inFamous 2 out in 2011, fully detailed

New city, new powers, redesigned hero.

More details in inFamous 2 have made it out ahead of E3 this week courtesy of a Game Informer cover story, which also reveals the game is due out in 2011.

Developer Sucker Punch is aiming for a "more emotional, more personal, more physical, more visceral" sequel, according to game director Nate Fox, and that means a new city, a new antagonist, more shades of grey, more rounded characters and greater spectacle.

It also means a redesigned hero, Cole MacGrath, who Sucker Punch wants to be more sympathetic. Following his makeover he's less Die Hard and more Jersey Shore, and apparently he was inspired by the idea of what an extreme sports star like Travis Pastrana would be like with superpowers.

The game picks up where the last one ended, with electrically-powered superhero Cole in virtual control of Empire City having just come to terms with his past and future - but things immediately go wrong when new enemy The Beast arrives in town and roughs up our hero, sending him scurrying for the hills.

The hills in this case are New Marais, a southern city inspired by New Orleans, which Sucker Punch has said will be a much more visually and physically diverse open-world playground.

The Beast is coming south to take you down, apparently, so in the meantime you need to train yourself up. New Marais is where the First Sons originally developed the first game's world-changing Ray Sphere, and you get to search out more First Sons tech to augment your abilities.

New powers will include stuff like the ionic vortex, which creates a tornado that can even be used to take down helicopters. Cole may also get to master non-electric superpowers, although electricity remains the focus.

Sucker Punch is also promising more satisfying melee combat, with electrically-charged melee weapons like pipes.

Cole may be building up again, but he retains a lot of power from the first game - he can still do his cool rail-sliding induction grind, and Sucker Punch has made it easier to reach rooftops quickly. Apparently it will look better too - more improvised and less videogamey.

Cole's immediate adversaries in New Marais will be the Militia, a group devoted to human purity - i.e. a group not too thrilled by the emergence of Cole and people like him.

In one mission, Cole goes after Militia leader Bertrand at a Militia rally, but the rally is also interrupted by "mutant bayou creatures". Sucker Punch is aiming to pack the city with civilians, mutants, traffic and henchmen so it feels more alive than the sometimes-sparse Empire City did.

Indeed, technologically the game is being billed as Uncharted 2 to Uncharted 1, with more mature tech and key tweaks like cinematic camera angles and reconsidered cut-scenes.

The latter will now take place in-game more often, although the first game's comic book-style panels will be used for broader exposition.

Speaking of the story, we're told to expect more ambiguity compared to the first game's good-or-evil Karma system, so it will be less obvious if decisions are one way or the other - and your actions will contribute to two drastically different endings, not just the same ending with slightly different highlights.

We're also told to expect bigger bosses (hurrah) and a return for Cole's Judas-like sidekick Zeke, who makes up for his behaviour in the first game by contributing more directly to missions and building items for Cole.

Sucker Punch also hinted at the possibility of multiplayer in inFamous 2, but wouldn't confirm anything.

We're seeing inFamous 2 at E3 this week, so look out for our own impressions soon.

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