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Black sequel plans confirmed by developer

Black sequel plans confirmed by developer

Back in BLACK

Few remember BLACK, but those who do will tell you it was easily one of the most underrated first-person shooters of all time.

Despite offering an experience that genuinely felt years ahead of its time, EA and Criterion's 2006 FPS ultimately drifted into obscurity thanks franchises like Call Of Duty and Battlefield.

If you played BLACK, then you'll know that the PlayStation 2 and Xbox game miles beyond its competitors in terms of level design and immersive achingly tense set-pieces.

It also did the whole Black Ops thing years before Call Of Duty had the idea. BLACK follows rogue CIA agent Jack Kellar as he sets out on a series of 24-style missions that often (always) ended in a shower of hellfire and bullets. It was awesome.

All of which to say it's a damn shame we never got a sequel, and it's even more upsetting that a follow-up was, at one point, in the earliest stages of development.

A number of of BLACK's development team recently spoke to thatHITBOX about their work on the FPS, and finally shed some light on a sequel that had until now remained shrouded in secrecy.

One of the most interesting ideas the team were playing around with was a "network gameplay" system for co-op play. Multiplayer was a glaring omission from the original game.

"I think the subtitle was going to be 'Rendition'," Ben Minto, a technical sound designer on the original game explained. "The idea centred on American troops going overseas, kidnapping people and bringing them back across borders... I'm not sure that there was a fully-fledged story mapped out though."

Level designer Michael Othen added: "We had an amazing cover mechanic where you could position yourself against things and blind fire. It felt intuitive and organic. There were some cool enemy AI behaviour with the way they moved around the environment. You'd see them jumping over car bonnets and sliding into cover. It looked amazing as a player, because you had that dynamic flow of movement. These were just very early ingredients at the R&D stage."

"They wanted to continue to be influenced by movies. They employed a model builder to build miniatures of lifelike locations," revealed BLACK senior game designer Richard Bunn. "One of the aspects of pre-vis that stood out was they wanted to have more realistic scenarios. More of this assassin type gameplay, where you'd go into real locations that were a bit more alive, with other people, and take out a target. Essentially a bit like Hitman."

Othen said that the sequel eventually fell apart for two main reasons. Criterion was hard at work on Burnout Paradise, and there were already an overwhelming number of shooters for consumers to choose from.

"There were a lot of other shooters coming out, even within EA," Othen admitted. "Bad Company was experimenting with destructible levels. It might have been difficult for them to see where a 'BLACK 2' fitted in with other games in their publishing schedule. I was disappointed that it didn't get to see the light of day."

Featured Image Credit: EA

Topics: Call Of Duty, Battlefield