Cyberpunk 2077, Starfield, Star Citizen.. What do these games have in common? Well they're all ambitious Sci-fi RPG's that promise to deliver action packed, open world madness. They take place in enormous worlds, brimming with life and mystery. Some have release dates and some seem to have no intention of ever actually coming out.. In either case, every year at E3 we get glimpses of these games and are left biting our nails in anticipation for months on end afterwards. But there's one such game, that made a promising step into the limelight years ago, only to subsequently crawl back into the shadows. It was never seen again. Or was it?
If you haven't guessed by now, or the cover photo didn't completely give it away, what we're talking about is Beyond Good and Evil 2! This is an Ubisoft developed and published title that has been in the works on and off since approximately 2007 - according to an interview with Gamespot in 2008. It is the spiritual successor of Beyond Good and Evil; which garnished quite the cult following, although widely being considered a failure commercially. The original game starred the martial artist and investigative reporter Jade, who's mission is to unveil an alien conspiracy threatening the entire planet. It focused on elements of melee combat, multi-character control, puzzle solving and evidence gathering. In the years following, rumours commonly swirled of a sequel but the most ever accomplished officially was an HD remake in 2011. Fast forward to 2016 though, and a bomb is dropped on a completely unsuspecting audience at E3!
"Welcome to system 3! Our story takes place before the birth of jade, in a multi-ethnic multi-cultural human society in a distant solar system. It is a time when corporations create hybrids in their labs. And enslave them to colonize the stars in order to compete for power and cosmic resources. With our crew of crazy and unforgettable characters we fight in the name of freedom and the right to determine our date among the stars. And we will helm massive star faring vessels through territories as spectacular as they are dangerous."
It's hard to imagine that after that brilliant presentation of optimism, there wouldn't have been a hasty followup announcing a release date. I think we all watched this feeling we were seeing a sort of victory lap, the announcement of a finished project, and perhaps, so did they..
Beyond Good and Evil 2 made appearances at the next 2 E3's, each time with new cinematic trailers and many glimpses into gameplay released in between. Today, most of the in's and out's of this game are known. To name a few;
As far as community content goes, no one has leveraged it quite as brilliantly has Ubisoft has here. They have partnered with Joseph Gordon-Levitt's collaborative media platform "Hit Record" to produce much of the game's music, scenery and even in-game art! During an E3 stage presentation, they spoke of players being able to contribute to the very world around them. The world could change organically and respond to those collaborating with it, existing as a game world and simultaneously an ever-changing and evolving media platform... I know... that's a lot to digest.
In 2018, Beyond Good and Evil creator Michel Ancel announced that Ubisoft would have a playable beta available by the end of 2019. However, to this day there has been no word. There is only a signup page on which you can indicate what console you would prefer to play the TBD Beta on, find that here.
According to an article by Gameindustry.biz, Ubisoft's fiscal year plans (April 1 2020 - March 31st, 2021) included 5 AAA titles, and BGAE 2 is not on the list. If that is true, then that means we can't expect to see it until at least April 1st, 2021. Of course a Beta could happen before then, but this seems like a pretty good indicator that the long wait we've had so far, is all but over.
Over the last couple of years, Ubisoft has actually released a ton of info about this game. Gameplay, story, development and more has been shared rather transparently in a number of interviews and streams by creators. If you are itching to get closer to this Sci-fi epic, here are a few place you can start!
What do you think of this open world action RPG set in a spiritually enlightened sci-fi universe full of hybrid space animal pirates? Could it deliver on that seamless open world space experience that we've been yearning for? No Man's Sky came onto the scene years ago full of promise, and broke our hearts. Sure it's had some redemption since, but I don't think it ever fully capitalized on the dream. Others such as Star Citizen have dazzled us from a far, but never fully taken the stage. Does Beyond Good and Evil 2 have what it takes to define a genre, to capture our imaginations and deliver something truly unique?
Personally, I think that if it does arrive, it has a very solid shot of achieving all of that. Let's just hope it gets the chance. Let us know what you think in the comments below. And as always,
Game on folks.
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