Beyond Good & Evil 2 was announced by way of teaser trailer during one of Ubisoft's "Ubi Days" in 2008. What gamers saw back then was the clip we've tossed up above.
After that, much like the recently resurrected I Am Alive, Ubisoft went completely silent on the sequel to one of last generation's cult hits. There were no new trailers, no new announcements and no presence at all during any major industry conventions. The game fell off the map.
Michel Ancel, designer on the project, spoke with GamesRadar about why we won't be seeing Beyond Good & Evil 2 any time soon. In fact, Ancel indirectly reveals that Ubisoft has no intention of bringing the game to this console generation.
The line of questioning came when GamesRadar asked Ancel if he could explain what they've been doing with the sequel. Here's Ancel's response:
"…we've been working on it for a long time, but we've had some technical issues. It's a complex game. The first Beyond Good & Evil, when I sent the technical document to Sony, it was the time of the Emotion Engine on the PlayStation 2. We had the feeling that we could do whatever we wanted. We sent them the document, it was about planets, going from planet to planet, towns to towns and all these things. But in the end, what we were really about to do was far less than what we wanted."
The team felt hampered in creating the original Beyond Good & Evil, so it seems they don't want BG&E2 to suffer the same fate (although, I'll argue the original product was incredible). Ancel continued to reveal what about their planned sequel is so complex, and it seems the scope of the game is what's keeping it away from this generation.
"And of course, the scope of Beyond Good & Evil is large – you've got the city, the ocean, the moon and the space ship. But the space ship was designed to go from planet to planet, and it was frustrating to have those limitations. And my thing is that we really want to make the game that was previously imagined, with all this feeling of traveling. Mass Effect did a good job on that side, and I think that there are a lot of things to do to continue in that direction, with storytelling and a massive world."
If the feeling of travel is really keeping Ancel and his team from creating this sequel, I find myself thinking of other games that may have been able to pull off what they're looking for. The first title to come to mind is Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time. That title features space travel with planetary landing.
However, Ancel and Ubisoft may be looking for a seamless, load-free experience. That might not be possible at all on today's machines. And, given their record of quality titles, we'll give them the benefit of the doubt and assume it's better to wait for Beyond Good & Evil 2.
But we're totally bummed about it.