Whatever Happened To Beyond Good And Evil 2?

"No news is good news" doesn't really hold up when it comes to video game development — and when it comes to much-anticipated sequels to 2000s cult classics, it's been nothing but bad news all around. "Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2" has gone mysteriously quiet since Paradox Entertainment announced a change in dev studios in 2021 after multiple delays, leaving fans and pre-order customers wondering when the game will finally release. Still, "Bloodlines" fans at least have the assurance that work on the game is proceeding — despite Paradox's silence on which studio it was handed off to — which is much more than can be said for another revival project of a much-beloved cult classic: "Beyond Good and Evil."

Officially announced in 2016 after years of hearsay and leaked teaser trailers (via Gamespot), "Beyond Good and Evil 2" was shaping up to be one of Ubisoft's most ambitious undertakings yet. The gorgeous, fast-paced cinematic trailers shown at 2017 and 2018 E3 events promised a combination of "Star Wars," "Journey to the West," and "Blade Runner": an Asiatic sci-fi adventure that's everything "Firefly" could have been, but with actual diversity to go along with the cultural influences.

Now, almost six years after the official announcement — and just one year short of the original's 20th anniversary — "Beyond Good and Evil 2" doesn't look like it's seen very much development at all. Whatever happened to it?

Unending development limbo

The only news since the 2019 gameplay demo has, unfortunately, been the retirement of the series creator from game development entirely. In September 2020, Michel Ancel announced that he would be stepping away from video games to work in wildlife animal welfare (per PCGamer). While it's certainly one of the stranger career changes we've seen in the industry, he did reassure fans that "BG&E2" was in good hands at the same time that Ubisoft revealed he hadn't been a part of the game's development for some months. His departure wouldn't have hindered the game's development, ostensibly.

However, there were signs that pointed to the fact that his involvement had already contributed to the project's sluggish pace. French news outlet "Libération" (via USgamer) reported that Ancel was accused of erratic and almost tyrannical management, where work on the game was "regularly thrown out or deemed unusable ... with little warning." Along with Ubisoft's reluctance to properly address sexual misconduct allegations against high-ranking executives (per gamesindustry.biz), the report doesn't paint a very encouraging picture of staff morale or work conditions at the French company.

As of now, all we know about "BG&E2" is that it's part of Ubisoft's plan for "premium" game releases in the coming years, per the company's first quarterly financial report of 2022. Whether this means they're starting from the ground-up again or regaining momentum on existing work is up in the air, but hopefully we'll be hearing some good news in the near future.