It's hard to say that games are a huge focus at this year's Consumer Electronics Show, and for evidence of that, one need look no further than the Sony booth. Sony's various PlayStation offerings took up just a corner of the company's massive show floor, with the rest of the gargantuan space dedicated to other electronics bearing the Sony name. However, this morning Sony put on a stage show to talk about a few of its key first-party games due out in 2009. One such game is one that we've had our eye on since its impressive E3 showing: the Sucker Punch-developed sandbox action game known as Infamous.
Leading the demonstration was the game's producer, Brian Fleming. With CES aimed at a less hardcore audience than your typical video game show, Fleming gave a fairly generalized overview of the game. In short: You play as a character named Cole, a college dropout turned bicycle messenger who one day delivers a package that results in a massive electromagnetic explosion going off, killing everyone in a six-block radius except for him. The result is a brand-new Cole who is angry, seeking answers, and suddenly imbued with superhuman electrical powers. Before the explosion, Cole was pretty into parkour, and now he's even more athletic in the way he runs and jumps atop--and often across--tall buildings. You might think of it as a modern-day, urban Assassin's Creed with insane electrical powers thrown in for good measure.
This is all material that's been covered before, but the demo took place in a brand-new environment that we hadn't yet seen. This new area gave us a bit of insight into the game's morality system, which is to say that it offered a chance to see that Cole isn't simply an antihero who runs around zapping helpless pedestrians who so much as breathe at him funny (though that's certainly still an option if you choose to play that way). Cole was in a city park, fighting off a few enemies while investigating a mysterious black poison with the consistency of tar that was coming from nearby sewer pipes. Apparently this toxic liquid is having an extremely adverse affect on the local population, so you can choose to pursue the source of it and put it to a stop rather than putting all of the locals out of their misery with zaps to the face.
To do this, Fleming navigated Cole from the park to an underground tunnel that serves as a potential source of information on the scourge. Along the way, Fleming showed off some of the game's slick platforming. Cole can quickly and effortlessly climb up buildings, dance along thin wires, and leap to the ground with a devastating thud. What's most remarkable is how smooth the animations look, blending it all together.
Fleming then made it to the tunnel, showing off some of the close-quarters combat. This reduces Cole's ability to monkey around with his running and jumping abilities, instead forcing you to rely on brute force to make it through. Thankfully, Cole's got that in spades. The best example might be the electromagnetic pulse, which devastates everything within a certain radius. This comes in very handy in the tunnel, with all of the cars becoming potential projectiles to fling at oversized enemies.
Fleming ended the demo before the mission was complete so as to avoid spoiling the story, but the brief glimpse we saw of the game during this stage demo looked quite good. You can expect to see more on Infamous as its spring 2009 release draws closer.