Black and White 2 Preview

PC Gamer spends a day tethered to Peter Molyneux with a Leash of Learning...

Due to the importance of games design to the economy of Guildford, the local chamber of commerce has declared 2004 "Guildford Game Year". Signs have been erected on all the main roads into the city saying stuff like "You are now entering Bullfrog country", blue plaques have gone up on key buildings around town with inscriptions such as "Mucky Foot toiled here, 1997 to 2003", and the imposing brick cathedral has been torn down to make way for a 400ft sculpture of a defecating ape.

Recently we met up with development legend Peter Molyneux and Black and White Studios honcho Jonty Barnes in the shadow of this squatting simian colossus, and - sheltering from a biting easterly wind behind a huge bronze turd - we discussed the game that many are calling "the sequel to Black and White".

Appropriately, considering the setting, creatures were one of the first topics raised: the creatures which you train and nurture from your godly perspective, and which awe-struck humans come to revere, love or fear. Five species have been announced thus far and, though these all appeared in the original game, giant graphical leaps mean there's no danger whatsoever of confusion. The most obvious differences between old and new are the lavish polygon counts and the luxurious pelts this time around. Ruffled by breezes, bedraggled by rain, singed by fire, clotted with blood from leaking wounds or ripped out in tufts by the claws of assailants, fur is now so realistically rendered that fleas from passing pets will throw themselves at your monitor while you play. Together with more expressive faces, more numerous and subtle animations and more sensitive alignment morphing, it seems certain that the BandW2 beasts will be amongst the most visually arresting, emotionally endearing characters ever committed to code.

View: The Fully Preview

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