Zynga Bets The Farm On ‘FarmVille 2’

New game, new 3D animation

It's a new farm, with new technology, by a still fairly new company that really needs a hit.

"FarmVille 2" looks a bit like the original farm that helped launch online gaming. But a closer look shows crops that sway in the breeze, and animals that not only move when you want them to, but that are 3D to begin with.

"FarmVille" didn't just help launch online gaming, of course: It also launched San Francisco's Zynga, now known both as the big kahuna in the online gaming world. All that, after being a company that has stumbled since taking itself public, with a smaller than expected stock price, and news reports of executives leaving the company. 

The tonic? A hit game, of course.  Zynga is hoping for more of the magic that helped make the original "Farm" a huge hit - the company tells me 3 million people still play that one every day.

"FarmVille 2" looks a lot more modern, as it should.  The technology artists have to work with is much better now, and 3D animals are cool to see. If you liked farming with friends, you'll probably like this version even more, because when people pass your screen as you play at work, at least the graphics will look cool now. 

When Zynga gave us a behind-the-scenes look at how the game was put together, we saw artists from companies like Electronic Arts and Disney now working on the next "Farm."  Artists like Tony Trujillo, crafting a 3D turkey.  And Art Director Daryl Anselmo, who oversaw the transformation of one of the employees' dogs, named Stucky, into an animated goat. "The team studied Stucky, and used his movements in the game," he says, before adding, "We've put everything into this game, and we're anxious to see the response we get."

Zynga has reason to be anxious. But it also has reason to be optimistic, with a bonafide hit getting a modern makeover.

Scott, who kind of wishes Stucky was his dog, is on Twitter:  @scottbudman

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