The message from Ubisoft right now is one of defiance. Whatever happens in the aggressive boardrooms of media giants, Yves Guillemtot and his Ubisoft family will be standing in formation ready to say something different. And Beyond Good and Evil 2 is a prime example.
You could call it development hell, given that the first game came out in 2003 and was later given a HD re-release in 2011, but the road to this sequel has been a waiting game. The existence of the Beyond Good and Evil 2 hasn't been a secret, but director Michel Ancel has warned fans and gamers to be patient. Ancel and the Ubisoft Montpellier team also develop the incredibly popular Rayman games, which must have taken quite a bit of attention over the last five years.
Development hell is a term that features across all media, like film and TV. In games, we tend to attribute it to the lack of a game arriving. Half-Life 3 being the biggest example. But what we have started to see more is big titles from big franchises having irrecovable issues during development and unflinchingly sticking to a release date depsite the product not being ready.
Mass Effect Andromeda and Destiny are two big examples of development 'hell' that seems to have spilled out to the gameplay experience, and whilst we live in a patch-friendly generation, it's those first impressions that still count. Patience, it seems, is key.
At a Ubisoft dinner in 2011, Ancel did say that Beyond Good & Evil 2 was being produced for the next generation of consoles. Well, here we are, midway through this generation by all accounts and they look to be hitting that target. That hasn't stopped the hype train though.
Back in 2014, when Ancel started his Wild Sheep Studio, Ubisoft offered this statement on the development of Beyond Good & Evil 2.
In many ways, BG&E is an inimitable game - it appeals to all generations of gamers and is an inspiration behind many of Ubisoft Montpellier's past and future games. It's still far too early to give many details about this new title, but what we can say is that while Michel and the team at Ubisoft Montpellier are working with the core tenets of BG&E, they're developing something that aspires to push past the boundaries of a proverbial sequel and leverages next-gen technologies to deliver a truly surprising, innovative and exceptional game. The entire team is excited about the direction this extremely ambitious project is taking, and we'll have more to share later, as it progresses.
Isn't it great when we see phrases like "asires to push past the boundries of a proverbial sequel" and then, with patience three years later, we are rewarded with exactly that? Fans of the game have been wanting to play a sequel for 15 years, but Ubisoft and Guillemot know when to push a title and when to hang back and let it stew some more. It's a very unique approach for a publisher, while needing to meet sharholder expectations, that they are not afraid to experiement and invest.
South Park: The Fractured But Whole is another title over a year past its initial date. The Stick of Truth was also delayed. The Crew had a bit more time to finish development too. One thing is clear from Ubisoft. As a publisher, they are much more keen for a product to be ready than to appease the expecations of a fiscal year and that is good for games.
For Beyond Good and Evil 2, it's been a long wait but all the indications are that it was worth it. If not for us as gamers and critics, then for Ancel, his 15 year journey and the tear that was shed. The trailer was magnificent and it's here if you haven't seen it and fair warnging, wear headphones as there are many swears.