Infamous is a series of action-adventure games developed by Sucker Punch Productions and published by Sony Computer Entertainment exclusively for the PlayStation 3 and Playstation 4 computer entertainment systems. The series follows Cole MacGrath, a normal human turned super human, as he uses his abilities to morally decide to take the path of good (Hero) or evil (Infamous).
Whether he should save the world from being annihilated by powerful foes or witness the destruction of the world, the choice is in the player's hands.
The development of Sucker Punch took about three years and a team of sixty people. The plans for Infamous's development came during the end of the development process of Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves. After spending six years on the Sly Cooper series, they wanted a stealth game genre with a different direction, something more "brazen and loud" . Because the team were big fans of the "comic book" motif, they wanted to design the game to be more like a superhero game where there is a base back story and throughout the game, the player can witness the growth of the characters throughout the game. Nate Fox, the director, said most of the inspiration came from two DC series, DMZ and No Man's Land. Nate Fox further noted that the Batman Begins movie was also a source of inspiration. The story-line was written mostly by Nate, the story director, and reviewed by Fleming. The story and cut scene animations were created by the team. However, as things got more busy and it was just Fleming reviewing the work, they had to bring in Brian Harms, a published comic author, who the team knew from his work at another Seattle game development firm. The game underwent significant changes during the last nine months. The cut scenes were created by using 2D art that was created in Corel Painter and Adobe Photoshop, and placed them into Adobe After Effects's 3D stages to create a pseudo-3D effect that allowed the team to play with different camera placement and effects such as organic elements such as dust clouds and ink spots.
The gameplay in the Infamous series takes place in an open virtual world where the player can freely move where one desires. The Infamous series uses different elements from a variety of genres such as action, platforming, shooting, and role-playing. The games are structured in missions as simple as finding a package around town to a more difficult challenge of defeating multiple powerful enemies at once. The player must use Cole's electrical powers, such as lightning bolts, shockwaves, and shock grenades, or his electrical rod, which was introduced in Infamous 2, to complete the missions and finish the game.
The Infamous series implements a karma system which alters the gameplay by the choices of the player. The more good a player does, such as healing the wounded, stopping crimes, and protecting citizens from danger, causes the main character to become a Hero. The more evil a player does, such as killing innocent people, causing destruction around the city, and not abiding by the law, causes the protagonist to become Infamous. Each good or bad activity that has been done, adds to the karma system, which slowly goes up or down depending on moral decisions of the player. An ethical player would choose the Hero route and save the citizens of the city, while an unethical player would want to wreak havoc and become Infamous. Whichever path the player chooses, it alters the main story.
Though Infamous 2's setting calls to mind a post-Hurricane Katrina New Orleans, which should be a fertile ground for creating sympathy, the characterization of both the main characters and the anonymous citizens makes it challenging to genuinely feel for them. The good/bad binary, then, becomes a purely ludic element to the game. As the video game journalist Leigh Alexander puts it:
- The citizens of New Marais dodder around awkwardly like weird little scarecrows, wandering into one another and into firefights; I'm in
- the center of town throwing vehicles at some giant monster and the cars continue driving around, beeping at me because I'm standing in
- their way. They say stupid things, or sometimes they just run around in screaming hysterics.
- But the game world -- you know, the things I need to climb on and jump off of -- is beautifully made. The game feels brilliant. All the
- important stuff is perfect, and everything else should stay just the way it is. Because if it were less funny and more real, maybe I
- wouldn't feel so awesome about ripping it all apart.
Infamous is the fist game in the series, released in 2009. The story begins following the main character, Cole MacGrath, while he is transporting an unknown package on his bike through the streets of Empire City, a fictional city based on New York City. While he was transporting the package, the object inside, known as the Ray Sphere, erupted and caused an explosion to occur, taking out a part of the city. The Ray Sphere is a powerful item that gives the person who has it the ability to absorb people's energy within the handler's surrounding and make the user become unbelievably powerful. Cole had miraculously survived the blast and was given the power of the Ray Sphere which he discovered after his recovery from the blast. He could shock people with electric bolts, drain the electricity of electrical objects, create a shockwave, and even float by using his generated electricity as thrusters. After the explosion from the Ray Sphere, Empire City was detained by the government which caused crime groups that reside in the city to seize control of the city from the government. MacGrath was pinpointed as the source for the explosion and was taken in by federal agents. Cole made a deal with a FBI agent to search for the Ray Sphere in exchanged for his freedom from government hands. He returns to the city using his new found superpowers to engage in missions to find the item that caused all the damage and gave Cole his abilities. Cole eventually finds the Ray Sphere and an enemy that goes by the name of Kessler, who is an alternative future version of MacGrath himself. Cole and Kessler charge into a fierce battle. When Kessler was defeated by Cole, he told him that all the events that occurred were planed by Kessler himself to make Cole be the one who possessed the Ray Sphere to prepare him for a powerful enemy called "The Beast."
Infamous 2 (2011)
Infamous 2 is the second game in the series, released in 2011. The story continues months after the events that occurred in Empire City. Cole MacGrath has returned with a new look in the new city of New Marais, which is a fictional city based on New Orleans. He traveled to New Marais to find more information and answers about the Ray Sphere, where it was created, and prepare himself for the inevitable battle with "The Beast." While Cole is in New Marais, he faces a new foe named Joseph Bertrand III, who controls the city with his militia. Bertrand tries to order the removal of superpowered beings and mutated people, known as the Corrupted, out of the city, which includes Cole. As Cole defends himself against Bertrand and his militia, "The Beast" was approaching New Marais and he had little time to collect blast shards, a source of massive energy, to power the RFI (Ray Field Inhibitor), which would allow him to defeat "The Beast." MacGrath discovered that Bertrand was a mutant all along and in the end defeated him, putting an end to Bertrand's control over the city. After the defeat of Bertrand, "The Beast," who is a NSA agent that goes by the name of John White who was killed by the explosion in Empire City, had arrived to New Marias telling Cole that a plague had spread from the blast, infecting everyone who is not a Conduit, a person with abilities. White insists that Cole help him convert the Conduits to help them stay alive. At the end, Cole activates the RFI, finding out the if used, it would kill all Conduits, including Cole, but weaken "The Beast" and save millions of people. The ending is determine by the player's moral choice to save the people who are infected or to help "The Beast" with his plan.
- Best Script from IGN
- Overall Game of the Year and Best Acting from Golden Game Awards
- Best Action/Adventure Game from EuroGamer
- Studio of the Year from PixlBit
- Interview with Brian Fleming
- Interview with Nate Fox
- Infamous Developer Interview
- inFamous Cut Scenes
- Alexander, Leigh. "How I Learned to be the Bad Guy in Video Games". Kotaku.
- Alexander, Leigh. "Please Keep Being Stupid". Sexy Videogameland.