Black & White 2
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|Black & White 2|
Robosoft Technologies (Mac OS X)
Feral Interactive (Mac OS X)
|Designer(s)||Peter Molyneux, Ron Millar|
|Release date(s)||7 October 2005|
|Genre(s)||Real-time strategy, God game|
Black & White 2 is a video game developed by Lionhead Studios and published by Electronic Arts. It blends real-time strategy, city building and god game elements. It was released on 7 October 2005. A Mac OS X port was released in January 2009. It is the sequel to 2001's Black & White, also the brainchild of Peter Molyneux. The lead designers are Peter Molyneux and Ron Millar, who previously worked at Blizzard Entertainment on titles such as StarCraft and Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness.
In the game, the player takes the role of a god called from heaven to help those who invoked them. However, the player is not an omnipotent style god, but rather a god who rises and falls with his believers and the player must help develop their nature according to their good or evil desires. The player also has a creature, their physical representation in the world, which takes the form of an anthropomorphic ape, lion, wolf, cow, or tiger. It can grow to an immense size, and adopt a good or evil persona separate of the player's. They develop their character as the player rewards or punishes their actions.
In addition to the god simulation and city-building elements introduced in the original Black & White, Black & White 2 also features elements of Real-Time Strategy gameplay, with the addition of controllable warfare and fighting units.
Black & White 2 also features a more conventional HUD (Heads-Up Display) system than its predecessor. Rather than the experimental HUD-less gameplay seen in the original game, Black & White 2 features HUD notifications that inform players of their creature's state of mind, the effects of their actions on their creature, the status of villages, etc.
The only way the player can interact with this world directly is through the player's hand, with which the player can pick up people, trees, food, and influence the ground. The player can also cast miracles. However, a certain amount of "Prayer Power" (in essence, "Mana") from the player's believers is needed to do this.
One of the game's most innovative features is that its user interface is almost button-less. The HUD is much simpler than other such "creator" games, such as The Sims and RollerCoaster Tycoon, and the player sees little else on the screen but the world, the player's hand, and toolbars which the player can make disappear. To do things such as cast miracles, the player moves the hand in such a way to make a symbol on the ground, which is called a gesture. This activates the miracle, and if the player has enough mana, it appears in the player's hand ready to cast.
Miracles have a variety of different uses. There are 6 ordinary miracles: fire, lightning, water, shield, heal, and meteor, (each of which can be thrown or poured), and 4 epic wonders, which are siren, hurricane, earthquake, and volcano.
The player's creature can do most things the player can do, such as cast miracles. They will grow slowly for a long time, and can become very large. Since the player trains him, his personality can become whatever the player makes of it. They may be an aid in supporting the player's kingdom or the ultimate soldier in the player's army.
There are three possible paths to take in this game: Good, Evil, or a more neutral combination of the two, although this decision is not discrete. The typical path of an evil god will be one of fear, torture, conquest and destruction using epic armies and building fearsome places, such as a pit of torture, while that of a good god will be one of benevolence, more positive city building, and lots of looking after the populace, particularly defending it from attack. Both of these require ore and wood, of which there is a limited amount (though some maps have bottomless mines, and water miracles can turn a single tree into a forest if used correctly), making players choose a strategy — but there is plenty of slack in each.
As in Black & White, players can create disciples to do the player's job in certain areas of the game while the player tends to other business. For example, if the player needs to lead an invasion, they can set villagers, and even their creature to farm for them while they lead an invasion.
The creature choices include the ape, lion, tiger, wolf, and cow. All of these are available to play, except for the tiger which is only included with the pre-ordered or collector's/special edition of the game. The tiger is also available in the Battle of the Gods expansion pack, as well as the new armour-plated turtle.
Each tribe, like the player, owns creatures at some stage. As the game progresses, the enemies' creatures increase in strength, and their size correlates with that of your creature. The Norse tribe own a wolf, the Japanese a tiger and the Aztecs a gorilla. In the expansion, Battle of the Gods, the gorilla is pulled from its resting place, albeit with decomposing flesh.[clarification needed]
The creature is usually referred to as "he" by fans and the game itself. This may indicate that the creature is a male, despite the presence of a cow with udders, or may be chosen to prevent needing a male/female version of voice recordings referring to the creature. The Lion grows a mane. There was an idea to sculpt the gorilla with a sagittal crest and a Silverback, as seen in the original Black & White. The reason for dropping the idea is unknown.
Unlike Black & White, in which the creature had to be taught miracles through repetition, this sequel allows the player to 'buy' Creature Miracles with 'Tribute' currency. Along with this, Black & White 2 allows the player to revisit everything they've taught their creature in order to alter and fine-tune it at any time, while the original Black & White simulated a more realistic teaching by only allowing changes to be made as the creature repeated an action.
The player is called to the world from a "pure prayer" and thus comes upon a scene of a Greek city being devastated by a huge Aztec army. After the player saves a certain number of people, their people are transported to a new land with a handful of refugee worshippers, the player must re-establish a power base from which to eventually defeat the Aztec empire. To do so, the player must conquer the Norse, the Japanese and the Aztecs, either by peace or war.
Throughout the game there is a theme of "The prophecy" which states that a tribe will be destroyed by the mightiest power in the world but will receive a god who will lead them to glory and dominance of the world.
Critical reactions were positive with an average critic score of 76% at GameRankings.
Expansion packs 
The only expansion set released to date is Black & White 2: Battle of the Gods, released on 28 April 2006. It featured a brand new creature (the armour plated turtle) and the tiger from the BAW2 Special Edition, three new lands, four new miracles, and an all-new enemy, a god born of death, supposedly hinted to at the end of Black and White 2.
The premise involves the player's return to Eden, where they discover that the Aztecs have raised their own evil deity, which must be confronted head-on for control of the land. The player has the freedom to choose how they will challenge this new god, either by countering the evil deity’s actions with good deeds, or attempting to defeat him with extreme evil. The players will have to watch out for two new enemy armies and the new enemy creature. Six new challenges and other new content are also available for players to explore.
Third-Party Modifications 
Official modding tools that were released allowed players to created additions to the game content, for example, player engineered campaigns and maps (using the Lionhead Scripting Language) and the addition of creatures thought to be unobtainable via in-game means (Zombie Ape and Turtle).
- Official Black & White 2 site
- Planet Black & White Official GameSpy fansite
- Black & White 2 at Feral Interactive
- Black & White 2 at GameSpot
- Official Black & White 2: Battle of the Gods site at the Wayback Machine (archived April 3, 2010)