North American cover
|Developer(s)||Sucker Punch Productions|
|Publisher(s)||Sony Computer Entertainment|
|Designer(s)||Nate Fox (director)|
|Release date(s)||NA May 26, 2009
|Genre(s)||Third-person action, sandbox|
Infamous (marketed as inFAMOUS but also often stylized as inFamous) is a sandbox-style video game for the PlayStation 3 video game console. It was developed by Sucker Punch Productions and published by Sony Computer Entertainment. The game was released internationally in May and June 2009. In Infamous, the player controls the protagonist Cole MacGrath, a bike messenger caught in the epicenter of an explosion that devastates several city blocks of the fictional Empire City. The explosion sends the city into chaos while Cole finds himself with new electricity-based super powers. Though the game's story follows Cole using his new abilities to restore some semblance of order to Empire City, the player is given several opportunities to use these powers for good or evil purposes in the game's Karma system. These choices ultimately affect character growth, the reaction of the City's populace towards Cole, and finer elements of the story.
Sucker Punch developed Infamous as a change of pace from their earlier Sly Cooper series of stealth-based games, but using a similar comic book-inspired origin story to help the player become more connected with Cole. The game's pacing in the introduction of new super powers and ease of movement about the city by unconventional means were critical factors during development. The desolate urban atmosphere was inspired by comics such as DMZ and No Man's Land. Amon Tobin was among the artists that helped to compile its soundtrack, which aimed to reflect the environment.
The game was well received by the gaming press. It was praised for many of its elements, including the implementation of Cole's powers and climbing agility, and the game's content and mission structure, as well as the sum of these elements that makes the game very alluring. Reviewers commented on the repetitive nature of combat and enemies, limitations of the Karma system, and technical aspects in the graphical display. Infamous was also compared to and contrasted with Radical Entertainment's Prototype, a video game released the following month which had many elements similar to Infamous, including exploration of an open world-style city in despair by a protagonist with developing superpowers.
Infamous is a sandbox video game, combining elements of platforming, shooting, puzzles, and role-playing game elements. The player controls Cole and primarily interacts with the world of Empire City through Cole's newly gained electricity-based powers; these are used for movement, offense and defense in combat, and either for better or worse in dealing with the citizens of Empire City. In order for Cole to use his powers, he must have stored electrical power, represented by a node meter on the player's heads up display (HUD). The player can recharge Cole by draining electricity from powered sources (which requires Cole to first restart the main generator for that area) or from living beings; recharging also restores Cole's health, though if the player stays out of battle long enough, Cole's health will regenerate over time. The game features seventeen different electrical powers, ranging from simple bolts that do not consume Cole's energy to wide-field lightning storms that drain most of Cole's energy. The player can use such powers against both live targets and the environment, giving the player options in certain situations. For example, the player may fire at a generator near foes to cause it to explode and cripple his opponents, or fire at the body of water that an enemy is standing in to take advantage of water's conductivity to kill the enemy. Due to being vivified electricity, Cole is unable to use vehicles about the city, take up weapons, or swim. However, Cole, being an urban explorer, is able to easily climb buildings and other structures as well as jump from high places without taking damage; these maneuvers can be combined with Cole's electrical powers for unique combat situations. A number of "stunts", requiring the player to kill enemies under specific conditions (such as killing an enemy while both Cole and the foe are in mid-air), are available to complete.
The powers are acquired over the course of the game; once acquired the player can use experience points, awarded for specific actions, stunts and missions, to increase the power's effectiveness or to purchase new powers. However, the growth of these powers is affected by Cole's current Karma level, ranging from Guardian to Champion to Hero on the Good side and from Thug to Outlaw to Infamous on the Evil side; the Karma level is set a neutral position at the start of the game. Certain actions, such as stopping to help injured citizens or draining their energy to restore Cole's, will affect the Karma level in either direction. Normal story missions may also alter the Karma level. During the game, the player will come on Karma Moments, when the action pauses and the player is told through a monologue by Cole of two actions that could be taken, the choice which will affect the Karma level. For example, one choice the player is asked to make is either completing a short mission for a man who promises him a small reward (altering the player's Karma towards Good), or using the opportunity to kill the man and take all of the reward without doing the mission (Evil). There are also a number of paired Good/Evil side missions in the game; completing one will lock out the other mission but will reward the player with a large amount of Karma towards their selected Karma goal. Completion of these missions helps gain access to a unique super power and its upgrades based on the Karma level. However, the player is not locked into choosing either Karma path, and may opt to play towards one extreme and later switch to playing towards the other extreme mid-game. In addition to altering Cole's appearance and certain aspects of the game's story, Karma will also influence the behavior of the citizens of Empire City; citizens will come to help Cole in battle if his Karma is Good, but will turn on Cole and throw debris at him if he has Bad Karma.
Empire City is built on three islands, and the player must work through main story missions on each island before being able to access the next one, though future missions may require the player to return to an earlier island. Each island is divided into a number of sectors, at the start of the game controlled by three different gangs. The player can undertake a side mission in each sector, once certain main story requirements have been met, to free that sector from gang control, reducing or eliminating the presence of the gang in that sector. Other side missions may also unlock medical stations where Cole will re-awaken should he fall in battle. Though Cole must travel on foot across the city to get to missions at the start, he will later gain powers to allow him to grind along power cables and powered elevated train rails and to glide across open spaces. Scattered around the city are hundreds of "blast shards" which Cole can collect to increase the amount of electricity he can store. There are also several "dead drop" satellite transmitters that help to reveal more of the back story in the game. A mini-map on the player's HUD can be used to locate blast shards, dead drops and power sources.
The game takes place in fictional Empire City, laid across three islands: the Neon District where many businesses and entertainment venues are located, the Warren District where goods are shipped into and out of the city (also the biggest of the three), and the Historical District, the smallest of the three islands. The districts are connected by bridges, and each district has its own elevated train system. At the start of the game, six blocks of the Historical District are wiped out by an explosion from a bio-electrical device called the Ray Sphere. A plague develops soon afterwards, forcing the government to quarantine the region. In doing so they block the only bridge to the mainland from the city, causing societal collapse within the isolated city.
The protagonist is Cole MacGrath, a bike courier for Empire City who happens to be in the center of the explosion, surviving it and gaining electricity-based super powers. His best friend is a fellow courier named Zeke, who takes initial refuge from the chaos on the streets at a rooftop pad and becomes both impressed and envious of Cole's newfound powers. Trish is a medical student and Cole's girlfriend at the start of the game, but rejects him after accusing him of causing her sister's death. Shortly after the explosion, Cole meets with FBI agent Moya, who assigns him missions to complete in Empire City in hopes of finding an agent named John. John was trapped in the city while investigating a case for another agency when the quarantine was enacted and has left numerous encoded messages on satellite receivers. A rogue DJ, "The Voice of Survival", manages to broadcast his conspiracy-laden, panic-provoking messages across the city from a TV station.
As Cole explores the city, he comes across three others with super powers like himself. Sasha is a scorned lover, trying to earn Cole's romance, and has the ability to use a tar-like plague-inducing substance to control the minds of others. She controls the Reaper gang of the Neon District. Alden is a wizened old man with powerful telekinesis abilities that leads the Dustman gang in the Warren District as well as mechanical golems under his control. Alden and his forces fight the First Sons, an ancient fraternal organization that works out of the Historical District. Kessler, a man with many super powers, controls the First Sons, using them to seek out Cole and the Ray Sphere, the device that caused the explosion in Empire City.
While the basic story of the game remains unchanged whether the player opts for the "Good" or "Evil" karma path, there are some story elements that change depending on the player's choice at that time.
Cole is instructed by an anonymous customer to deliver a package to a location in the Historical District, and then to open it; unbeknownst to Cole, the package contains the Ray Sphere, which activates upon opening and wipes out six city blocks. Cole manages to survive the blast and is nursed back to health by Trish, during which he discovers his newfound powers. When the Voice of Survival pinpoints Cole at the center of the explosion, the city turns against him. Cole and Zeke then start a riot and try to escape the quarantine by force with Cole's new powers on the center of the bridge (riot setting) where they are met by a figurative wall of guns. Cole and Zeke try to escape from the police agents, but Cole is eventually captured and placed in an office of Moya, a former FBI agent. Cole is convinced by Moya to return to Empire City to seek out the Ray Sphere and her husband John in exchange for his own and his friend's release from quarantine.
Cole proceeds to follow Moya's missions, restoring power to the city and fighting off the various gangs that have taken over. As he comes to interact with Sasha, Alden, and Kessler, he learns that Kessler displaced Alden from the leadership of the First Sons and initiated construction of the Ray Sphere, while rejecting Sasha's attempts at romance. Cole is able to defeat Sasha and capture Alden, but during a breakout attempt by the Dust Men, Zeke's own heroism antics allow Alden to go free, much to Cole's irritation. Later, Cole and Zeke track down Alden, who has recovered the Ray Sphere; Cole is able to distract Alden long enough for Zeke to recover it. However, Zeke realizes that he could gain superpowers himself through the Sphere and attempts to activate it, but nothing happens. At that moment, Kessler shows up and offers to help Zeke fix the Ray Sphere to gain powers. Zeke agrees and departs with Kessler, taking the Ray Sphere with him.
Cole is finally able to track down John, but learns that John is neither from the FBI nor Moya's husband, but rather an undercover NSA agent who assisted in the creation of the Ray Sphere. John explains that the Ray Sphere consumes the bio-energy from those around it and transfers that power to the person holding it, granting them super abilities at the cost of thousands of lives, and urges Cole to help him find and destroy it. Alden goes on a killing spree while heading into the Historic District. After a long battle, Alden is defeated and jumps off the bridge. During the battle, Alden destroyed huge sections of the bridge. Cut off from the Warren, Cole goes ahead into the Historic District.
As they search, Cole discovers that Kessler has kidnapped Trish along with six other doctors, and forces Cole to choose between saving her or the other doctors. Regardless of the player's choice, Kessler has arranged for Trish to fall to her death, but is briefly revived by Cole. If the player has good Karma, Trish will be proud of Cole and profess her love, while if the player has bad Karma, she will curse his name with her dying breath. After mourning for his loss, Cole works with John to discover the Ray Sphere; the player can opt to destroy it or use it to further enhance Cole's powers, but either option causes the Ray Sphere to malfunction, disintegrating John.
Cole goes to face Kessler at ground zero of the original explosion. As they fight, Zeke appears and tries to intervene but is tossed aside by Kessler. Cole eventually mortally wounds Kessler, and tries to seek answers for Trish's death from him. Kessler uses his last moments to implant memories into Cole's mind, revealing that Kessler is actually Cole from the future of an alternate timeline.
In that timeline, Cole and Trish were happily wed with children, but soon the appearance of a supervillain entity known as "The Beast", a human or human-like being with cataclysmic superpowers, plunged their world into chaos. Cole and Trish fled with their children rather than attempt to fight, but The Beast eventually caught up to them and slaughtered Cole's family. After many decades of grieving during which Cole started to develop superpowers by himself, he realized the only chance to stop The Beast would be to jump back in time and prepare his past self for battle against It through an unforgiving "training".
Under the alter-ego name Kessler, he seized control of the First Sons from Alden, shunning Sasha's advances due to his past love for Trish, and ordered the construction of the Ray Sphere much earlier than in his previous timeline. Kessler was also the anonymous customer that instructed the young Cole to deliver it. Kessler used Trish's death as a means to prepare Cole to make the harsh choices in battle with The Beast. After Kessler dies, Cole declares his hatred for Kessler, but promises that he will be ready for The Beast.
The ending of the game depends on the player's karma. If the karma is good, Cole considers what the future holds, still lamenting the loss of Trish and the strain on his friendship with Zeke, while the city works at rebuilding itself, idolizing Cole as its savior. If the player's karma is evil, Cole recognizes himself as the strongest human alive, with the failing Empire City for his taking.
Infamous was developed by Sucker Punch Productions, with a team of 60 people working about three years. Though they could have opted to request the necessary funds from Sony to increase the team size and finish the game in two years, producer Brian Fleming noted that Sucker Punch's iteration-based development approach worked better with the smaller team size, and chose to work with the extra time.
Infamous came during the end of the development for Sly 3 as the team began to look towards their next game. After spending the last six years on the same stealth game genre with the Sly Cooper games, they wanted to make something that was more "brazen and loud", "and opted for a title which would allow the player tokillthings up". However, as fans of the "comic book" motif, they decided to develop it in the direction of a superhero game, working with the idea of an origin story that would allow the player to experience the growth of the character. Fleming stated that with the slower development time, they knew they needed to develop the game for the PlayStation 3 and that the work needed to complement their previous game, akin to how Shigeru Miyamoto's The Legend of Zelda series contrasted his earlier Mario series. They also sought a project that would allow them to become familiar with the new PlayStation 3 hardware but had enough commonalities to allow them to bring their previous work on the Sly Cooper series forward.
Director Nate Fox stated that much of the inspiration of the superhero story came from two DC Comics series, DMZ and No Man's Land, both which center on reactions of a city after a large disaster. The series also inspired the crafting of the game's grim and realistic take on the superhero genre. Fox further stated that the movie Batman Begins was an inspiration for the game. However, any correlation to DC Comics' Static Shock was considered unintentional, according to Fox. Fox considered his own personal involvement in the Seattle WTO riots of 1999 as influencing the reflection of "spending time in a lawless place" within the game. Grand Theft Auto III was also stated as an influence for the game, in that the team could easily see themselves as superheroes in the open world of Liberty City; similarly, Spider-Man 2 was used as a model to demonstrate what it would be like to move about the city and answer random requests for help alongside regular missions. The character of Cole was created to be a "kind of an everyman" so that players could then "get into the headspace of what it would be like to be a real human being who has been granted these exceptional abilities". They opted to make Cole a bike courier as such people in real life tend to be outside of the law, allowing them to develop Cole as in the counterculture. The team also avoided giving Cole an alter-ego or outfitting him with a costume as it would not have reasonably fit in with the character or the game's story.
The story and cut-scene animations were created in-house. The plot was originally written by Fox, who had also written most of the Sly Cooper stories, and reviewed by Fleming. As they continued to develop the game, they rewrote pieces of the story around changes in the game, making sure that story remained enjoyable. As the game became more complex, they brought about Bill Harms, a published comic book author and had previously wrote for Supreme Commander and other video games. Harms assisted with the story and in-game dialogue in addition to marketing materials. Fleming noted that the second half of the story underwent significant changes in the last nine months of development; for example, when voice actor Caleb Mooney voiced the lines for Zeke, he ad libbed additional lines that the team found to be enjoyable, and reworked the story to incorporate them. The cut-scenes were created in a similar format to the dark comics that the game was influenced by, and used to further extend the atmosphere of the superhero motif. The cut-scenes were created by taking 2D art created in Corel Painter and Adobe Photoshop and placing into artificial 3D stages built in Adobe After Effects to create a pseudo-3D effect that allowed them to play with camera placement and effects, and addition of organic elements such as dust clouds and ink spots.
Darren Bridges, a developer for Sucker Punch, noted that they wanted to make Infamous about "becoming a modern-day superhero", stressing the word "becoming" as the key motivator to show the growth of Cole from a simple bike messenger to someone with god-like powers. This led to instilling a "sense of progress" and growth of the character in all aspects of the game including the story, the progression of the player's powers, and the variation and difficulty in the enemies that the player faced. The team initially brainstormed on what powers that the lead character had, but selected electricity-based powers for two primary reasons. First, the power translated well to a video game context, as it would be easy to conceptualize the aspects of electrical-based powers in terms of other video game concepts such as ranged combat. Secondly, electrical-based powers could then be tied to the city that the player would explore, requiring the player to use the city's electricity as fuel, and thus developing a "real relationship with the city".
Initially, the game was more free-form, allowing players to purchase new powers at any point during the game, but found it difficult to develop a challenging game around this, particularly as they could not design missions around specific powers as the player may not have those at that time. This evolved into the scheme of presenting new powers to the player over the course of the game, with the developers created guiding rules for which powers were ultimately included in the game and when: the power had to be useful and add something unique to the game, the player would need a chance to use that power immediately after they got it, and the power would need to be enjoyable to use. The team employed frequent reviews of when these powers were introduced to the player as other gameplay elements were added to the game. Not all powers were necessarily offensive; the "postcognition" power, allowing the player to see the psychic echo of a dead person of where they were before their death, was added as the team found there was an element of fun in tracking the echo through the crowded city. Some powers were cut from the game. One power gained through the Evil karma path that was dropped was called "Minionize", and would have allowed Cole to control the minds of civilians and force them to join into battle. Though the power was "decidedly evil and very fun to watch", the team felt it wasn't overall useful to the game, though managed to retain a hint of it in one of the Evil side missions. Though the team had tested each of the core missions individually with the powers that the player would have based on the game's storyboard, they found that play-testers, who played the missions back-to-back, found the game lacked a variety of combat situations. The developers revisited all the combat scenarios from this feedback to alter the combat layouts as well as adding new enemies, a step that Bridges believes the game "benefited greatly" from. The ability to use Cole's electrical powers to ride along Empire City's elevated train rails was a last-minute addition during the last month of development based on a play-tester's suggestion.
Empire City was designed to marry well to Cole's new-found superpowers. The city was built with a "crime ecosystem", as called by Fox, where petty crimes or calls of help were always occurring outside of the main story, requiring the player to decide to stop to help or not to resolve them. A portion of the team was devoted to implementing the behavior of the citizens of the city and how that behavior would change as the state of the city changed due to the player's actions. The climbing of city buildings was considered to be an important aspect of the game, both as part of the superhero motif and because it was considered "fun to do", by Fox, and set up to make the whole city climbable. Fox described that many details of every city building have been modeled as to allow the player to climb the buildings, "down to the last window frame, lighting sconce and storefront", however, he further noted that getting the climbing system "just right" was the most challenging aspect of development. One employee was dedicated to making sure the entire city was climbable. Fleming noted that during Infamous''s development, both Crackdown and Assassin's Creed, two games with alternative takes on the climbing aspect, were released; the team felt that each of the games' climbing systems had their own strengths and weaknesses. To reflect the nature of change of the city as the player interacts with it—either restoring power or taking it away—the developers created a "deferred shading" rendering engine that would render the effects of moving and damaged light sources.
The Karma system in the game came as a result of the team wanting to include the "judicious use of power" within the game. Fox commented that they wanted to lead the player along a path of doing the harder tasks believing that these actions were the right things to do. However, without contrast of "evil" tasks that were simpler to complete, there would be no means of motivating the player to be a "selfless hero". The team wanted to encourage players to think about the results of not only large decisions—Karma moments in the game where Cole thinks to himself of which option to select—but also every moment-to-moment action, such as considering the presence of civilians in the area around a battle. They arranged for the first major use of Cole's powers to the city's public to turn back against him to encourage players to consider both sides. In this mission, Cole is given the option to keep a drop-supply of food for himself or to give it to the people; they found that most players would keep it for themselves, so very shortly after this event, the population turns against Cole, forcing the player to run or to attack them. Fox compared the Karma dichotomy to the differences in styles of Batman verses The Punisher; the former using precision attacks to avoid harming innocents while the latter would hurt anything in his path to complete his goal. To that end, they designed the powers in the game to reflect this nature; powers acquired with Good Karma would be more precise while Evil Karma powers were more destructive.
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The soundtrack is composed by the electronic musician Amon Tobin, composers James Dooley and Mel Wesson, and electric cellist Martin Tillman, under the direction of Sony's music manager, Jonathan Mayer. Tobin was specifically brought on board due to his recent trend of blurring the lines between music and sound design as exhibited in his then-recent album, Foley Room. Instead of using traditional instruments, the team sought to use sounds that results from objects that would be found in an urban environment and using such objects in combination with other instruments used in non-traditional manners; for example, bungee cords were strung alongside a bass drum and strummed, and wire brushes were hit against a suspended tuba. The music was divided between Tobin, who worked on the in-game music, and Dooley who worked on the music for the cinematics; the two worked together to make sure common musical themes were present in both aspects. Tillman was brought in late to the process to add the cello sounds, but the group was so impressed with his work that they remixed already-completed pieces to incorporate his contribution further. Working for a Nuclear Free City's "Silent Melody" was commissioned by Sony for the game, and was used in one of the game's promotional trailers. The soundtrack was released for digital download from the iTunes Music Store in May 2009.
|1.||"Rabble Rouser"||Amon Tobin||3:15|
|2.||"Stampton Bridge"||Amon Tobin||4:16|
|3.||"Meet the Reapers"||Amon Tobin & Jim Dooley||4:05|
|4.||"The First Sons"||Jim Dooley||2:04|
|5.||"Alden Strikes"||Amon Tobin & Jim Dooley||3:12|
|6.||"The Escape"||Jim Dooley & Mel Wesson||3:02|
|7.||"Dinner with Sasha"||Jim Dooley||2:31|
|8.||"The Courier"||Amon Tobin||4:17|
|9.||"Secrets Revealed"||JD Mayer||2:38|
|11.||"Tent City"||JD Mayer||2:47|
|12.||"Hunt for the Ray Sphere"||Amon Tobin||2:55|
|13.||"End of the Road"||Jim Dooley||3:32|
|14.||"Anything for Trish"||Amon Tobin||4:16|
|16.||"Mysterious Signals"||JD Mayer||3:00|
|17.||"The Truth"||Jim Dooley & Mel Wesson||2:50|
|18.||"Genesis"||Amon Tobin & Jim Dooley||4:11|
|19.||"Pleasant Empire"||Jim Dooley||2:09|
|20.||"Silent Melody"||Working for a Nuclear Free City||3:59|
In March 2009, Sony Computer Entertainment America released a trailer titled "The Beauty of Powers", which was later released on the PlayStation Store. Early copies of Infamous included a multiplayer beta voucher for the then upcoming PS3 exclusive Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. The beta started on June 3. Anyone who preordered Infamous from GameStop received an exclusive code for the Gigawatt Blades Power, and those who preordered from Amazon.com received a special Reaper costume for PlayStation Home, while those who downloaded the Infamous demo from the PlayStation Store and beat it received a Cole costume for PlayStation Home on June 18, 2009. Pre-orders from GameCrazy and Best Buy stores came with an early demo released on May 7. Redeem codes were sent via email to several Oceanic PlayStation Network users on May 14. The demo, which includes four missions, was made available to everyone else on 21 May. Infamous was released May 26, 2009 in the United States. It was released May 29, 2009 in Europe and on June 4, 2009 for Australia and New Zealand.
In July 2009, Sucker Punch Productions released an Infamous themed space in the PlayStation 3's online community-based service, PlayStation Home. This space is modeled after and called the "Abandoned Docks of Empire City", and includes a mini-game based on zapping Reapers with leaderboard tracking and clothing reward items, and a graffiti wall that allows players to create their own graffiti. The Infamous Home space is the first to broadcast exclusive media from the game's developer. Outso developed the Infamous Game Space for Sucker Punch Productions.
Good and Evil version of Cole and Zeke will appear as Downloadable Content for the multiplayer in Uncharted 2: Among Thieves.
On July 25, 2009 it was announced that Sony had chosen screenwriter Sheldon Turner to adapt the Sucker Punch game into a feature film in a seven figure deal. Avi Arad and his brother Ari (who are also making an Uncharted: Drake's Fortune movie) will produce, and Sony executives Matt Tolmach and Jonathan Kadin are handling for the studio. Turner told The Hollywood Reporter he was excited that the game had a "big idea and a character arc," which he believed was "the future of gaming." He believed the game was essentially "a love ballad to the underachiever," Cole MacGrath.
On December 10, 2009, the "Gigawatt Blades" superpower - which had previously been available only as a preorder incentive - was made available on the North American PlayStation Store as a free download. The free download is also available in Europe since January 4, 2010.
Gaming journals have reported the likelihood of a sequel to Infamous due to a Twitter post made by actor David Sullivan reporting on auditioning for the role of Cole in the game's sequel. Sony has stated that there is no official announcement of a sequel as a result of this. A rumour in the 41st issue of PlayStation Magazine UK has stated that it will include multiplayer.
In general, Infamous received positive reviews from game critics. Greg Miller of IGN considered the title to be "one of the best PlayStation 3 games to date". Core to the game's success, according to reviewers, were the basic mechanics of the game. Giant Bomb's Brad Shoemaker considered that Sucker Punch had "nailed the basic gameplay elements", tying all the various aspects of the game together. The mixture of Cole's powers with the Karma elements of the game were also praised. The powers and Karma system were seen to bring difficult choices to how the player approach battles. Both sides of the Karma system were considered to be fun to play. The mission structure was considered a strong asset of the game. According to X-Play's Matt Kiel, the missions forced the player to consider the full extent of Cole's powers through their difficulty but provided "generous" checkpoints to prevent too much frustration with the game. Reviewers cited the variation in side missions and how they related to the main story as positive aspects of the game.
The presentation of Empire City was also considered to be a significant factor of the success of the game. The climbing and grabbing aspect was considered well done and avoided a "frustration-fest" that other games with precision jumping generally bring about, according to Miller. However, some reviewers noted that Cole's climbing ability was too touchy, with the character grabbing onto ledges too greedily, making it difficult to fine-tune jumps. In combination with Cole's other powers, Miller cited the game has having the "most original city-traversal mechanics" for an open-world game. The behavior of the city's population and how that was affected by the player's choice in Karma was also seen as a positive, and as a constant reminder of the game's setting. The game's story, particularly in the second half of the game, was considered to be strong, enhanced by presentation of the cut-scenes. However, the quality of these scenes was seen to negatively highlight the poor animation used for in-game generated cut-scenes and the quality of the voice work; Miller considered Cole's voice to be too gravelly for the character.
The initial hours of the game, before the player started to acquire some of the more potent powers, were considered to be difficult and may be off-putting to some. Tom Bramwell of Eurogamer noted the remainder of the game continues to have some difficult sections, such as sections where the player must defend a moving target against a large number of foes, and considered these to be "repetitive and overlong". Bramwell further commented that the electrical powers in the game are simply electricity-based reimaginings of standard video game weapon archetypes, such as shotguns and sniper rifles, and, with this awareness, leaves the difficulty of the game up to the design of the enemy placement during encounters. The game is also considered to be rough around the edges in technical execution, with the lack of anti-aliasing and occasional "pop-in" rendering, as well as drops in frame rates when there was a significant amount of action on the screen.
Infamous was released a few weeks before Radical Entertainment's Prototype, a game with many similar concepts including a character finding himself with super powers, a large open-world environment that can be traveled by climbing up buildings and gliding about the city, and several other comparisons. This led many game critics to compare and contrast the games. In his sarcastic Zero Punctuation review of Prototype, Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw (who had initially praised Infamous as "huge, creative and fun,") compared the two games point for point, and determined that he could not tell which was the better game, and challenged the respective studios to "produce the best image of the rival game's main character wearing women's lingerie" as a tiebreaker. To his surprise, both development teams rose to the challenge, producing said images, and forcing Croshaw to call it a near-tie, edging out in favor of Infamous, though still noted that, like their games, both images created independently were nearly equal in the assets that they included. This rivalry highlighted the advantages and disadvantages of exclusivity over a multiplatform release. Gaming analysts Jesse Divnich had this to say "Due to near identical game play and quality scores, the Infamous vs. Prototype case study presents interesting data to publishers when considering the sales bump a title could receive by choosing exclusivity over a multiplatform release." 
Infamous was released at the end of May, and the game sold 175,900 copies in the United States on its opening week, recorded in May 2009 sales according to the NPD Group, and sold 192,700 copies in the United States over the month of June 2009, the 10th highest-selling game that month. As of December 4, 2009, the game has sold 1.2 million copies. IGN awarded Infamous Best Story, and Game of the Year and Best Acting at the 2009 Golden Game Awards. Infamous was also nominated for four other Golden Game Awards, including Best PlayStation 3 Game, Best Graphics, Best Independent Game, and Studio of the Year.
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|Developer(s)||Sucker Punch Productions|
|Publisher(s)||Sony Computer Entertainment|
Infamous is a sandbox-style video game for the PlayStation 3 video game console. It was developed by Sucker Punch Productions and was published by Sony Computer Entertainment. The game was released on May 26, 2009 in North America, May 29, 2009 in Europe, and was released on June 4, 2009 in Australia.
Infamous is the story of Cole MacGrath, a bike messenger given an assignment to deliver a package that is secretly a bomb. Cole survives the massive explosion and develops electricity-based powers. Soon, Cole discovers that his city has fallen into chaos under the rule of gangs and factions and must fight back against them to restore order.
|Developer(s)||Sucker Punch Productions|
|Publisher(s)||Sony Computer Entertainment|
|Release date||May 26, 2009 (US)|
|Genre||Sandbox, Third person|
|Age rating(s)||ESRB: T, PEGI: 16+, BBFC: 12|
|Credits | Soundtrack | Codes | Walkthrough|
inFamous is a sandbox-style video game for the Sony PlayStation 3. It is was developed by Sucker Punch Productions, creators of Rocket: Robot on Wheels, and the Sly Cooper video game franchise. The game was announced at Sony's E3 2007 Press Conference on July 11, 2007. The debut trailer indicated that the game would be released sometime in 2008, although the July 2008 issue of Game Informer has stated that the release date has been moved to Spring 2009. It is the company's first original IP since Sly Cooper.
The game is a third-person sandbox world that combines elements of the superhero MMO City of Heroes with a roaming open-world, allowing the player to make choices between being a hero or an anti-hero that will affect the game. The player will also have access to electrical powers. The player will obtain them right at the beginning of the game.
According to the Game Informer preview, inFamous follows the story of Cole, a resident of a fictional Empire City. At the start of the game, an explosion rips apart six city blocks, leaving behind a crater and Cole as the only survivor. The explosion has granted Cole several electricity-based powers, but he falls into unconsciousness, waking up two weeks later to find that Empire City has fallen into chaos; without police, gangs have taken over the city, and a plague has infected many of the residents causing the city to be quarantined by the government. It is revealed by "The Voice of Survival", a surviving disk jockey that broadcasts across the city, that Cole was the cause of the explosion, and thus sets the population of Empire City against him. Cole must come to terms with his powers, and opt to help those in need or simply survive on his own, facing off against larger threats that have manifested in the city due to the explosion and its aftermath.
According to Fox, the team wanted to have Cole as a "kind of an everyman", such that they could then "get into the headspace of what it would be like to be a real human being who has been granted these exceptional abilities". While Cole is the main playable character, he is joined by two friends; Zeke, a conspiracy theorist and survivalist who becomes envious of Cole's powers, and Trish, Cole's girlfriend and medical student who resents him but still helps in treating the injured, a "Lois Lane with syringes" as stated by Sucker Punch.
inFamous is a sandbox video game. The player controls Cole and his newly acquired electrical powers as he makes his way around Empire City. Ultimately, the player will need to defeat three major forces that have each taken over one section of Empire City.
Cole's primary means of interaction is through his electricity-based powers. These include shooting electricity from his hands to nearby targets, creating an electricity-based shield to repel foes, and creating a delayed explosion of a ball of energy much like sticky grenades. The electrical powers can be used both against living targets as well as inanimate objects; Game Informer describes one such situation where the player could opt to take out armed guards with electricity directly, or instead use the power on electrical generators to cause them to explode, damaging the guards in that fashion. However these powers also have considerable disadvantages and limitations: for example, Cole cannot use guns as the electricity would cause the ammunition to explode. Also, Cole can only manipulate electricity, not generate it: meaning, for instance, that Cole's powers are severely limited in areas suffering from blackouts (which are in considerable number, since the city is recovering from a disaster).
Cole is also described as an urban explorer, and the player will be able to jump and climb buildings in order to move about the city, although these are not enhanced by any super-human ability. Later in the game, the player will be given a more efficient means of traveling about Empire City, though Sucker Punch did not reveal what this was.
As the player completes the main goals, side opportunities to help the citizens of Empire City will be presented; an example given by Game Informer includes a scenario where, on the way to defuse a bomb, the player is presented with a heavily injured woman that needs medical treatment; the option whether to stop and save her or to continue on will influence the development of Cole. This is tracked through a karma system which influences the growth of Cole's powers, some being enhanced by good deeds, while ignoring the pleas of the citizens will favor the growth of other powers. The karma system will also affect how the citizens react to Cole; if the player has helped citizens, they may come to Cole's help in certain battles, while in the contrary position, the citizens may flee as Cole approaches. However, the player is able to alter their karma and pursue the alternate direction should they want to.
In an interview with IGN, Fox described that many details of every city building have been modeled as to allow the player to climb the buildings. The game uses a lightning model called "deferred shading" which "makes it possible. . .to have any and every light in the scene moving, flickering, or changing colors".
Sucker Punch officially announced on their Twitter page that the game had been awarded an ESRB "T" rating in America and the European equivalent, presumably a BBFC 12 as PEGI initially awarded the game a 16+ rating.
Strategy Informer 8.5/10
inFamous Official Website
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