Michel Ancel, creator of the Rayman series and cult classic game Beyond Good and Evil, posted a very interesting piece of artwork to his Instagram today. The image portrays a mysterious man with a small, humanoid pig on his shoulder and is accompanied by Ancel saying “Somewhere in system 4… Thanks #ubisoft for making this possible!” Many are taking this as a hint that development of Beyond Good and Evil 2 is back on as System 4 is the setting of the first Beyond Good and Evil and the game is well-known for having a variety of anthropomorphic animals inhabiting it. Most notable is the humanoid pig Uncle Pey’j, the adoptive caretaker of the game’s heroine Jade.
Assuming that the pig in the art is Pey’j, it seems that Beyond Good and Evil 2 may be a prequel or spread its story across the past and present. Fans have been waiting anxiously for the series to make a return following a cliffhanger ending in the original game released in 2003. A trailer announcing the long-awaited sequel was released in 2008, but Ubisoft went mostly quiet afterwards and many assumed that it had been cancelled. Members of the development team have said time and time again that the game is still in the works, but they’ve never had anything to show for it.
While Beyond Good and Evil garnered an incredible amount of critical acclaim, it sold poorly and the hesitation of Ubisoft to commit to a sequel is understandable. Sales were so low that Ubisoft actually resorted to packaging copies of the game with mozzarella cheese roughly a year after the sequel was first announced. The contrast between the critical and financial reception of the original Beyond Good and Evil combined with the years of waiting has made its sequel into one of the Holy Grails of the industry, along with Half-Life 3, Shenmue III, and Duke Nukem Forever.
There has been a persistent rumor that Nintendo has agreed to help publish Beyond Good and Evil 2 in exchange for it being an NX exclusive. This new tease does nothing to confirm or deny that rumor, but it does seem like a logical possibility. It follows the same line that led to Nintendo publishing Bayonetta 2 and Nintendo has worked closely with Ubisoft Montpellier in recent years. Nintendo published Rayman Legends in Japan and licenced Mario and Luigi costumes for the Wii U version of the game, while Ubisoft Montpellier personally created character models of the main characters of Legends to be used as collectible trophies in Super Smash Bros for Wii U. Alternatively, Ancel began work in 2014 with his own independent studio, Wild Sheep Studio, with Sony publishing its first title simply called WiLD exclusively for the Playstation 4.
Are you eagerly anticipating Beyond Good and Evil 2? Who do you think the mysterious man in the art could be? Could this just be another empty promise? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think.