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New Beyond Good & Evil 2 footage showcases seamless co-op, NPC recruitment, and ship customization

Ubisoft quietly held a lengthy and informative Beyond Good & Evil 2 livestream earlier today. The hour-long stream featured roughly 25 minutes of pre-alpha gameplay footage (starting at 15:30 in the video above) with commentary from associate creative director Emile Morel, senior producer Guillaume Brunier, and narrative director Gabrielle Shrager. 

We've seen Beyond Good & Evil 2 in action before, but this was our first proper look at some of its most interesting systems, starting with its drop-in co-op. A friend can join you in your game at any time, Brunier explained, and the two of you can basically do whatever you want, wherever you want. You aren't tethered together, so in theory you can explore opposite sides of a planet if you'd like. Playing in co-op also opens up new combat options like healing rounds, as well as a new, erm, obstacle in the form of friendly fire. You know what they say: friendly fire is the spice of life. 

Brunier and Morel also discussed Beyond Good & Evil 2's crew recruitment system, which sounds similar to the private armies in Metal Gear Solid 5. You play as an upstart space pirate making a name for themselves, and a big part of that is building your crew. By inspecting potential shipmates with your scanner - which can also be used to scout planets and cities, even from orbit - you can determine who you want to join your crew on your mothership. Some NPCs may be scientists, fighters, or (in the case of the demo) mechanics. "Building the best crew possible is very, very important in Beyond Good & Evil 2," Morel said. 

In addition to your pirate crew, Brunier explained that you can fully customize the guts of the mothership which functions as your home base. We didn't see much of this in the livestream, but it sounds like mothership customization runs deeper than the tweaks you can apply to the smaller ships you bring into dogfights. You can also pilot any vehicles you find, Brunier said, whether they're vehicles that belong to you or vehicles that are about to belong to you. 

Finally, we got a closer look at the augments system that ties into Beyond Good & Evil 2's third-person combat. You can equip augments on your gun, sword, and character, Brunier explained, with augments providing different effects depending on where they're equipped. We saw a deployable bubble that slows enemies, a lightning shot that stuns enemies, and a type of hologram riot shield. We'll have to wait and see what else will be possible before the Beyond Good & Evil 2 beta launches in late 2019.

Watch Beyond Good & Evil 2's E3 2018 cinematic trailer here