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“Infamous 2” Goes Inside the Heart of a Hero

by  in Video Game Comment
“Infamous 2” Goes Inside the Heart of a Hero
Cole McGrath is back for more open sandbox action in “Infamous 2”

“Infamous 2” hit stores earlier this month for PlayStation 3, a solid follow-up to the original 2009 adventure developed by Sucker Punch Productions and published by Sony Computer Entertainment of America. The electrically charged Cole McGrath once again returns, along with his buddy Zeke, and this time they’re standing their ground in a new city, taking down gunmen while preparing for a showdown with the massive, unstoppable Beast.

CBR News sat down recently with game designer Darren Bridges to get the inside story on “Infamous 2.” Bridges spoke about the kind of work that went into the task of building a sequel to a hit game including story enhancements, new super powers and the expanded community features, which allow players to build their own levels and side missions.

CBR News: “Infamous” was a pretty huge game when it came to deciding your fate between good and evil. How does “Infamous 2” expand on this idea?

Darren Bridges: Karma was a pillar of “Infamous,” and we’ve worked hard on “Infamous 2” to enhance and improve it. The biggest change is the addition of Cole’s two new super-powered allies, Lucy Kuo and Nix. Kuo is a former NSA agent who will encourage Cole to be safe and careful with his powers; Nix will try to get Cole to act quickly and explosively, without regard to the consequences. Depending on who you choose to ally with, the missions you play and the powers you earn will be very different. There are also two very different endings to the story, which will reflect the karmic destiny Cole has earned through the choices he’s made.

What can you tell us about some of Cole’s new powers? We saw something regarding a huge swirling vortex.

Powers are my favorite part of any superhero game, and Cole can unlock over fifty new abilities throughout “Infamous 2.” The Ionic Vortex is an example of one of Cole’s new powers, which are the most cinematic and destructive powers in the game. It’s an electrically powered tornado that sweeps through the streets, throwing cars, ripping up mailboxes, leaning through verandas and obliterating any enemies who are unfortunate enough to be standing in its path. We’ve built a very destructible sandbox environment in New Marais, so the city will react to every grenade or rocket that Cole launches. Karma is tied into powers as well. In addition to all of Cole’s electrical abilities, he can also gain ice-based powers or oil and fire powers, depending on the choices players make.

What’s the backstory for “Infamous 2?” Has the Beast finally caught up with Cole or is something else going on?

The first game told the story of how Cole was changed from a normal, everyday bike messenger into an electricity wielding juggernaut. This all took place to prepare him to face a future enemy, the Beast, who will attempt to destroy humanity. At the beginning of “Infamous 2,” Cole is challenged and defeated by the Beast, and he and Zeke flee to New Marais to find a way to increase Cole’s power and fulfill his destiny before time runs out.

Does the game include any sort of multiplayer, or is it all about Cole’s single player journey? Was multiplayer ever in consideration?

With “Infamous,” we felt that we’d developed a strong single-player gameplay experience and a rich interactive sandbox environment. However, we knew it was limited in scope, since the game would eventually end. With “Infamous 2,” we’ve maintained our focus on a strong single-player campaign, but we’ve also added user generated content to extend the longevity of the game and provide an endless stream of new missions for players.

User generated content? Tell us more!

We started working on our user generated content system very early in the development of “Infamous 2,” and it’s tightly integrated into the normal gameplay experience. When you first start up the game and connect to the PlayStation Network, user generated missions are automatically downloaded to your PlayStation 3. These mission starts will show up right next to the story or side missions in the game. Players will start with the featured missions that are hand selected by Sucker Punch, but they can change the mission filters to fill their world with combat missions, mini-games, or any other preferences they have. We plan to continue supporting the creative community with more user-generated content drops, which will give users new tools to explore and allow them to make entirely new waves of missions for players.

Sounds very cool. What are the odds Cole could be making his way to the new PS Vita handheld at some point in the future?

Our focus right now is on supporting content creators for user generated content, but Cole will be making an appearance on the Vita in the upcoming “Street Fighter X Tekken” game! Cole is a PlayStation-exclusive character who will fight alongside the cast from “Street Fighter” and “Tekken.” (On a side note, he’ll appear in the PS3 version, too. That game comes out early next year.)

Finally, we see some huge comic book-related influence in Cole’s adventures, between the games and your previous digital comics. Have you guys ever considered spinning “Infamous” off into its own comic book series?

Yes! In fact, we’ve collaborated with DC Comics to publish a six-issue “Infamous” miniseries that details events that happened between the two games and fills in additional backstory for some of the characters. The individual comics are available now, and they will all be published together in a trade paperback format in the near future.

“Infamous 2” is in stores now exclusively on PlayStation 3.

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