inFAMOUS 2 GDC Event

Having just landed in San Francisco earlier that same afternoon, I was excited that my first “official” Game Developers Conference (GDC) event was with Sucker Punch.  The event started with a group of journalists, and us, seated in the Sony lounge which during the course of the event was an area dedicated to Sony related announcements and demo kiosks featuring some upcoming games.

Chris Zimmerman, Development Director at Sucker Punch, kicked off the event with their “big secret inFAMOUS 2 announcement” which they’ve been keeping secret for over two years.  A few of us around the room got in our last guesses before the actual announcement was made.  My choice, coop, wasn’t the winner.  User generated content was introduced and then a short video demonstrating it’s capabilities was shared on the largest display in front of the lounge.

After the video Chris and Karl Deckard, Senior Game Designer, discussed some of the new features in detail.  “We’re the harshest critics of our own work” so Sucker Punch set out to improve upon what they thought was the biggest shortcoming with inFAMOUS, at some point it ends.  With user generated content within inFAMOUS 2 the game doesn’t stop at the end of the story missions but will rather continue with missions others have created.

All of the same content and tools the developers use when designing story missions will be included for user created levels in addition to some items only available in that mode such as race rings (more on the rings later).  This allows players the ability to create missions at the same level of quality as those created by Sucker Punch.  Although I’m sure some skills may also be required to be as good as the devs.

User created levels are fully integrated into the game and are differentiated by a different mission color; green.  Players can set filters within their inFAMOUS 2 game which will ultimately determine which user created missions are displayed within their specific game worlds.  Can filter by things such as highest rated shooters, newest uploaded puzzle missions, highest rated missions overall regardless of mission type and much more.  Default settings, applying no specific filtering, will include “Sucker Punch feature content” which are user created missions that have earned the highest honor or in other words have been played enough and rated high enough to be included right within everyone’s game.  Other rating tiers are achievable including the next highest rating of “famous”.  The others weren’t named in the event discussion.  So basically if you design a level that becomes ‘infamous’, see what I did there, then it could be included and accessible in every players game (on default settings, with no applied filters).

Playable were a few different mission types; a puzzle mission, rings race, shooting gallery and a story type mission with straight forward combat.

The rings race mission reminded me of Crackdown, an XBOX 360 title.  It had Cole racing from one ring to the next with the race time extended as he passed through each new ring.  Different from Crackdown however was the fact that enemies were attacking Cole as he was trying to make his way through the course.  I made reference to these rings earlier as they are only included in the user generated content levels and are not a part of the story missions.

Shooting gallery put Cole in front of  a large building with a bunch of floating platforms containing enemy AI characters.  By levitating barrels, a new ability in the game, and then throwing the barrels at the platforms Cole is able to knock down all the enemies.  Goal was to do just that.  Some strategy was involved as hitting the lower platforms could sometimes chain and also explode the above platforms.  Doing so seemed to complete the mission with a faster time and of course became a source of trash talking amongst the players.

The last mission I had an opportunity to play was the more straight forward type.  Set on top of a flatbed truck Cole had to prevent a barrage of incoming enemies from crossing his position.  In humorous fashion enemies who made it past could be seen dancing on the other side of the truck.  Well, maybe the dancing could be better labeled as mocking.  I enjoyed this mission the most as it allowed me the opportunity to use a lot of Cole’s abilities in taking out the enemies.  An electricity source was included on top of the truck for quick and easy recharging which was needed often as their were a lot of enemies to contend with.

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