Not very many gamers got a chance to experience Beyond Good & Evil back when it was released in 2003. The few of us that did own the game knew that the it was something special. While failing to sell to a large audience, it did develop a small fan base of players who enjoyed the great graphics, story, and gameplay.
It was disappointing to many that the game never found the popularity it deserved and that the series never continued, despite suggestions that fans "keep the faith." Beyond Good & Evil, as Ubisoft describes it, was ahead of its time and didn't get the attention it deserved. This lack of success has some people inside Ubisoft feeling guilty, enough so that they are attempting to make amends for it with the HD remake.
Set for a March 2nd release on XBLA, Beyond Good & Evil HD, is already looking impressive. We have seen the game's first 8 minutes, and the graphics seem to be on par with other recent remakes like The Sly Collection.
Ubisoft's producer of the remake, Wang Xu, seems determined to make this game the best that it can be, in hope of reaching an entirely new audience that may have missed the game back when it came out on the PS2, GameCube, and Xbox. He described his team's goal and drive to make this more than just a port of the original:
"Everyone at Ubisoft knows that Beyond Good & Evil did not get the success it should have had, and, in my opinion, everyone feels a little guilty about that. From the beginning expectations were set very high: this would not be a quick and dirty port to make a quick buck, but instead a polished HD overhaul that would do justice to the greatness of the original, no matter how much time and resources would be needed. And it was great to see the entire group mobilised to ensure the IP finally starts to get the consideration it deserves."
Choosing to leave the core gameplay intact, saying that "you don't want to mess with the original; people love it as it is," the team is focusing on making the game look like a current generation game should. This entailed that the development team lock the frame-rate at 60 frames per second. According to the game's creator, Michel Ancel, that is necessary for a "complete next-generation HD experience."
It has already been rumored that Ubisoft is using the success of this remake to decide whether or not to go ahead with the sequel, so it is up to fans to spread the word. Xu mentioned that this game should have an easier time finding more fans, as there is already a very vocal group that knows what the game delivers, and word of mouth will help:
"We have a huge asset we didn't have back then — great fans who are very supportive, and are great at explaining the game and sharing their love for it. Also, Beyond Good & Evil has held up very well and, in my opinion, it remains one of the best adventure games on the market. Beyond Good & Evil's appeal is in its unique art style, its immersive story and strong characterization, the richness of it world... These are timeless qualities. Plus the game was really ahead of its time. Cinematic presentation, top-notch production values, AI companions, huge diversity of gameplay styles... they are all mainstays of current-generation games, but keep in mind Beyond Good & Evil had all these back in 2003."
So readers, who is going to pick up Beyond Good & Evil HD when it releases this Wednesday? Are you excited to play this game again, or just purchasing it in hopes that Ubisoft makes a sequel?
Beyond Good & Evil HD comes to XBLA on March 2, 2011, with a PSN release to follow later in the year.