all of that, and the fact that we know more information is coming later this year, it’s likely that Ubisoft is building the actual game right now. The past few years have likely been dedicated to concepting and building core systems, and with the foundation laid, the team is growing to handle putting all the pieces together and optimizing.
That process will probably take a few years. Although it’s possible we’ll see Beyond Good and Evil 2 in 2022, we’d probably put the release date sometime in the first half of 2023.
We know, at least, that the game isn’t coming in 2021. During a Q3 2020 investor call, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot said that the publisher will release five AAA games between the second half of 2020 and the first half of 2021. Those five games are Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, Immortals Fenyx Rising, Watch Dogs: Legion, Far Cry 6, and Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time Remake. Guillemot could have been referring to Just Dance 2021 or Riders Republic. Either way, Beyond Good and Evil 2 isn’t on the list, and Guillemot later confirmed that his comment wasn’t referencing the game.
Beyond Good and Evil 2 is coming in 2022 at the earliest, but we’ll likely see it in 2023. So it’s probably not releasing for the PS4 and Xbox One. In updates and promotional material, Ubisoft has consistently referenced a next-gen experience, and many of the developers working on the game — along with developers working on other Ubisoft games — refer to it as a “AAAA” game.
And no, that’s not a typo. Multiple developers have listed the game as a quadruple-A game on their LinkedIn profiles, which is likely an internal name that references games built for next-gen consoles. Plus, the game uses a new engine called Voyage, which, based on a 2017 demo, looks to be targeting next-gen visuals.
The original game released for PS2, Xbox, GameCube, and PC. For the sequel, we expect PC, Xbox Series X, and PS5, likely all on the same date. Recent Ubisoft releases like Assassin’s Creed Valhalla and Immortals Fenyx Rising have used the Ubisoft Connect platform to provide cross-saves between platforms. It’s likely this program will only grow, so Beyond Good and Evil 2 will probably launch on PC, Xbox Series X, and PS5 simultaneously.
A Switch release may be stretching it, however. Indeed, even new Ubisoft games like Immortals Fenyx Rising can run on Nintendo’s handheld. However, given the release window of Beyond Good and Evil 2, we expect that the standard for AAA will far surpass what the Switch is capable of (in many ways, they already do). If Nintendo is working on a high-powered Switch Pro model, however, then it’s possible.
Ubisoft has, technically, shown off Beyond Good and Evil 2 gameplay, but probably nothing that will make it in the final game. In addition to a 2017 in-engine demo, Ubisoft hosted a live stream in late 2018 showing off various sections of the game.
The above stream shows off a lot, from combat to exploration to upgrades. That doesn’t mean the game is close to finished, however. It’s likely a “vertical slice,” a demo of the game that shows off all of the systems and mechanics in a semi-polished fashion, usually used as a proof of concept for publishers. Things like HUD elements and assets will, almost certainly, change before launch, along with tuning.
In a 2018 Q&A, Ubisoft revealed that Beyond Good and Evil 2 is “an online, multiplayer game with a rich co-op and seamless experience.” You can play solo, according to the Q&A, but co-op is definitely the focus. It’s so much of a focus, in fact, that Ubisoft stated during the same Q&A that Beyond Good and Evil 2 “will only be playable with an internet connection.”
This clearly wasn’t the intention. During a 2017 live stream, members of the development team talked about player freedom in choosing if they play online or not, saying that the game would be totally playable solo, offline. Given the response in 2018 to the same fundamental question, the move to an always-online model likely came from the higher-ups at Ubisoft.
Fans have already started to show backlash at the idea of an always-online Beyond Good and Evil 2. Given that, Ubisoft may handle the game like the recent Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. Valhalla originally launched without XP boost tokens in its store, likely in response to the criticism Odyssey faced for the same item. Ubisoft added XP boost tokens back to the store 36 days after launch.
We’re still a long way off from Beyond Good and Evil 2 releasing, much less having DLC. However, it’s probably safe to assume that the game will have expansions as well as games-as-a-service elements, which is in line with the games Ubisoft has been releasing for the past several years.
In all likelihood, we’ll see a few large expansions offered through a season pass, along with minor free content updates post-launch.
Beyond Good and Evil 2 is, at the very least, a couple of years away, so we don’t expect pre-orders to go live soon. The only place hosting pre-orders is UK retailer Game, which has Beyond Good and Evil 2 listed for Xbox One and PS4 for £55 ($75), with a release date of “TBC 2021.”
These are placeholder listings, however. It’s all but confirmed that Beyond Good and Evil 2 will be a next-gen game and that it will arrive beyond 2021. Pre-orders may go live in 2021 after Ubisoft shows more of the game, but there’s nothing official suggesting that will be the case.
Once pre-orders go live, expect to see multiple pre-order options. Ubisoft usually offers multiple versions of its AAA releases — Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, for example, had five different pre-order bundles, the most expensive of which was $200. The only physical product related to Beyond Good and Evil 2 is a limited-edition Knox figurine that costs £750 ($1,018). Given that, and the massive fandom surrounding Beyond Good and Evil, we expect multiple pre-order bundles with exclusive merchandise.
Following the Beyond Good and Evil 2 announcement in 2008, an internal gameplay demo leaked in 2009. The demo shows Jade running and fighting through city streets with enough shaky cam to make The Bourne Identity blush.
The demo was never meant for the general public, so it’s not perfect. In all likelihood, the development team prepared the demo after the announcement, before Ubisoft pushed the project to the backburner. There’s nothing in the demo that will affect Beyond Good and Evil 2, but it’s still interesting to see where the game started over a decade ago.
Series creator Michel Ancel later revealed that the team had every intention of releasing Beyond Good and Evil 2 around the announcement, but the ambition of the game exceeded the tech of the time, forcing Ubisoft to put it off.
After Beyond Good and Evil 2 was shown off, Ancel said that Ubisoft was planning for a beta phase in late 2019. December 2019 has come and gone, and now, in 2021, there’s no new information on the beta. If there will be one, it won’t be any time soon.
The beta sign-up page is still live, however, now collecting email addresses instead of beta sign-ups. The page reads, “We have not defined what gaming platforms BGE2 will release on and aren’t ready for a beta phase. However we would still like to gauge what your preferred platform is.”
Ubisoft announced a partnership with HITRECORD in 2018, allowing community members to contribute art and music to the game. The submission window has closed, but Ubisoft ended up paying out $50,000 for 18 songs, 20 stingers, and 50 images.
The vast majority of the art and music is coming from the development team, but it’ll still be nice to see community-sourced art in the final game (art that Ubisoft paid for, no less).
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