Black 2 [Xbox 360, PS3 – Cancelled]

Black 2 [Xbox 360, PS3 – Cancelled]

Black 2 [Xbox 360, PS3 – Cancelled]

Black 2 is the cancelled sequel to Criterion Games‘ 2006 shooter, Black, which was being worked on by the same developer for publisher and IP holder, Electronic Arts. It was planned to be a co-op shooter for the Xbox 360 and PS3 with a release in late 2007/early 2008.

Black 2 Logo

Concept art for Black 2’s logo.

The Original Idea For Black 2

Despite recurring rumours of Black 2 rumbling for several years after the release of the original game, its development was, in actuality, rather short-lived and it never was able to leave pre-production. As it turns out, EA and Criterion had plans to expand Black into a franchise for some time before the first game was even released. Preliminary work on the sequel commenced as early as April 2005, a whole 10 months before Black was finished.

Artists were contracted externally to produce conceptual documents for the game, including drawings of the protagonist, Jack Kellar. According to one of the artists who spent a short period of time on the project, there was some debate over the direction the follow-up would take. One possible path, for example, would have continued the story of the first game, as Kellar continues his hunt for Lennox at the behest of the US government.

Jack Kellar concept art:

A Reboot of The IP?

As we have come to understand, Criterion’s time drafting concepts with a third party art studio ended around October 2005. It was then put on the back-burner until the first Black was completed. Apparently, the team was also considering another, alternative direction for the sequel that would have been completely separate and self-contained from the original in terms of narrative. This is where the idea of making it as a “co-op shooter” game originated.

To our knowledge, the specifics of the story behind these characters was not figured out, but they would have been the basis of this other new version of Black, had it been made.

Creative Differences

According to one of our sources, formerly of Criterion, pre-production on Black 2 after the release of the original initially lasted several months before grinding to a halt around May 2006. The source claims that there was a disagreement between key members of Criterion and EA over how to proceed with the game and the direction it should take. Allegedly, Stuart Black, a senior designer on the first game, actually left the company over the matter.

“As I recall, Stuart Black left over a disagreement with the direction it should take” “…he wanted it be more closely tied to Black and they couldn’t reach an agreement over it”

Despite this, it appears that plans to produce another Black game remained in the pipeline for some time after this. Following Stuart Black’s departure, work on the project steadily continued and it began adopt the latter route of a co-op shooter, abandoning the story elements of the first game.

The cast of Black 2.

The cast of Black 2.

It was in November 2006 that EA somewhat quietly announced that it was officially happening. During their quarterly review on November 2, chief financial officer Warren Jenson was quoted as saying:

There’s a new SimCity game in the pipeline and the next-generation version of Black”

Jenson’s wording (“next-generation version”) is perhaps worthy of note, as it seems to support our source’s suggestions that Black 2 would have been something of a reboot with little ties to the first game other than on a gameplay level; as opposed to a direct sequel. Regardless, it appears that it was shortly after this fiscal statement when the title fell apart. It has never again been mentioned publicly again by EA staff and was absent from all of their future financial reports. Had development moved forward successfully, it would have been released during their 2007 fiscal year, which ended March 31, 2008.

The finite details of what exactly went wrong with the project have yet to be divulged by Criterion, but our sources indicate that it was EA’s decision to terminate the project over a “lack of direction“. It never advanced past pre-production, although a decent amount of material was created for it, including a “concept trailer”.

Black Logo Variant

Another logo concept for the reboot.

The Mysterious Target X

Years later, Black 2’s concept trailer was discussed by Alex Ward, formerly Criterion’s creative director, on August 5, 2013 via Twitter. Ward unfortunately declined to share the video, but thanks to the pleas of Geoff Keighley, he released two screenshots of the trailer. He has since deleted these tweets, but we were able to preserve the images before hand.

According to the developer, the video was titled “Target X“. When asked why he didn’t wish to upload it to the public, he explained “by today’s standards, it probably wouldn’t hold up if truth be told. Times have sure changed”.

We spoke to one former Criterion employee who contributed to the Target X trailer, who elaborated on it for us:

“We were experimenting with how lighting could come into play during gameplay. The trailer showed how different effects such as that could make combat more interesting and dynamic…”

Apparently, this concept belongs to an earlier stage of Black 2’s pre-production period and is more reflective of Criterion’s original vision for the game, as opposed to what it ultimately became.

Additional concept logo variants:

What do you think about this unseen game? Give your vote!

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Liam Robertson

26 thoughts on “Black 2 [Xbox 360, PS3 – Cancelled]

  1. Ross Sillifant

    Stuart Black gave an ‘exclusive’ interview to OPM#43-April 2010 (headlined Black 2 whacked!’ and talked of how even if he wanted to make Black 2 the way he wanted to, he could’nt as key memembers of the original team behind Black had moved on and even IF the team could be reunited, he was’nt interested in making ‘that game again’.

    He said he would of done a sequel ‘back then, but the world had moved on’.

    EA were also asked about the possibility of a sequel and a spokesperson said whilst they’d been flattered with the number of requests for a sequel, ever since Black launched, there were no plans in the foreseeable future for a sequel and team very focused on NFS’.

    1. Dustin Evans

      EA has always been and always will be pure garbage. This is the exact reason. They want full control over the game, and they aren’t even the ones playing it! It would have made them tons of money had they done the direction the devs wanted to. This is why I’d never go big-name publisher if I made a game. It’s still gonna hit the shelves… And having “EA” on my cover after all the shit they’ve pulled is actually a bad thing. I do not buy games published by EA because I will not support the shit they pull/ed. Black was an amazing game and should have carried on. Way to go, EA. You’re like the kid that breaks shit at the playground because nobody willlet him have his way. “I don’t get my way, nobody gets to use this stuff!” Losers.


        Hey buddy, well this post is old but I must agree with you that EA has went to shit and never care about Developer and Consumer anymore as it used to be back in the old day. I will never forget that EA ruined Criterion and their good game engine, Renderware Engine, as well. I also lost the respect towards EA when they ruined a numerous great game franchise that made by awesome and pure talented developer company such as Phenomic Games, Westwood Studio, Bullfrog, Criterion, DreamWorks, BioWare, and Pandemic

  2. chiff

    Why the hell would they disagree about the story? It’s so bloody obvious that the entire reason anyone would even want BLACK 2 is because BLACK ends on a cliffhanger!


        We know that EA has become evil game publisher nowadays. I lost my respect that they ruined Criterion Games that made them to cancelled the Black sequel as well.

      2. Billy

        No apart from being a major front&centre position of gaming stores. You know before WIFi, you had the pleasure of owning a tangible Replica of the Original programmers Development
        This product would remain in your physical domain for you to do
        As you so desire. My metal cased limited edition still remains now a Vintage PS2 edition to which I gladly forked over my own hard earned cash

  3. Sonny

    It is now 2016 since black come out I’ve played that game ever since then. It would be nice to see Black 2

  4. Mohamed

    We would really want to have the black part 2 game on ps3 or ps4 console. The game play was just amazing. The graphics are fabulous

    1. Jon Garrigus

      I loved that game i would play it over and over and have compitions with my buddys on it this game by far was the best shooter even till this day wish it would come back

    1. francois vortmann

      do you know if theres anyway we could vote and push the company to make another game me i say people should start a voting group amd beg the makers to make the sequel continue black is the best shooter game ever

  5. Rick

    Of all my PS2, 3 & 4 games Black is still my favorite. I wish Stuart Black had the compliment of a reboot sim city spin off with the option of returning to the original story line. This way we’d have had 3 games instead of 2. Please work it out.


      Also Black was awesome on OG Xbox version too. I prefer this game on OG Xbox back in the day because the lightings ooks better on Xbox and no loading time during a game as well when we reached a checkpoint level like on PS2 version. Yeah, it’s one of the best FPS game I ever played on my Xbox beside Halo 1-2. I wished they could make a sequel :-(

  6. francois vortmann

    why didnt they just made a second part and continue the sequel black was the best and still is first persone shooter i wonder if theres anyplace we could vote and beg the company to make another one anyone know where we could vote and coment on the games company please let me.know thank you

  7. Kaleb

    Someone should buy over all the rights to this would be franchise and give fps gamers around the world the truly epic gaming experience we’ve been needing lately…..

  8. Deesnuts

    Fuck ea and their profits over people business model 2018 and people are still wanting black 2 just not with ea on the cover

  9. Bupe

    Is there any way of reaching Stuart Black or any of the executives at Criterion Games who developed Black coz we need Black 2 to follow the original Black & we really need to kill William Lennox for real this time

  10. Topper

    I really hope someone takes on Black 2 and does the first game justice. I’d love Black 2 to be like Far cry 2 on steroids! Kellar hunting down Lennox in an open world with just a map, mobile phone and all those weapons to shred the environment around. Set in Ingushetia and Chechnya like the first game.

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