Blood Bowl II Wants To Show You Its Grass

By Alec Meer on November 21st, 2013 at 3:00 pm.

Its crowds and players and logo-adorned ball too, but mostly grass. Thick, lustrous, individually-bladed grass, with shadows and everything. It’s like kicking a ball – and some heads – in a Crysis game. Whether these are screenshots or bullshots remains to be seen, but they’ve done the intended job of making me goo “ooh! That looks lovely, in a spiky-shouldered, maiming-heavy sort of way!”

This is the first time we’ve posted about Cyanide’s sequel to RPS Forum-fave Blood Bowl since its announcement in February, but in fairness little else has been revealed in that time.

Let’s start off with the newest screens, which show off an Orc-themed stadium. The first is above, and the second is below. Click to embiggen, as these tiddlers don’t do much for the impressive scale:

There’s also these two shots we missed last month, which offer less sense of scale but much more (too much, perhaps) depth of field:


Plus, this see, gee, aye trailer from over the Summer, revealing there will be WACKY COMMENTARY:

Promised enhancements for BB2 including a new graphics engine, animations, campaign and league modes and, most needed of all, a new interface they call ‘Cabalvision.’ Which sounds a lot like paranoid internet commentators who regularly accuse games journalists of corruption and illicit collusion suffer from.

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47 Comments »

  1. Sp4rkR4t says:

    Going to hold off on this one to see if they announce it’s sequel a week after this one hits.

    • PoLLeNSKi says:

      F2P with Orcs and Humans – paid DLC for other races and star players? Discuss.

      • jon_hill987 says:

        Honestly would not mind that as long as you could play /against/ races you don’t own. I would buy Wood Elves and Halflings, maybe a few others and be set. Suspect most people would do the same with their faves.

        • Discopanda says:

          It wouldn’t make sense to punish the whales (the ones who spend tons of money on free to play games) by walling them off from other players.

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            Maka Albarn says:

            Weeeeeeell, that depends on your opinion of whether having a paywall makes communities nicer… Which I believe it does in some cases. However, in the case of Blood Bowl, I do agree that a paywall would be silly.
            As to the original question of pros and cons of f2p Orc/Human with paid other teams, it’s certainly an idea which fits with the financial model of the real deal, for better or worse. As long as the teams weren’t ridiculously overpriced I probably wouldn’t think ill of that pricing scheme. But they’d have to plan ahead and have a solid matchmaking system ready to go once the game hits, or else the initial wave of f2p players won’t get hooked because they’ll be crushed by the core audience.

  2. abelthorne says:

    There’s also a photo of gameplay on Cédric Lagarrigue’s Twitter account (head of Focus, messages are in french).
    https://twitter.com/Cedriclag/status/403462488320389120/photo/1

  3. King_Rocket says:

    I adored the table top version and I have mostly loved the PC version of BB, but for the love of Nuffle they need to slow down on the different releases/editions. I can’t remember the name nor do I think I even played whatever the last update to the franchise was even though I paid for it.

  4. KDR_11k says:

    I’m guessing they make this “2″ so they can go in with fewer teams and release the missing ones as paid expansions again. And I doubt that this time they’re managing to make it reasonably bug-free.

    • DuneTiger says:

      My issue was that they didn’t even do expansions. They just full-out released new versions of the game with discounts if you had the previous release.

      • SkittleDiddler says:

        With BB2, maybe Cyanide are going to go the Paradox/THQ route and start charging $9.99 for new teams? Or microtransactions for everything from color editors to background music to star players?

        Regardless of how they do it, it’s still going to feel like a damn ripoff.

      • UmmonTL says:

        That they released new versions was actually a good thing because that actually allowed them to change the game from the buggy mess at the start to something half-decent. Still they were a bit on the expensive side so I never got a new version unless it was through a sale.

  5. DuneTiger says:

    It looks great, but what’s going to set it apart from the several editions of the first game? They pretty much got the board game nailed down. Any other modes they add on top of it are unlikely to be worth playing (I could be wrong, of course), but really, how many people play the real-time mode?

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      Skeletor68 says:

      They’re not wasting effort on real-time again are they?

    • stupid_mcgee says:

      Oh, Blitz mode? I’ve owned the game for about 3 years now and have never even played the mode. It’s a nice touch, I suppose, but Blood Bowl’s myopic gameplay doesn’t really lend itself very well to live-action. It’s best left as a purely turn-based affair, IMO.

      • PoLLeNSKi says:

        blitz =/= realtime

        Blitz is the addition of some extra random factors and slight variations from the CRP ruleset – wizards are used twice per game / potions and doping tests / player training are some of the key changes. For me these changes made the single player mode a bit more interesting as it enabled greater variety in what you’d spend your pregame cash on.

        Real time was a horrible mess as already mentioned though.

        What they really needed was the original special play cards etc from the original GW rules.

    • Deadly Sinner says:

      Grafficks

    • UmmonTL says:

      That “Cabalvision” UI is the only thing the game really really needs to be good. A decent tutorial would be another big step. With these two the game would finally be somewhat accessible for newer players. Finally some things are needed for the online mode as well such as the option to rejoin a game, better league management, etc.
      The Problems in BB1 UI that I can think of:
      * The rulebook is hidden in your game-folders and never mentioned ingame.
      * The dicelog is hidden by default, you have to switch over from chat and it’s almost useless unless you check immediately after a roll has been made because it’s backlog so tiny and the scrolling is a pain. Unless you know the rules you also have no idea what you are looking at and even then the way the rolls and modifiers are shown is very inconsistent.
      * The little indicator on the screen telling you how hard an action (dodge/pass/etc.) is is often wrong because it doesn’t account for most modifiers.
      * Action buttons such as passing, throwing a bomb, leap, etc. are not obvious and neither is how you use them. To know you can punt the ball for example you need to know the rules and/or be told how to do it. The blitz action button is hidden among the unclickable info buttons about how many cheerleaders or bribes you have and you need to know that you can use it to block first and then move a player.
      * Setting skills to ask (game asks you if you want to use them) is in the option but never mentioned and unless you know the rules or someone tells you, you don’t know why you would set them.

      Basically the UI is a mess with buttons and other elements all over the place and the only reason people are fine with it is because a) they don’t even know what about some things or b) they got used to it. There are also still some obscure rules that don’t work correctly, Break Tackle being used on the first dodge even if you roll a 6 for example.

  6. SanguineAngel says:

    hrm, I really question whether a sequel is at all necessary. I found their update practices with the original tedious but just about bearable because it was a great game and they are perky little company.

    Ultimately, though, I did not like the way it was implemented and although existing customers got a discount on each new iteration it was certainly more frustrating and felt more exploitative each time.

    Now complete, the game could easily survive the test of time and we can purchase the final product with confidence but oh wait they want more.

    They feel like the boy who cried wolf now

    • stupid_mcgee says:

      I’m not certain, but IIRC there was some sort of issue with the way they built the game on the Gamebryo engine that prevented them from doing team-based DLC. I know that the cross-compatibility problem was due to the way in which the original BB was coded, and they changed that with the later editions, the Legendary and Chaos Editions (though not with the earlier Dark Elves edition).

      Personally, I would love to see the extra teams released as DLC instead of being tied to new editions, and hopefully that will happen moving forward. I would also like to know if this is a whole new engine or just an overhaul of their previous Gamebryo engine’s iteration.

      I wish someone would arrange an interview to find out some of the answers to these questions… nudge, nudge, wink, wink, say no more…

    • MisterFurious says:

      The game isn’t even complete. They’re still missing two teams and several Star Players.

  7. President Weasel says:

    They never quite got the bugs out of their current version, and never implemented all the star players from the roster. Also pretty much everyone I know turned the “wacky commentary” off in the current edition since there was only a small pool of wacky phrases and it soon got repetitive.
    I’m worried they’ve concentrated on making it look fancy instead of making more robust netcode, getting the game to work per the rulebook and squashing bugs.

  8. Premium User Badge

    Shar_ds says:

    No problem with them releasing a sequel, as long as they fix the horror show of a UI and the lack of online matchmaking/league options (and add in the rest of the teams and star players).

    My suspicion is that this will go very micro-transactiony…

    • Slazia says:

      The UI was horrible. It’s basically the reason I couldn’t get into the game at all. Every time you want to move or tackle, you are forced to sit through animations that take forever to complete. Stick those in a sub window and allow the player to finish his turn in 30 seconds instead of 3 minutes! Waiting for the other player to take his turn was also extremely boring.

  9. jonahcutter says:

    While I liked BB, I mostly played it solo. No reason to buy another if they don’t develop an at least decent AI.

    • President Weasel says:

      You can find pretty decent AI by playing online against humans, in leagues such as the RPS Divisions of Death (check the forum link, top right, we don’t bite). The single player game is easy mode because the AI is a blithering idiot. Humans are cunning and brutal (like the Ork gods Gork and Mork).

      • stupid_mcgee says:

        It’s really hard to beat playing against an actual person. While good AI is certainly nice, it’s also one of those things that is easier said than done. Programming good AI is a huge pain in the ass and it’s very easy to mess things up. Programming robust and complex AI is a nightmare and can take years and years to do correctly. Plus, Cyanide is a small company. Not trying to make excuses and not to put down Cyanide Studios, but it’s highly unlikely that you’re going to see Deep Blue-level of AI in the new Blood Bowl.

        edit- Derp. Meant to reply to jonahcutter. :p

        • Matzerath says:

          The main problem was that the AI was not noticeably tweaked or improved over Blood Bowl’s many previous iterations. The community improved it as much as they could, but the other problem was that most of the parameters were locked. If they can’t make decent AI for their own game, they should at least allow the community to do so.

          • jonahcutter says:

            Agree.

            I doubt anyone is demanding some sort of monster chess computer AI here. But there really didn’t appear to be any effort to improve it whatsoever. And it really is abysmal. When AI players get the ball and run back to their own goal like and simply refuse to attempt to advance, that’s beyond simply being a bad AI. That’s broken.

            Add onto that that the bottom-of-the-barrel AI was locked away so even the community couldn’t do the work for free, and I’ve no real reason to buy yet another.

          • PoLLeNSKi says:

            IIRC the AI is actually somewhat harder on easier difficulties… something along the lines of the easier AI takes more risks and so can pull off some ridiculously unlikely plays whilst the hard AI refuses to do anything with more than a 1% chance of failure…

          • UmmonTL says:

            I found that the medium AI is the “hardest” but yeah, not much use except to test your starting team setup and try to get a feel for their early development.
            I think the only AI they could mod was for realtime? Or did they ever get into the data enough to find the turn-based AI and tweak it? Anyway, making a decent AI for a turn based game isn’t all that hard but certainly will take up some development time that could probably be used better. So allowing for custom AI is the best idea IMO.

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    wyrm4701 says:

    I adore Blood Bowl, but there’s no way Cyanide’s getting any more of my money. This is a company that released the same game three times and never fixed a bug that prevented placing all the players on the pitch.

  11. Nick says:

    Obligatory Necromunda post.

    • Loyal_Viggo says:

      Obligatory Battlefleet Gothic post.

      • SanguineAngel says:

        second obligatory Necromunda post. I borrowed this one from an XCOM post

        • BooleanBob says:

          Nothing obliged me to write this Necromunda post other than a debt to the notion of all that is right and good in the universe.

  12. AngusPrune says:

    Bah. What is this grass? Real Blood Bowl veterans know than Blood Bowl is only played on Astrogranite(TM).

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    Gap Gen says:

    Every other game: your grass is ass.

  14. suat88 says:

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  15. Reapy says:

    Cyanide’s motto: “Great Models, Crappy engine!”

  16. Artist says:

    “ICECREAM!”

  17. Girfuy says:

    When this was first announced I had hoped that the ’2′ in the title signified that it would be a new rule-set to coincide with a new version of the boardgame.

    As there’s nothing on the horizon from GW, I don’t see the point in this one if the rules are the same. I guess a bug-free, intuitive interface would be worth getting eventually in a Steam Sale but won’t be paying full whack.

  18. Quiffle says:

    I’m keeping a wary, but hopeful eye on this. The first Bloodbowl – and its countless iterations after – were a lot of fun, but I found the UI and presentation to be little more than just…acceptable. A little by the books, as it were. It feels amazingly tame for a game about bashing in heads and gangstomping halflings on the pitch.

    If the game offers a friendlier matchmaking UI, a little more crunch and punch, support for the newer ruleset, and not entirely screw us with DLC or expansions, I don’t see how this couldn’t be a hit outside the world of grognard tabletop gamers. Then again this is a GW property we are speaking of – I imagine they’ll continue to stick to their guns of doing everything half-assed, and for maximum profit.

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  20. Alfy says:

    Wait, let me get this straight… Blood Bowl, which is set in a medieval fantasy universe, is getting the full 3D HD treatment, while Speedball, which is set in a science fiction universe, is being remade in full Amiga pixel glory? Irony, anyone?