E3 2018 is in full swing and that means gamers across the world are surrounding their respective streaming platforms of choice to see what the hell is happening in the crazy world of gaming. All the big game developers and publishers are breaking out their shiny new games that may or may not release, while our wallets tremble in fear. Now I can go on and on about the games that excite me from this year’s offerings that will absolutely earn my mostly hard earned cash, but right now I am riding a high from a long-awaited game that is well overdue: Beyond Good & Evil 2. I am seriously losing my mind over it.
Right now you might be thinking, “Cam, what the hell is a Beyond Good & Evil?” And that is a very valid question because I have yet to meet anyone else that has ever played it. Beyond Good & Evil (BG&E), aside from being Friedrich Nietzsche’s seminal analysis on philosophers of the 19th century, is an action adventure platformer in the vein of the Legend of Zelda franchise released by Ubisoft in 2003 on the original Xbox, PlayStation 2, and GameCube. You assume the role of Jade, a photographer and orphanage caretaker, who is thrust into a conspiracy surrounding kidnappings, alien invasion, and political intrigue. All of which take place in this captivating world where humans coexist with anthropomorphic animals. She’s accompanied on her journey by her uncle Pey’j and his fart-powered rocket boots as they are recruited by a resistance group that wants to expose the corruption running rampant in their planet’s government and fear-mongering media outlets.
Everything about this game fires on all cylinders. The plot, the characters, the visuals (for the time), the setting, the music, the themes, the combat, the puzzles, and the platforming. All of these pieces came together to create a game that garnered critical acclaim in 2003. Unfortunately, BG&E didn’t find much of an audience on its initial release. Basically, it was me and maybe like three other people in the world that played it probably.
So why would a game that had everything going for it not resonate with audiences? Well there are a number of reasons and possibly one conspiracy theory that a handful of longtime BG&E fans believe to be true. For starters, it was released in a saturated market. It had stiff competition that same year from Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. This on top of the lack of marketing contributed to poor sales and an overall lack of buzz. Not to mention, the game was also released fairly close to another of Ubisoft’s big titles of the time, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time which was released only a month prior and the marketing for said game was much more aggressive. By doing this they essentially cannibalized their own sales.
Now there’s one more reason why many believe the game failed to rake in that sweet Prince of Persia money. There is a fairly widely held belief that the game did not resonate with audiences because of its female lead. It’s a sad truth that is still prevalent today, but a lot of these cry babies don’t like playing as women in video games. I was 13 when BG&E came out and I remember hearing this and thinking it was silly and unlikely. Flash forward to 2018 and, given the backlash to recent inclusions of non-male characters in a few AAA titles, I can actually believe this conspiracy being an issue for some people.
Conspiracy theories and poor sales aside, BG&E was able to gain a cult status and gathered a very passionate fan base over the 15 years since its release. And at E3 this year, fans are one step closer to finally returning to the rich universe that they fell in love with all those years ago. It has been a long road, but this is the closest we’ve ever been to seeing a sequel. Back in 2008 we had a tease of a sequel and then radio silence for nearly 10 more years.
Beyond Good & Evil 2 will supposedly be a prequel to the original so the trailer is an undoubtedly an interesting take on these characters that fans are so fond of and shows some in a very new light. The most surprising moment from the trailer being the very last moment of it. We see our previous protagonist, Jade, looking much more dark and angry while carrying a katana as Pey’j looks on in disbelief. Also, if you are familiar with the original BG&E then you may have noticed that Jade is accompanied by the basic enemy type from that game, the Alpha Sections. What this means for her? Hell if I know, but it’s extremely exciting for me and I’m sure other fans out there are as antsy for more information as I am. I’m here for Dark Jade.
Beyond Good & Evil 2 currently doesn’t even have a release date, but I’ll go out on a limb to say that it is still at least two years away. Ubisoft will make us wait a little longer, but I suppose I’ve waited this long then I can surely go a bit longer. In the meantime, the original BG&E was re-released in HD a handful of years ago and can be played on PC, Xbox One, and PS4 via backwards compatibility. And I can confirm that the game still holds up as I replayed it about two months ago. Unsurprisingly, I still love it and it still remains my favorite game of all time.
If it isn’t somehow immediately obvious, I absolutely adore Beyond Good & Evil. Its this weird little piece of video game history that I believe everyone should experience and hopefully the advent of the long-awaited sequel brings in more potential fans. And now it’s back to waiting for more updates for Beyond Good & Evil 2. Well with all that being said, if you need me I’ll be here over-analyzing that new E3 trailer and fixating on possibly unimportant details if you need me.