Beyond Good & Evil 2 - Everything you need to know about this open-world prequel to the cult classic

Fast Facts

  • Beyond Good & Evil 2 release date: TBA
  • Developer: Ubisoft Montpellier 
  • Publisher: Ubisoft
  • Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC

Beyond Good & Evil 2 is a big game with big dreams. Leading a group of space pirates? Interstellar travel with functional simulated solar systems? Ground-to-air exploration and shifting scale? Talking monkeys? It's a lot to take in. Add in the fact that this sequel is actually a prequel to game you (let's be honest) probably skipped the first time it came out and it's a wonder your head isn't already spinning right off your shoulders.

This article will recap everything that's happened with Beyond Good & Evil 2 so far, the biggest pieces of news about the game's ongoing development, and help you understand what's sure to be one of the most-anticipated games of this generation.

The original Beyond Good & Evil

Beyond Good & Evil is one of the best games you've never played. The Ubisoft-developed adventure is a Zelda-like RPG with a massive open-world (at least by 2003 standards), starring Jade, a photojournalist who takes care of orphans and knows martial arts. Did I mention this all takes place on an alien world with anthropomorphic animals - including Jade's "uncle," a pig named Pey'j? It was an instant cult hit, though commercial disappointment put plans for more games in the series on hold. 

Thus began one of the longest cliffhangers in video game history. Despite constant clues from director Michel Ancel or vague promises that it was coming, a sequel never formally materialized. Even as games like The Last Guardian and Shenmue 3 were being pulled out of development hell, Beyond Good & Evil 2 was nowhere to be found. That is, of course, until E3 2017 and the official announcement of, yes you guessed it, Beyond Good & Evil 2.

Beyond Good & Evil 2's scrapped versions

In 2008, Ubisoft unveiled to the world a trailer for Beyond Good & Evil 2. Only... not really. Possibly as part of an effort to not make promises it couldn't keep, Ubisoft wouldn't acknowledge the game as "Beyond Good & Evil 2”, nor that the characters seen were in fact Jade and Pey'j. Even though, come on, just look at it!

The following year, a gameplay prototype was leaked and began circulating around the 'net. This time, we saw what appeared to be heroine Jade running through a city (bustling with far more pedestrian and vehicle traffic than the first game), parkouring her way through buildings and up rooftops as people in armor shot at her. Think Uncharted, but a bit more agile. Or don't imagine it, just take a look for yourself:

Again, there was no true confirmation from Ubisoft beyond a vague acknowledgment that the game was being worked on. That's the way things would stay until 2016, when we first got an idea of what direction the game would actually take.

Beyond Good & Evil 2 gets a reveal and announcement

In late 2016, Beyond Good & Evil director Michel Ancel shared an image on Instagram that seemed to be teasing Beyond Good & Evil 2. The picture showed a mechanic, with a young anthropomorphic pig on his shoulders. The caption read, "Somewhere in system 4 ...  - Thanks #ubisoft for making this possible!" Many took this to mean that the imagery was depicting a young Pey'j, but this was never explicitly stated. Still, it's a striking visual that got plenty talking.

Shortly thereafter, Ancel posted another image - this one of a humanoid shark, all but confirming that Beyond Good and Evil 2 (or whatever it would end up being called) was in development. Finally, as part of E3 2017, Ubisoft made a formal announcement of Beyond Good & Evil 2 by debuting a cinematic trailer and bringing Ancel onstage to talk about his vision for the game.

Beyond Good & Evil 2 is a prequel with a solar system-sized sandbox

Ancel revealed that the game is indeed a prequel, but not one necessarily tied to Jade's story. Instead of a linear narrative, Beyond Good & Evil 2 - which, yes, despite being a prequel, is still being called "Beyond Good & Evil 2" - is an online sandbox experience. Players will create a custom character that starts at the bottom of the socio-economic ladder, and must work their way up to being captain of a ship capable of interplanetary travel.

Ancel claims you can see what he and his team are aiming for by watching the official reveal trailer extra-close (in the breakdown video above). Sounds all well and good, but it was also all very theoretical - until Ancel demoed a prototype running in real-time, showing a seamless transition from person-scale exploration to atmosphere-breaching space travel. It's obviously a very early work-in-progress, but the basic building blocks of an open-galaxy game (which would surely be the next step up from open-world, right?) are there.

Ancel also describes the tone of System 3 as something quite different from the first game. Whereas the original story told Jade's tale of heroism as she uncovered a government conspiracy, this game will be a space pirate tale, set during the social rise of hybrids. Hybrids are the humanoid animals that populate the cities and towns of the first game, and are a large part of the sequel's trailer. When Beyond Good & Evil 2 starts, many hybrids are still being used and sold as slaves.

Beyond Good & Evil 2 will feature NPC companions

During one of the first livestreams of the "Space Monkey Program" (a nickname given to a segment of the Beyond Good & Evil 2 fan community that offers feedback in exchange for an early look at the game), narrative designer Gabrielle Shrager explained that players will acquire a pirate crew, and that certain NPCs will become your traveling companions. These characters are said to have fleshed-out backstories and motivations, and should feel more like a BioWare-style party member than random NPC #47. 

Why Beyond Good & Evil 2 looks different

The original Beyond Good & Evil was heavily stylized, with characters of cartoonish proportions stomping or slinking through the story and environments. Beyond Good & Evil 2 might be a bit exaggerated, but it's clearly going for a more realistic look overall. If the initial trailer weren't enough evidence of that, Ancel and his team have released several images of concept art since the E3 2017 debut that show an overall grittier look to the world.

Beyond Good & Evil 2 news

Watch the Beyond Good & Evil 2 prototype in action and geek out over these 4 moments with us
Here's what Beyond Good & Evil 2's director wants you to know about its reveal
Beyond Good and Evil 2’s big changes point to a perfectly authentic sequel, and a profoundly grown-up one at that
Beyond Good & Evil 2 starts you out as a customizable, no-name space pirate and you work your way up from there
Beyond Good & Evil 2's in pre-production, but why are the funny animals super serious now?
The truth about Beyond Good & Evil 2