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Beyond Good & Evil’s remaster is worth buying for this one new feature

Concept art of Jade in a red shirt in Beyond Good & Evil: 20th Anniversary Edition's Anniversary Gallery.

Beyond Good & Evil is back, thanks to a new 20th Anniversary Edition from Ubisoft and Virtuos. It upgrades the classic game’s visuals for modern platforms, implements achievements and a speedrun mode, and even adds a new questline that tightens the original’s connection to the still-in-development Beyond Good & Evil 2. Beyond Good & Evil was ahead of its time in many ways when it originally launched in 2003, and I’m glad this re-release for its anniversary will make the game much more easily accessible for a whole new generation.

All of those features will probably be what most players pay attention to Beyond Good & Evil — 20th Anniversary Edition for. But for those like myself who like to learn more about the development of games and see how they will evolve over time, the Anniversary Gallery hidden in the remaster’s bonus menu is by far the most exciting feature.

One of my favorite current video game remaster trends is when developers share assets or insights from the game’s creation. This can come from simple asset museums like the one in Rocket Knight Adventures: Re-Sparked or the developer commentary and lost levels of The Last of Us Part II Remastered. Currently, the king of the remaster is Digital Eclipse, which trailblazed a new timeline-based, playable documentary approach through games like Atari 50 and its Gold Master series. When I clicked the “Bonus” option on Beyond Good & Evil — 20th Anniversary Edition’s main menu and saw that there was an Anniversary Gallery, I expected something similar to what was in Rocket Knight Adventures: Re-Sparked. That’s why I was shocked to see it was more like Digital Eclipse’s work.

The main menu of the Anniversary Gallery in Beyond Good & Evil: 20th Anniversary Edition.

Once I entered the Anniversary Gallery, I saw it split into several parts covering everything from Beyond Good & Evil’s conception phase to its launch. Picking any of those options then brings players to a variety of different galleries about that part of Beyond Good & Evil’s development. Going through all these galleries chronologically, I gained a greater understanding of how the Ubisoft Montpellier game evolved from its inception in the spring of 1999 to its release in the fall of 2003. Each gallery features a variety of assets about a specific topic; the best ones feature images, music, and footage from early prototypes that didn’t make it into the final game.

Did you know that Jade was originally named Sally or that the DomZ weren’t originally the main antagonists of Beyond Good & Evil? Interesting tidbits like that make the Anniversary Gallery enthralling for both diehard fans of this game and anyone interested in game development. It’s the kind of transparency into the game creation process that I think the industry could use much more of, even if it’s doing all this for a game released over 20 years ago. It even offers up some teases for Beyond Good & Evil 2, such as highlighting that Pey’j was referred to as a hybrid clone during the original’s development and teasing that this is “a notion that will very much be developed in a future prequel.”

This is a feature I would like to see Ubisoft implement in other games, remasters or not. Perhaps the long-awaited remake of Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time could have an Anniversary Gallery about the original, or Assassin’s Creed Shadows could offer more insight into how Ubisoft brought the series to Japan. If Ubisoft decides to revisit this idea, there are some clear areas for improvement. On a presentation level, being able to pause, fast forward, or rewind videos would be a helpful addition. I’d also like the Anniversary Gallery to be more at the forefront of the package and not buried behind a couple of menus like it is here.

Storyboard for Beyond Good & Evil.

On the content front, I’d also like to see it pay more attention to the human stories behind these games. The Anniversary Gallery provides a captivating look into the development of Beyond Good & Evil, but it’s solely focused on the software. Unlike games such as Atari 50, it never really engages with the human element of development outside of one anecdote about Ubisoft Montpellier’s studio flooding mid-development. This became noticeable to me when the gallery’s commentary proclaimed, “It’s mid-April, and the team needs to produce the communication assets in less than a month,” ahead of E3 2002 without really grappling with whether that meant they had to crunch to get there.

As someone fascinated by the process of game development, I love what’s already here from a software development perspective. Adding that human element to the story of the game’s development just would’ve pushed it over the edge to be on par with the likes of The Making of Karateka or Llamasoft: The Jeff Minter Story from Digital Eclipse. Still, I appreciate this in-depth (if carefully curated) look into Beyond Good & Evil‘s development straight from Ubisoft. While the Anniversary Gallery is easy to miss if you don’t explore the menus, everyone who picks the remaster up should check it out.

Beyond Good & Evil — 20th Anniversary Edition is available now for PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Nintendo Switch, and Amazon Luna.

Tomas Franzese
Tomas Franzese is a Staff Writer at Digital Trends, where he reports on and reviews the latest releases and exciting…
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