Beyond Good & Evil creator Michel Ancel quits videogames to work in an animal sanctuary

(Image credit: Ubisoft)

Beyond Good and Evil 2 hasn't yet been "in development" for as long as Duke Nukem Forever was, but it's getting there. Our earliest "it's still happening" post went up in 2012—already several years after it was announced—and our most recent was in February 2020

It's an unusual situation, and it got a little more unusual today: BG&E creator Michel Ansel, who's headed up work on the sequel for as long as it's been going on, announced on Instagram today that he's leaving the game industry to work in an animal sanctuary.

"After more than 30 years, I’ve decided to stop working on videogames and fully focus on my second passion: Wild Life!" he wrote. "My new project takes place in the real world and consists in a wild life open sanctuary dedicated to education , nature lovers and ... wild animals."

As for Beyond Good and Evil 2, he said there's nothing to worry about: "[For] many months now the teams are autonomous and the projects are going super well. Beautiful things to be seen soon."

My initial thought was that this might be another one of those Ubisoft developer "jokes," but the company issued a statement confirming his departure. 

"Michel Ancel has decided to stop working in videogames in order to focus on other personal projects, and will no longer be part of the BG&E2 team," senior producer Guillaume Brunier wrote. "For years, Michel imparted his creative vision and helped us remain faithful to BG&E’s incredible universe. His uncompromising passion pushed us to redefine what was possible in crafting an expansive, multicultural, and futuristic science-fiction world. As we move forward, we are all committed to remaining true to this vision."

The statement also noted that Ancel "hasn’t been directly involved in BG&E2 for some time now," and that the development team is "hard at work building on top of the solid creative foundation he helped shape," which despite the relative silence recently is apparently coming along well.

"We recently passed an important internal milestone, delivering a build that proves our Space Pirate Fantasy and offers hours of gameplay and an incredible level of freedom in a seamless online sandbox, building upon the promise of our tech demos shown at E3," Brunier wrote. "I’m incredibly proud of the team’s perseverance, dedication to each other and ongoing commitment to developing an amazing game."

The development team is now being increased in size, and Ubisoft Paris has been added as a "partner studio." Brunier said it hopes to be able to show off more of Beyond Good and Evil 2 sometime next year.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.