CES 2011: Beyond Good & Evil HD Preview
Developer: Ubisoft Shanghai / Publisher: Ubisoft / ESRB: T
For a series with only one title, Beyond Good and Evil has had an interesting history. Originally released in November of 2003 for the GameCube, PC, PlayStation 2, and Xbox, it’s a game that is fondly remember by those that played it. And those that didn’t (myself included) have been hearing about it for over seven years now. Unfortunately, the later group far outweighs the former. With developer and publisher Ubisoft releasing Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time just two weeks after Beyond Good & Evil, it seems there wasn’t enough room in their marketing budget to create two financial hits.
Despite the weak market penetration (how’s that for a business-y term, huh?) of Beyond Good & Evil, it’s critical success was enough for Ubisoft to justify a sequel (sort of). When Beyond Good & Evil 2 was announced in 2008, it was revealed that series creator Michel Ancel would be the game’s designer and that Ubisoft Montpellier would be handling development. While Ubisoft still seems confident that Beyond Good & Evil 2 is still in development, rumors of Ancel’s departure (which proved to be false) and the lack of any kind of information or reveal has left an almost Half-Life 2: Episode 3 taste in the mouth of fans.
But fret not, Beyond Good & Evil-ites. An HD remake of Beyond Good & Evil is on the way to Xbox Live as part of their next promotional push, the Xbox Live Arcade House Party. Over 90% of the game is being re-textured and everything is now running at a consistent 60 framers per second. Producer Eric Damian-Varnet told us at a Microsoft event during CES that they’ve been at work on HD remake for seven months now. We had a chance to play a short section of the game and there’s no doubt that, for a seven year old game, Beyond Good and Evil is looking good. On top of this the always desirable achievements will be included and there will be a little bit of difficulty tweaking. What really remains to be seen is how well the gameplay has aged. From what I played of it, the photography mechanic still seems pretty unique and the controls feel surprisingly tight. However, the general consensus is that the story and the character of Jade are reasons you’re coming to this game. And those will remain completely intact.
I’ve got to imagine that with the uncertainty surrounding the development of Beyond Good & Evil 2, Ubisoft will be using the sales numbers from this HD remake to gauge interest in the future of the franchise. If you want to see a Beyond Good & Evil 2 then you might want to think of picking this one up and reliving some memories.