Beyond Good and Evil 2’s Trailer Isn’t Gameplay, but It Does Everything Else Right

E3’s long history of flashy, CGI trailers that sorely lack gameplay has turned a lot of remote fans and showgoers alike sour on the concept, and I can’t say I blame them. Even so, there’s an art to CG-heavy game trailers, and when you include the proper blend of world, character, and a legendary game maker’s sterling reputation, often things can come together beautifully.

Beyond Good and Evil 2 finally received a new and updated trailer during Ubisoft’s press event earlier today, and even if you’re the sworn enemy of CG that lacks demonstrable interactivity, it’d be hard not to be left slack-jawed or at the very least reluctantly impressed by what was shown. If you haven’t seen it, the full trailer is below.

There are a number of strengths on display here, and while some elements of BG&E2’s presentation here admittedly fall under “token flashy hype,” there’s a lot to be said for the impression the trailer leaves, not to mention its ability to render you unabashedly wanting. Michel Ancel also broke down his thoughts and intent regarding the footage in a video released by Ubisoft, which you can check out here. Below are my thoughts on the trailer’s strong points, and what they might mean for the final game.

No Load Times between Space and Planets

No Man’s Sky probably received more flak than widespread praise all said and done, but one thing it undoubtedly excelled at was the seamless transition between spacefaring exploration and arriving to explore individual planets. Given its procedurally generated nature planets themselves often became repetitive, but there’s little denying that arrival and departure at new locales are among the game’s most thrilling moments.

During his commentary Michel Ancel speaks to this, stating that moving from planet to space in Beyond Good and Evil 2 will also be a seamless experience. What’s especially exciting here is that it’s abundantly clear the game considers worldbuilding to be of high importance; the planet shown in the trailer could not have been more intricate and carefully thought-out. It’s difficult to guess how many planets of such detail could realistically be included, but even a handful of well fleshed-out planets tossed to cosmos that lack load screens holds serious promise.

Realistic Voice Acting That’s Not Short on Personality

Something that immediately stood out to me about Beyond Good and Evil 2’s trailer were the voice performances; they’re profane, unique in their delivery, and possess just the right amount of camp. I’m a serious stickler for voice acting; many of the performances from Fallout 4 illicit within me unforgivable cringe, while meanwhile I’m still lamenting the loss of affecting story delivery thanks to Breath of the Wild’s insistence on a fully voiced cast.

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Yet, the voice performances in Beyond Good and Evil 2 seem, from what we’ve been shown, utterly delightful in all the best ways. Profanity is a challenge in writing and acting; while oftentimes most folks we interact with in real life use it, it can come off forced and unnatural when shoehorned into a script. Perhaps more impressive is that not only do BG&E 2’s scenes pull this off, it’s done by animal-human hybrids. The performances feel enthusiastic without being overacted, with an injection of charm that stops well ahead of impending cheese. If the voice talent and direction assigned to this trailer are along for the entire game, then count me in.

Diverse Worlds to Believe In

As already mentioned, world-building is of massive importance when creating convincing gamespace, but Michel Ancel touches on another point of focus for Beyond Good and Evil 2 that can, if executed naturally, have an equal if not greater effect: diversity. Offering a refreshing breather from reality’s sometimes stilted attempts at such, diversity in Beyond Good and Evil 2 spans not just inter-human differences but actual species, as monkeys and pigs populate its settings just as frequently as, say, the more familiar varieties of its homo sapien characters.

Ancel asserts that this is conscious, aiming for something of a rag-tag bunch amongst the story’s main protagonists, as well as a larger world where humans, hybrids, and the rest of society mingle to create a world that feels alive. Considering the relatively concise length of the trailer shown today, I’d say Ancel and his team at Ubisoft Montpellier are very much on the right track.