One of the most underrated shooters of all time is probably Black, which was released by Criterion (of Burnout fame) for the PlayStation 2 and the Xbox right as that generation was drawing to a close, and big releases for the Xbox 360 were drawing far more attention and media coverage.
But Black was an awesome game, and those who played it, loved it. They have also often wondered why Criterion never went back to it, and now, it seems, we have our answer. They did. Or at the very least, they intended to, and for a good while, they were doing everything to make good on that intent. It’s just that everything fell apart before anything concrete could materialize.
As it turns out, Black 2 would have been developed for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3- initial plans were for it to be a numbered sequel, and Criterion intended for the game to expand into a new franchise. However, those plans eventually fell through, and Criterion’s new idea was to reboot the franchise entirely, and start over with a new game just called Black, that would have nothing to do with the first game and would be a standalone narrative- you can see the concept logo for this game above- sort of like another EA studio, DICE, would end up doing with another cult hit first person game of its own, Mirror’s Edge, years later.
The new Black concept didn’t have much of a story attached to it, though Criterion was exploring the notion of making it a co-op shooter. They were also looking at getting a third party to make the game, but then, creative disagreements between EA and Criterion led to the entire project being scrapped, and Stuart Black, a senior designer on the first game, actually left the company over the matter.
EA still planned on going ahead with the game, and even mentioned it publicly in an interview in November 2006, but that was the last of it, and after that, the concept was canceled, and so was the game.
Nothing would ever come of a new Black, and Criterion would go on to make Burnout Paradise for the Xbox 360, PS3, and later PC, before scrapping work on that series entirely as well.
There’s actually a wealth more of information on the purported Black sequel/reboot over on Unseen64, including quotes, concept arts, purported trailer screen captures, and more, so if you are curious, be sure to head on over there and check it all out.
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