Alex Mercer - gaming's 'darkest' anti-hero?

GR: So what 'dark' things will Alex be doing in Prototype?

Max: Well, one of the things he does in order to survive is consume people. The action of 'consume' implies killing them. He's essentially stuck in a three way war [between Alex, the military and the 'infected']... the story will explain why it's important for him to survive. If it's not Alex doing certain things, well, he's either going to get killed by the infected or captured. And who knows what the military would do to him then?

GR: We wrote that Mercer was going to make Gears of Wars' Marcus Fenix look like Mickey Mouse. Do you think that's a reasonable analogy?

Max: Prototype is a fantasy in the sense that no one in real life can do the things that Alex can. Slicing people with a chainsaw [like Fenix], I think you could do that. It's believable. But seeing your tendrils come out of your body and suck someone's DNA - I dare anyone to try and do that in real life.

GR: Prototype's lead designer, Eric Holmes, told us that Radical wanted to "use this next-gen opportunity to create new ways to kick some f*cking ass" - what's your personal favourite way that Alex kicks ass in the game?

Max: One of the ways I really enjoy - even at this early stage - is driving a tank in a very crowded environment. It's awesome. I've worked on Battlefield 2 and tank battles were always fun, but they were in smaller cities. There was never anybody in the streets. There was never any sense that you were creating this mass of chaos. Whereas with Prototype it's really amazing to see all the different systems interacting. So panic systems - civilians and vehicles trying to back away from what's happening. And then pedestrians reacting, crossing the streets and getting hit by cars. The way these systems interact with lots of explosions and the use of physics, kudos to our technology guys because not only does it look great, but it feels awesome. That's one example. The other main example would be Alex's abilities - shape shifting and the way we intend to use his powers that basically make him the ultimate ass-kicking machine.

GR: Is what we've seen of Alex's powers to date only a small sample of his arsenal?

Max: Yes, absolutely. We've been showing these for a month and a half now, I think. We intend to show a lot more in the new year.

GR: In terms of creating Alex, did you go through many concept designs before settling on the final look?

Max: Absolutely. And it's still changing. Not drastically, but visually there will be a layer of polish on top of what you've seen in the demo. We've gone through several iterations of the main character. I think it's very common in the industry when you create a new character to explore different styles and genres.

GR: He looks more like a civilian than a superhero...

Max: He was never going to wear a spandex suit. The reason he wears civilian clothes is because although he's no longer human, he once was. It's also one of the elements to ground him in a reality. Our game is about reality, plus one fantastical element. We've used this phrase before and that fantastical element is Alex. The game takes place in a believable setting and there's a lot of elements from the storyline that are grounded through real life experiences or events, such as military occupying territories or areas, people protesting, viral infections. A lot of stuff has happened in the last few years that ground the story with the days events.