FarmVille 2 will launch today on Facebook and adds a number of new wrinkles to the tried-and-true social game's formula.
Here's what's new in FarmVille 2:
- 3D Camera - Thanks to the power of DirectX 11, Farmville 2 is in 3D. It's still an isometric game, and you can't manipulate the camera, but it looks much, much better than its predecessor.
- The Farm's An Ecosystem - Things on your farm are all connected with a new level of complexity -- you can mill crops into feed, chop down trees to build new buildings, and the like.
- Water - Your farm will now require water to thrive, and water is easily the most complicated new strategic element in the game. You'll only have a finite amount of water for your farm (unless, of course, you decide to pay for more), and so you'll have to be smart about how you dole it out.
- The village - The village isn't operational yet, but the plan is that you'll eventually be able to take the produce from your farm to a centralized location.
- Friendly Visits - Your friends can still help your farm in FarmVille 2; in fact, they'll be the most powerful asset you've got. Your friends' avatars will come visit your farm and help out.
- Right-Clicking - Thanks to DirectX 11, there will be right-clicking in FarmVille 2. Almost like a real PC game!
- No energy - FarmVille 2 will eschew the increasingly unpopular energy-based gameplay; resources will still run out (and you can still pay for more if they do), but you'll always be able to do things on your farm.
- Crafting - FarmVille 2 has a crafting mechanic similar to FrontierVille, in that you can use the things you grow on your farm as ingredients in other things you want to craft, which you can then sell in town or use for other purposes.
- Roadside Stand - The road running to your farm doesn't just bring your friends, it lets you set up a roadside stand and sell your crops. It's not functionally any different than selling crops in the first game, but it is actually neater looking and kinda fun.
- Not Much Love For FarmVille players - The game won't let you carry any of your junk over from the first FarmVille, though Zynga VP of games Tim LeTourneau said that they "talk about" founders gifts like in-game bonuses for people who have bought a lot of things in FarmVille.
- FarmVille won't go away - Zynga has no plans to stop supporting or releasing content for the first FarmVille. "We'll absolutely continue to create content and new game experiences for FarmVille for the foreseeable future," said LeTourneau. "There'd be no reason not to."
The game will be out on Facebook sometime today, so you'll be able to get a good look at what's new when you play it for yourself.
I had a lengthy and edifying conversation with LeTourneau and director of design Wright Bagwell about how the game reflects Zynga's core design ideologies. I was and remain sceptical about a lot of their underlying philosophies, but, er, I also think FarmVille 2 looks shiny and I want to see what it's all about. Sue me!
Anyway, look for my interview later today on Kotaku.
Here are some farm-tastic images for you: