A reluctant young heroin holds the freedom of her people in the palm of her hands with this investigative action/adventure game. It’s the distant future and her government has mysteriously begun to lead its people down a “righteous path of no return”. Recruited by an underground organization and thrust into the leading role, a once orphaned young girl name Jade learns she possesses a special ability that will uncover the tyranny and corruption behind her government and, ultimately, the salvation of her people.
“What propels this game into the upper echelon of next-generation games is not only an engrossing storyline but the Promise of Discovery”, said Michel Ancel, Game Designer. “We’ve designed a brand new, exclusive game engine from ground up that has allowed us to integrate a whole universe in one game including mountains, cities, towns, planets and more. Our goal was to provide gamers an opportunity to experience absolute immersion through a unique story and free roaming environments – a world with no bounds, and BG&E has exceeded those expectations.”
THE PROJECT PRODUCER
The creator of Rayman®, a pioneering trademark in the history of video games with:
More than 10.5 million copies sold worldwide for the Rayman® franchise.
Critically Acclaimed Franchise: Rayman® 2 The Great Escape™ was voted best Dreamcast game for the year 2000 by IGN and best online PlayStation® game by Electronic Boutique; Rayman® Advance™ was voted best game with best graphics for a portable console in the 2001 E3 trade show by IGN.
Michel Ancel was born in March 1972 in Monaco.
He spent part of his childhood in Tunisia and other places, moving around wherever his father (a professional soldier) was posted.
From an early age, he was fond of the Russian, Chinese and Japanese stories and fairy tales that were read to him. “They were stories that swept me off into the different worlds that I now use to inspire my decors. Some of the heroes of my games look just like the ones I imagined when hearing those tales.”
As a teenager he spent the evenings with his buddies, huddled round the first video games that were coming out at the time. From those days on, he was fascinated by the early video games: “the type where you’re constantly wondering what’ll happen if you open this door, or if you rush into this tunnel – and you tried to imagine what was hidden away in all those places you couldn’t get into.”
In Montpellier, where his family settled, he taught himself how to program. His greatest desire was to create a game that was something other than just a car race or a combat simulation. So, outside high-school hours, he started developing various puzzle games that soon made a name for him. At a competition for young game designers, an animated sequence he produced on his own led to an interview by Ubi Soft.
In 1989, at the age of 17, Michel joined the Ubi Soft team and began work as an independent graphic designer. As one encounter led to another, he was quick to broaden his artistic knowledge and created the Rayman character. The first Rayman game, that was created by nearly 30 people, came out on PlayStation® in 1995. Other games – for other platforms – soon followed in this series, and their success is now legendary.
In 1999, having completed the Rayman 2 project with the development team, Michel wanted to explore new universes and create new worlds to give free rein to his unbounded imagination. So, in addition to his role as a consultant for a new Rayman game currently in development, he embarked on an original and ambitious project – an action/adventure game code-named BG&E, this time centered on a young female character.
Today – along with Jacques Exertier, co-producer of the game – Michel heads a varied team of 30 people. The team will unveil the first images of their new creation at E3 2002.
BG&E (working title) : Q&A, Michel Ancel
1. What were you setting out to do when you started this project?
We wanted to pack a whole universe onto a single CD – mountains, planets, towns. The idea was to make the player feel like an explorer, with a sense of absolute freedom.
2. BG&E is an original creation. What were your sources of inspiration?
First and foremost, everyday life – being able to get in a vehicle, move around freely, take photos of a place you like, and so on.
Then the Japanese designers were our role models: Myamoto’s efficiency and Hayao Myasaki’s free spirit.
3. You developed a new engine called Jade. Without going into too much technical detail, could you tell us what’s so revolutionary about it?
It’s an engine that’s very powerful and, above all, extremely versatile. Its main strength is its ergonomics, its tools. They allow you to be ambitious and they make it easy to try out a lot of ideas. Its second strength is its ability to adapt to any kind of gameplay – exploring on foot, in a vessel, a vehicle, in a crowd.
In addition to that versatility, the critical parts of the engines were optimized for each console, to exploit their resources 100%.
4. How did you put together the development team?
That’s a long, rich and eventful story! Our team’s made up of around 30 people from all walks of life. There are self-taught people, engineers, authors of comic strips – each and every one of them made an essential contribution to the production of the game.
5. Can you tell us about the background of the team leaders?
Jacques, who’s co-producer, has many years’ experience in cartoons. He worked as animation director on Rayman 2.
Frédéric, who runs the AI programming, comes out of the good old game school. He’s programmed many games on SNES, Genesis. He was also behind the Rayman series.
Bertrand,who’s in charge of level design, is self-taught in the arts and technical skills.
Christophe, our senior programmer, is the former lead programmer on Rayman 2 and he was behind the development of the Jade engine.
Patrick, animation director, has worked on major cartoon movie productions.
Paul, senior artist, is also self-taught. He created most of the decors and characters in our latest productions.
Alexandra is the character designer and comes out of the cartoon world. She’s created a lot of characters since the first Rayman games.
Christophe is in charge of creating the game’s original soundtrack. He used to compose the music and sound background for many short and feature-length movies before winning prizes, mainly at the Annecy animation festival.
The programming team is self-led. Its members have very different backgrounds, but they all have many years’ experience in video games.
6. If you had to sum up your project in one sentence… What would you say?
With this game we wanted to give the player “a promise of discovery”…