Infamous 2 gets a makeover

Comic-Con 2010: Sucker Punch developers detail their superhero franchise's secret origins and explain the reasoning behind Cole's new look and voice.

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Who was there: Infamous 2 animator Billy Harper, designer Darren Bridges, and graphic cutscenes lead Edward Pun.

What they talked about: With Infamous 2 on the way next year, key developers from Sucker Punch visited Comic-Con to take a victory lap for their previous game. The panel kicked off with a trailer showing a combination of gameplay and cutscenes for Infamous 2, giving the audience a good long look at the newly redesigned Cole in action. The character's look isn't the only thing new: the clip showed off an electrified melee weapon (tentatively known as a cattle prod, or "the amp") and new powers, with Cole discus-throwing an electric tornado at an enemy helicopter.

Infamous 2 sees Cole in new digs with new duds and a new delivery.

After the applause died down, the developers started discussing their reasons for making the jump from Sly Cooper to the original Infamous. One of the hardest things with superhero games is that they're often tied to film releases, Bridges said. Infamous didn't have that restraint and was all the better for it.

Pun said the eureka moment for the original game was when they decided to make the main character a bike messenger. Bike messengers tend to be a little crazy anyway, he said, weaving in and out of traffic for a living. So the team wondered how a bike messenger would react if given a tremendous amount of power all of a sudden.

While the team has a big arc planned out for the franchise, everything started with the gameplay. Bridges said the team didn't get into the nitty-gritty of the story details until the gameplay was coming together. Without that approach, Bridges said it could be like making a game out of the Marvel character Black Bolt, who can destroy the world with a mere whisper. It's an interesting character, Bridges said, but the story of Black Bolt would limit the gameplay.

Even the setting of Empire City derived from the gameplay. Bridges said that when Infamous was in development, most open-world games had consisted of dudes with guns who drove cars. For Infamous, they didn't want to do cars. As Bridges noted, "You don't feel much like a superhero if you're driving a car."

The trio talked about Cole's weakness to water and how it worked narratively, thematically, and for gameplay as well. Putting the game on an island restrained the player in an acceptable way, while Cole drew upon Empire City for power, in a literal as well as figurative sense.

Moving to the second game, the developers talked a bit about tweaks on the way, one of which is a new style of cutscene. The clip showed a city like a post-Katrina New Orleans, overrun with redneck mobs looking "to keep their town pure." Cole's voice-over suggests he's there with his pal Zeke in search of more power.

The first question in the Q&A part of the session dealt with the new look for Cole, and Bridges said it came about partly as a way to make Cole fit within his new city and in the new backdrop. Harper mentioned that some of the most prominent feedback they received on the original game was that people didn't like Cole. The character's new voice was adopted for the same reason, as Harper said the team caught a lot of flack for the original's gravelly tone. He mentioned throat cancer and Christian Bale's Batman as a couple of the more common phrasings.

The look isn't the only change that had some fans concerned. One audience member questioned the presence of the new weapon in the trailer, saying he liked that Cole was basically unarmed in the original and that made the game stand out from its peers. Harper again pointed to feedback from the original game, saying some gamers played the original Infamous almost like a beat-'em-up, wading into mobs to pummel enemies without ever using his other powers. The developers decided to add weapons in order to facilitate that style of play.

As for the new city, Pun pointed out that Empire City had been destroyed pretty good in the first game, and the developers wanted someplace new to set the game. They also wanted to pick some setting that would be instantly recognizable for players, something that would stick in their minds so they knew from even a single screenshot that the game was Infamous 2. Harper also pointed out the diversity of environments offered by a New Orleans-inspired setting and the various implications that has for gameplay and destruction.

Those environments should also be quicker to navigate in the sequel, Harper said. The team is giving Cole more abilities to increase the fluidity of traversing the city. He said the goal is to make the game feel more like parkour, so players look at an area less like a normal city block and more like a collection of ways to get from point A to point B.

Quote: "If you want to find out the make of a man, give him power."--Harper, explaining the idea behind Infamous' karma system.

"I'll just say we love [Infamous]."--Bridges, when asked if there would be a third Infamous game.

"Cricket, cricket."--Bridges, when asked if there would be a fourth Sly Cooper game.

The takeaway: The original Infamous was hugely influenced by its own gameplay. Infamous 2 will be hugely influenced by the feedback on the original.

Who knew?: Infamous was not Harper's first superhero game. He had previously worked on a Superman game, which he said was made difficult by the character's lack of weaknesses.

Discussion

113 comments
ellfie
ellfie

@Chiyo18 Very good point, I completely agree. They did do a good job making the players feel quite powerful with just Cole, though it could be said that Cole has an arsenal of weapons of his own kind. Rather than guns and blades, we get lightening "bullets" and such. Either way, can't wait to play it with what they give us!

Goods_Merchant
Goods_Merchant

I did enjoy Cole's voice in the original, I thought that it made him a total badass, a quality lacked by many other leading characters in games. And who are these people that hated his voice so much? because from here, all I have hard is negative feedback to Sucker Punch's change of voice actor.

sora657
sora657

i think his old voice was great tho :(

CAC2012
CAC2012

@EmJayW naw its not english its ig u can say slang....u lame B*#$%

EmJayW
EmJayW

@CAC2012 Sorry, but is that english?

CAC2012
CAC2012

This game is gne go hard omm bro i cant wait 4 dis 2 cum out....

samilieus
samilieus

The game was great, I hope the second is just as good. I thought the look and sound for Cole was perfect. I will still play it, but I'm with tigersharksvt....there was not much wrong with the first game.

TigerSharkSVT
TigerSharkSVT

seriously if the fans are complaing about a game how can they be fans of the game? If you don't like it you're a critic not a fan. Please just stfu. I thought the design for cole voice and all was just fine. none of it bothered me. most people I know loved the game and none of them had any complaints about the look or the voice of cole. Honestely, I'm most disappointed that they changed those two things. I still probably get it and like a previous poster said i'll probably like it but again there was not much wrong with the first game.

Raykuza
Raykuza

@ellfie You are absolutely right. I can't imaging ever trying to please a pack of rabid nerds (myself included). We're very nit-picky but at the same time, somewhat fickle. And always whiny. The people whining about the changes they are making in this game are probably the same people that whine about how Nintendo rarely makes any changes to their games. Why is everyone complaining about these changes? I think it's great that they aren't just going to release the same game twice. Also, please give Cole a bike as a weapon, because that would be the best.

Chiyo18
Chiyo18

@ellfie i agree that options are good, but, just like you said, the weapon does make it more mainstream. pretty much every game out there gives you weapons to play with. that's why i loved the infamous. your weapon was you. great powers to mess with but you could still do melee if you wanted. i thought sucker punch did a great job making it feel like you didn't NEED a physical weapon in hand in order to feel powerful.

OzzyMcRcky
OzzyMcRcky

Thats utter rubbish ! I know a great many people who loved Cole and his voice ! The new Voice sounds like a whiney Peter Parker, and the new look is simply a Nathan Drake clone. Original ? Ha !

ellfie
ellfie

@Chiyo18 While I agree with you; options are good too. As long as they don't force us to use only powers, or only punching, or only weapons for an extended period of time, I don't much see the problem in the long run. Though I guess it does mainstream it more.

ellfie
ellfie

I feel bad for game developers, having to deal with the ups and downs of fans as if we're all hormonal little girls (no offense to those of us who are). First we hate something, then love it, then only kind of like it, then decide we can't live without it when they take it away. We all hate change at first glance, but usually get over it after some complaining and end up loving the new things so that when they even think of going back we freak out. Granted, I'm part of that group of people at times. But I still feel for the developers. PS: we shoulda had some mission as Cole on a bike. A freaky electrified bike that runs through enemies like a tank! (or not). But really, I tend to forget Cole is/was a bike messenger, and it seems key to them.

Ladiesman17
Ladiesman17

who's this person?? Commander Shepard wannabe!! :D LOL

fox17493
fox17493

Change a formula is change the results its essence because the flavor is different and the flavor is the thing that the people buy, but change the look dont affect the result or the flavor just the colors of the can and people would by a coke if it is red or green but wont if it has the flavor of a lime, the same you can apply to infamous u can change cole's look and that wont modify the good or bad of the game that is the story and the playability that is the essence of the game, what people buy, but not the look. So you cant compare the coke flavor importance with just a haircut.

zinoalex
zinoalex

Changing Cole's look and voice is a dumb move by Sucker Punch and one that they will come to regret. By that time it will have been too late. Basically they are alienating the fans that loved the first game in favor of striking out to potentially find new fans.Might be a novel idea on paper but it works terribly in practicality.Didn't Coke change it's formula back in the 1980's only to have a disasterous results?

fox17493
fox17493

Come on people Cole's new look was cool, whats wrong with a look change, do you ever go to get the same haircut? or do you change it sometimes? if we have the same haircut all our life it would be boring and monotonous. And the new weapon is great too who dont like it, is simple, you go to the store, buy the game and dont use it never, dont press the weapon button never just electrify and punch and dont use it, people that like it use it people that dont , just dont. EDIT: the one at the right one this picture that is ingame's new cole http://i3.3djuegos.com/juegos/5166/infamous_2/fotos/noticias/infamous_2-1297761.jpg is different than the one at the right in this picture, that is a new coles draw,http://static.betazeta.com/www.niubie.com/up/2010/07/coleinfamous-550x350.jpg why? the second one is like a mix of old and new cole. I like the hybrid one because it has a similar face but new look.

Predator_286
Predator_286

I really didn't mind the gravely voice all that much

kangaox
kangaox

I loved Cole's 1st voice!!! He sounded a hard ass! why change that??

InFamous_626
InFamous_626

his new look makes him look like a pretty boy

InFamous_626
InFamous_626

i miss coles old voice now he sounds like a girl

Chiyo18
Chiyo18

i can't believe sucker punch is catering to the idiots who played the first as a beat-em up! cole doesn't need a weapon! he has kick arse super powers! that was the whole point of him NOT having a weapon in the first game. they are completely mainstreaming the second one for people who were complaining about things that really don't need to be changed.

OmegaGear
OmegaGear

A superman game... Since he's not saying which one, I'm assuming Superman 64 lol

zMd113
zMd113

I want the old Cole back, period.

kami_amaya
kami_amaya

Proof that listening to feedback from fans will ruin a series... Ok so maybe I'm being a little harsh, but nothing was wrong with Cole that needed changed!

pman2525
pman2525

nevermind i saw one of the cut scenes and its still the same old comic book style but now its 10 times better and incorporates 3D environments that the camera zooms around in!!! i cant wait to get the game :D

HaRdNiPs
HaRdNiPs

yes it looks and sounds much better than e3's coverage. can't wait to get the game and see the new comic box cutscenes.

yixingtpot
yixingtpot

this new Cole looks more like a nice guy, typical American kid, so it will look much more sinister when he becomes evil Cole. Well, are they even going to have the personality system in this one? maybe he won't be able to turn EVIL... muahahahaha

bolivianlegacy
bolivianlegacy

they should let you customize Cole's look with tattoos, clothes and hair

ScreamDream
ScreamDream

I can't say it will be better than the first but I love how Sony tries to do a makeover of a game instead of just churning out a new version every year.

pman2525
pman2525

i'm going to forget my first reactions of cole and just say that he looks better than the first (my opinion because i didnt really like the first cole so dont spam me with comments for saying that). And i hope by what they meant by theres a new style to the cutscenes is the comic book style is gone :D

redskinStu
redskinStu

Didn't like Infamous. Traded it in on Fallout 3. Cheapshot game, constantly getting hit from all sides by people you don't even know were there. Gte used to seeing the load screen. You'll be seeing lots of it.

Scalper
Scalper

so I guess they will change him once again because people really don't like Cole #2. Should of just stuck with the first design, was much cooler and unique

deathstream
deathstream

@yixingtpot Considering how bad the vaseline screen was in inFamous, your fanboy comment is laughable. inFamous is NOT the game you pull out to show the PS3's graphical prowess. I love the game, but it is what it is.

gstealer
gstealer

I won't mind all the changes they're making to Cole, except the voice, I mean, it better not be too different, that would be just odd, outta nowhere the guy just changes his voice. The remaining...fine by me, as long as it's as fun and, hopefully, better.

deathstream
deathstream

Cole changed clothes? Good. His bike messenger outfit was starting to reek after 3+ weeks. He let his hair grow? I fail to see why this is a problem. His face is a little different? Odd, but you never see his front anyway. The voice is different? OK, that is strange. Around the time this was posted last night, IGN posted a story that said Cole's old look was returning. I'm all confused.

fox17493
fox17493

I like the new look and new weapons, i think that ask about them in a conference are not interesting questions because we know something about them and is obvious Cole dindt go to a get a haircut because he wanted to look better and maybe he just ate a mentol and thats why his voice sound better xD is so obvious (excepting the mentol thing LOL). Why noone asked there when they had the opprtunity the question we are all making in our heads. Why in this freaking world now COLE has ICE POWERS?! Thats interesting who cares why his hair is longer? and why he now has a tube in his back? Is so cool that cole has a new element in his arsenal, so why noone asked to the producers why and how did he get them, if he did of course because maybe is not a power, i saw in the trailer that when the ice comes from the ground, cole has a bright-blue-like stone, maybe thats the source of ice powers, dont you think?

sieg6529
sieg6529

the new one looks and sounds fine, but it really hurts continuity

yixingtpot
yixingtpot

much better the original Cole was a douche... looked pissed off all the time and his shaved head made him seem like a doofus. they seem to improved everything about the game, so i want it... it's also a BLu-ray level game i think not a dvd level XBROKER

strayfies
strayfies

I'm with Kamikuza, it makes me a little nervous since I sorta liked the original just fine. So long as they protect the intended style, I look forward to their sequel. ... Even if they don't, I look forward to their sequel. That game was surprisingly fun.

kamizuka
kamizuka

both old Cole and the new one look cool and badass. the only reason i somehow dislike the makeover is because i want him to look similar to the original. so should you(the reason you dislike the new one). it would be an amateur act for you to simply hate for an other reason. they already said that they made him look more like the original so this is over. the game looks really really good first day buy for me. really exited

Riaktion
Riaktion

The question I wanted to ask is how is the narrative going to carry on from the first game. Are we evil cole or good cole. Seen as the story seemed to say that evil cole was actually what was needed to combat the impending threat that concludes the first game... can we assume thats what happened? From the trailers I'd guess not... Also.. will it read our save games from the first one.. Mass Effect 2 stylke, and carry on the story?

Jackc8
Jackc8

They changed his appearance "to make Cole fit within his new city and in the new backdrop"? Is that even supposed to make any sense?

CaptainHerlock
CaptainHerlock

I think some of you need glasses. Cole looks like Nathan Drake? How? This is yet another groupthink idea that gamers are creating where it will be repeated enough times, eventually making opinion "fact". If anything he looks more like Wentworth Miller from Prison Break.

Shepard4Ever
Shepard4Ever

Infamous is the first game that I got for my PS3, and it still remains one of my favourite titles. I think that the darkness and feeling of impending doom added a lot to the feel of the game. The characters were great, even though very little time was actually spent on developing them in between gameplay. I also think that Cole's original voice and look were perfect for the character, and that unless there is a story driven reason for the change it shouldn't happen. Infamous was one of the most entertaining games I've ever played, and I'm really psyched about playing the sequel. I sincerely hope that the guys at Sucker Punch will not mess with the feel too much.

drummer131
drummer131

I was shocked when I read that feedback actually stated people didn't like "old" Cole's voice and appearance. Go figure, you totally wouldn't get that impression reading people's comments on the internet, this site included. Gotta be honest, the first game didn't interest me at all. This one, though, looks more colorful and I'm diggin' what I see so far. Personally, I don't see any resemblance to Nathan Drake.

carmona96
carmona96

I think that the changes are good. And I'm exited about all the new powers that Cole will have. He's gonna be baddass

Vegna871
Vegna871

I've said this before, but the only thing I dislike about the redesign is the Nathan Drake-ish face and hairstyle. and besides, if a game is genuinely fun to play, the main character's appearance is not going to ruin it for me.

KaBo0m
KaBo0m

Cole Jr looks like a Nathan Drake reject Great job there.........def not buying this game now. Should have just gave us a brand new character