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Spiritual descendant of the Populous games, Black & White is a 'god' game in which players take the role of a fledgling deity, called upon by people in need.

Entering the 3D world, players can manipulate objects, move people, and cast miracles. To assist the player, there also exists a creature with its own intelligence and personality. Both the players and their associated creature will evolve during the course of the game, becoming benevolent beings, cruel tyrants, or somewhere in between. As the player's characters develop, both their creature and the land itself will change, depending on their alignment.

Although the main purpose of the game is to work through the five lands of Eden and win the faith of as many of the tribes as possible, the game is somewhat open ended in its aspects of wandering, exploring, and developing the sidekick creature.

The creatures in the game feature their own artificial intelligence and will grow like a child, both physically and emotionally. They'll learn by example and put together their own moral codes based on what they witness and learn. Players can pet or scold their creature, nurture it, spoil it, or abuse it. In the end, Black & White is part strategy game, part role-playing game, part child rearing simulator, and part self-examination of the player's personality.


Black & White Windows the sheep's silver scroll
Black & White Windows Lakeside and Cow
Black & White Windows learning the power of leashes
Black & White Windows worshiping at the temple gives miracles power

Promo Images

Black & White Screenshot
Black & White Render
Black & White Concept Art
Black & White Concept Art


Alternate Titles

  • "黑与白" -- Simplified Chinese spelling
  • "Hei yu Bai" -- Simplified Chinese title
  • "B&W" -- Common abbreviation
  • "Black & White: Scopri chi sei veramente" -- Italian tag-lined title
  • "Black & White: Ontdek wie je werkelijk bent" -- Dutch tag-lined title
  • "Black & White: Odkryj, kim naprawdę jesteś" -- Polish tag-lined title
  • "Black & White: Find out who you really are" -- European tag-lined title
  • "Black & White: Entdecke dein wahres Ich" -- German tag-lined title
  • "Black and White" -- Informal title

Part of the Following Groups

User Reviews

One step closer to 3D reality...and God-Hood Windows Indra was here (20862)
Populous The Beginning meets a Virtual Pet (with some bad consequences) Windows Kic'N (4336)
Nice in theory, bad in practice Windows James Glover (36)
Lionhead...what happened with this one? Windows Aaron Jones (16)
You may like it with just the black Windows Matt Neuteboom (989)
An exercise in AI but really not enough of a game Windows Shazbut (167)
Its good, but not really THAT good Windows Jason Walker (1772)
A grand experiment with user interfaces and AI - but nothing more. Windows Dave Schenet (138)
One of the worst strategy game created lately Windows El-ad Amir (124)
Where's the fun? Windows Scott Monster (1009)

Critic Reviews

Game Revolution Windows Apr 01, 2001 A 100
GamePro (US) Windows Mar 28, 2001 5 out of 5 100
CyberJoy Windows Jul 16, 2001 5 out of 5 100
Svenska PC Gamer Windows Apr, 2001 96 out of 100 96
Mac Gamer Macintosh Feb 12, 2002 90 out of 100 90
Gamekult Windows Mar 30, 2001 9 out of 10 90 Windows Apr 12, 2001 87 out of 100 87
Games Finder Windows May 30, 2014 8.5 out of 10 85
GameStar (Germany) Windows Apr, 2001 85 out of 100 85
FiringSquad Windows Apr 21, 2001 78 out of 100 78


Topic # Posts Last Post
Obscene Hermit 11 Big John WV (27209)
Mar 18, 2009
HOW-TO: weather system 1 And Wan (1)
Mar 03, 2009
Naming your Villagers from your email program 2 JudgeDeadd (27475)
Mar 02, 2009
Black & White Multiplayer Hints, Tips & Advice 3 vedder (57223)
Mar 01, 2009
Creature Changer Crashing 1 And Wan (1)
Mar 01, 2009


1001 Video Games

Black & White appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.

Scrapped versions and plans

A version for Sony PlayStation was in development at one point by Bethesda, as well as for Sega Dreamcast probably by other developer - there were also plans to release this title for Game Boy Color and Game Boy Advance. Ports were eventually cancelled and plans never reached a development status.

April 1st

During the game on April 1st, Your monster will leave smiley face foot prints in the ground instead of their regular foot prints. To do this, change your computer's date to April 1st.


Originally the game was to include humanoid 'avatars', but the team eventually concluded that stroking and smacking around humans was a bit disturbing, hence the bipedal animal forms.


If you ever wondered about that creepy female voice saying "Death" every once in a while, it means that someone in your village just died. There's a patch that let's you eliminate that voice if it's too spooky for your taste.


One of the features in this game is "gesture recognition", allowing players to cast spells by drawing shapes on the landscape with the mouse and precluding the need for any icons on the screen. According to Molyneux, this is a direct reaction to the massive amount of icons present in his last game for Bullfrog, Dungeon Keeper. The icon interface for DK takes up a good third of the screen while playing.

In a beta version, signing Peter Molyneux's name as a "gesture" immediately gives you the most powerful spell in the game. Molyneux included this feature to give him an advantage in multiplayer. It is not known whether this made it into the final version.


  • When Peter Molyneux presented Black & White in the German TV-Show GIGA GAMES (NBC Europe), he activated the "show names"-function of the villagers. Then he scrolled over the land, gave his creature some advices and finally picked up a villager called "Jörg Langer", threw him onto a huge mountain, Jörg fell down and landed in a forest nearby. Peter Molyneux just said: "So you have to chop wood for the rest of your life!". At the time, Jörg Langer was the Chief Editor of the German gaming magazine GameStar which wrote an unenthusiastic review of the game ("just" 84%).
  • When you start the “boat-quest” to construct an ark (behind the wooden gates), you’ll hear some really annoying singing. Kill the middle on of the three singers and the others will go “Oh my God! You killed Kenneth!”, which is an obvious Southpark reference. After constructing the ark, you’ll see two people reenact the famous Titanic scene as well.

Sailor Song

The famous Sailor Song was, in the english version, sung by the Lionhead-people.


In 2001, Black & White won both the Gold- and Platinum-Awards from the German VUD (Verband der Unterhaltungssoftware Deutschland - Entertainment Software Association Germany) for selling more then 100,000 units (Gold) and more then 200,000 units (Platinum) in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. As the Gold-Award is not counted into the Platinum-Award, both awards total in between 300,000 and 700,000 units sold.


Saved games for Black and White are a little unusual. When you save a game it records the status of the island, but not the status of you or your creature. Instead, the status of you and your creature are part of your profile which can't be restored once it changes. So if you save your game at level 1 with a good god and a small creature, proceed to level 5 with your creature becoming huge and your god becoming evil along the way, and restore the save file you'll end up with an evil god and a huge creature on level 1.

Soccer pitch

Lionhead released a patch allowing you to create your own soccer pitch for your people to play in. When you have installed the patch, you can build the pitch with eight scaffolds from your workshop. And when your people have nothing to do, they come to the pitch and play for a while.


There was an interesting feature included with the game. If you had registered your game at, the weather in-game would match the weather in your area.


  • Gamespy
  • PC Gamer
    • June 2001 - Game of the Month
    • October 2001 - #18 in the "Top 50 Best Games of All Time" list
  • PC Powerplay (Germany)
    • Issue 03/2005 - #2 Biggest Disappointment
    • Issue 02/2006 - #2 Hype Disappointment
  • Verband der Unterhaltungssoftware Deutschland
    • 2001 - Platinum Award
    • 2001 - Gold Award
Information also contributed by Alan Chan, Andrew Hartnett, Felix Knoke, Indra was here, Kartanym, Lumpi, PCGamer77, Sciere, Scott Monster, Ummagumma, Xoleras and Zack Greene

Related Web Sites

  • Black & White (Official website)
  • Official Game Site (The Official Site for Black & White, which includes links to other fan web sites and the ability to register to play online.)
  • Official Webpage (Mac) (The official product page for the Mac version of Black & White on the publisher's website, which provides a profile of the game, a rundown of its features, an overview of the game's creatures, and purchasing information, among other such things.)
  • Official WinAmp Plug-In (A little before the release of the game, Lionhead made a visualization plug-in for WinAmp. It uses the game's graphic engine to show the bear dancing along with your music. The day passes to night and disco lights will also appear in the display.)
  • Planet Black & White (A fan page that is updated at least daily with new stuff, including 'bonus' creatures and other downloads.)
  • The Final Hours of Black & White (GameSpot covered the wrap-up production of Black & White in this lengthy article in their "Behind the Games" series.)
Contributed to by Kabushi (257509) and Ray Soderlund (3576)
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