Pirates, Vikings and Knights II first official release was shared to the public in January 1st 2007. after a two-year development the PVK Team was successful at releasing a big package, where almost 100% of it's content was created for the mod, including models, textures and sound effects. Beta 1.0's success led to the development and eventual release of Beta 2.0, a year later.
After a year showing previews of models, concept art and textures, not much of the mod itself was revealed until January 2006, when the first pictures of maps were revealed to the public; in May 2006, when pvk.com was open to the public and revealed an animation of the Heavy Knight holding the two-handed sword. In October of the same year it was released a couple of screenshots showing the classes, fully playable, in Fort, one of the original maps of the mod.
On December 28th 2006, near the mod's official release, the first teaser trailer was released, showing the first gameplay footage.
Comparatively to Pirates, Vikings and Knights, the sequel has brought a handful of new features to give depth to it's gameplay. Players can now hold their melee weapons to prepare attacks, while in the prequel all melee weapons worked exactly like the crowbar in Half-Life. Blocking was now available to any melee weapon, and shields were improved with the introduction of shield bash and parrying; shield bash can stun any player who's too close to the Heavy Knight (or any upcoming class with said future) and parrying, also exclusive to shields, when done correctly, stuns the enemy and gives to the player the opportunity to fight back with the weapon/shield combo.
Special attacks were also the main draw in the sequel. With the special meter full after several successful swings, hits and/or bashes, the player is capable of releasing a powerful attack which can kill any player within the press of a button, or a temporary boost in speed and strenght, like the Berserker's rage mode. While all of these features are standard nowadays, they were new and refreshing ideas for a Half-Life 2 mod.
The original release of Pirates, Vikings and Knights II had only three playable classes: the Skirmisher, the Berserker and the Heavy Knight, for their respective teams. The Skirmisher looks and plays similarly to it's current version, although the keg had a bigger explosion radius. The Heavy Knight was notable for having the crossbow, a ranged weapon which would be removed from the class' arsenal with the arrival of the Archer, a year later. The Berserker, although it was to date the only class with no ranged weapons, it's great health bar and brute force were in their favor.
Five maps were included in the very first release of the mod: Island, Temple, Desertruin, Saints and Fort. The latter two were original maps which aren't based in any of the maps from the original Half-Life mod Pirates, Vikings and Knights. Aside from vast visual differences, as well layout improvements, most maps had different game modes than today in their current state; Island is the only map with the Booty game mode implemented since it's release, while other maps had different, as well obsolete game modes; Temple had Booty Tag, Fort and Saints had Deathmatch and Desertruin had Territory.
A notable unreleased map is Cloud, which was highly teased prior to the mod's release and as of 2015 it is unknown if the map will ever get released.
Earlier promotions anticipating the mod were released on their website, including wallpapers, downloadable soundtrack and a teaser trailer.
The PVKII Theme
Written by Bob Thomas, it was the very first soundtrack music to be released online. Despite being official soundtrack, only in the Beta 2.0 update that the music could finally be heard on the mod's main menu screen. Two additional tracks can be heard in Island's Hubb Jubb Café.
The video showed for the first time gameplay footage of the mod. Most of the action and first-person gamplay was set in Island, one of the mod's biggest draws, but it also shows footage of the remaining maps; the trailer uses a minimalisticaly edited version of Bob Thomas' PVKII Theme.
The final scene in the trailer shows a humorous slapstick moment where a Heavy Knight attacks a Skirmisher inside the Hubb Jubb Café; the Skirmisher exits it and throws a keg over the DJ's table, where the Heavy Knight was hidden to prepare a surprise attack.
Due to the trailer's age it's nearly impossible to find a high quality version of the trailer for websites like FileFront no longer provide video files with a screen resolution superior than 240p. However, the high-quality widescreen version of the trailer can be seen in ModDB, since the website didn't have any kind of limitations regarding screen resolution, as opposed to YouTube in the past.
Three wallpapers were released prior to the mod's debut: Berserker, showing a close-up of the eponymous character, Honor by Death, which utilizes an early screenshot taken from Fort, and Last Words, showing a Berserker holding his big axe seen in a low-angle shot, as if seen under the perspective of his victim. Last Words was later used for the mod's thumbnail in the Steam store page when it was released for the platform in 2010 until it got updated in 2015.
Anticipation for the mod was high, and as a result it was highly praised for the return of the classic Half-Life mod into an HD makeover, as well introducing new mechanics such as special attacks and updating the blocking system by adding the shield bash and the parrying feature.
- The Berserker-themed wallpaper file name is humorously called “Chest Hair”.
- Running this build in modern computers will result in several textures missing and even shader issues, such as the wireframe walls and ceilings in Fort.