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It’s Electric: The inFamous Q&A

With Sucker Punch’s highly-anticipated open-world super-hero game due for release at the end of this month, we hooked up with Brian Fleming for one last time to find out if the team is geared up for launch.

PSU: Excitement is building as the launch date of inFamous draws ever closer. Since we spoke with you at CES 2009 in January, what have been the major areas of the game you’ve been focusing on and what issues have you had to overcome?

Brian Fleming: We’ve spent the past three months polishing and refining and optimising every aspect of the game. Empire City is a huge urban climbing wonderland, Cole’s powers are incredible, and you can go anywhere at any time without load screens. The karma system has been tweaked to perfection, and the missions (over a hundred) have been play-tested and refined for maximum impact.

PSU: In our last interview, you mentioned that the Karma system and the choices that we make in the game will have a visual impact on the environment as well as affect the gameplay, but you didn’t go into much detail. Can you elaborate now on that system?

Everything in inFamous reacts to Cole’s karma level. His powers grow and change differently, his appearance changes, Empire City’s citizens act differently, and the streets and neighborhoods themselves look different. The way Cole’s powers change is especially significant. Depending on your karma, the upgrades to your powers are different. For example, your shock grenades can be upgraded to be stronger and to incapacitate enemies when you are good. But if you are evil, the upgrade makes the grenades split off into multiple grenadelets, causing a ton of collateral damage. This theme plays out across all the powers… good upgrades increase control, while evil upgrades increase chaos.

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PSU: We all know about Cole and his arsenal of superpowers, but what about his hand-to-hand combat skills? How deep is the melee system?

Cole’s melee skills are part and parcel with the rest of his powers. You can upgrade his melee attacks just like any other power. And combinations of powers with melee can be devastating. For example, you can incapacitate or levitate enemies with your shock wave, and then come in with melee for the final blow.

PSU: Have you been keeping an eye on the Prototype vs. inFamous debate? It seems that, despite many people not having played either of these titles, gamers are already dividing themselves into two camps and making comparisons between both games. What would you say to those people and are you worried about the competition from Prototype?

We’ve been so focused on making inFamous that we haven’t had time to think about other games or worry about debates. Players will play what they play and enjoy what they enjoy. We’ve spent our time making inFamous as fun and engaging as we can. Arguments before games are released don’t matter. What matters are fun games, and we think inFamous can compete with anyone.

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PSU: What are your expectations about how inFamous will be received by the public and what do you think are its major selling points?

inFamous has always been about the feeling of becoming a super hero. Everything in the game has worked toward that goal. The incredible open environment of Empire City is amazing to climb and explore. The powers Cole learns are over the top. Karma is interesting and important and adds a ton of replay value. All in all, it’s a super fun package that we think a lot of people will enjoy.

PSU: Hypothetically, if you could have had more time to work on the development of inFamous, is there anything you would like to have tweaked, changed or even added to the final build?

There are always bugs you weren’t able to fix, and tweaks to the code or artwork that would have been slightly better. But we were able to cram a ton of stuff into inFamous, and it really shows in the final product.

Stay tuned for PSU’s inFamous review before the game hits stores on May 26 in North America and on May 29 in Europe.