Sucker Punch are inFamous
inFamous is nearly with us, Sucker Punch's PS3 exclusive action title set to take on the heavyweights of the genre in this important new release; the beginning of what could be a whole new series. We sat down with producer Brian Fleming for a few words on this major new game - set for a summer debut.
The shift from Sly Cooper/Raccoon to inFamous seems quite a leap for Sucker Punch. How did this happen?
We'd worked for six straight years on the Sly Cooper universe. When we finished Sly 3, we knew we were interested in jumping to PS3, and that we wanted to create a new universe of characters. We also felt like we wanted to do a project which was more appropriate for the early half of a console lifecycle - when the market tends to skew older, and less stylized. We're huge super hero fans, and always felt a super hero story that was born as a video game could be spectacular - and inFamous is the result!
The game opens with the destruction of Empire City. This is the kind of event you might expect to come later in a more traditional plot. What is the role of story in the game, and what can you tell us about the adventure we'll be embarking upon in inFamous?
The decision to start the game with the explosion - it literally is triggered by the player pressing "Start" - was the result of our belief that the "becoming" story of a super hero is often the most interesting. We wanted to start our story at the instant the game begins, and have the player experience the entire breadth of Cole's growth from a guy who's barely able to shoot lighting out of his hands all the way to the end of the game where Cole has complete mastery of his powers and large parts of the environment. The story of the game is the story of Cole's inner struggle as he discovers and develops into the hero or villain of Empire City...
The superhero theme is very fashionable at the moment. Do you worry that the constant procession of movies, and TV shows like Heroes, risk turning people off the subject?
I worry 100x more about what we're doing than what everyone else is doing. We can really only affect our own behavior and worrying about everyone else just wastes energy. We'd been working on inFamous a while (maybe a year?) when Heroes hit the airwaves, and most of us found it really affirming, not worrisome.
How do you let players 'feel' what it is like to be a superhero?
If we did our jobs well, then a lot of things in inFamous will make you feel this way - because giving players the feeling of becoming a hero was our guiding principle for the title. We always felt one of the very human parts of the game would be seeing what people would do if given powers. Would they be heroes, or would they be assassins? How can we make those choices have consequences? We also wanted to explore the secondary effects of heroic and villainous actions - maybe it's small things like people placing you on a pedestal, or rising up against you. In all these ways we wanted people to feel heroic or villainous.
What is the role of the city; the world in the game? How interactive and 'open' is the landscape presented to the player?
The city plays a huge role in inFamous. It's most obviously the setting for the events of the game, it's also completely climbable and explorable by Cole -- to a degree rarely seen in video games. The city is not just interactive to the player, it's interactive to his powers. Metals conduct, the power grid is simulated and can be a great help to Cole if it's functioning. And the city itself changes to reflect choices you make. If you vanquish the gangs from a section of the city, not only will the citizens cheer you, but they'll start to clean up that part of town, and even put up some "hero" posters of Cole.