Aside from the absurd f-bomb drops, I was really excited when Ubisoft unveiled Beyond Good & Evil 2 for the second time at E3 earlier this month. The original game was something I enjoyed immensely, and I was one of the many that hung onto Michel Ancel’s every mention of the franchise following that original one’s release.
The trailer debuts for the new one, and it’s cinematic only. Okay, fine, that happens. Companies do this when they want to cast a certain tone over their game. I can’t say I particularly like cinematic trailers, but I understand why companies do them.
I would have much rather seen gameplay. I imagine everyone reading this would have much rather seen gameplay. The problem? There really isn’t a game to play yet.
Over the course of E3, the world slowly learned that Ubisoft only has a tech demo for Beyond Good & Evil 2. This week, they released video of Michel Ancel himself touring the in-engine demo. It looks pretty, sure, but there’s nothing “video game” about it. It’s an open space, some ships, characters and movement.
It’s not a game.
I can’t figure out why Ubisoft is showing this thing off right now. This is the same company that paid dearly for showing off Watch_Dogs way before it was ready. They seemed to go back on that choice in recent years and stick to revealing games that were actually games instead of tech demos.
Yet, here we are with Beyond Good & Evil 2, a tech demo.
Our own Eric Frederiksen and I were talking this week, and he mentioned hearing a theory somewhere about why Ubisoft would be so open with Beyond Good & Evil 2 so early on in its development. What if they were doing it to ward of Vivendi, a company trying to buy them out, with a big project that would be more costly to fund than it would earn back? Or, heck, if Vivendi does manage a hostile takeover, they cancel Beyond Good & Evil 2 and Ubisoft comes out looking like the innocent party.
An interesting idea, to be sure.
Maybe Ubisoft is putting pressure on Ancel here. Maybe they wanted him to make the game, so they pushed it out in the spotlight to get him going.
Or, maybe they just wanted to quiet fans who have been clamoring for the sequel for more than a decade.
Whatever their reasoning, Ubisoft’s active choice to keep showing Beyond Good & Evil 2 before it’s really a game baffles me.