Nowadays you’d rarely expect games that follow the ‘accidentally created superhero who has a burden on himself’ formula to be a success. But one certain title pulled it off in a fashion that, despite being too recognizable, earned them loads of success and fame.
That’s right; I’m talking about none other than the infamous Infamous, if you don’t mind the pun. Who would’ve imagined that a game based on a guy getting accidental electrical powers would earn so much fame that it has.
The credit, of course, goes to none other than Sucker Punch Productions, the developers of the game, itself. They did indeed do a great job with how a player chose to play his role as Cole McGrath, a guy affected by the radiation of an explosion, which sort of destroyed almost everything else in Empire City.
Radiation may not be originality’s best friend, but it worked – not because of what it was, but simply because it made sense throughout the rest of the game, and unlike the conventional super heroes with similar save-the-city egos, you as Cole McGrath get to choose how you morally behave.
Critics and gamers loved the game (and rightfully so) despite its questionable originality. But the real deal, which shows that Sucker Punch is really confident in what its doing, is the upcoming Infamous 2. Of particular interest, for us and most people, is how the ‘play as good or as bad’ choice will be integrated into the sequel.
Making sure that creating a sequel within a path that has already been set in motion by its prequel could be a daunting task for Sucker Punch, but the developers think otherwise. They claim that by knowing the Empire City, and the fact that the eventual confrontation is with The Beast, it will allow them to create an experience as great as the prequel, if not better; it is more about execution than design.
They are also aware of how they integrated the handling of the moral responsibilities that come with being a powerful superhero. Players can still choose to have the ‘who cares’ attitude as Cole, or be the typical superhero, busting bad boys and trying to save butts of innocents as much as possible. You won’t see Batman walk by a guy being beaten up by a few thugs and do nothing, but in Cole’s case, you might just.
Of course the true beauty of Infamous was that it was left to the players. The good-or-bad formula has been integrated in a lot of games nowadays, particularly recent RPGs such as Dragon Age or Mass Effect. But who would’ve expected this karma-technique to work so well when it came to an action adventure game.
What allows Infamous to excel over the RPGs in this regard is that your choices are more practical – rather than being verbal decisions you get to practically be bad or be good, and ultimately face the results.
Of course one would think that 80 percent of the gamers who would’ve played Infamous played as a not-so-nice Cole, but Sucker Punch, surprised itself, and informed that 85 percent of the people actually played as Good Cole, fulfilling his responsibilities the way Batman or Superman would.
This is perhaps because it is akin to what we saw in our childhoods when we watched TV, with Superman and Batman’s awe-inspiring battles for the sake of the safety of their respective cities. Knowing that games are a more personal experience than movies or TV shows, players decided to reincarnate their childhood inspirations into Infamous, carrying their righteous duties as any superhero from their childhood would.
It’s glad to know that not all gamers are those potty-mouthed, bad mannered baboons who shoot you in the groin while playing online.
What makes Infamous unique, in this good-or-bad regard, is that each moral choice presented to you is as satisfying as the other. Whether you choose to operate in one way or the other in a specific situation, you’ll always taste the good taste of satisfaction either way.
But the biggest promise that developers have made, unique to Infamous 2, is that how your good/bad choices will affect the ending. There will be two endings, based on how you behaved in majority of the game, and unlike the predecessor they will be vastly different from each other, allowing for multiple play-throughs and an interesting twist.
So it’s just a matter of what satisfies the player really, whether he’d like to experience it the Batman way or take out his frustration by zapping every seemingly annoying individual he passes by. The choice is yours, and regardless of what you do in Infamous 2, you will be satisfied.