Users of the Ubisoft+ service may have logged onto the Xbox app late on the 28th of November 2023 and strangely found a brand new unannounced version of the cult classic Beyond Good and Evil available to play.
Due to a leak from the Xbox store itself, the unannounced games page went live allowing all users to view the release material (Such as allowing 3rd party websites like Exophase to pull the achievements data) and surprisingly also allowed Plus subscribers to download the full 17gb playable game.
However, the version that had unexpectedly arrived turned out to be an incomplete and pre-release build that was from the middle of active development. Users quickly begun sharing captured media from the game and comparisons sprung up commenting on the quality compared to the original, garnering some amount of critiquing commentary due to the perception of other poorly received re-releases of games in recent years.
Quickly noticing the mistake early the next day Ubisoft removed the build of the game from the Plus app, and communicated the announcement and plans for the further publishing of the full game in 2024. They reiterated that the state of this mistakenly materialising software was a work in progress and the material seen was not representative of the final product. They had also begun using copyright claims to remove play through videos of the unreleased build on platforms like YouTube.
The entire chain of posts is as follows:
Well, looks like the cat’s out of the bag, dagnammit. Happy 20th anniversary to Beyond Good & Evil! While we cannot wait to show you more about this special edition, more news to come in early 2024!Beyond Good and Evil Twitter news announcement. Post 1 – November 29th, 2023.
An early development version of Beyond Good & Evil 20th Anniversary Edition was recently released to some Ubisoft+ subscribers by mistake. We apologize for any confusion and want to assure our community that this version is not indicative of the final game.Beyond Good and Evil Twitter news announcement. Post 2 – November 29th, 2023.
As we celebrate the 20th anniversary of Beyond Good & Evil, our commitment to delivering a game that meets the high expectations of our fans is unwavering.Beyond Good and Evil Twitter news announcement. Post 3 – November 29th, 2023.
We’re excited to announce that the official launch is set for early 2024, and we’re dedicated to making it an experience that truly honors the legacy of the original. Thank you for your understanding and continued support.Beyond Good and Evil Twitter news announcement. Post 4 – November 29th, 2023.
Quite how a pre-release build was accidentally set live will most likely not be explained, but I’m sure the development team and social media crew had quite the shock once it was discovered. A couple of possibilities of how a mistake like this can happen could have originated anywhere from the production side of the development team, marketing or even on the store management side at Xbox.
Also not forgetting, that the sequel to this 2005 game, Beyond Good and Evil 2, was originally announced in 2008 with a rebooted version re-announced in 2017 is still reportedly in active development.
Re-release projects like this are a common method for promotion to keep interest in the property/IP higher over time and serves of a reminder on how differing companies are at handling their legacy properties – as sometimes a publisher might even go as far as to remove older versions of a game from stores to force more interest in the newest version.