Posted by Captain K
Do you recognize this pig? Well you should. His name is Pey’j and he is one of the main characters in Michel Ancel’s masterpiece Beyond Good & Evil. This game was one of the worst victims of poor timing this industry has ever seen, but the powers that be have decided to give it a second chance.
Beyond Good & Evil is a game about a young photojournalist named Jade and her adopted uncle Pey’j who just happens to be an anthropomorphic pig. They meet up with other characters, go on an adventure, uncover a government conspiracy, beat the bad guys, and leave things open to a sequel. It did all this with a level of polish and charm that is not only wonderful in its own right, but incredibly rare to find in a multiplatform release. Which is to say nothing of the gameplay which was a sublime mixture of Zelda and Metal Gear. There was exploration, puzzle solving, stealth, and combat. It was a jack of all trades type of game, but it set itself apart by being pretty darn good at everything it did. A true gem. Sadly it was released during the holiday season of 2003 which was a notoriously packed season featuring heavy hitters ranging from Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando, SOCOM 2, Mario Kart: Double Dash, and even UbiSoft’s own Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. A brand new IP about a photographer uncovering an alien conspiracy with her talking pig uncle didn’t stand a chance. Sales were poor and the game soon found itself in bargain bins.
However, against all odds a few years ago a trailer was shown for Beyond Good & Evil 2. Not much was revealed, but what little there was filled me with joy. It’s rare in this industry to see something that doesn’t turn a considerable profit given another chance to gain the mainstream audience it deserves. The trailer showed Pey’j sitting by a broken car reading a magazine but what it lacked in substance it made up for in style. Video Game journalists took interest and it was one of the most talked about trailers out of E3 that year. Then, nothing. Not word one on anything regarding BG&E 2, and it pretty much stayed that way. There were occasional mentions of the game’s continued existence, but no release date, platform announcements, or anything. It looked like It was to become vaporware and disappear into the annals of cancelled game oblivion.
Then, out of nowhere, just a few days ago hope showed up again. It seems that UbiSoft has seen fit to re-release the original BG&E in HD on Xbox Live Arcade and PSN. Very little in the way of details has been given on this project, but the screenshots shown are stunning. It’s a true testament to the original game’s art direction that it holds up so well after all these years. While nobody has come right out and said this, I believe this is BG&E 2’s only chance of being made. UbiSoft is a smart company and they’re not going to dump millions into a game’s development without some sort of assurance that they will see a return, no matter how much they may like the project in the first place.
This is where we come in.
Everyone who likes video games and has access to an Xbox 360 or PS3 should download this game the very second it becomes available. This industry needs more games like this and showing that something this creative can find an audience and turn a profit will put developers in a position to make more like it. We shape this industry. The majority of AAA titles are generic brown first person shooters because they sell like crazy. The digital download scene is seeing artistic pieces of genius because they are selling there and that trend needs to continue. The fate of Beyond Good & Evil is in our hands and while I’m not usually a fan of voting with your dollars, this is a win win situation. If you haven’t played the game before, you’re getting a brand new game that is awesome. If you have played the game you know how good it is and you get to experience it again in stunning HD. Everybody is a winner. You know what you must do. Keep this one on your radar. The game industry will thank you for it.