Ubisoft Considers Beyond Good & Evil a Mistake

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Ubisoft Considers Beyond Good & Evil a Mistake

Beyond Good And Evil

For Ubisoft to pick up an experimental title, the pitch had better persuade management the game will be a commercial success.

Ubisoft is known for big series like Assassin's Creed, Far Cry, and the upcoming game Watch Dogs. The AAA studio makes big games with a lot of money. Profits are important, and despite the love a dedicated group of people have for Beyond Good & Evil, Ubisoft calls it a mistake. When creative director Patrick Plourde pitched his personal project Child of Light, a future title with RPG and platforming elements starring a young girl in a coming-of-age story, Ubisoft was wary of a game that wouldn't bring success. Ten years have passed, and Beyond Good & Evil still weighs heavily on Ubisoft's mind.

"If the game is a missed opportunity, then it's going to be a missed opportunity for years," Plourde said in a GamesIndustry interview. "Even when I pitched Child of Light, they mentioned Beyond Good & Evil. They said, 'Beyond Good & Evil was not a success, and we made that mistake once.' "

Beyond Good & Evil is an action adventure game released in 2003. The player controls Jade, an investigative photographer working in a resistance movement to reveal a conspiracy. The game scored well in reviews but did not sell well. Ubisoft wants to stick to safer guarantees of financial returns seen in popular franchises like Assassin's Creed. Convincing Ubisoft management to take a chance on a smaller title is tough work, but Plourde managed to do it.

Referencing games like Journey, Bastion, and Limbo as examples of indie games with high returns, Plourde persuaded Ubisoft Montreal to take on Child of Light. Plourde says Ubisoft Montreal greenlit the game because he has some pull in the company and knew what management needed to hear. He recommends developers to go indie when they have an idea that a large studio doesn't want to pursue.

"If somebody tries something and fails, there are going to be repercussions for other people," Plourde said. "I don't think people are malevolent or evil about that. It's just if it fails, they're going to be careful greenlighting other projects like that."

Source: GamesIndustry

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I had to read the title twice after reading the article, because I could swear the article was about EA. Between their crappy steam rip offs and their franchise management, you'd think Ubisoft was trying to become EA.

Well fuck you too then, Ubisoft.

Wonder what this means for BG&E2 if they consider the first a mistake. D:

Just when you think the AAA industry might not be a totally souless husk that exists solely to grind out profits and annual titles (with some flashes of light to be sure), you read this. Good job Ubisoft, you twats.

This is almost the only argument I have a hard time with when discussing games as art. The profit motive of the larger corporations honestly makes me want to argue that games can't be art because they are under these pressures to sell and so you can never get a pure peice you always get something designed to sell at the store.

That isn't 100% true, plenty of indy games aren't victim to these treasures or at least don't cave into them. These larger corporations that have shareholders screaming at them for returns on their investment though? At best they are the equivalent of hollywood block buster action flicks. Fun to watch and play with but they can almost never do anything of substance.

I think this trend is only going to grow worse in the ripple A industry as well, and is why we see so few new IPs out of the triple a industry and more and more remakes, reimaginings and sequels. They want safe and profitable above all else.

Fuck you Ubisoft!
Your face is a mistake!!!

But... I liked that game.

Seriously, why didn't people buy it?

Andy Shandy:
Well fuck you too then, Ubisoft.

Wonder what this means for BG&E2 if they consider the first a mistake. D:

The same thing it always meant, Ubisoft is never gonna let it get made. It's far more useful for them as a tease to dangle in front of gamers like they've been doing for years. All of that 'if the studio doesn't do well, games like Beyond Good and Evil 2 could never get made' and so on. Ubisoft, it seems, has fallen very hard into the EA (Although they have gotten slightly better) and Activision models. They have 2, maybe 3, flagship series, and they refuse to make anything else because those sell well and they can re-use assets to push them out yearly.

A mistake? A MISTAKE?!

Really? Just....I need to lay down for bit. My brain hurts.

Andy Shandy:
Well fuck you too then, Ubisoft.

Wonder what this means for BG&E2 if they consider the first a mistake. D:

I'm beginning to think nothing.

The way they've been teasing it and doing fuck all about it makes me think they're not gonna make a sequel.

Which sucks because I love that game. :(

I was going to say that 'a platforming RPG that tells the coming of age story of a young girl' doesn't really sound that interesting, but then I remembered I have something like twenty hours logged in a game best described as "Generic JRPG mixed with two player Bejeweled" so I'm probably not the best person to judge such things.

That said: Games not selling if they have a female protagonist becomes a bit of a self-fulfilling loop: Nobody puts effort into making one, so the games aren't that good, so they don't sell, so they don't get full effort if somebody does actually greenlight one.

If the game had received the marketing push it deserved, it might've done better.

P.S. Thanks

Product Placement:
But... I liked that game.

Seriously, why didn't people buy it?

The world wasn't ready for non-cocktease female protagonist.

EDIT: Should be clarified that this was a joke.

A game being a mistake profit-wise does not mean a game is a mistake design-wise, I suppose.

synobal:
This is almost the only argument I have a hard time with when discussing games as art. The profit motive of the larger corporations honestly makes me want to argue that games can't be art because they are under these pressures to sell and so you can never get a pure peice you always get something designed to sell at the store.

That isn't 100% true, plenty of indy games aren't victim to these treasures or at least don't cave into them. These larger corporations that have shareholders screaming at them for returns on their investment though? At best they are the equivalent of hollywood block buster action flicks. Fun to watch and play with but they can almost never do anything of substance.

I think this trend is only going to grow worse in the ripple A industry as well, and is why we see so few new IPs out of the triple a industry and more and more remakes, reimaginings and sequels. They want safe and profitable above all else.

All art is made for the person making it to make money, the difference is that a lot of "classical art" was made on commission i.e a rich dude wants a painting/sculpture to show off with.

And you have to remember AAA games like with summer blockbusters cost more to make than any single painting/sculpture/book or piece of music ever has. Hell a single game takes all the older arts and puts them together several hundred times over if you think about it.

I can't help but think there is a better way to handle niche games like this. because in a way they are right, if it didn't sell enough copies to turn a profit then it is a failure in that sense. but with all the information companies are capturing from sales and just consumers in general about our preferences and play styles, is there not a way to "manage" expectations of a game and play to that. I guess going indie is the term for it, but how hard would it be to put a small team of people on a pet project or a labor of love and work on it sort of in the "down time" there's a big to do in the industry about the crunch time mentality where people work 80 hr weeks to get a game out the door but then to avoid those people sitting with their thumb up their ass during certification and waiting for street dates they put them to work on dlc that often goes on the disc and pisses everyone off. why not let them work on personal projects during that time when you have really already paid for their time one way or the other. then release a digital only copy with a small inexpensive social advertising campaign. even if it took 3 or 4 years of working on it "in-between" games for passion projects that have this cult following what's to risk with an all digital approach and just making a Facebook page or tweeting about it. i'm sure there is a lot wrong with my example I don't know the games industry that well but come on people, where is it written every game has to cost 100 million and be advertised during the super bowl. how hard is it to simply say, we only expect to sell a couple thousand copies so lets make the game cost be X so we can turn a profit if it only sells half that.

Kumagawa Misogi:

synobal:
This is almost the only argument I have a hard time with when discussing games as art. The profit motive of the larger corporations honestly makes me want to argue that games can't be art because they are under these pressures to sell and so you can never get a pure peice you always get something designed to sell at the store.

That isn't 100% true, plenty of indy games aren't victim to these treasures or at least don't cave into them. These larger corporations that have shareholders screaming at them for returns on their investment though? At best they are the equivalent of hollywood block buster action flicks. Fun to watch and play with but they can almost never do anything of substance.

I think this trend is only going to grow worse in the ripple A industry as well, and is why we see so few new IPs out of the triple a industry and more and more remakes, reimaginings and sequels. They want safe and profitable above all else.

All art is made for the person making it to make money, the difference is that a lot of "classical art" was made on commission i.e a rich dude wants a painting/sculpture to show off with.

And you have to remember AAA games like with summer blockbusters cost more to make than any single painting/sculpture/book or piece of music ever has. Hell a single game takes all the older arts and puts them together several hundred times over if you think about it.

True but I think it matters just how much the profit motive compromises the artistic vision.

Andy Shandy:
Wonder what this means for BG&E2 if they consider the first a mistake. D:

Perhaps they'll 're-imagine' it as a first-person-shooter. That always works well...

Ah, Ubisoft is run by a bunch of twatmonkey's who wouldn't know quality if it bit them in the ass.

Plourde should find a way to secretly fund a kickstarter to buy the rights to Beyond Good and Evil's copyright back from ubisoft.

Then he can tell them to go FUCK THEMSELVES and make BG&E2 through crowdfunding as well.

Fuck you ubisoft and fuck your concept of 'mistakes'. YOU fucked up that game with its shitty release window and god awful marketing. You've run Assassin's Creed into the ground, you've made it VERY clear you plan to do the same with Watch_Dogs, A GAME THAT ISN'T EVEN OUT YET, and you're PROBABLY getting ready to do the same with far cry 3!

Don't fucking act like you're some kind of patron saint of gaming industry wisdom and act like BG&E was some end all be all mistake, because the QUANTITY of mistakes you are making outweighs the 'badness' of what YOU think is a mistake.

Man, I really don't like to throw shit fits and rant like this when it comes to the gaming industry but god DAMN does that piss me off. I want to speak with my wallet but it's fucking infuriating that there's actually stuff I want from them.

I'll be buying Child of Light at the least but until say, a demo for Stick of Truth is out (and maybe watch dogs) they're not getting another fucking dollar out of me.

Just like Ubisofts budget control and expectations are a mistake.

FRANCHISE, FRANCHISE, FRANCHISE, GRAPHICS, GRAPHICS, GRAPHICS.

image

You know ubisoft

1. you just gave sarkesian more idea's to make more video's

2. beyond good and evil, was considered a great game. even though i dont think i have ever seen a commercial when it came out.

3. why do you look like Ea or Activation, do really want to be like them.

Fair enough.

They took a risk, expended some resources, and ended up turning out a relatively unsuccessful game. As far as sales go, at least. It's a shame, but from a business perspective it makes sense.

I've played the game and just couldn't get into it myself, but it had an interesting premise.

The hell? Beyond: Good and Evil was a brilliant game. Yes, it had its flaws but the only reason I can think of that it failed to meet expectations was because I never saw a damned advert for the thing. You can't expect something to spread on the word of mouth alone.

Maybe if they had spent any money and effort on promoting the damn game, it would have done better.

I ended up buying a copy out of a bargain bin just because I had remembered a friend talking about it a year or so before. I would never have heard of it if he hadn't told me about it. I remember him looking all over town for a copy at one point, but he couldn't find one at retail. It seems hardly anyone had stocked it.

I'd never seen an ad or TV commercial for this game, but hey, it was only $10, so I picked it up when I saw it. I was surprised at what an enjoyable game it was. My kids really loved it, too-they each ended up playing through it 3 or 4 times-something they'd only ever done with a Zelda title before.

Stupid Ubi suits ...

Urgh, this is the very thing I hate about this industry. It's another reason I also avoid Ubisoft games in general now. Assassin's Creed was just sucked dry because of this attitude and I refuse to buy any more of their souless cash-grabs. Meanwhile genuinely smart and unique games are left to fester and die because they "didn't sell well."

Their focus groups would probably say they wouldn't play Beyond Good and Evil because Jade isn't half naked and wielding an automatic weapon on the box cover. Makes me sick.

Fuck you Ubisoft! You're the mistake!

Are they planning on stealing the golden poo from EA or something?

We all know that it has nothing to do with what gender the main character is, BG&E was released at a time where adventure platformer games just werent all that profitable, thats it, there is also Psychonauts that had the exact same fate.

As usual, the suits only see statistics so for them it will seem reasonable to make a relation between the protagonist gender and the profit.

"All our other games stared a male protagonist and made profit, this one had a female protagonist and it didnt made profit, thats probably the reason why" - suits train of thought since suits are trained to only look at statistics. If these guys had also published Psychonauts they would have an example in their database that showed that the key for it to not make profit was the genre and not the gender.

Well, they're kind of right.

From a strict, spreadsheet-based perspective, Beyond Good & Evil was not a success.

I think they're missing some things, though.

As I think is amply demonstrated by the other comments on this article, it's possible for a game to earn a company goodwill even if it doesn't make mad bank. Rather than simply leaving all the less commercial (and potentially more innovative) works to the "indie" scene, I think the larger companies might be well advised to come up with a way to do them in-house, perhaps with a smaller team and a limited budget. Just as large movie studios may have spin-offs to develop and/or exploit films that aren't $200-million blockbusters, there's no good reason why a company like EA, Activision or Ubisoft couldn't have sub-studios to develop games that might be promising but aren't guaranteed platinum hits.

If one was willing to look past the quarterly spreadsheets, such a sub-studio could reap all manner of benefits. With looser strings, developers can create more risky, imaginative, and innovative works- and potentially, bring some of those innovations that are proven to work back into play when it comes time to make the next AAA title. It could also function as a sort of "light duty" rotation to prevent burn-out; top designers and programmers who have grown weary of churning out by-the-numbers shooters could work on passion projects with a real chance of seeing them actually come into being. Further, such a studio could give new and up-and-coming design staff a place to learn the ropes and spread their wings without the onus of a potential $50 million failure to make them fear for their future employment.

I don't think there are a lot of good reasons big producers couldn't create "quasi-indie" shops within their campuses. With a couple of million dollars and a dozen people (think Kickstarter levels), there's no reason talented people shouldn't be able to have a $20 game on Steam within a year. Unlike a lot of start-ups, these major companies have the infrastructure already in place. I'm inclined to suspect the only thing preventing them is not a lack of funding, but a closed-off way of thinking.

Welp, if I had any inclination to buy a Ubisoft game left after the Uplay debacle, it's gone now. How big of a dick do you have to be to tell people that their favorite game was a mistake? Well, maybe this will convince more people to boycott them. Since Uplay was apparently not a big enough dick move already to get people to stop giving them money. And keep in mind, Ubisoft has abandoned Uplay's always-on DRM (I think), but has refused to come out and say that it was a mistake. So, to recap: Kicking people out of their single-player games if their Internet goes down for half a second: not a mistake. Greenlighting a game with a strong female protagonist: mistake.

Fuck you, Ubisoft. Fuck you forever and always. You can go bankrupt and starve to death in a gutter for all I care.

Dear Ubisoft execs,

You released Beyond Good and Evil in 2003. The first time I heard of the game was in 2007. I was a member of a forum devoted to discussing games at the time, and I never heard of your game. I think your decisions on marketing the game might have some relevance to the question of how much of whose mistake it was.

Genocidicles:
Fuck you Ubisoft! You're the mistake!

Are they planning on stealing the golden poo from EA or something?

And this is the company inow in control of South Park: The Stick Of Truth..../facepalm

Well, I guess it makes sense that Ubisoft would be unwilling to think of a game with poor marketing and a poorly timed release (a new, niche IP cast out with a bunch of existing cash cow franchises? What did they expect?) as nothing but a failure, but a mistake? I can think of a couple of mistakes surrounding this critically acclaimed game and none of them had to do with the game. But, then again, this is coming from "We're-not-making-games-unless-we-can-turn-them-into-yearly-cash-cow-franchises" Ubisoft, so FUCK YOU TOO UBI!

With all due respect...FUCK YOU, UBISOFT! Beyond Good & Evil is literally the only game of yours that I really liked. If that game was a failure then I really wish you would make more failures, rather than re-releasing the same Assassins Creed game every year, but in a different setting.

Genocidicles:
Fuck you Ubisoft! You're the mistake!

Are they planning on stealing the golden poo from EA or something?

Come on guys.....BG&E was an awesome game, but in the end a game has to sell....
I dont blame publishers for greenlighting COD Modern gunbro racism 3 or Super Mario World 29186 over this.
If there are millions of gamers who buy the copy-paste version of a game, why invest millions to make something new and interesting that doesnt sell even half as good?
Whenever something new and interesting comes up, all my friends go "Shut up and take my money", but when its actually released they are like "Dude, the new Mario is out, so why buy Rayman?".
Gamers brought this on themselves. Publishers are just giving people what they want. Just look at the new COD numbers.

And yeah, I know there are always excuses...the timing was wrong, not enough marketing, wrong audience...and they are sometimes true, but when I hear them every time a new game fails, I start to wonder if they are just excuses.

HalloHerrNoob:

Genocidicles:
Fuck you Ubisoft! You're the mistake!

Are they planning on stealing the golden poo from EA or something?

Come on guys.....BG&E was a great game, but in the end a game has to sell....
I dont blame publishers for greenlighting COD Modern gunbro racism 3 or Super Mario World 29186.
If there are millions of gamers who buy the copy-paste version of a game, why invest millions to make something new and interesting that doesnt sell even half as good?
Whenever something new and interesting comes up, all my friends go "Shut up and take my money", but when its actually released they are like "Dude, the new Mario is out, so why buy Rayman?".
Gamers brought this on themselves. Publishers are just giving people what they want. Just look at the new COD numbers.

Here's the difference between that.

When I first saw Call of Duty, it was in game stop. It was the display game near the game. Everyone had a turn in it, most people found it fun. I didn't.

When I first heard of Beyond Good and Evil, it was a forum website in 2009 entitled "What games needed a sequel"

There's something to the mindset of a controlled burn. It's like a forest fire. you ruin one section of the forest to make sure the raging fire doesn't over take the entire woods. To get backing away from the visionaries and people who want to experience, sometimes people produce things just to let them fail. If so many avid gamers here never heard of Beyond Good and Evil until years after the game's release, that's solely the fault of the producers.

I didn't hear about Call of Duty until every video display in America put one up.

I didn't hear about Smite until the Escapist put up these ads about it.

I nor other people can not keep our eyes open for things we don't know exist. If someone makes a product, you and I, we can't sit in a basement buy a phone and wonder why no one is buying it IF we didn't tell anyone it existed.

How many times when game stores were still relevant did we all see the nice bright covers of a multitude of games and go 'Never heard of this, not going to buy it'? I'm almost sure I did that with Beyond Good and Evil at least a few times. Gamers can not be thought of as psychic and believed to just pick up everything without a real stitch of detail.

And I put this argument to a friend of mine. He said just read the back. And I looked at him and said this; "If that's the only games' marketing, do you think it's going to be honest to you? 'this game is kind of bland, you played something like it before. but we want the money'? No, they are going to hype themselves up. And we all fell for that once in our lives." That's why gaming sites like the escapist and others exist. Because we want to know.

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