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Q&A: Sucker Punch’s Bruce Oberg talks inFamous


13:0013/05/2009Posted by David ScammellOne Comment

With only two weeks to go until inFamous hits stores worldwide, we sit down to discuss the upcoming superhero sandbox game with Sucker Punch Co-founder and Programming Lead, Bruce Oberg. What will set inFamous apart from Prototype? Will the game raise new standards? And when the majority are going multiplatform, why stick with Sony? The answers to all of these and more after the jump.

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D+PAD: What were the biggest challenges the studio faced when creating the character of Cole McGrath and the world around him? Do you think Cole can hold his own against the Clark Kents and Peter Parkers of the comic book world?

infamous1Bruce Oberg: From the very beginning, we wanted to create a realistic superhero. What would an everyday guy do if he got super powers? That was our driving question. One thing we were pretty sure of was this: the first thing he did would not be to go out and buy tights. Cole is his own man and what he becomes is really up to the player. We were not trying to place the player in the shoes of someone with a philosophy or an agenda. We wanted Cole to change and grow based on the choices that the player makes themselves.

D+PAD: Being a superhero game, can we expect to see plenty of over-the-top villains?

Bruce Oberg: At the beginning of inFamous, Cole delivers a package that blows up and destroys a big chunk of downtown Empire City. Somehow, Cole survives and emerges with the ability to control and channel electricity in many ways. Trouble is, that same blast gave powers to other people in the city, and they have their own agenda. Cole has to discover how to control his own powers, while figuring out who was behind the blast and what the other super-powered people have in mind for the city.

D+PAD: One of the more interesting aspects of inFamous seems to be the way the game approaches the concept of morality. Does choosing to play as good or bad become particularly significant as you progress through the game?

infamous2Bruce Oberg: Cole can choose to act in good or evil ways all the time in inFamous. The game tracks the player’s choices and measures them in an on-screen karma meter. Cole’s karma then affects everything in the game: his appearance; how the city reacts to him; how his powers grow and change. Different parts of the story are revealed depending on your karma during the game.

D+PAD: Cole has the ability to manipulate electricity. Can you tell us about how this affects inFamous’s gameplay?

Bruce Oberg: Electricity is almost another character in inFamous. Empire City is a gritty urban environment, and there are electrical opportunities everywhere. Cole can pull juice from tons of things in the world, like light poles and cars and junction boxes. And many things can be electrified in interesting ways (e.g. you can zap a puddle that an enemy is standing in to take him out). As the game progresses, Cole learns to use electricity in many ways, including shock grenades, a polarity shield, and eventually static thrusters for gliding through the world.

D+PAD: Will Cole have access to any other superpowers?

Bruce Oberg: Cole is a conduit for electricity, but there are other conduits in Empire City, and their powers are quite different from Cole’s.

infamous5D+PAD: You’ve hinted that players will be able to customise Cole in different ways. Are these differences purely cosmetic, or will players be able to customise Cole’s abilities like in an RPG?

Bruce Oberg: You’ll be able to choose when and how you upgrade Cole’s powers. It’s not a fully fledged RPG, but players will be able to make their own decisions about growing Cole’s abilities.

D+PAD: With his ability to scale buildings, Cole has been described as an ‘urban explorer’. Did you draw any inspiration from Assassin’s Creed or Crackdown when developing the character and the way he moves around Empire City?

Bruce Oberg: We created Empire City from the ground up to be a climbable, explorable, urban playground. In addition to art teams creating the buildings and environments, we had a special team devoted just to making the world climbable. If it looks like you can grab it, you can climb it. This makes the city a true 3D environment, because moving vertically is so easy.

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One Comment »

  • Eric Carr said:

    I heard someone say there’s a inFamous 2 coming is it true?

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