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

Dread space-pirate Roberts & the rodent-men of unusual size

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.

Watch on YouTube

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.

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