Back at E3 2004, a select group of game journalists were shown a highly secretive title behind closed doors. What they saw blew them away. The game was Black, a new first-person shooter from Criterion Games, the British studio behind the Burnout racing series.
Criterion reps openly said they wanted to infuse a Burnout-type brand of carnage into every frame of Black, calling the game "gun porn." The result of their labor was evident at E3 2005, when Criterion creative director Alex Ward claimed it was the only game to come close to capturing the bullet-pocked chaos of the infamous "lobby scene" in The Matrix.
As Criterion and its corporate parent, Electronic Arts, let more and more footage of Black trickle out, word of mouth began to spread about the game's sheer destruction. However, the title's vague "2006" made many impatient gamers want to smash things; when exactly could they get their itchy trigger fingers on the game?
Late today, EA finally gave Black a definitive release date. The game will begin riddling PlayStation 2s and Xboxes full of bullet holes on February 28, 2006--a mere two and a half months away. Both versions of the game will retail for $49.99, but the game's rating is still pending. In addition to a new trailer, EA also released the official box art for the shooter (pictured), which has one of the most self-explanatory covers in memory.
Judging by the trailers, Black will be packed with gunfights. However, its plot has largely been shrouded in mystery. Today, though, EA gave the most information yet about the game's story in the form of a still-vague summary:
"Join the world's most brutal and enigmatic strike force. The BLACK tactical squad operates under the cloak of complete anonymity and deniability to protect the US from threats foreign and domestic. It answers to no one, allowing it to carry out brutal and overt operations around the globe. From manipulating politicians to controlling intelligence networks and militaries, BLACK operatives are trained at the highest level in psychological warfare, espionage, and lethal arts. Go deep into the world of clandestine warfare as you use any means necessary to get the job done."
For a firsthand account of Black's gameplay, check out GameSpot's hands-on preview.