A new trailer for the upcoming video game Beyond Good & Evil 2 debuted at E3 2017 and is now online. The title is as close to the pure definition of the (often abused) term "cult classic" as one is likely to get in the world of video games, a 2003 action-adventure sci-fi story that bucked numerous design and genre trends of the era and failed rather infamously in the direct-sale market. However, it was beloved by gaming critics, industry watchers and a small group of early fans who prized the game for its innovative action/stealth gameplay, unique take on the s-called "cyberpunk" aesthetic and stereotype-busting female photojournalist protagonist Jade. Developer Ubisoft shocked fans with a sequel tease in 2008, but in the eight years since little if any news has been heard on the matter apart from the HD reissue of the original in 2011.
But now, as part of the developer's big presentation at this year's E3 expo, a full cinematic trailer has been officially released for the hotly-anticipated title; dramatically revealing an expanded gameworld, new cast of characters and a decidedly edgier tone compared to the Teen-rated original. A further twist, however, was waiting for after the reveal, as creator Michel Ancel confirmed that the game would actually be a prequel to the original, exploring some of the ways in which the Beyond Good & Evil universe arrived at the state it's in when Jade began her investigations.
The new trailer opens in the depths of a busy 24th century city on a planet in the System 3 solar system comprised of South Asian-inspired architecture augmented with futuristic accoutrements in the manner of Blade Runner. A humanoid ape, Knox, double-crosses a pig (human/animal hybrids originally bred for labor are a feature of BG&E universe) with a fake golden idol in order to procure a contraband disc, precipitating a chase involving Knox and his partner Shani, causing large-scale destruction as they escape back to their space-pirate allies and utilize the disc's contents (a map) in order to set off on their adventure. The overall effect appears very much grounded in the unique atmosphere fans remember from the original game, though with quite a few more F-bombs and an aesthetic that looks heavily inspired by the success of the Guardians of The Galaxy films.
Following the trailer drop, Ancel appeared with Ubiblog host Chris Watters in an extended breakdown segment going over the trailer itself in detail, explaining the history of the project and the development team's intentions with the story, tone and characters - but without giving too much away. Despite some prodding from Watters, Ancel would not reveal deep details of the story other than to re-confirm that it was indeed a prequel; though what (if any) connections to the original might have been visible in the trailer are evidently still up to fans to determine. One theory already emerging is that Dakini, the apparent Captain of Knox and Shani's team, may be an ancestor of Jade's, as evidenced by the characters sharing a similar appearance, while others believe Knox's pig-man nemesis may be an indirect reference to the similarly porcine character Peyj from the original game.
One new development Ubisoft is eager to promote, however, is their so-called "Space Monkey Program," which is inviting fans to participate in development - to "crash-test, discuss and inspire everything from character design, to cultural influences, to the flight controls on our massive star-faring vessels" - by signing up for early access and special announcements. At this time, the full extent of the Space Monkey Program's benefits appear yet to be determined.
Also unannounced is where the game will ultimately be playable in terms of console release plans. The original Beyond Good & Evil was a multiplatform release in its day, but the cult-classic status of the franchise and rocky road to development had led many to believe that one of the major console manufacturer's would step up to absorb some of the development costs in exchange for exclusivity of release. Rumors from 2016 had pegged Nintendo as a possible backer, with their new console The Switch thus far lacking in third party exclusives and having made a similar arrangement for Bayonetta 2 on the Wii U console before, but as yet no confirmation has come of that one way or another. It is possible that, at this stage, a platform release strategy has not been finalized.
Stick with Screen Rant for more Beyond Good & Evil 2 and E3 news as it develops.