After the successful launch of the PlayStation 4, Sony will have to maintain enthusiasm for the new console with a steady stream of high-profile exclusive games in the pipeline. Despite a competent collection of launch titles, one of the most-talked about projects coming to the PS4 is Sucker Punch’s next open-world super-powered adventure, inFamous: Second Son. The game was so popular, and enjoyed a heavy spotlight in numerous PS4 promos, that many gamers had initially expected the title to be available at launch – only to discover that the game was scheduled for March 2014.
At the time, that sounded like a decent wait but with nearly two months since the PS4 launch, gamers will soon be able to get their hands on inFamous: Second Son. The studio is still keeping a number of key details under wraps (most notably some of the other powers in the game), with more reveals planned in the coming months, but that hasn’t stopped game director Nate Fox from teasing a few new (and telling) bits of information.
Speaking with VG247, Fox promised that the studio is taking the inFamous: Second Son story and world very seriously – asserting that aspects of the game have been influenced by real-world terrorism and their negative impact on culture – giving players the power to reshape societal outlooks:
“Our game is absolutely in response to the kind of ‘fear mania’ surrounding the hunt for terrorism. It’s not that terrorists aren’t real or they’re horribly dangerous. We should be worried, but to fear your neighbour, to fear every day society and not embrace people while keeping a watchful eye out is something we’re trying to talk about in the game.”
“The relationship between our hero Delsin and his older brother Reggie is very core to the story because Reggie represents the common man, and their attitude towards anyone who’s different — in this case — anyone with these powers who are kind of demonised in the inFamous world. Throughout the course of the game, depending on what sort of person you are, you change not only Reggie’s attitude, but the attitudes of society about anyone who’s different.”
The choice of being “good” or “bad” has always been central to the inFamous franchise – as gamers made prior protagonist Cole McGrath the ultimate superhero or supervillain. Yet, most of the choices were very black and white – where, in general, players could circumvent extra work by exploiting or sacrificing nearby citizens. Other choices were slightly more complex but it was always very clear whether a decision was benevolent or malevolent.
According to Fox, the decisions in inFamous: Second Son will be tougher, more importantly, have long term impact (beyond superficial changes to the game world):
“We’ve always said that the inFamous series is about an everyday guy who gets super powers and decides if he wants to use them for good or evil and that’s still true in Second Son — except — we’ve tried even harder to make the world relatable, true and grounded so that these super powers are plausible, you believe in them. The game world does react to you. You make choices throughout the game with pretty serious consequences, so that serious choice and consequence theme is still there. You matter in that world.”
“The choices you make along the way will not only impact Delsin’s story, but also the way that his powers mature and evolve, and the way other characters around you evolve and change. It’s very, very different. You’ve got to play the game twice to see it all.”
“We try and make it pretty clear when you’ve done something evil, mainly because it really sucks when it’s nebulous. It’s not fun to feel like, ‘Well I think I did the right thing in that videogame,’ because there’s so much you have to understand about the rules of the world, your abilities, what the mission is asking you and all of that stuff. We try to cut down on ambiguity as much as possible, but at the same time we try to put situations in front of the player that are frankly tough, because that’s what games are good for; they can transport you to places you’ve never been and let you do things you’ve never done before.”
In an effort to improve the flow of combat and traversal, as well as make the game more accessible to newcomers, Fox asserts that Sucker Punch spent a lot of time updating the control scheme for inFamous: Second Son:
“Where we’re trying to break new ground on, frankly, is really integrated powers that are totally intuitive in how you use them. We redesigned the control interface so that people who are not expert players can pull of spectacular moves, as well as putting time into trying to make our narrative as potent as possible. A lot of that comes from doing facial motion capture so we can get these very nuances performances from the actors. All of those things come together to make it easier to get sucked into the screen and lose yourself in the moment which, with anything next-gen, it’s got to be that, right?”
That said, hardcore gamers and inFamous franchise fans shouldn’t get too worried that the developer has dumbed the series down for new players. The full VG247 article claims that the studio looked to skateboarding games to help add depth to core mechanics – so that racking up a sizable combo or moving quickly through the open world of Seattle, WA will be more rewarding as players experiment with their available powers and the surrounding environment. The improvements were noticeable in our 2013 E3 preview of Second Son and it’ll be interesting to see how the team has further evolved the central gameplay in the intervening time.
Many questions remain, but for gamers who opted to invest in a PS4, there’s plenty of reason to be optimistic that inFamous: Second Son will be a worthy next-gen experience – for returning players as well as those who have yet to take a Sucker Punch hero/villain for a spin.
In the meantime, we’ll keep you up to date as new inFamous: Second Son details are unveiled.
inFamous: Second Son releases March 21, 2014 for the PS4.
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