In the second part of our huge Q&A, Prototype producer Tim Bennison talks about technical challenges, co-op, the competition... and one brand new feature he hasn't told anyone else about. Read on for more...
So, it looks like Alex can fly (a bit) now...
Yeah, we wanted to give the player a lot of locomotion options and it just felt right to allow Alex to parkour off a skyscraper and glide to his next destination. Alex will always be descending so it's not quite like a Superman flying ability. You'll find that it's sometimes an essential ability when trying to avoid gunfire from incoming attack choppers.
And it's not just attack choppers he'll be facing off against either, right?
Right. In Prototype, there's a three-way war happening, all taking place in New York City. One faction of that war is the single-minded group known as the 'Infected'. We aren't prepared to give away too much information on the Infected at this time, though we can reveal that both Alex and the military forces will not be spared from the Infected's onslaught. They have some of the most deadly and destructive abilities in the game and we can't wait to show them off in the future.
The other key faction is the military and the ultra-elite 'Blackwatch'. They will bring the latest in high technology against you and the Infected, including attack helicopters, APC's, tanks, UAV's and a lot more.
Can you give us an example of a 'type' of Infected then?
One of our favourite types is the huge 'Hydra' beast. These things burrow under New York streets and smash up through the ground to take out vehicles and military personnel. They have a large tendril 'tongue' that captures any object close by, such as cars, trucks, people or even newsstands! It's really awesome to fight these guys because you can actually get into situations where you'll throw a car at the Hydra and it will catch it mid-air and throw it back at you at twice the speed!
We've added some cool new abilities to our helicopter gunship too, which are very useful against Hydras. When piloting a chopper, you can now target and shoot down cars and other objects that the Hydra throws at you as it tries to knock you out of the sky. This leads to some epic battles when there are multiple Hydras in a densely populated area of NYC.
What about the general population? Can you talk about how you've implemented New York's population - do they react to you? How?
Over the past ten years we really were getting a little annoyed at playing games set in big cities like New York, then walking into Times Square and seeing no more than ten people walking around. That's not New York and that's not what this generation of consoles is all about. We're pushing some serious volumes of pedestrians at the player during the action, because when you unleash hell with these devastating powers, it's more fun to see 100 people run in terror than it is to see 12.
The reactions of the people to Alex are really important to our gameplay. We wanted the player to feel like they truly were making an impact on traffic and pedestrians when they started busting out Alex's moves and powers. Some pedestrians will run in terror, some will cower and pray on their knees, some will run into traffic and take their chances with the incoming traffic. The New York crowds will also act appropriately if you walk into them, bump them, or push them over. We really felt the audio should be reflective of reality. It just wouldn't be New York if you didn't get your ears melted by some nasty one-liners.