Ubisoft has unveiled more information regarding Beyond Good and Evil 2, which was revealed at the tail-end of the Ubisoft E3 press conference this year.
All of the new information comes from a behind the scenes impressions post at Ubiblog, which had Creative Director Michel Ancel, Narrative Director Gabrielle Shrager, and Producer Guillaume Brunier talk about their aspirations and plans for the title.
Several bits of information discussed the overall scope and scale of Beyond Good and Evil 2. The world itself is large, from big, sprawling cities that dot the landscapes of different planets and satellites in various solar systems. “You can see that that city is just a little part of a huge world,” says Ancel. “You see that we are just on top of a gigantic planet, which is in fact a little satellite of a bigger planet, with cities and the dark. And there is a simulation of the universe, where everything is rotating in the classical way, so if you change the time you see the rotation.”
The players hub is their main pirate ship, seen in the original trailer. It is the home to the entire crew and smaller, customizable vehicles that the player can collect and use for missions. The entire story is set in System 3, a vast star system where the player character will work their way up to becoming a legendary space pirate. Ancel notes that the game's protagonist is a player-created character instead of a fixed character like Jade in the original game.
This does not mean that side-characters will be sacrificed though, as Ancel notes that the cast of characters surrounding the player will evoke the original title in direct and indirect ways.
Part of this is tied to the game's backstory. Shrager notes that Beyond Good and Evil 2 takes place about a generation before Jade was born, and long before human-animal hybrids like Pey'j were free.“We imagined that China and India became the superpowers,” says Shrager. “In order to colonize the stars, they created hybrids as a slave labor force… and so with that slave-labor force, they were able to colonize the stars.”
System 3 is a newly colonized region and will maintain many Chinese, Indian and Mongolian motifs in the cities art and architecture. This was notably demonstrated by the large Ganesh statue shown in the trailer.
What is most interesting is how the cities themselves are not static, injecting a form of procedural generation into the game. “Cities can grow by themselves, they can be destroyed, they can connect to others,” said Ancel. “Everything is alive, in fact, it’s not pre-scripted. So it’s a balance. We can say, ‘this part of the planet has those kinds of resources,’ and depending on those things, kind of emergent things… today, we can hand-craft everything, or we can decide to have a kind of robot that is going to calculate the history of the planet."
Beyond Good and Evil 2's story, however, is more concrete. Ancel notes that he wants to encourage people to play the game their way, all held together by a structure through the storyline. Ancel hopes that the game creates situations where player choice can lead to different ways to solve puzzles and quests in the game. Part of the storyline is rise to power - players will start with virtually nothing but gradually discover new vehicles, allies and more that expand the world further and further.
Beyond Good and Evil 2 is still in development, and Ancel notes that he and his team still have a lot of work to do. He hopes that fans entering joining the Space Monkey Program can contribute to the game in positive ways as well.
"It can be the controls, it can be the decisions, the online system, the trading system, all these things,” says Ancel. “It’s a way to experience people getting their feedback on the gameplay side, but also showing concept art, asking people for their own ideas or experience, traveling, whatever. I think they learn when they travel, because that’s been the theme of the game: you travel, you discover cultures. And you take that, and you are richer because of this travel.”
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