Almost a decade and a half after the original game came out in 2003, Ubisoft confirmed that it is working on Beyond Good and Evil 2, unveiling the first official trailer at E3 2017 before showcasing early gameplay during a May 2018 livestream and then a brand new trailer at E3 2018.
It comes after years of on-and-off development, teasers, and rampant speculation and it looks like the game has been reworked from scratch at least once over the years. Here's what we know so far about what to expect in terms of release date, platforms, and gameplay.
Check out the Beyond Good and Evil 2 E3 2018 trailer below.
When is the Beyond Good and Evil 2 release date?
The short answer is: we don't know.
The long answer is: probably not in 2019, and a 2020 launch is looking unlikely - after all, the only thing we've seen so far is a cinematic trailer and pre-alpha gameplay, and the game's been in some form of development since at least 2008 already.
The producer has already said that he's too busy making the game to go along to E3 2019, suggesting that development is still well underway, with no release in sight.
If you're in the UK, you can already pre-order it from GAME for £54.99, but we're not sure we'd recommend it right now with so much still unknown!
What platforms will it be on?
While there had initially been speculation that Nintendo had contributed development funds to ensure Switch exclusivity, that is pretty much definitely not the case. Michael Ancel, the game's creative director, replied to a comment on Instagram to say it wasn't a Switch exclusive "as far as I know".
The game's official website made mention of PS4, Xbox One, and PC, but Ansel said these may not represent the final platforms.
What are the gameplay and story details?
There's a lot that's unknown here too, in part because it's clear that the game has changed so much over the years. But thanks to a scene-by-scene breakdown of the trailer (below), we do know quite a bit more about the game.
We were given a gameplay tease during the E3 event that showed some basic melee combat for a few moments, and some ship-to-ship combat too. It looked very solid, but not particularly revolutionary, although the game is still in development so it must be taken with a grain of salt.
It was mentioned that the transition between melee combat and ship-to-ship combat would be ‘seamless’. This is an interesting word to use, as it would seem to suggest no loading screens, so does that mean we can be fighting on a planet hand-to-hand, then grab a ship and fly up into orbit?
Regardless, the environment looks incredibly rich and it’s genuinely one of the most interesting settings I’ve been exposed to in a long time.
When Beyond Good and Evil 2 was first teased way back in 2008, it was with a trailer (below) that focused on Jade and Pey'j, the protagonists from the first game, suggesting that this would be a pretty straightforward sequel.
Over the years since - during which development was put on hold at least once - things have shifted dramatically.
From late October 2016, creator Michel Ancel began posting teaser images of concept art, one of which appeared to include a young version of the porcine Pey'j. Then Ubisoft's E3 2017 presentation confirmed speculation: Beyond Good and Evil 2 is actually a prequel to the original title. It takes place about a generation before Jade was born.
The game world is epic in its proportions. The planet is actually just a satellite of a much bigger planet, and a whole star system is simulated. The game will see players step into the 24th Century to explore System 3, described as "a vast solar system and a hub of interstellar colonisation and commerce."
It's also confirmed that you'll be able to create your own male or female character, destroy certain elements of buildings in the city and be able to travel in a "seamless online environment" in which players play space pirates, exploring the system on their own or with friends online.
The pirate spaceship you see in the E3 trailer is fully controllable and is your crew's home as well as a 'garage' for smaller (and also controllable) spaceships. This was shown off in a little more detail during a May 2018 live stream; the clip showcases the ability to navigate your ship, use jetpacks, and flying through space with your buddies as part of a co-op armada.
Beyond Good and Evil 2 crowdsourced content with HitRecord
This is a little much to get your head around but it’s actually a very interesting idea.
Joseph Gordon Levitt made his way onto the stage to announce his company’s partnership with Ubisoft. HitRecord is styling itself as a collaborative production company, and will be helping the community get their content into Beyond Good and Evil 2.
Artists can create content for Beyond Good and Evil which can be anything from art and music, to radio plays and fashion design, and have them entered into the game via HitRecord’s platform.
What wasn’t mentioned during the press conference, but has been confirmed later by Levitt via Twitter, is that the artists will in fact be paid for their contributions. This was unclear originally and the more cynical of us were seeing this as a way for Ubisoft to get some free content. Thankfully, this is not the case.
You can find out more about this at hitrecord.org
In terms of story, there is a "classic adventure system" which will allow you to solve or manage problems in various ways, but everyone follows the same basic path. You begin with very little and work your way up to becoming a legendary space pirate.
At E3 2017 creative director Michel Ancel shows a behind the scenes look at the first in-engine demo. Check it out below.
Whether or not the team can pull off their vision remains to be seen, but we're certainly excited.
You can watch this 'behind the scenes' video to learn more about the vision behind the game:
The trailer is mostly set in Ganesha, which is just one of several cities and outposts in the final game. A blog post explains that Ganesha was settled by colonists from the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia, and goes on to claim that "all of the outposts and cities in System 3 will reflect the cultures of ‘Old Earth'."
What is the Space Monkeys program?
One of the most unexpected elements of the Beyond Good and Evil 2 announcement was the reveal of the Space Monkeys program.
Billed as a chance for fans and players "to crash-test, discuss and inspire everything from character design, to cultural influences, to the flight controls on our massive star-faring vessels," the program sounds like a cross between Early Access and a beta, and it will give players the chance to try the game early.
If you want to take part, you can sign up online from the game's official site and hopefully get the chance to jump into the game before anyone else.