Infamous Interview with Nate Fox

DontKnowMe

Forum Elder
Oct 19, 2006
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http://ps3.ign.com/articles/908/908014p1.html
IGN interviews Nate Fox about Infamous
UK, September 5, 2008 - Ever wanted to fire electricity bolts out of your fingers? It's a fantasy we regularly indulge in on our commute to work and it looks like we might be able to safely realise our ambitions with Sucker Punch's Infamous, an open world superhero game that's coming exclusively to the PlayStation 3 early next year. Energetic and enthused by his game, Infamous's producer Nate Fox's demonstration of the game at last month's Games Convention made a refreshing change from some of the more apathetic shows we saw. When we caught up with him later for a more in-depth discussion, his spark was barely dulled by the hangover he confessed to harbouring as he takes us through the development of one of the biggest titles for the PlayStation 3 in 2009.

IGN: So how's work going on Infamous?

Nate Fox: The game's coming along pretty well and we're right on target for a release in Spring 2009, and it's fun to play. I guess that's the big thing, isn't it? So what's your take on it?




IGN: We just saw the demo for the first time and we're seriously impressed. It's a really accomplished open world. Was that a big technical challenge?

Nate Fox: It's been difficult making an open world, mainly because the technology costs of getting the streaming working are really high. As you might imagine, it's really fun making an open world game, because when you put something new in the game it's all over the place. The whole city benefits from the addition of a traffic simulation. So everyday when I'm playing the game I'm seeing new things getting added in – like pedestrians digging in trashcans for food – and you're just constantly surprised. It's hard because it's so vast, but it's cool in that everybody gets to share in this thing. It's not like lots of little pieces. It's like one big cake.

IGN: Do you feel any pressure because it's a new IP?

Nate Fox: I think there is a certain pressure because you're defining what it is first time out, but it's really exciting too because you get to define what it is, you're not bound by the fiction you established in the first one. Say, for instance, we're working on a superpower and it's not much fun, we can cut it because it's not part of the canon, right? We've got the freedom to just focus on making the game as fun as possible.

IGN: What came first – the desire to make a superhero game, or the desire to make an open world game?

Nate Fox: We're giant comic book fans and graphic novel fans. Who hasn't had the idea? I really like Grand Theft Auto and I want to be a superhero in this world. Definitely our desire to make a superhero game came before our desire to make an open world game. We wanted to make the superhero experience, an interactive experience where you go through the origin story, which is always the coolest part of any superhero story. Videogames are great for making you feel it, so what does it take to give you that experience? So we just put it together.

IGN: The whole world seemed scalable from what we saw in the demo – has that been difficult to implement?

Nate Fox: Our rule is that if you think you should be able to climb on it, we let you do it. It's a tough rule to stick to, but it's worth it because there's a sense of freedom. Because it's an open world game, it's freedom in all three dimensions, so it's very tactile. It has been really hard because we wanted to make our interface really easy and not a complex combination of button presses like playing the saxophone or anything. We have a full time employee, and all he does is make things be climbable, that's all he does.

IGN: Does he enjoy it?

Nate Fox: It's cool, his responsibility is to make the world lush with interactivity. It's awesome, because you put in time and people can immediately interact with what you've worked on. He's like a god in our world.

IGN: How are the missions going to present themselves?

Nate Fox: Our mission structure is kind of similar to GTA in that you have this open world and then you become aware that a mission exists. Our missions are different in that they have very strong beginnings, middles and ends with a lot of scripted events along the way to make you feel like you're the star of the action. You're the big event in the city.

IGN: Are you happy that a lot of people are comparing it to Crackdown?

Nate Fox: I think it's up to journalists to decide. It's like saying 'Do you like Aliens? Do you like Star Wars?' They're both science fiction, so that's great. Fun games are fun games. I think Crackdown's a blast to play, but I don't think our game's like Crackdown. There's a city and a guy who can do a lot of spectacular things in a city.




IGN: How's the dichotomy between good and bad going to be represented in the game?

Nate Fox: I can't talk about all aspects of the world's reflection looking back at you, but the stuff you can count on is a believable response from the world itself. The people on the street will react like real people would if you're being a jerk, and there will be other things which we can show you in the future. It's an important aspect of the game that we give you this freedom, so we want you to be able to feel it.

IGN: Are the choices you make reflected in the narrative?

Nate Fox: We can't talk totally about how the game works out, but the core freedom that you have in playing the game is – you've got a mission, for example to stop a bomb from going off. How you go about stopping that bomb from going off is totally an expression of you in the world. Do you blow it up from a distance because it's a lot easier to shoot at the bomb? That would be the jerk way to do it. Or do you go up and try to defuse it? You get to make decisions like that. I like to think of things like Batman or The Punisher. The Punisher kills everybody, he doesn't care, while Batman is surgical, smart and very careful. You can totally play either direction in the game and by doing so your powers will improve along that axis of morality that you have in the game world. It's not just about hitting a branch in the tree and making a decision, it's about second to second gameplay.

IGN: Infamous seems like quite a departure from what you've done previously...

Nate Fox: It's been really exciting to get a break from sneaking around like a thief, and finally just going crazy, breaking stuff and being a superhero. For me that's exciting as a games designer, and I can think about mission structure and gameplay in a different way. It's nice also having a believable world, because you already have a relationship with a telephone pole, right? And in a cartoon world, everything has its own rules. Because it's a believable world, you know what it's like having a car hit you on the head – it hurts.

IGN: How much of the Sly games are in there – is it identifiably a Sucker Punch game?

Nate Fox: There are certainly aspects of the Sly Racoon franchise in Infamous. There's a love of story and character development, as well as a sense of improvisational gameplay where you make up how you interact with the environment and enemies, which is something that we really like from Sly 2.




IGN: There's a distinct comic book feel running through the whole game – did you pluck any recognisable talent from the comic book world?

Nate Fox: Actually, all the in-game movies are made in-house.

IGN: One extension of the comic book ethos could be offering up episodic content . Is that a possibility?

Nate Fox: Not at this time, but that's an awesome idea. Have you seen that Watchman game that you can get on iTunes?

IGN: Afraid not...

Nate Fox: It's awesome. You get all the panels of the original comic, except it's moving around with Flash with voices doing the dialogue. It's kind of a new way to experience to the graphic novel.

IGN: Kind of like the Metal Gear Solid digital diaries?

Nate Fox: Oh yeah, those are cool.

IGN: Back to our question - is episodic content something that's being considered?

Nate Fox: We're not talking about that right now, but I look forward to giving you ideas further down the line. I think Quest for Booty is a spectacular thing to have on PSN – I'm a big fan of that kind of content.

IGN: Will there be any integration with PlayStation Network?

Nate Fox: I'm sorry, I'm going to have to give you the patented two months from now answer.

IGN: So it's exclusively a single-player game?

Nate Fox: We'll tell you in two months time. Right now we're showing the single-player stuff, which we're excited about and it's going to be fun. That's currently our schtick.

IGN: What exactly is going to happen in two months time?

Nate Fox: The moon's going to crack in two and out of it will come all knowledge of Infamous.

IGN: That sounds terrifying. We've seen Sony's IPs moving to PSP, with the likes of Killzone and Resistance making the transition. Could this happen with Infamous as well?

Nate Fox: Not right now, but that would be great. If you know anybody, let me know.

IGN: Someone to make the game for you? We'll have a scout around.

Nate Fox: Yeah, put your feelers out there.




IGN: How's it working with Sony Worldwide Studios?

Nate Fox: I feel very, very lucky because our Sony producers are smart. They come in and they look at our product and they give us a lot of crisp critical feedback and it's great because they make our game a lot better. The game wouldn't be half as good without them being so honest and frank and then giving us the freedom to solve things how we see fit. They've also shown us the power of user testing, watching kids play the game, see where they get frustrated and internalise it, so when you make new content you're a better designer for it. I'm grateful.

IGN: We spoke to Richard Lemarchand of Naughty Dog recently, and he said it's like a big family. Is there a real sense of community?

Nate Fox: There's a fair amount of sharing with other studios, but the big one is that our producer Brady Hunt is also the producer for Insomniac and Naughty Dog, so it does feel like a family atmosphere. Everyone's really friendly and they're willing to tell you how they've solved technical problems or artistic problems. That's great, because we shouldn't all have to reinvent the wheel. The gamers benefit from us communicating with each other because they get better games, and we benefit because we can help each other.

IGN: Finally, is Infamous going to be an ongoing franchise?

Nate Fox: I would love to answer that question, but you're going to have to play Infamous first.
 

Sylar

Elite Sage
Aug 30, 2008
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#3
Woo thanks for the interview :D this game looks amazing, it'll be interesting what comes up in two months time!
 

Ru$$

Superior Member
Jun 25, 2007
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#4
This game is looking quite good, would love to see some more gamplay of it though.
 

MrG

Dedicated Member
Jul 15, 2007
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#8
Saying "no comment" just sounds like "yes" to all us hopeful gamers. this may well be my favourite game of '09, above Heavy Rain, and Killzone 2, that's how much I'm looking forward to it!
 

Bigdoggy

Master Guru
Jan 24, 2008
7,250
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#9
AHHH!, spring 2009 is so long away. We still have to go through Halloween, thanksgiving, christmas, new years, and Easter. I am also very hyped up for this game. This game is a must-buy in my book.
 

rukusa

Forum Elder
Apr 3, 2007
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#10
IGN: Will there be any integration with PlayStation Network?

Nate Fox:
I'm sorry, I'm going to have to give you the patented two months from now answer.

IGN: So it's exclusively a single-player game?

Nate Fox: We'll tell you in two months time. Right now we're showing the single-player stuff, which we're excited about and it's going to be fun. That's currently our schtick.
Sounds like they've got some ideas for online gaming they arent ready to talk about yet. :)
 

coolguy

Ultimate Veteran
May 24, 2005
20,937
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long island ny
#15
did any body see this game geting played in real time on G-4 pax show..
the guy was on top of the train and the train was going down the tracks..
the detail and grapchis on this game are sick, this game is going to be awesome
 

wyeth124

Superior Member
Sep 11, 2007
664
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#16
I´m definitely keeping an eye on this game. Can´t wait to see what the devs have achieved in the next 2 months.
 

CodenameD

Dedicated Member
Dec 16, 2007
1,159
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#18
GN: How's it working with Sony Worldwide Studios?

Nate Fox: I feel very, very lucky because our Sony producers are smart. They come in and they look at our product and they give us a lot of crisp critical feedback and it's great because they make our game a lot better. The game wouldn't be half as good without them being so honest and frank and then giving us the freedom to solve things how we see fit. They've also shown us the power of user testing, watching kids play the game, see where they get frustrated and internalise it, so when you make new content you're a better designer for it. I'm grateful.

IGN: We spoke to Richard Lemarchand of Naughty Dog recently, and he said it's like a big family. Is there a real sense of community?

Nate Fox: There's a fair amount of sharing with other studios, but the big one is that our producer Brady Hunt is also the producer for Insomniac and Naughty Dog, so it does feel like a family atmosphere. Everyone's really friendly and they're willing to tell you how they've solved technical problems or artistic problems. That's great, because we shouldn't all have to reinvent the wheel. The gamers benefit from us communicating with each other because they get better games, and we benefit because we can help each other.
I appreciate Sony building this first Party family atmosphere with their developers. The being sincerely critical yet allowing freedom is cool too.
 

Bigdoggy

Master Guru
Jan 24, 2008
7,250
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#22
[QUOTE="rebirthfyre, post: 0]2 months...that's like November right? *circles entire month*. I NEED this game. Also any information regarding this game.[/quote]


2 months? I thought he said spring of 2009. lol, you got me excited there for a second.


Edited: due to the post below mine.