Back in 2003, Ubisoft released Beyond Good & Evil, a cult classic action-adventure game that set serious philosophical and moral questions against a backdrop of talking pigs and sci-fi environments. It followed a young photojournalist named Jade on a mission to save her people from an oppressive alien race called the DomZ. Even though it wasn't the most popular game to be released on the PlayStation 2 or GameCube, it had a strong and dedicated enough following to get Ubisoft to look into making a sequel.
Beyond Good & Evil 2 has been in development since 2008, but we still haven't seen a whole lot other than a short, entirely cinematic trailer and some footage that might be actual gameplay. So that leaves us speculating about what we want from the game. Here are a few things we came up with.
A Better Control Scheme
Sneaking around compounds controlled by the evil alien DomZ was a big part of Beyond Good & Evil. Unfortunately, the game came out during the early part of the last gaming generation, and developers hadn't figured out exactly how to make stealth gameplay work quite yet. Jade moved stiffly and would routinely get herself spotted just because the player took one step too many. In addition, the game wasn't very good at telling you which areas were safe and which ones would cause you to encounter instant laser death.
Since then, games like Assassin's Creed, Hitman, and the many iterations of Metal Gear have refined stealth gameplay, and games such as Gears of War 3 have refined cover mechanics. In light of these advances, Beyond Good & Evil 2 could stand to have a gameplay upgrade. The original Beyond Good & Evil felt like it was ahead of its time, and, with a little work, the sequel has the potential to be what the original wanted to be but couldn't. Next gen technology could help this become a true stealth-action game, and that would be awesome.
A Demo of What the Newest Consoles Can Do
We don't know a whole lot about the next generation of game consoles. Sure, we know a few things about the Wii U, but we don't really have any information on the other consoles save for a few wish lists of potential features.
Considering the fact that Beyond Good & Evil 2 will probably be one of the first titles released for the new console lines, it will have a serious responsibility to shoulder. It needs to show us what these new consoles can do. If it comes out for the Wii U, we had better see full tablet controller integration. Its graphics should push the PS4 and the Xbox 720 far beyond anything we've seen on the PS3 or 360. It simply needs to innovate. Many launch titles and even early titles get glossed over too easily when they merely give us the same stuff we saw in the previous generation. If Ubisoft is truly going to make this a title to bring in the new consoles, it had better be good.
Beyond Good& Evil was called an action-adventure game, but it was actually more of a stealth puzzler than anything else. Combat was clunky and hit detection could have used a bit of a tune-up. I don't think any of us will complain if Beyond Good & Evil 2 gets a bit of a facelift in the platforming and combat departments.
In some video footage released a while back, we see Jade running through a crowded city, dodging the police, and pulling out some pretty awesome parkour skills. In the old game engine, this wouldn't be possible. So I suppose all we are really asking for is that this footage is an accurate representation of how the game will play.
Here is a quote from Michel Ancel, one of the minds behind the first Beyond Good & Evil:
"We'll conserve the spirit of the first game, but the form will change. For [BG&E], we wanted to create a more cinematographic game, but we didn't have the technical ability to do that. So we simplified. It was fun, because I remember we had to work for Sony to demonstrate how original our game was in order to get the development kit. We wrote BG&E like we were in a film. After, we understood it would be very tricky reach that immersion on that console! But now, with the next-gen consoles, we feel it is possible to develop the game we thought of for the first."
You could easily see the cinematographic elements Ancel was referring to in the first game. The entire game's style would change at a drop of a hat. There would be context-sensitive controls, quick time events, vehicle sections, and the whole gameplay system would adapt to fit the ever-changing gameplay styles. However, at the time this just meant redefining what the X button did and every so often throwing a car at us. Since then, games like Heavy Rain and L.A. Noire have completely redefined the cinematographic experience, and now the story of Beyond Good and Evil can finally be expressed in the way the developers originally intended.
A Story That Matters
Perhaps the biggest thing fans are worried about is the story. The original BG&E wasn't exactly wrapped up perfectly in the end, but not many of us were left thinking the story had a whole lot of sequel potential. Since all we've seen of the game so far is Jade running from the police or sitting by the side of a desert road, we don't know much about the plot of this sequel.
BG&E 1 lived and died by its story. It often felt like a sci-fi Miyazaki film. Even though there were anthropomorphic animals running around everywhere, the game felt like it had a grim seriousness that tied everything together. There was slavery, there was death, there was conspiracy, and all of it was oddly juxtaposed against the world's cartoony inhabitants. It somehow made the plot hit you harder. If BG&E2 is going to succeed it needs to do the same, and if it wants any of the original fan base to get onboard with the sequel, Ubisoft needs to let us know a little of what the game is actually about.
By Angelo M. D'Argenio
CCC Contributing Writer
*The views expressed within this article are solely the opinion of the author and do not express the views held by Cheat Code Central.*