Of all the E3 game reveal trailers that I watched, the one for Beyond Good & Evil 2 probably impressed me the most.
The trailer of the Ubisoft game showed a dramatic tonal shift from the original Beyond Good & Evil – despite being a sequel to the original game and featured an opening focusing on a smart-mouthed monkey and an equally aggressive pig. It was a bombastic affair, more adult themed than many E3 trailers – and I liked it. If that’s the tone for the final game, then I’m in.
Days after seeing that trailer, though, I was slightly deflated: It seems the trailer was based on the developers thoughts on what the game’s tone could take. The game is ages away from being completed and has hardly been started. In fact, the game was first announced nine years ago so it’s been in the pipeline for some time!
There was no gameplay footage at E3 but Ubisoft did hold behind-closed-doors sessions with Michel Ancel showing off what was essentially a tech demo, showing some of the mechanics they hope to include in the game. Central to the demo was the monkey character that featured in the reveal trailer. He had a rocket pack on and was piloted around the huge main ship, said to be 400m long. The monkey had come from a smaller ship, which was around 20m long, that had come from the open maw of the bigger vessel. There was a lot of talk about what the developer wanted to achieve or see but little concrete evidence that it’ll actually happen.
We saw the ship physics as the smaller ship zoomed around the landscape, switching to hyperspeed then launching into orbit, an impressive particle engine showing off the friction as the craft broke the planet’s atmosphere. We had promises of things to do on planets and amazing atmospheric things with planets. It all sounded fantastic but it was a very, very small slice of a game that will probably be two years away, and with no guarantees that any of that will make the final game.
Ancel showed the scale of what they want to achieve by landing the monkey on the top of a 600m-high deity statue that towered over the city below then – in developer mode – pulled back to show just how large the world was. It gave an idea on the scope and scale Ancel wants to achieve with BGE2, and that’s admirable, but I’m wary until more game play has been shown that actually show the meat of what the game will be. I’ve heard too many games in the past promise so much then fail to deliver on many of the planned features (ie Sean Murray and No Man’s Sky, many games from Peter Molyneux).
Sure, be excited about Beyond Good & Evil 2 but be cautious at the same time: We’ve been burnt before by games over-promising and under delivering, right?