Beyond Good and Evil 2 won't be at the show, but it will be getting some new gameplay and reveals. By Tom Marks As far as big, exciting games to look
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Beyond Good and Evil 2 won’t be at the show, but it will be getting some new gameplay and reveals.
By Tom Marks
As far as big, exciting games to look out for at E3 go, Beyond Good and Evil 2 is a strange one. After multiple announcements and false starts dating as far back as 2008, with long periods of silence between them, this hotly anticipated sequel finally seems to be a real game that is actually happening. What’s so funny about it, however, is that the world went from knowing basically nothing about Beyond Good and Evil 2 ahead of its surprise reveal at E3 2017 to knowing way more than we ever could have expected. Those stretches of mystery, leaks, and rumors have now been replaced with loads of pre-alpha gameplay footage, regular developer live streams, and frequent updates on new features and how development is progressing.
Seriously, it’s sort of nuts how much they’ve shown. If you’re not in the loop, Ubisoft has already given us not-insignificant looks at spaceship combat and customization, details on augments, vehicles, and co-op, information about your crew, concept art for the world, demo walkthroughs, and at least four different livestream Q&As. “ We went from silence about Beyond Good and Evil 2 to loads of early looks at gameplay, concept art, and more. Frankly, it’s a borderline unprecedented amount of transparency for a AAA game of this magnitude. Developers like Ubisoft traditionally don’t like showing the world an unfinished project – once that footage is out in the wild, that’s what people will think your game is no matter how much it has changed by launch. You can caveat that it’s an alpha build all you want, but first impressions can often stick regardless. That’s what makes what we have seen of Beyond Good and Evil 2 so refreshing. While it’s still hard to get a sense of how all of the raw parts being shown will come together, Ubisoft is being open about it and constantly asking for feedback through its Space Monkey program. I appreciate that deluge of information and access even more because of just how cryptic and closed off the status of the game was previously. The project has pretty much been completely rebooted compared to the old trailers that first teased it, evolving from a more straightforward sequel to a sprawling, open-world, multiplayer space exploration game set before the events of the first Beyond Good and Evil. It’s a huge shift, and one that makes me wonder whether or not it will maintain at its core what I loved about the original. But that’s sort of the catch with Beyond Good and Evil 2 right now: We’ve seen so much but still know so little. Massive games like this take a long time to make, and Ubisoft clearly brought the public in very early on in the process of making this one. I think that rules, and I certainly prefer it to the alternative of silence, but I’m starting to want a little more than just concepts and alpha demos. “ I hope Ubisoft shows us a more concrete slice of what this game will actually be like to play during its pre-E3 livestream. What I’d really like from Beyond Good and Evil 2 this year is for Ubisoft to show us a concrete slice of what this game will actually be like to play. I want them to show me the gameplay loop, show me what I’ll be doing for hours on end, show me some of the story details, show me how quests or progression will work – if there even is any of that stuff in the traditional sense. I am already excited by all of the individual puzzle pieces I’ve seen, but I’d really love a glimpse at the picture they will eventually assemble. And while that’s what I personally want, I’m not sure that’s what we’re gonna get. More likely we’ll see another cinematic trailer (ideally with a less cryptic look at the story) and another developer livestream to update us on the progress of things. Like it or not, Beyond Good and Evil 2 is probably still pretty early in developement, relatively speaking. And while they’ve undoubtedly shown a lot already, I’m hoping they take the opportunity of E3’s massive stage to put it all in a little bit more of a polished package for the people that haven’t been following along so closely.
Ubisoft said that they are shooting for a playable beta by the end of 2019, but my gut tells me Beyond Good and Evil 2’s final release is still a very long way away. While Ubisoft confirmed it won’t be at E3 proper, they will be hosting a dev livestream ahead of the show on June 5 with new gameplay and info. That seems like a good time to clarify its beta plans with more solid details, though I would be surprised if it was looking at an actual launch any time before the end of 2020 at the earliest. It’s not often you get a major game that’s simultaneously a known quantity and completely unpredictable, but Beyond Good and Evil 2 is clearly not like most games. So, if nothing else, here’s hoping we at least see more space monkeys riding flying motorcycles. That’s probably the safest E3 prediction of the year. Tom Marks is IGN’s Deputy Reviews Editor and resident pie maker. You can follow him on Twitter.