The news has leaked onto the Internet: Populous is making a return with Populous 4: The Hand. Swedish gaming magazine SKUURK will feature an exclusive Populous cover story in its November issue revealing the details and screenshots of EA's next big AAA first person shooter.

Stripped of his powers, Jayce will rely on stealth and quick time event "sneak kills" to survive.A transcript of the cover story was translated and posted to the SA Games forum and we are excited to publish the first details of Populous 4: The Hand. The title is being developed by Bullfrog, a studio revived by EA and managed by a guy named Todd from EA corporate. The development team is made up of the remnants of several development studios that ran aground on the rocky shores of EA as well as 20-25 texture artists and modelers from Kyrgyzstan.

In the article, Todd describes Populous 4: The Hand as "a visceral experience" through which you learn more about "the back story of Populous" and experience firsthand what it's like "to be a god thrown out and fighting his way back [to the land of the gods]."

The Demiurge have left over 20 weapons and vehicles in the primordial world for Jayce to utilize in his return to HeavNPlayers will take on the role of Jayce Carter, a top agent in the celestial organization called The Hands. He is a demigod who uses his powers to help the supposedly-neutral Hands maintain the balance in the eternal struggle between the Monads and the Demiurge, two opposing forces of true gods.

According to a hands-on play by SKUURK writer Joorhan Vurskellytons, the game begins with a Hands raid on a Demiurge technolab where primitive villagers are being harvested to provide power that threatens to tip the balance in favor of the Demiurge. Jayce is betrayed by his commander, Grandfather, and framed for helping the Demiurge. For violating his celestial ops oath, Jayce is cast out of the floating city called HeavN and into the primordial world below.

"Giant bugs, dinosaurs and Monad bio-demons" will be among the foes Jayce has to face."It's like the idea of the haves and the have-nots," says Todd in the article. "Basically what would it be like if you suddenly had no electricity? We'd be cast out of the modern world. That's like Jayce, but at the same time he has to get revenge and unravel the mystery of why The Hands are working with the Monads to destroy the Demiurge."

Stripped of most of his godlike powers, Jayce must join with primitive allies and collect natural Ur-force to upgrade his hand with the ability to control his environment and use mutation arcs to change foes and friends. He will also be able to use stealth and an arsenal of powerful weapons created by the Demiurge as he ascends back to HeavN.

"Jayce and the human tribesmen are tired of the meddling by the gods and want freedom."

Jayce will have companions and be hunted by his former allies at the Hands who have "AI so good it's scary how they will take you down using real tactics."Confirmed to help Jayce in his battle for freedom are hand powers including the ability to summon lightning, tornados, fireballs and even raise and lower the elevation of terrain, Hand assault rifles, a sniping rifle, a double shotgun with "satisfying feel" and over ten drivable vehicles.

"We give the player the ability to make their own story in the primordial world," explains Todd in the interview. "You start out in like this swamp where there's just bugs, but you fight your way up evolution to dinosaurs and these ape people and then you encounter the primitive humans and you lead them into the light."

32-player multi and two-player co-op are intended to ship, although they may be cancelled or ship as a free DLC over a year after the game releasers. Todd was tight lipped about possible DLC, but mentioned to SKUURK that "Fans of zombies should get ready for some wild multiplayer content."

Populous 4: The Hand is scheduled for release in 4th Quarter of 2012.

– Zack "Geist Editor" Parsons (@sexyfacts4u)

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