CES: Beyond Good and Evil HD looks real purdy

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Last night at a CES Xbox House Party event, i got to lay eyes (and hands) on the upcoming XBLA release of Beyond Good and Evil HD. This is a port of the 2003 fan favorite, now with a lovely HD upgrade. I mean, the game was already lovely, and it would still hold up nicely today, but lots of work has been put into this upgrade, and it now looks real purdy.

All of the demo kiosks had a frames per second counter going in the lower right hand corner of the screen. BG&EHD sat at 60.09 most of the time, sometimes jumping up into the 61’s. It looked so fluid and solid, and so…current gen. Ubisoft game producer Eric Damian-Varnet told us that the game was running at 720p in this session as it was limited by the televisions they had on hand, but that it fully suppports 1080p. We were playing on what looked to be 30-some inch sets and it already looked amazing. I’d really love to see this game in 1080p on a large set. 

I got a full tour of the game’s worlds, and they all looked fantastic. The underwater caves looked so lush and detailed that it was hard to believe that this was a game we last saw on the Gamecube. This wasn’t just a quick port, though. Ubisoft told us that about 90 of the textures had to be redone for this HD version. The characters were also redone — Jade looks better than ever. They credit the original for being ahead of its time in visuals, but it’s easy to tell that they’ve done a lot of work to make this port shine. 

Additional touchups are less apparent, but still appreciated. The Xbox 360’s power let them eliminate some of the pop-in the old game suffered from. The original game’s soundtrack was highly compressed, taking a bit too much away from the musical recordings. The music has been redone for this version, easing up on that compression.

Ubisoft said that they went into this thinking about both the dedicated fans of the game and the potential new players. It definitely shows. I think both will be very happy when Beyond Good and Evil HD is released some time in March as part of their House Party series for the Xbox 360.

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Dale North
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