One of the most pleasantly surprising parts of E3 2017 was the actual, real, genuine announcement of Beyond Good and Evil 2. After what felt like a lifetime of teases, rumors and promises that it wasn't cancelled, we finally got confirmation that it lives.
That's great news, right? I tend to agree, but what gives me pause is that, well, it doesn't seem like much of a follow-up to Beyond Good and Evil. After more than a decade of (potentially undeserved) hype, is it even possible for this game to give people what they want?
Beyond Good and Evil 2: Where is Jade? What's this simulated universe business?
Beyond Good and Evil was a pretty cool Zelda clone with Jade, its likable protagonist, and a world that seemed like it had more to offer than what the game gave us. A sequel that came out a couple years later, expanded upon its ideas and continued the story would have been ideal, but the game didn't sell well enough to warrant an immediate followup.
Now, things are different. Big budget video games are often expected to be effectively limitless adventures that can last players dozens, if not hundreds, of hours. Everything needs to have an open world. Everything needs to factor in player choice. Everything needs to have stats and loot and anything else that will pad out the game's length.
Beyond Good and Evil 2 may fall into this trap and, as such, not be the game a sequel to Beyond Good and Evil could have been. We already know it's a prequel that seemingly doesn't involve Jade, instead asking players to create their own character. We also know it's set in a massive, fully simulated solar system complete with seamless spaceflight and realistic planet rotation.
Beyond Good and Evil 2: Does it have any connection at all to the original game?
It even has online co-op and features some kind of "shared universe" component, where in-game events will affect all players. In the video above, Beyond Good and Evil 2 developers outline the way players will build up their ship's crew for maximum spacefaring effectiveness. It sounds extraordinarily ambitious, but it doesn't sound much like Beyond Good and Evil.
That's not to say they shouldn't make this game or that I think it's going to be bad. At this point, it seems like little more than a tech demo with a handful of fascinating ideas. My point is that the name Beyond Good and Evil 2 communicates on the surface that this game will build on the original, either narratively or mechanically. I'm not sure it will do either right now.
In this era of endless wish fulfillment via long-awaited franchise revivals, I'm not sure any of them can live up to the hopes and dreams of fans. We build up these games we played as kids to be perhaps more than they ever were. As I said earlier, Beyond Good and Evil was a pretty good Zelda-like clone with a neat story. It deserved a second chance, but I'm not convinced the second chance is going in the right direction. I just hope people adjust their expectations accordingly.
More news from Ubisoft E3 2017
Check out more of our coverage from the Ubisoft E3 2017 press conference, including the incredible Beyond Good and Evil 2 reveal, confirmation on the new Mario + Rabbids game, a pirate game called Skull & Bones and surprising new Far Cry 5 gameplay.