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Beyond Good & Evil 2 (working title), or BG&E2, is the prequel to the 2003 video game Beyond Good & Evil, currently in development by Ubisoft Montpellier and published by Ubisoft. Michel Ancel, the creator of the original game, is back as lead designer of the sequel. 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 Beyond Good & Evil 2 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, the development has been characterized in the gaming media by uncertainty, doubt and rumours about the game's future. On May 28, 2010, a French website claimed to have insider information of Michel Ancel leaving Ubisoft Montpellier, thus putting the project 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, Ancel stated that the game is far into development but is currently targeting a release on the next generation of consoles (Wii U, PlayStation® 4, and the Xbox One®).
Development EditThe original Beyond Good and 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 and 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 and 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 rumors 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 and 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.
Past Announcements Edit
Michel Ancel first talked about Beyond Good and 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 advanced graphics of the game engine at the time, 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 and Evil 2 is under development for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, but this is not confirmed.
On December 18, 2008, at the VGL event in Paris, Ancel stated that Beyond Good and 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 March 21, 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 May 8, 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 and 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 Coulogne 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 May 28, 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 and Evil, 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 sequel is still in development.
On June 25, 2010, Michel Ancel appeared at the Montpellier in Game conference and spoke about Beyond Good and Evil. 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 to the tools 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 August 19, 2010, Yves Guillemot, CEO of Ubisoft, told Kotaku that work continues on the highly anticipated sequel to 2003's Beyond Good and Evil 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".
The 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 implied that he does not know if the HD version is used to test how customers feel about the franchise.
On June 7, 2011, Ancel revealed that he plans to develop Beyond Good & Evil 2 for the next generation of consoles, which have yet to be announced.
On September 6, 2012, in an interview with Tweaker.net, Michel Ancel stated that his work on Rayman Legends is finished, and that it is time to switch back to projects such as Beyond Good and Evil 2. He also stated in the same interview that the working on the Wii U was a very interesting experience, though he is unsure whether to develop future projects on it—Michel Ancel stating that he wants to focus on the real next-gen platforms.On the same day in another interview with Gameblog.fr, Michel Ancel explained "I want Beyond Good & Evil 2 to be dynamic in the sense that you'll have more freedom in your investigations".In the year following, screenshots and a video portraying an environment from a possible Beyond Good and Evil 2, were apparently leaked, also showcasing a character assumed to be Jade, with a model similar to the character seen in the 2009 video. However whether this is actually in game footage or simply a tech demo for the engine is yet to be known.
Also leaked, footage of a Helicopter-like asset, assumed to be from an early Beyond Good and Evil 2 development phase.
Ancel has commented on the leaked footage that teased the game’s parkour-style environment traversal a few years ago, pointing out that they “had this concept even before Mirror’s Edge launched.” And that they plan to go for something more akin to Assassin’s Creed or Prince of Persia in terms of third-person gameplay, suggesting the final game will indeed have free-style traversal."We use a very dynamic camera that shakes a lot during the action to add life to the camera giving the impression of an action news cover team following Jade. Maybe that could be similar to Mirror’s Edge but the game itself is very different" - Michel Ancel One year ago, Michel said that Beyond Good and Evil, was only but a mere 1/3 of what was the first chapter of the Beyond Good & Evil-trilogy—this was mainly due to technical limitations of the hardware. Michel explained that he envisioned Beyond Good & Evil to be a game without limitations: traveling to various planets throughout the universe á la Mass Effect, wandering around an open-world and dynamic gameplay.
On March 14th, Michel Ancel's development team streamed a Rayman Legends Q&A livestream through Twitch. During the livestream, a few Beyond Good and Evil references were made, such as Chrisophe Héral, composer of the Beyond Good and Evil soundrack, singing to the theme tune of Beyond Good and Evil, and Michel Ancel officially revealing a poster of Beyond Good and Evil 2 concept art showcasing Jade, in a design akin to that of the leaked Gameplay and Images.
The same image had been seen previously, when a photograph of it being shown alongside Gameplay was shown at Gamelab 2013, leaking the image a few months before the concept art was officially revealed by Ancel.
On June 26, 2015, French gaming website PS4France.com posted an article claiming that Beyond Good & Evil 2 was being playtested at Ubisoft Paris. The person who facilitated the alleged leak was the same person that leaked the ZombiU ports to the PlayStation®4 and Xbox One home consoles, both of which were formally announced by Ubisoft several weeks prior to the leak.
The content of the playtesting sessions was as followed,
In the city, we play as Jade amid huge buildings, she's searching for her uncle Pey'j, the latter having been kidnapped. This is a semi-open world game, a bit like in The Last of Us, in which we can observe passersby, cars, evolving independently of our actions. Pey'j is equipped with a GPS chip, but a jammer is implemented by his captors. So we are moving in the city and asking passersby if they've seen Pey'j by showing a picture (Jade is always equipped with her camera). A man tells us that he saw him go into a tower nearby. Two choices are available to us, infiltration, as in the first game, or a more brutal approach. The development team stating that NPCs were not yet sufficiently programmed to respond to our actions, we decided to play the infiltration. We borrow the pipes leading to a grid from which we can hear a conversation between two guards. "A big pig was caught, the chief needs us on the 52nd floor." They leave, allowing us to reach the elevator that is unfortunately out of service. A voice surprises us: "You should never have come here! " The cables of the elevator are breaking, two possibilities emerge: Forcing the door or open the hatch above. Indeed, as in Heavy Rain for example, each decision has a more or less significant impact on the course of the story. We choose the hatch, which leads to an explosive action scene, at least as powerful as the train scene Uncharted 2 for connoisseurs. In a hurry, we climb fastly to catch the ledge before the second elevator arrives on us. With her staff, Jade grabs the building's ledge, she's at 52 floors above the ground. Breathless, she will say only two words "I'm coming. "
On 3 March 2016, Destructoid published a rumor that the game was being partially funded by Nintendo as an exclusive for their upcoming Nintendo Switch system, then codenamed the "NX". The rumor alleged that the game's working title was Beyond Good and Evil: The Prejudices of Philosophers.  Less than a week later, 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 October 6, 2016, after several teaser images from Michel Ancel on his Instagram account, Ubisoft officially announced development on the "next Beyond Good and Evil game".
Ancel also posted several other related images revealing concepts for characters within the game world, and 'non official visual research' for a young Jade
On May 25, 2017, Michel Ancel confirmed on Instagram that the game wouldn't be Re-revealed at E3, but that "you should hear about it sometime this year".
This, turns out, was a ruse, as Beyond Good and Evil was indeed revealed at E3 2017 during the Ubisoft briefing on the 12th of June, 2017.
During E3 2017, Ancel confirmed that the 2008 and 2009 trailers were from initial work as a narrative sequel to B&GE, but during development they opted to change direction and make it a prequel, and thus the work previously show was from an effectively different game.
Michel Ancel has stated that a core element of the game is the ability to explore several different planets via space travel. To power this, Ancel and the Ubisoft MoMontpellier team started building a solar system simulation tool about three years prior to the E3 2017 reveal. This tool uses a combination of designed elements and procedural generation to assemble those elements for a given planet. Only just before E3 2017 did they complete the preliminary work on the tool so that they can then start building the rest of the game around it; Ancel considered that they were only at "day zero" for the game's development.
Beyond Good & Evil 2 is a prequel set before Jade's birth. As such, it is not known if the original game's protagonist, Jade, will appear in any form. However, Michel Ancel stated in an Instagram post that other characters from the original game would appear. It is also not confirmed if the original game's co-writer Jacques Exertier will be returning. However, it is confirmed that composer Christophe Héral, who scored the music for the original game, will be returning.
Target audience Edit
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 gamers, 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 game orientated.
Plot and setting Edit
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 planet's future, and the relationship with animals..."
On April 3, 2013 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 11 September – 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 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."
Beyond Good and Evil 2 takes place a few generations prior to the events of Beyond Good & Evil. The game has more traditional computer role playing game elements compared to the first game; players will generate a character that starts the game "at the very bottom of the social system". As the player completes various tasks, they will improve in various attributes, and gain spacecraft and crew members which they can also improve over time. Players will visit planets that have their own societies, and by completing tasks on these planets, will gain new technologies or other facets to improve their spacecraft. Ancel said that they do anticipate that there will be a narrative element that includes fixed story events as well as events based on what decisions the player had made in exploring planets.
The game will have single-player and cooperative player support; even as a single-player, the player participates in a shared universe, with some events affecting all players at the same time.
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