Gamers have had a long, long wait for Beyond Good & Evil 2, Ubisoft’s on again/off again sequel to the 2003 cult hit Beyond Good & Evil. Ubisoft announced that series creator Michel Ancel was actively working on the game again in October 2016, so you might think E3 2017 would be the best time to get a proper look at the game. But there’s just one problem — Ancel doesn’t agree.
“Not sure that E3 would be the best place to showcase [Beyond Good & Evil 2],” the game designer wrote on Instagram yesterday, much to the chagrin of fans everywhere. He did, however, offer a silver lining: “we’re working on the game so sometime this year, you should hear about it!”
Ubisoft first announced Beyond Good & Evil 2 in 2008, which already felt to many like a long lead time since the original game released in 2003. But fans would eventually come to realize that Ubisoft had not yet begun to make them wait, so to speak.
An official trailer was released in 2008 and it was announced that the game had entered pre-production. Some leaked footage followed, and Ubisoft insisted until 2009 that the game was still in the works before saying in August of that year that it was on hold. Then Ancel said in 2010 that it was back in development. After revealing that development had moved to the as-yet-unannounced next-gen consoles (what would become the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One) in 2011, Ancel said in 2012 that the game had entered “active” development for those consoles. Ubisoft and Ancel then spent the next several years periodically confirming they were still working on the game while declining to share anything new of substance.
But last year the game’s likelihood of ever seeing the light of day finally seemed to get as serious as it had been since 2008. A rumor — which was never confirmed — arose that Nintendo was partially funding the game as an exclusive for the Switch, which was still codenamed NX at the time. Shortly thereafter, Ubisoft filed a new Beyond Good & Evil trademark.
Ancel then had some fun teasing fans with what appeared to be concept art for the game in September 2016. Finally, Ubisoft posted on Facebook the following month that it was “delighted to confirm that Michel Ancel is currently working with the Ubisoft Montpellier Studio on a new Beyond Good & Evil game.”
So, what’s taken so long? Part of the problem is likely that original Beyond Good & Evil, despite receiving favorable reviews and fan feedback, was a commercial flop, so Ubisoft has seemingly had little financial incentive to prioritize the creation and release of a sequel. Additionally, Ancel formed his own studio called Wild Sheep in 2014 and has been splitting his time between Ubisoft and developing his studio’s debut title, WiLD, ever since.
For now, the long wait for him to finish Beyond Good & Evil 2 continues.