The development team within Ubisoft that is currently working on Beyond Good and Evil 2 has announced that the main director of the project, Michel Ancel, has decided to completely leave the video game industry. Ancel himself announced this on his own Instagram page, stating that the reasoning was so that he could pursue another career, working with wildlife: “After more than 30 years, I’ve decided to stop working on video games and fully focus on my second passion: Wild Life!”
Dear Space Monkeys, we wanted to share an update; Michel Ancel has decided to retire from working in video games. Read on to find out more about our commitment to the high expectations you have for #BGE2:
— Beyond Good and Evil 2 (@bgegame) September 18, 2020
Ancel was working on two projects at the time of this decision, the aforementioned Beyond Good and Evil 2, and Wild, a game being developed by Wild Sheep Studio, which hasn’t been seen or talked about in years. Ancel briefly mentioned the two IP’s and what his departure means for them: “Many of you might want to know what will happen to Wild and BGE2. No worries, since many months now the teams are autonomous and the projects are going super well. Beautiful things to be seen soon.”
While this last statement might bring some glimmer of hope to some, it’s still fairly vague, especially since we have not seen nor heard anything major in a long time for both projects. Speaking of which, in the post made by the Beyond Good and Evil 2 development team, they reaffirmed the autonomous wording by Ancel, stating that he hasn’t been “directly involved” for quite a while. The title has been famously languishing in what the industry calls “development hell” for nearly ten years, going through several changes with no real end in sight.
According to Ancel, his new venture into wildlife will consist of working in an open sanctuary with real animals, nature lovers, and further education. Michel Ancel has worked in both the video game industry and at Ubisoft for more than 30 years, is considered one of the company’s greatest game designers. Ancel would work on smaller titles for his first few years which included Intruder and Brain Blasters. However, it was in 1995 when he truly made his mark in the industry when he created one of Ubisoft’s first real mascots, Rayman. Working as the lead designer, Ancel had arguably his biggest success to this point as Rayman became one of the most popular titles on the PlayStation and PC, as well as one of the best games in the 1990s.
Ancel would work on the sequel, Rayman 2: The Great Escape, before relegating himself to the character designer role for the spin-off titles Rayman Raving Rabbids. Ancel returned to the director’s role for Rayman Origins and Rayman Legends, both of which were considered to be a return to form the franchise. Ancel’s other major hit was 2003’s Beyond Good and Evil, which despite the lack of sales garnered a massive fan following and was critically acclaimed by everyone who played it. The sequel, as we all know, is still in development.