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InFamous 2 hands-on preview: ‘Big secret’ turns out to be user-generated missions

Since it was first unveiled last year, we’ve seen InFamous 2 bring a lot of cool enhancements to the first game’s formula – a livelier city, more diverse enemies, better visuals, super-powered sidekicks and improved combat, for starters. At a closed-door session at GDC today, however, developer Sucker Punch revealed one more.

“We’re fixing the biggest problem of InFamous 1,” said Suckerpunch’s development director, Chris Zimmerman, during the event. “At some point, it ended.”


Assuming you read the headline, you already know what the solution is: while InFamous 2 will still be the same story-focused, single-player superhero sandbox game we’ve been shown up to this point, it’ll also feature user-generated content that can be shared across PSN with every other player. Using a simple-looking visual interface (we didn’t actually get to try it, although we did see it in action), players will be able to use all of the characters, objects and behaviors in the “core” game to create missions within the city of New Marais. It’s a bit like LittleBigPlanet, with one key difference: Sucker Punch doesn’t want user-created content kept separate from the campaign, so instead, custom levels will automatically populate throughout the city during the normal single-player action.

That may sound overwhelming, but Zimmerman was quick to add that the custom stuff won’t be indistinguishable from the story missions. Their markers will appear in a different color, for starters, and users can automatically set filters to restrict what they see to, say, the newest puzzle missions or highest-rated survival missions – or just to what Sucker Punch chooses to single out and show off, which is the game’s default setting. (The user-generated stuff can also be turned off entirely, for those who just want to focus on the story.)

As for the missions themselves, it looks as if players will be able to start in any area of the city, and then freely populate it with whatever in-game objects they want, wherever they want, with whatever bizarre objectives they want. There are LittleBigPlanet 2-style logic circuits that can dictate everything from character behavior to what should happen during scripted events, and the tools on offer promise a level of depth that could, at best, transform InFamous 2 into completely different kinds of games.

In general, though, the user-generated levels (tester-generated, actually) on hand for us to play kept it simple. Probably the biggest deviation from the “standard” gameplay was an Angry Birds-inspired puzzle level in which Cole, standing on (and confined to) a roof, had to telekinetically hurl propane tanks at dancing enemies on dumpsters suspended in midair (which then exploded). Other missions ranged from the simple and quick Onslaught (a repel-the-hordes level in which Cole had to keep crowds of enemies from reaching his platform), to the longer and more elaborate Save the Cathedral, a more straightforward action mission that saw Cole join up with a squad of rebels, follow a series of waypoints and fight through squads of enemies to find and disarm a bomb.

In addition to featuring everything the core game does, the user-generated side will feature a few things that single-player doesn’t – like big, floating rings to race through, as seen in a sample level called (unsurprisingly) Ring Race, in which we had to zip along power lines and use Cole’s hover ability (which now gives him a little upward boost) to keep steady.

It’s obvious there’s a lot of potential here, and while the levels on offer probably weren’t even scratching the surface, they were still pretty fun. Luckily, we’ll get a chance to see more before the game’s June 7 release, as Sucker Punch announced plans for a limited public beta starting in early April. For details on how to get in on it, you’ll want to visit infamousthegame.com on March 14, when details will be publicized. And while most of the beta content will be wiped to make room for the new stuff when the game finally releases, the best of it will stick around as the very first content to be recommended to everyone by Sucker Punch. Sounds like an incentive to hone your level-design skills to us.

Mar 1, 2011

Topics

GDC Sony

21 comments

  • Gameguy94 - March 4, 2011 1:40 a.m.

    Cool! If only this would be a feature for all games now!
  • ThatGamerDude - March 3, 2011 3:23 a.m.

    I just cried...
  • hoba - March 2, 2011 6:22 p.m.

    I have no problem with user-generated content in games, but it's something I don't have the patience to do myself. I made one Doom level with DEU back in the day, and since then have done nothing more for any other game. It sounds like a nice idea, and I hope it works and allows for some variety in the type of missions you can create. The last thing I want is for my mini-map to be filled up with user missions that are all more or less the same and which get boring after a while.
  • 04whim - March 2, 2011 5:32 p.m.

    Oh please tell me the lightening gets a deeper red the more infamous you become. That orange lightening's just meh. :/
  • blodden - March 2, 2011 4:57 p.m.

    I can't wait for this!!!!
  • Cyberninja - March 2, 2011 12:52 p.m.

    well before we praise or condemn this idea i want to see what users create and i know the beta will be PSN+ first which makes me a bit angry.
  • hughesta - March 2, 2011 12:22 p.m.

    This game is going to be amazing.
  • Shamanoid - March 2, 2011 12:08 p.m.

    Big secret my a**. When i read that heading, i was like "meh" boooooooooooooooooooring.
  • jmcgrotty - March 2, 2011 11:07 a.m.

    Congratulations, you just guaranteed InFamous 2 will but utter shit. For the sake of the game, can we please put an end to this horrible idea before it goes any further? Seriously, ideas don't get worse then this.
  • CitizenWolfie - March 2, 2011 10:20 a.m.

    I was already excited for Infamous 2 so this new news doesn't really affect my descision to buy it. Sounds like they've put a bit of work into it but I just hope it wont seem tacked-on as a bit of filler. That said, I'm glad you have the option of turning it off. If LittleBigPlanet has taught me anything is that for every amazing level, there's about a hundred crap ones and I worry this could be the same. I'll probably just play the story mode first and give the user stuff a play afterwards.
  • KnightDehumidifier - March 2, 2011 10:01 a.m.

    Countdown to someone making a Super Mario Bros. 1-1 inspired level in Infamous 2...
  • papergoon - March 2, 2011 8:16 a.m.

    Escort Missions? WTF.
  • Cyber6x - March 2, 2011 7:16 a.m.

    Play, Create, Shock?
  • InGen88 - March 2, 2011 6:21 a.m.

    I'm glad we finally get some shots of evil Cole. The red color scheme is a lot better than having Cole become Emperor Palpatine like in the first one. Also his lightning seems to be more of a red orange in color which looks really good.
  • FunkyPickle - March 2, 2011 5:28 a.m.

    Aw no. Due to it being set in a city based on New Orleans, I can't imagine how many "Hurricane Katrina" levels will pop up.
  • D0CCON - March 2, 2011 4:48 a.m.

    Now I defiantly want. InFamous is one of the big reasons I'm glad to have a PS3. The possibility of never-ending content is incredible.
  • Rek - March 2, 2011 4:28 a.m.

    Do want. Very badly.
  • ultimatepunchrod - March 2, 2011 4:15 a.m.

    this actually looks really cool. that trailer had some awesome music. but yeah this might get some LBP players in on the Infamous action. those folks know what theyre doing. this hads loads of potential and its added onto an already great looking game. Really looking forward to this.
  • FunnyNameHere - March 2, 2011 4:14 a.m.

    Can we electrocute anyone who makes an escort mission? Cause really who wants more escort missions?
  • elsnichkum - March 2, 2011 4:11 a.m.

    coolio on how it goes on with normal gameplay, infamous 1 was ok to me, but it looks like they're listening and making it a whole better, cooler game!

Showing 1-20 of 21 comments

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