Live inFamous interview Finished
Sucker Punch creative director Nate Fox has been answering your questions about PS3 superhero action game InFamous.
Thank you ever so much to Nate Fox for taking part, and thank you Sony for letting us at him. Also, a big pat on the back to all of those submitting questions, and apologies if we tampered with them slightly or didn't get around to asking yours.
What follows is the full transcript of the interview, with the earliest questions and answers presented first.
InFamous will be released exclusively on PlayStation 3 next spring.
Our live coverage has now ended. Here's what you missed: Updating...
Super Moderating Hero: Right, first things first. Nate, can you tell us a bit about yourself and your role at Sucker Punch and why you are so famous, please?
Nate Fox: my name is Nate Fox, and I'm the game director here at Sucker Punch Productions; I worked on all of the Sly Raccoon games, and am proud to have worked a lot of double entendres into children's entertainment products.
Super Moderating Hero: What's inFamous all about, for those in the dark?
Nate Fox: InFamous is about giving the players the feeling of becoming a modern-day superhero, which is what I think a lot of us want when we see these kick ass films - we want to experience it for ourselves.
Super Moderating Hero: The first person to comment on this article says he's "not 100% convinced yet", and I feel the same. Go on, then - convince us!
Nate Fox: Our hero has a full slate of electrical powers. I myself have absolutely no electrical powers. If the fantasy to be able to shock someone to death at 40 meters has no appeal, then you, my friend, are already dead!
Sorry, I'll answer for real now...
The thing that is going to win people over with inFamous is Sucker Punch's commitment - stupid, unfailing commitment - to iterating on the gameplay until it is wicked fun.
Super Moderating Hero: And quickly, which double entendre worked into a children's product are you most proud of, Nate?
Nate Fox: As for the double entendre, in Sly 3, Murray the obese pink hippo emerges from all manhole and urges Sly to come with him to escape. Sly's slightly suspect remark was, "Hope that manhole goes both ways."
If I put my hand in a plug socket would I become Cole in Infamous?
Nate Fox: I don't want your reader to try...
[Eurogamer would like to remind readers that sticking their hands in plug sockets is extremely dangerous, and not even as much fun as cooking a grape in a microwave - Ed]
Cole got his powers as a result of a tragic blast which took the lives of thousands. The birth of him as a hero is a tragic event.
What sort of moral choices do you have to make in Infamous?
Is it all black and white, or will every choice open a new can of worms?
Nate Fox: There are moral choices available to the player, but I don't want to ruin any surprises. Morality matters in our game as a tent-pole feature to gameplay. We're not joking around with it. Hopefully you'll have to put down the controller at some point and think about what you want to do.
Apart from being good or evil, are there other ways to shape your character, such as customisation options, upgradable skills, etc? How may super powers will you be able to have?
Nate Fox: I can't wait to tell you the answer to that... in a couple of months.
But I can say this: your Cole and my Cole are not the same.
Are there going to be side missions or activities the player can participate in away from the main story mode?
Nate Fox: The world is filled with people getting mugged and attacked all around you. These things will happen whether you choose to do anything about it or not. We call this the "crime eco-system". There is definitely a ton of things to do in empire city outside of the main missions. We'd be making a pretty piss-poor open world game if we didn't support this kind of freedom of play.
Can you give us some examples of the powers your enemies in the game have?
Nate Fox: Since we're making a realistic game, we started with the fundamentals of machine guns. Once conventional weapons were working in a fun way, we got to create enemies with superpowers. And let me tell you - it's the funnest design task in the world. Enemy powers allow us to create new combat setups in the third-person shooter genre. For instance, the powered-up reaper we've demonstrated forces the player to dodge dynamically and climb to avoid getting roasted. This is great because it allows the player to utilise our vertical duck and cover system.
It's all very well to talk about moral choices, but lots of developers do that, and they end up giving you the choice of whether to be "good" or "bad" with no shades of grey, What are you going to do that's different?
Nate Fox: How you choose to play the game will have an effect on how the game pushes back on you. I'm not going to tell you the specifics but I can tell you we're modeling reality here. if you're a complete jerk or a white knight in riot-torn Empire City, you better watch out.
Why lighting? Why not Marmite? That way half the people you attack will be killed instantly. [And more seriously, where did your inspiration come from - Star Wars? -Ed]
Nate Fox: Marmite is far too cruel for American audiences. We went with electricity because we wanted to be spectacular at one thing. Electricity is great because it has a deep connection to the urban landscape. Cole gets his power from the grid and loses his powers when he's off the grid. We wanted to create a superhero who worked really well in a videogame context and electricity let us do that.
From what I have read the game describes an open and dynamic world for the user. How will the game deal with narrative and progression if everything is 'open'? Will we 'unlock' content as we gain powers, for example?
Nate Fox: It wouldn't be a videogame if the protagonist didn't acquire more powers over the course of the game. Giving people new powers, new toys to play with keeps people engaged and allows them to have something to really focus on and master. It's very satisfying to see Cole go from his basic move set to "Thor on earth".
What about the story and the geography of it all - will that be limited and then unlocked as we go along? Are there other characters to interact with along the way, too?
Nate Fox: Again, since it's a videogame - and I love videogames - I'd be a complete jerk if I didn't unlock neighborhoods for the player to explore. And since it's a superhero game, we've got to support some superhero standards like love interests (she's hot btw), fat best friend, and a rogue's gallery of powerful iconic villains - it's all there.
Have you got any plans to release a demo for the game on PSN prior to release? What about downloadable content - is it something you'd be interested in doing?
Nate Fox: You can expect to see some downloads from PSN closer to our release date, but as far as downloadable content, you'll have to wait and see.
Why do all videogame love interests have to be hot? Why can't Cole like her for her brilliant jokes and sharp intellect?
Nate Fox: Oh, well she's hot because of her enormous vocabulary. Words are hot.
Is there any type of multiplayer or co-op planned?
Nate Fox: We're not talking about that just right now but I'm more than willing to have an open dialogue about hotness!
What are your goals from a technical standpoint? Do you see yourselves pushing the envelope and perhaps having the odd dip in fps etc or are you shooting for rock-solid stability? [And are you pushing the PS3 to its limits, or is the plenty left in the old girl to give? -Ed]
Nate Fox: I'm going to sound like a corporate schill, but yeah, the ps3 is really pretty freaking strong.
I come from an art background, not a programming background, but it's crazy how many polygons we are pushing in this game. The artists have a real free hand in creating a hyper-detailed completely jacked-up Empire City. I get in some really intense fights with large groups of enemies and I've not seen any slow down yet, which just tells me I need to up the mayhem.
Lots of people are asking why you've stopped making Sly Raccoon games (including "agff") and if we'll see another one in the future. So will we, Nate? Will we really see one?
Nate Fox: After making three Sly games, we all needed a break from the raccoon, but i love him and his buddies (in a straight, non-"furry" kind of way) and I really hope to work on another one in the future.
[Ellie asks if Nate has had any chats with Sony about it, and if another Sly game is on the cards -Ed]
Everyone loves to talk about Sly - a lot of people tell us that he's their favorite character - but right now we're working on inFamous and if we do our jobs right, Cole will be their new favourite character.
These days it seems like every Blu-ray release has to be a blockbuster of epic proportions. Even GTA IV, which took 30 hours to exhaust, was deemed insubstantial by some gamers. Given the worsening economic climate and rising costs of next-gen development, is this really sustainable, or will developers and publishers have to change their ways?
Nate Fox: That is an excellent question. Look at God of War - it is an excellent game, an instant classic, and it's only like 7 hours long. GTA IV is 30 hours long and people wanted more? That just tells you how excellent that game is. It seems to me that it's not about length, but about quality. And because I love both of those games, I hope that developers never try to shoot for a long game, but instead for the most fun they can pack onto the disc - at any length.
That's what we're doing for inFamous.
After seeing what both Dead Space and Mirror's Edge did with content outside of just the game (comics, animated films etc) would you be interested in or are you already planning on doing something similar?
Nate Fox: Well my PR guy told me yesterday that I'm not supposed to talk about any of this. But come on, it's a superhero game! (Don't rat me out to PR)
Your name sounds a bit like a superhero name, Nate Fox. Are you sure you're not one?
Nate Fox: I've been trying to convince my girlfriend of that for a long time. But no, I prefer to think of my name more in the private detective vein.
How many different move/attacks can the character perform? Can you tell us about some of the exciting ones?
Nate Fox: I tell you, the most exciting thing you can do - and this probably won't translate well in type - is to climb up buildings in our game with grace and finesse. It's just fun. No big explosions or anything, but the guy really feels like a superhero. It's the exact experience we're trying to give the player.
I can't wait for you to get your hands on it and see for yourself. But, of course, calling a lightning bolt down on the head of some poor sucker always puts a smile on my face, too.
Prototype was looking very similar to InFamous, but there's been no word of it since Activision-Blizzard threw Sierra in the bin. Are you happy?
Nate Fox: You know, I hope Prototype does well. Superhero games are fun and I'd like to see more of them all around.
Are there vehicles to drive? And, more importantly, can we run over people and break its legs off?
Nate Fox: I will never understand the mind of the UK gamer.
Sometimes when you walk in a games shop it all seems to be shooters or Wii mini-game collections, and not much else. Do people really still want action-adventure games?
Nate Fox: I really hope so! I mean, games are about giving people new experiences. If you've ever wanted to have that feeling of becoming a superhero, inFamous is the game for you.
I don't think its going to suffer because its not a WWII first-person shooter.
Will there be things to collect / different outfits? And will there be Trophy and Sixaxis support?
Nate Fox: We'd be complete and total jackasses not to support Trophies - they are videogame crack and everybody knows it.
[Bertie asks about the outfits again]
Have you seen Cole's outfit? the dude looks sharp.
Nate has to dash off now, unfortunately. Time for one more familiar brain-teaser: What would you rather have: lasers for eyes or the ability to turn invisible? And why? No I'm afraid there is no lightning option.
Nate Fox: Clearly I would rather turn invisible; reading a long Russian novel in the ladies' locker room has been a fantasy of mine since adolescence.