Lionhead studios has dipped into the virtual postbag to answer a few more questions about the forthcoming sequel to PC God-sim Black & White.
It's been confirmed that four creatures will be available - Cow, Wolf, Lion and Ape - while three more unnanounced characters will pop up later in the storyline. Creatures start off at around four times the height of your average villager but can more than triple in size, provided they get enough rest and square meals. "And they're much, much, much more advanced," says Lionhead.
Black & White 2 will feature two different types of miracles. Standard ones are quick to charge and can be used in two different ways - Throw or Pour. So you can launch a Water miracle to either irrigate your crops or drown your enemies, for example. The other standard miracles are Fire, Heal, Lightning, Shield and Meteor.
The way you use miracles can affect your character's alignment - so use fire to block your opponents' path and you won't necessarily be cast as evil, but attack them with blasts of searing heat until their skin goes cripsy and their brains go pop and you just might.
Epic miracles use more mana than the Standard variety and, naturally, have a much more devastating effect. However, it's not necessarily permanent - you might create a huge crack in the land with the Earthquake miracle, say, but over time the rift will heal. The length of time this takes will depend on various factors and is something Lionhead is still working on. Contrary to rumour, villagers won't be able to construct bridges to cross rifts.
Nor will they be able to dig holes and trenches, but the game will introduce a new mechanic known as "physting". This is done by quickly moving the mouse from side to side, which scratches the surface of the ground. It allows you to affect everything from land and water to rocks and trees - by, for example, pushing rocks down a slope to crush enemy troops - and you can even physt villagers and creatures.
There's still no release date, though. Lionhead just says it's aiming to finish the game "as soon as possible." Which is better than "when we get round to it", we suppose.