Ubisoft Considers Beyond Good & Evil a Mistake

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ObsidianJones:
...

Ive heard that argument a bunch of times, but I dont buy it (anymore).
BG&E had good marketing. Word of mouth was great, it had good reviews, it came out in holiday season.
Thats what hurt Ubi. They pumped a lot of money in the game, but it didnt turned out, because people thought it looked too "strange", too "exotic"...I can promise you Ubisoft did not make the game to have it fail! Michel Ancel was behind it, lot of money was behind it, they had plans for 2 sequels (still), but gamers didnt bought it, so yeah...from the viewpoint of Ubisoft it was a failure. No need to curse them.
Maybe your argument are valid for a lot of games, but here the fault lies with the consumers. The game was just too new, too strange for them, so they didnt bought it.

To quote Michel Ancel (the guy behind rayman): "consumers at the time were interested in established franchises and technologically impressive games" And they still are.

there's no mistakes
only happy accidents

Ragsnstitches:

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.

Let's not forget that they released BG&E less than a week after they themselves release Prince of Persia: Sands of Time

F#&*ing Prince of Persia!

Releasing a small title against their own flagship of the time & acting surprised it didn't sell well. Sure

Oh well, I consider ever giving money to Ubisoft a mistake so whatever.

Wow, ubisoft, are you actively TRYING to appear as the industry's biggest dickhead? I mean, EA's trying to reform its image, and we're just kind of ignoring activision at this point, so did you see a shot at the big position of gamings most hated company, and decide to go all out?

Oh, and those indie games that did well, I wanna point something out. Are there any sequels? No? What about plans for a sequel I mean, hell, making one game that fits together as a complete product and story is just a waste, why not spin out sequel after goddamn sequel, the story never truly ending, just following up twist after twist until you give up on any resolution? That's the only kind of game welcome at ubisoft!

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

Gold. Simply Flawless.

Maybe back in 2003 the dominating chunk of the consumer base wasn't ready for a female protagonist? Not enough marketing perhaps? Maybe the concept/theme/style of the game was not familiar enough to gamers to guarantee huge sales?

There's definitely multiple factors behind why a game can be good but still not sell well.

Andy Shandy:
Well fuck you too then, Ubisoft.

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

That they've already given up on it and have already cancelled it without telling anyone...

or...

they're not giving it the resources it needs to be truly great...

or...

they trolled us.

Either way...

Ubisoft is pretty much the French EA at this point.

Actually, why is everyone hating Ubisoft?
Compared to EA or Activision they are pretty open.
Think about Valiant Hearts: The Great War, Child of light, Rayman legends/origins, Watch dogs, Driver SF, RUSE, I am alive, from dust and so on.
From time to time they even try to reimagine their properties, like PoP.
I mean, sure, they made tons of mistakes (like their Steam-wannabe-baby), but they still make great games. Far Cry 3 was one of the best shooters this gen, Assasins creed was a new kind of sandbox game, in pretty interesting settings (at least), Rayman legends wipes the floor with Mario (and sold 1/7 of Mario).
I dont wanna promote them, but really, where does the hate come from?

I was working at EB Games the holiday season this game came out. There were some 80 HUGE titles to come out between the PS2 and XBOX that year... and ya know only the top 10-15 of them had huge marketing so of course BG&E got lost in the shuffle since it wasn't marketed at all.

If the suits would pull their heads out of their asses and release solid titles like this when they have a chance of success, rather than in the midst of SCORES of other titles, it would sell. By February it was selling. Not just because it had dropped to $20, but because people had played their other stuff and so were catching up on things they missed. If UBI had released it in Feb, or the summer before that Christmas.

Oh well, for being successful business people, they sometimes don't seem very bright.

Zombie_Moogle:

Ragsnstitches:

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.

Let's not forget that they released BG&E less than a week after they themselves release Prince of Persia: Sands of Time

F#&*ing Prince of Persia!

Releasing a small title against their own flagship of the time & acting surprised it didn't sell well. Sure

And even Prince of Persia got the success it got for being nothing short of amazing, Psychonauts sold like shit and most other action adventure platformers sold like shit too (since the AAA exclusives dominated the platformer market by being bundled with the consoles and having more face time then any other games)

>Release game against your other big game for the season
>Spend a quarter as much as advertising as the other game because protagonist had boobs
>Obviously a failed game

I love Beyond Good & Evil. And as much as I want to hate Ubisoft for saying something like this. They aren't wrong...at the end of the day, a game is a product with investment in it, and the producers need to see a return in that investment.

As a game BG&E was most certainly not a failure, but as a product it was.

Of course it doesn't help when you release another great game within the same week Ubisoft. Seriously, you let Sands of Time come out within the same week. Absolutely mental.

So let me get this straight...

Ubisoft holds a potential sequel over the heads of the fans for years. They craft pre-rendered cinematic trailers to build hype. They even go so far as to say things like, "Hey BG&E fans! If you buy this other swill we're selling, we promise we'll really, really consider doing a proper BG&E sequel! We promise!"

All leading up to saying: Beyond Good & Evil was a mistake and is now just an excuse for Ubisoft to avoid "risks" and to drop all possibility of there ever being a sequel.

Well played, Ubisoft. I was convinced no other publisher in the industry could pull a bigger dick move than any move EA or Activision have pulled in the past six years. You've shown me how naive I was.

image

trty00:
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.

It's hardly unfair for a publishing firm working in a capitalist system to aim to make a profit on everything they put their name to. As much as we like to laud games as art, which they are, the hard fact of the matter is that art has always relied on financial endorsement.

Ubisoft being wary of bad investments is not the issue. The issue is the leap of logic that takes place between 'BG&E didn't sell very well in the industry as it existed a decade ago, therefore nothing similar to BG&E has a chance of selling well today.' I don't blame big companies for being greedy. Greed is what fuels the entire process. I only get angry when they're being greedy AND stupid.

NinjaDeathSlap:

trty00:
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.

It's hardly unfair for a publishing firm working in a capitalist system to aim to make a profit on everything they put their name to. As much as we like to laud games as art, which they are, the hard fact of the matter is that art has always relied on financial endorsement.

Ubisoft being wary of bad investments is not the issue. The issue is the leap of logic that takes place between 'BG&E didn't sell very well in the industry as it existed a decade ago, therefore nothing similar to BG&E has a chance of selling well today.' I don't blame big companies for being greedy. Greed is what fuels the entire process. I only get angry when they're being greedy AND stupid.

Hm, thats certainly an interesting point, but as AAA games today are million dollar investments, I can kinda see where this conservatism comes from.
Also, with Mario and COD raking in millions while stuff like Rayman Legends fails miserably to even reach its modest expectations I dont really see where your optimism comes from.

HalloHerrNoob:

ObsidianJones:
...

Ive heard that argument a bunch of times, but I dont buy it (anymore).
BG&E had good marketing. Word of mouth was great, it had good reviews, it came out in holiday season.
Thats what hurt Ubi. They pumped a lot of money in the game, but it didnt turned out, because people thought it looked too "strange", too "exotic"...I can promise you Ubisoft did not make the game to have it fail! Michel Ancel was behind it, lot of money was behind it, they had plans for 2 sequels (still), but gamers didnt bought it, so yeah...from the viewpoint of Ubisoft it was a failure. No need to curse them.
Maybe your argument are valid for a lot of games, but here the fault lies with the consumers. The game was just too new, too strange for them, so they didnt bought it.

To quote Michel Ancel (the guy behind rayman): "consumers at the time were interested in established franchises and technologically impressive games" And they still are.

For me at the time the only ads I saw were in a gaming magazine I bought myself and not on a subscription or free with different purchase and the ad didn't give a specific day to know when the game came out I knew it looked interesting to me from the first time I saw it. I recall either having access to a demo of it either from a friend at work getting some demo discs or from playstation underground or from the a magazine sampler disc but the 2 modes they had very enjoyable to me making me only want the game more I wasn't on the internet much at the time and going to the mall/video game store was rare if I wasn't already planning on getting something I just got my driver's license the year prior or so. but the first time I saw BG & E in a store was when it was at huge a discount at the time, when full price wouldn't of stopped me. So I'd say it wasn't marketed as well as others if I never say a ad with an actual release date or any tv commercials at all.

Casey Bowen:
I was working at EB Games the holiday season this game came out. There were some 80 HUGE titles to come out between the PS2 and XBOX that year... and ya know only the top 10-15 of them had huge marketing so of course BG&E got lost in the shuffle since it wasn't marketed at all.

If the suits would pull their heads out of their asses and release solid titles like this when they have a chance of success, rather than in the midst of SCORES of other titles, it would sell. By February it was selling. Not just because it had dropped to $20, but because people had played their other stuff and so were catching up on things they missed. If UBI had released it in Feb, or the summer before that Christmas.

Oh well, for being successful business people, they sometimes don't seem very bright.

Funny thing is that was the only game I recall buying around the time BG&E came out I was mainly interested in buying anime at the time like Robotech or Transformers(animated series) on DVD.

In other news, smart business people are smart? Honestly the argument and logic do make sense especially when you put your love of the cult classic of a game behind ya. There are tons of games that have been both commercial successes and failures and either never see a sequel or won't get a second shot because of the element of risk. Especially if said game is completely self contained.

I mean even when Ubisoft made a Prince of Persia game they basically killed their own franchise after a good long run of success during the Gamecube, Xbox and PS2 generation but died this gen because it didn't really do anything. And that was a BIG name franchise.

You have to be able to assess risk and if the product you create can either be a positive long term investment or produce a short term profit. Most games as a product that aren't being sold as a service need to be part of the latter.

Also you have to know exactly who to aim a game to. Be it based on a demographic or by the mechanics of the game which while the number of people who can play a video game has expanded the number of people who will buy that specific game over say the next COD or their own franchises that they are already investing in the longer term ala Assassin's Creed and soon to be the potential that is Watch Dogs. Who exactly is going to be the target audience for Beyond Good and Evil 2? Because it needs to be more than the cult following.

This is even excluding the fact that if Beyond good and evil was already a self-contained story or if the original team actually has anything else in terms of a narrative to share within that game that would warrant a sequel. Hell I probably would of liked a Legend of Dragoon 2 but the story was very much self-contained.

...

I hate that they have been teasing a sequel, even though not "officially", for years. If this really is what they think of BG&E, can't they at least have the courtesy to tell us flat out the next time they are asked, "yes, there was a sequel planned, no, we will not be releasing one"? God damn it.

::sigh:: Everyone has that game they credit for making gaming their main hobby. BG&E was that game for me. I had a GBC when I was little and I liked games enough that my parents thought a PS2 would make a great gift for my birthday when I was a teenager (they were right). But it wasn't a main source of entertainment for me until I played BG&E. So to see it just tossed aside like it has been just...I understand their reasoning, but it still makes me sad.

Tenmar:
This is even excluding the fact that if Beyond good and evil was already a self-contained story or if the original team actually has anything else in terms of a narrative to share within that game that would warrant a sequel. Hell I probably would of liked a Legend of Dragoon 2 but the story was very much self-contained.

BG&E was suppose to be the first game of a trilogy. The ending you see when you beat the game is ambiguous but could be taken as a finished story. However, if you wait until the after the credits there is more. That part after the credits ends off with a cliffhanger, a teaser for the next game.

From the creators of Assassin's Creed... Comes Beyond Good and Evil: Good and Evil Harder! The gritty, dark reboot!

Starring: Cliche one liners, slutty but "strong" female lead who relies on the male supporting characters, slightly racist stereotypes and washed up action stars for some reason!

EXPLOSIONS!!!

Fucking Ubisoft... I don't even know what they're doing now.

HalloHerrNoob:
snip

Not everything has to make CoD money to make money. It's a matter of...

A) Keeping cost in the development of the game from spiralling out of control in the first place.

B) Working out very clearly who your target demographic is, and making the game that they want to play and that they would recommend to others, rather than trying to tick every single box and just end up with samey blandness that doesn't do anything that isn't done better elsewhere (looking at you Dead Space 3).

C) Targeting said demographic precisely with a marketing campaign that is tailored to appeal to them and make them want to buy your product.

D) Releasing said product in a window where it's not going to be completely overshadowed by a bigger title.

As far as I can tell, the reason so many side-IP's held by big companies are haemorrhaging money, is because said big players seem to be atrociously bad at doing all of these things. They waste money with token multi-player and pre-rendered cinematics that no-one asked for, as well as, particularly in Ubisoft's case, outsourcing development of games to about 7 different studios based all around the world (too many cooks much?), which all amounts to development costs that the game has almost no hape of making back with a decent margin. They think that, no matter how many times they're being proved wrong, the key to success is no more difficult than looking at another game (regardless of whether or not it's even in the same genre), and pinching features from that to make a requirement for their game. Their ad campaigns fluctuate between being obnoxious and being non-existent; and they try to release everything in the run up to Christmas, believing that's when people buy games, without stopping to consider that most people will only buy/be gifted a couple of games that season, and that most of those will be Call of Duty, so their game won't have enough room to do itself justice.

HalloHerrNoob:

ObsidianJones:
...

Ive heard that argument a bunch of times, but I dont buy it (anymore).
BG&E had good marketing. Word of mouth was great, it had good reviews, it came out in holiday season.
Thats what hurt Ubi. They pumped a lot of money in the game, but it didnt turned out, because people thought it looked too "strange", too "exotic"...I can promise you Ubisoft did not make the game to have it fail! Michel Ancel was behind it, lot of money was behind it, they had plans for 2 sequels (still), but gamers didnt bought it, so yeah...from the viewpoint of Ubisoft it was a failure. No need to curse them.
Maybe your argument are valid for a lot of games, but here the fault lies with the consumers. The game was just too new, too strange for them, so they didnt bought it.

To quote Michel Ancel (the guy behind rayman): "consumers at the time were interested in established franchises and technologically impressive games" And they still are.

I don't quite follow what you mean that 'you don't buy it any more'? I didn't go a day without trying to find out new info about new games I was interested in. I was so primed for Devil May Cry 2 because I loved 1 (good thing I didn't buy it), my friends talked my ear off about Splinter Cell and made me interested, and I had sixty bucks to my name and I had to figure out if I wanted to buy Enter the Matrix, Knights of the old Republic, or Dynasty Warriors 4.

I never heard about Beyond Good and Evil. Is that the part you don't buy? I didn't hear about it because of the hype was not there. Good reviews or not, even to this DAY, I don't look at good reviews for games that I don't hear a little hype for. Why? Why should I be glad that some game named Professor Layton gets a 10 out of 10 when it's a puzzle game and I normally don't pay attention to them?

But there's a reason I listed the games that I did. Besides Knights of the Old Republic, most of those games are a derivation Beyond Good and Evil's beat-em up/Hack and Slash style of gaming. I would have been pumped to see something new. But I just saw a title. And a score that meant nothing to me because I didn't know what it was.

Is that the customers fault? With every game that's released, are we supposed to find them all out? That's impossible. Maybe just as impossible as it is to hype every game up, assured, but if I heard about it, I would have bought it.

Just like a good number of people in this very thread who said they didn't hear about the game until at least five years after it released.

Now. Again. What's not to buy? Your opinion is valid, there are some people who might have thought this way. But we're going with your conjecture over at least 3-5 people in this very thread who said they would have bought it if they heard of it. Really heard of it, not just heard of a title.

Settle down...

You have it second-hand (from what a guy you've never met said to this reporter) that ONE GUY AT UBISOFT said that betting Ubisoft's money on a property they couldn't guarantee up front would be a commercial success was a mistake. The example of a time when they made that mistake, according to that one unnamed guy at Ubisoft, was with Beyond Good Evil.

Take a deep breath. You're still a smart, lovely person who likes a well-made game that was fun to play.

--Morology!

PS: Why did you even come to the comments section on this one? You knew it was just going to make you unhappy.

From what I know of BG&E's development cycle it was basically a case of "We don't think it will be a commercial success so we won't give it any resources" and then "Oh, look it wasn't a success look how right we were." Meanwhile the Ubisoft brass is determined to ignore the obvious case of cause and effect.

I consider it a mistake when every game a company publishes involves sneaking around and pushing that one button that does everything.

HalloHerrNoob:
Actually, why is everyone hating Ubisoft?

DRM.

Assassin's Creed.

Comments about how they won't fund any projects they can't turn into massive franchises.

More DRM, the kind that renders single-player games unplayable if you're not connected to the internet at all times.

Calling 95% of PC gamers filthy pirates that don't deserve games because they're just going to steal them.

Etc.

These are fairly PC-centric forums around here, so a lot of people tend to harbor ill feelings toward companies that badmouth PC gamers and actively inconvenience their hobbies.

OT: So... that sequel to Beyond Good & Evil isn't coming anytime soon then, eh?

Ah, gotta love all the armchair / hindsight quarterbacking.

Speaking as someone in finance a lot of the comments sadden me. A company's bottom line is not just about shareholders, it's about being able to pay their workers and produce future product. Projects that don't make their money back hurt that prospect, and if done too often, you're left unable to pay people or make any more games. The more you want to spend, the more you have to sell to put back, and doubling sales isn't worth it if you also triple the cost. It's all risk assessment and judgement calls that are easy to chastise ten years later when it wasn't our money, jobs or company.

The old fart in me also shakes his head at how we blame others for our laziness. We still seem to wait for the TV or internet to tell us what to like and it hurts whole genres, and it was no different back them. Okay, I'm unique in that I'm not as afraid to buy blind on occasion. I like going through the upcoming lists looking for niche and indy games that look cool. If I'm curious I can look stuff up online and come back in a few days once I know more. Back then I could even rent a game at blockbuster and then buy it if it was fun enough (and did more than once). No one can know about everything, but expecting everything to have heavy marketing is just acceptance of sheephood waiting to be told what to buy next.

And the sad part is, even if excuses back then were justifiable, Beyond Good and Evil got an HD remake that probably also considered part of the game's failure, so the game has underperformed twice.

I don't blame Ubisoft for Beyond Good & Evil's flop; they made a great game, I saw it advertised, and it flopped because audiences didn't care in 2003.

But I do blame them for cockteasing fans for years with hints of a sequel and then saying this.
The only logical thing I can take away from this statement is that Ubisoft is shit canning all notions of a sequel to BG&E; there's literally no other reason why they would come out and say this otherwise.

Well, what else should I expect from a company who says that only milkable blockbuster franchises matter. *shrugs*

I'll just jot this little statement of theirs down so the next time Ubisoft tries to brag about their relevancy or wank anything resembling "creative merit". Because I think more people need to see the bitter irony in their business model, laid bare.

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

Seriously, why didn't people buy it?

Because nobody had heard of it before or even till well after it had come out...?

It got zero marketing and dumped out onto the shelves in the middle of november with all the other games with far better advertising or brands to make them stick out. By the time anyone had actually heard of the game it was sitting in bargin bins with the fail label stuck on it's forehead. (where I found it about 2 or 3 years later..)

roseofbattle:
"'Beyond Good & Evil was not a success, and we made that mistake once.'"

If I remember correctly, the mistake was Ubisoft's, not the game's. The game had no promotion, as they were too busy focusing on Prince of Persia: Sands of Time, and they released it at a time of which there were a ton of other, more established, games coming out. Ubisoft didn't give the game a chance.

Ugg...

This only cements my decision to never buy any of their games again, as it were.

snekadid:
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.

Come now. EA and Ubisoft have been in a race for the bottom for a while. EA just did a better job at it.

Oh that was hilarious! Why would you sometimes patronize the arts and make one of our most critically acclaimed games ever? It's best to wallow in consumer grade garbage like COD or NFL games.

If creativity and taking a chance that didn't pay off is a mistake, then I suggest you just change your name to EA France and get the transformation over with Ubisoft.

The game was fantastic. Maybe their marketing of it was a mistake? If they want to "not make that mistake again" they should work on that, not solve it by ceasing to make anything experimental and potentially good.

Lesson for mankind: We need more mistakes! Bring on the HP Lovecrafts, Van Goghs, Kafkas and Nick Drakes.

Look, when your niche game doesn't get greenlighted for a second round because it was a niche game and didn't sell well don't be surprised. It might suck, but its the way things work as long as money is involved. Time and cash invested must see a significant profit when the product is released, you folk know this but ignore it and when a company decides the time and money invested in said project was a mistake because it didn't make money, you get mad?
Wow... Also its not always about marketing, shit games that had great marketing still turn out to be shit games. I don't mean what you might consider shit because it doesn't appeal to you, but actual crappily made games.
Its like the fact that Scott Pilgrim the movie didn't do well pissed off a lot of folk on here, but failed to make the point that it was pretty much a niche movie and didn't do well because of its status as niche. Sorry folks but not everyone in the world thinks your diamond is anything more than cubic zirconia.

THIS is the problem with games today. ALL they care about it profiting - nothing else. It's a job, that's all. If it doesn't make money, its a failure and not worth while.

I personally think games should be made by people who want them to be FUN. And if they're FUN they will be SUCCESSFUL.

However... they prioritize SUCCESS first, and don't care if the games are fun or not. They just want

1) To hype games up as much as possible via advertisements

2) To sell a ton of copies, regardless of customer satisfaction

3) To repeat the process (or stick to the mold) of game design that works. In other words, Call of Gear of Duty War.

Why does this sound like they're just going to play it safer and safer and make this industry even more boring than it already is?

Yeah, put me in the with the 'fuck you Ubisoft' crowd as well. I've played it and it's very functional, I don't see how they could call this game a mistake. This current trend of theirs is the real mistake. Plus I didn't hear about this game till I watched one of Yahtzee's old reviews not long ago, so there is that.

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