Our first peek at Beyond Good & Evil 2’s sky-pirate swashbucklery

Beyond Good and Evil 2

For all its glitz, glamour and stunning CGI teaser trailers, Beyond Good & Evil 2 – Michel Ancel’s open-world prequel to 2003’s cult action-adventure – is still mostly shrouded in mystery. We’ve seen a few very early peeks at its engine and concept art, but nothing that really resembles gameplay, until now. Granted, it’s still some obviously pre-alpha development clips, but it gives us a brief but tantalising look at what being a sky-pirate in its weird French/Belgian comics-inspired universe is like.

Temper your expectations on the video below. While it does contain some exciting little snippets of gameplay, there’s still plenty of developer talking heads detailing their vision for the game. At this point, anything and everything could change, especially given how much Ubisoft Montpellier have talked up their flexible development style on the project.

Jetpacks, spacecraft, twin-bladed sword-staffs and piratical boarding actions, then, plus some nice behind-the-scenes mocap clips showing off the talent of their staff-fighting actors. I must admit some excitement at the idea of flying a little landing craft over an enemy vessel, leaping off and brawling my way below-decks, before bailing with whatever booty I’ve pillaged. Like Sea of Thieves, but in space, and with jetpacks, and there’s no part of that sentence that isn’t brilliant.

Everything they’ve mentioned of the gameplay so far implies that this is going to be a primarily co-op focused experience, and those enemies definitely had an expendable NPC look to them. Being that planets are big and space is even larger, their solution to squad cohesion makes sense; a party can lock into formation, giving you a little personal wiggle-room, but the flight will be led by the head of the pack.

For all the promotion Ubisoft are giving the game, it’s refreshing to see it so overtly European, quirky and rough in nature. Massive mega-publishers tend not to let audiences see games in so early a state of development, and the developers seem more than a little enthusiastic to talk about it, so everyone seems to be winning here except for the impatient folks who just want to jump into the game.

I’m just glad that someone out there has seen fit to give Michel Ancel and his team a fat sack of cash and no directive beyond ‘Make your dream game’. Whether or not it works out in the end feels almost beyond the point.

45 Comments

  1. Pazguato says:

    Ancel with a “c”, please.

  2. UncleLou says:

    Amazing sense of scale and height for some reason – I felt almost dizzy there for a second at 0:50 when she jumps to the other ship.

  3. Gordon Shock says:

    I’m with Jim Sterling on this one with expectations barely above zero. the probability that Ubisoft will only Assassin’s Creed and Far Cried Beyond Good & Evil 2 is staggeringly high.

    • Longestsprout says:

      This. With the amount of money they seem to be pumping into this, the end result cannot be anything less than another top selling entry in a blockbuster franchise.

      Much like the original Beyond Good & Evil was, right?

    • Blad the impaler says:

      I want to ^this, but I can’t actually understand the comment. Can someone provide context?

      • Crafter says:

        I think that jim sterling is a youtuber.

        I have not seen his videos but it is easy to guess : Ubisoft is not going to take any chance on a high budget project.

        They will reuse as many gameplay elements as possible from their AssCreed/FarCry games in order to ‘streamline the product’ as much as possible.

        Doing an original game is just a risk they can’t take.

        A bit of an oversimplification, but that does seem extremely likely.

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        Ninja Dodo says:

        I think if you run that through the boring cynicism translator it comes out as “They’re going to turn it into an open world sandbox with different repeating mission types and play-styles” which doesn’t really tell you anything about whether it will be a good game or not, it just makes the observation that Ubisoft applies certain designs patterns across all their games… which if you are playing *every* single Far Cry, Assassins and Watch Doges game maybe gets old, but maybe you should be playing a greater variety of games anyway?

        • Uncle Fass says:

          I’d argue it matters more here as the original BG&E is not nearly as synonymous with those types of games. We expect Far Cry, Assassins Creed, etc. to conform to that.

      • Gordon Shock says:

        Ubification, jump to 11:30 for the bits about BG&E2

        link to youtu.be

    • CMaster says:

      I find this an odd line to take.

      In many ways, BG&E was Ubisoft’s Prototype Ubigame. A slowly opening map, dotted with icons for a variety of different collectibles. A mixture of open world stuff for upgrades and compulsory story missions. Arguing that “they’ll make it like Far Cry” misses that BG&E was a lot like Far Cry anyway, just within the limitations of the time.

    • TechnicalBen says:

      I have a strange feeling this will be No Man’s Sky* all over again. Why? Amazing post production videos… which I assume will be cut, entire engine re-write, change of game design to a trading monster card battler MMORPG based underwater 2 weeks from release… :D

      * ;)

  4. Laurentius says:

    Well I don’t know how this game turns in the end but stylistically they droped the ball. This does not look like BG&E with it charming style. Nintendo can keep their graphical style for decades with confidence, here they are not even trying.

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      Ninja Dodo says:

      Yeah, I wonder what motivated the change… if they were just tired of cartoony graphics, or if they felt it limited the audience, or what? … To me the warm and beautiful cartoony visuals of BG&E were instrumental to the appeal of the game and even though I’m still cautiously excited something was definitely lost with this new gritty and realistic approach.

  5. Wormerine says:

    I try to be positive (Rayman Origins&Legends turn out wonderful) but coop, openword (open universe?), online service doesnt sound like BG&E2, and i am someone who didnt like the original all that much.

    I am still not 100% sure where they are going with it, but the scale of it makes me doubt if they will manage to fill it with interesting stuff. Not a fan of vulgar language and humar from the CGI trailer – certainly not something the sequel needed.

  6. Amake says:

    I remember being this excited for Duke Nukem Forever. Yet it looks so sweet, and the first one was so good, you can’t help being pulled in again.

  7. Spuzzell says:

    Co-op focused just kills any interest I had in BG&E2 stone dead.

    And I was more excited when this was announced than I would have been if Valve announced Half-Life 3.

    • gummybearsliveonthemoon says:

      Yeah. I’m not playing online with anyone, friend or pick-up.

      I want a single player game. I wanted the sequel to the previous game. That world, those characters.

      If there’s anything connecting this to BGE1, it’s very limited. Peyj alone does not a sequel make.

      • Nimdok says:

        It’s supposed to be a prequel, I think; the vaguely Jade-esk woman from the first trailer is her mom.

  8. bacon seeker says:

    I loved Beyond Good and Evil, but the trailer they released for this game last year left me with zero interest in this, it seems to have nothing in common with the first one in terms of style or gameplay… I would be happy to be proved wrong though.

    • gummybearsliveonthemoon says:

      Yeah, I’m concerned about that too. The older trailer, the parkour one, that I wanted to play.

    • Crafter says:

      if only it was only different in terms of gameplay.

      If it had been running with another name, I would not have guessed this is a BG&E game.

      And I am not even running with the ‘feed my nostalgia or else’ vibe, I am all for change instead of recreating more of the same. It is just that this does not seem to share much with the first game.

  9. Lumpin says:

    Visually it does look very promising and looks like an impressive place to explore. However I feel the art design strayed from Beyond Good & Evil too far away to be recognizable as such. I believe it will be just another generic open world Ubisoft game, but I would enjoy to be proved wrong.

  10. kud13 says:

    As long as solo play is possible, the Fifth-Element-inspired aesthetic alone will be worth checking out, imho.

    Whether it’ll be worth paying full price for is a whole other kettle of fish.

    • Iamblichos says:

      LOL I came here just to say this… I can’t think of a single video game I have ever seen that reminds me so much of a Luc Besson world. This is Fifth Element/Valerian territory. Let’s hope it manages to avoid their issues.

      • DefinitelyNotHans says:

        That’s my main worry about it. So far, as nice as the gameplay mechanics might be, it’s all looking to be unbearably campy in that painfully awkward way that the French are so fond of.

    • wxid says:

      Agreed.

      Putting aside for the moment that it looks completely disconnected from the original BGE, if they can successfully put a decent single player game into the universe they’re building then I’d still buy it.

      I’d call it something other than BGE2, but I’d still buy it…

  11. jusplathemus says:

    I love the original and I’m still sad that only consoles got the HD version. I would like to hope this game isn’t called BG&E mostly to get more hype and eventually rack up more sales. But I can’t. I think that’s exactly the case. Though I will definitely give it at least a fair chance anyway. Benefit of the doubt and such.

  12. Addie says:

    Jetpacking onto an enemy ship, brawling your way through the decks, and then escaping with the loot sounds much more like Rocketbirds: Hardboiled Chicken to me. Bonus: the character shading looks a lot more like the original BG&E than this game does, too.

    Wikipedia page is useless, so…

    link to store.steampowered.com

  13. skyturnedred says:

    I just hope they decide to add some colour to the game.

  14. Premium User Badge

    Ninja Dodo says:

    Tantalizing glimpses, though I worry it will prove overambitious in scope and either get scaled back very late or end up shallow and lacking the detail and personality that made BG&E. I mean it basically sounds like Star Citizen via Fifth Element with anthropomorphic animals… which could be amazing, but also very difficult to get right (I mean look at how long Star Citizen has been in development and still nowhere near finished).

    Also, I’m a little disappointed they’re using motion capture? I mean that seems irrational and it’s just a tool of course (and CAN be used in stylized projects as a base) but even so… We knew they were going more realistic with the style but the cinematic trailer was still *relatively* stylized, and though this is work-in-progress it looks as if they’re giving up on that stylized flavour entirely. As a big fan of the visual style of the original I kinda miss that. I’m still excited and look forward to seeing where they go with it, but I don’t recognize BG&E in it yet…

    Also co-op being the focus… I don’t know. Drop-in co-op could be really cool, but if the game mainly revolves around dynamic multiplayer missions rather than characters and their stories that seems quite a departure also.

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    Lo says:

    I don’t feel like the combat was especially important to the experience of the original game, other than when you did neat tricks with the staff and different partners. What I loved about it was the focus on the world, with the camera of course but also the mundane stuff making it feel like actual people were living in it, scraping out a living and building up a resistance.

  16. Wauffles says:

    “I must admit some excitement at the idea of flying a little landing craft over an enemy vessel, leaping off and brawling my way below-decks, before bailing with whatever booty I’ve pillaged. Like Sea of Thieves, but in space, and with jetpacks, and there’s no part of that sentence that isn’t brilliant.”

    Why am I getting flashbacks to all the No Man’s Sky previews I read a few years ago…

  17. Megatron says:

    What a lot of moaning minnies we have here today! For me, I’m happy about most of the choices made so far. Co-op play not so much, but I reckon they won’t exclude us Solos. I also have my expectations in check (thank you, No Mans Sky) and am looking forward to seeing whatever arrives. Even if it achieves only 30% of the potential it has shown I reckon this could be very special, or at least great fun. It sounds amazing, and I’m looking forward to seeing more.

    • DefinitelyNotHans says:

      You don’t win a special prize because your wild assumptions lean towards the condescendingly positive side.

    • grimdanfango says:

      If you end up with a game that achieves 30% of its ambitions, you generally end up with a complete mess.

      If you end up with a game that achieves 95% of its 70%-smaller ambitions, you often end up with a masterpiece.

      They’re aiming for a preposterously huge scope. They’ll have to fill that scope.
      They don’t seem to even be considering that. Instead of defining the game and world in broad strokes, and working down to the details, they’re instead pouring resources into slick, pretty looking character designs and animation, and dropping them into an empty shell the size of a star-system. Working bottom-up on a project of this scale just isn’t going to work.

      I don’t have much faith this will amount to anything worth playing, much less a game that does the BGE legacy any justice.

  18. Megatron says:

    Good thing I don’t write comments for prizes or indeed any other sort of recognition, then, isn’t it?

    This page badly needed some positivity and I was happy (happy happy!) to oblige. Not sure I made any “wild assumptions”, though.

  19. pegolius says:

    What is it about French art direction and expression in video games and animated movies that always makes me super hyped about that stuff…have…to..hold…back…da..hype…

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      Ninja Dodo says:

      France has a very strong visual arts culture: graphic novels (bandes dessinée) are celebrated in a way they are not in other countries and they have great animation schools (like Gobelins)… so you get a lot of talented artists and animators.

  20. April March says:

    I, for one, am cautiously optimistic about this one. There are a lot of negative Nancies in here, but for many of them I suggest paying attention and learning the game’s full name. We call it BG&E2 for short, but its full name is New IPs Are Dangerous So Even Though This Was Obviously Conceptualized As A Brand New Game We’ve Decided To Call It Beyond Good And Evil 2. After I learned that, I started to like it a lot more.