Zynga launched the second title in its Farmville franchise yesterday, with hopes that ‘gamers’ that once played the original, would find themselves drawn back to the virtual farm once again by the new features and graphical improvements.
Interestingly, Zynga is adamant that this isn’t designed as a replacement for the original, suggesting that this game has a somewhat different feel. It’s certainly more polished and contemporary looking, with vastly improved visuals and a much more lifelike looking world – if your idea of a world is a cutesy, social gaming one.
There’s also a little more focus on reality. As Mike McCarthy, Farmville 2′s creative director put it (via NBC): “We want you to feel that everything is rooted and you can really touch it,” McCarthy explained. “Nothing falls from the sky and nothing appears magically. Everything is very physical.”
Other additions include the need for water, a right click function thanks to Flash 11, crafting is now possible and the relatively unpopular energy mechanic has been removed; though you’ll still need resources to perform the majority of functions.
The whole thing looks much more professionally done. More in line with offerings from companies like Youda or BigFish than the first iteration, which was certainly the poster child for social gaming for quite a while. The fact that Farmville still has several million regular users shows it was a winner, even if its certainly trailed off since its peak of over 10 million soon after launch.
Still, Zynga sequels don’t have a strong history. Mafia Wars was one of the company’s big hits in the early days, but the sequel fared far worse, with much less user interest.
KitGuru Says: That could be the way this one goes too. By adding complexity, more reality and an overall more game like look to it, Zynga could find that the true ‘casual gamers’ that don’t want to feel like they’re playing a game could be put off.