Art director Mathias Lorenz introduces the new instalment in the supercharged adventures of Cole MacGrath.
What was your goal when you set out to make inFamous 2?
To make a new and better game. We looked at everything and made sure we left no stone unturned in creating a bigger, better and louder sequel! In inFamous, we hint at The Beast, the civilisation-ending dark character, but we don't see it, we don't know what it is. Going into inFamous 2, right away you fight The Beast and you find yourself reeling from that experience. So Cole goes to this new city, New Marais, which is a southern United States city inspired by New Orleans and a couple of European cities such as Paris and Italian architecture. He goes there because that is the place where the Ray Sphere is built, this thing that he got his superpowers from. So Cole tries to find people who are familiar with it because he knows that he needs to amplify his powers, he needs to become a super, superhero because he knows The Beast is coming.
After the initial reveal, you decided to revert to the original design for Cole; can you explain the reasoning behind this?
We looked at everything coming from inFamous and one of the decisions was to change his outfit based on the fact that New Marais is a city in the south: it's hot, it's humid, there's no way he can keep his leather jacket on, not for 10 minutes. So one of the decisions was to remove the jacket and put him in a T-shirt; also since we're working on and improving his parkour abilities, I wanted to show off his body more rather than have his jacket hide his muscles. We changed the actor for Cole; in the first game he was represented by a voice actor and one of the big improvements for inFamous 2 is we're having 3D cutscenes, so there we do motion capture. So we needed an actor who could do both the voice acting and some of the motion capture, and we tried to imbue some of his likeness into Cole. However, when we revealed Cole at E3 2010, we were taken aback by the uproar of fan support for the original Cole. We were positively surprised and we didn't expect it, so of course we listened to our fans and went back and took the best of everything to end up with the design we have settled on now.
Cole was pretty powerful at the end of the first game; will he be as powerful at the outset of inFamous 2?
He starts off with pretty much the same powers as he had at the end of the first game. We're not taking the powers away, we're not starting from scratch.
How will his powers progress? Presumably by the end of the game he will be pretty much invincible?
He is going to be a super, superhero but, again, he is not invincible; what you always want to do with superheroes is to give them some challenges, some vulnerabilities.
From what we've seen so far, you've really raised the bar graphically, so will we see much larger environments that can be interacted with?
When you make the character more powerful, then of course you want the environment to react accordingly. That's the way you show he's stronger. What we've done this time is to make the environment way more destructible, so that everything that you think should break, breaks; that's what being a superhero is all about, you want to feel it, because that's what makes it visceral and personal.
What can you tell us about the new powers at his disposal?
We've already talked about the Ionic Vortex, which is like an electric thunderstorm; it becomes very apparent when you unleash that how it affects the environment instantly. You've got to be careful with that because you can hurt a lot of people. Now we're revealing the Kinetic Pulse, which uses the property of electricity to magnetise metals and which means Cole will be able to pick up cars and use them as weapons. In terms of the ice power, we were playing with the idea of how we can make Cole more powerful although with this one we're not quite there yet in terms of deciding how it will be used. Cole is the electric man, he's not ice man.
What types of enemies will Cole battle in the game and who are the main characters he will come up against?
The main character is Bertrand, the leader of the militia, which is the group that keeps New Marais clean from any kind of non-humans. There's also the Corrupted, creatures from the swamp that surrounds New Marais; they attack New Marais and so the militia tries to fend them off and defeat them. There is also the elite enemy from the Corrupted group, which we call the Ravager. Cole finds himself in the middle of all that.
Will players still be able to make choices throughout the game that affect the story?
Yeah, absolutely. That's a big part of the series, choosing between good and evil; a key part of being a superhero is that he has to make impossible choices. This time around we will have multiple endings that are affected by your karmic choices. Depending on if you are good or evil, you will have a different outcome of the game.
Are you planning to have players' save files from inFamous affect the beginning of inFamous 2 depending on what choices they made?
We're working on that. The challenge is to make the game as interesting for people who did play inFamous as it will be for newcomers to the series. So we have to balance that in terms of how we make it happen.
Zeke is back; will he have an important part to play in Cole's story?
He's the sidekick so he's going to have his part to play. Cole loves Zeke; every superhero needs a sidekick to bounce off of and Zeke's going to play that part in inFamous 2. We love Zeke!