One of the best-received announcements at this year’s E3 was that Ubisoft is finally really getting to work on Beyond Good and Evil 2, a game that fans of the original have been clamoring for since the first game arrived more than a decade ago. So – what made the original Beyond Good and Evil such a cult classic hit?
Beyond Good and Evil arrived in November 2003 for the PlayStation 2 and PC with ports later arriving for the Xbox and GameCube. Gameplay-wise, it focused on action-adventure combat with a mix of puzzle-solving and stealth areas to keep things fresh. The player controlled a girl named Jade, a photojournalist who teams up with the boar-esque Pey’j (her “uncle”) as they look into the alien race known as the DomZ.
The DomZ have been abducting other life forms, draining them of their energy and then turning them into slaves. A dictatorship, the “Alpha Sections,” arrives to protect the people from the DomZ – but, somehow, have been unable to defeat them. Jade is eventually recruited into the IRIS Network, which is investigating planet-wide disappearances. Eventually, it’s discovered that there’s a massive conspiracy that involves human trafficking and that the Alpha Sections are not what they seem to be – plus, Jade herself hides a power that could save the planet.
The game was created and developed by Michel Ancel, who is otherwise known for creating Rayman. When Beyond Good and Evil was first shown off at E3 in 2002, it actually received significantly negative reception, especially with regards to Jade’s design; it received some significant revamping in the year between that preview and the game’s eventual release. Upon that release, it was critically praised, but was not a commercial success. Some retailers actually dropped the price of the game by up to 80% in order to get copies out of the store. However, it has since become a cult darling, with fans clamoring for more content for years now.
The sequel was first announced back in 2008, when Ancel himself announced that there would indeed be a second game. But there was largely silence from him and from Ubisoft until very recently, and of course at this year’s E3, Ancel took the stage to discuss the game and debut a cinematic trailer. With Beyond Good and Evil 2 being confirmed as a prequel (meaning Jade won’t return), it means that playing the first game won’t make too terribly much of a difference on understanding the world and the story – but it will provide a glimpse into this world for a whole new generation of gamers.