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InFamous due in 2009, new details

Sucker Punch's PS3 superhero sandbox.

Sucker Punch's upcoming sandbox superhero game, inFamous, is due out next year in PAL regions and Sony has some new screenshots to get you worked up about it.

They depict player-character Dylan wreaking havoc on the fictional Empire City, using his various zappy Palpatine powers to send cars flying into buses while hanging from a lamp-post. The scamp.

According to details released by Sony yesterday, and a recent cover feature in a US games magazine, inFamous begins with a massive explosion in Empire City and Dylan emerging from the rubble, crackling with electricity.

He quickly makes contact with his friend Zeke, and is encouraged to leg it in his direction before things in the city get any livelier. Off he goes, but despite manfully dodging falling girders and debris, whatever happened to him in the heart of the initial explosion overcomes him and dumps him in a coma for 15 days.

During those 15 days, things get a bit out of hand - with talk of martial law and uprisings and mysterious plagues and all sorts. When Dylan wakes up, coming to terms with his burgeoning electric superhero powers, the player has to decide whether to save the city of destroy it.

An openworld game by design, inFamous doesn't bother with weapons and car control for Dylan; instead it's all about charting a path down good or evil roads, with a "Karma" system governing the city's responses to your actions and their implications on the story and your abilities. You'll also battle "powerful, iconic villains".

Visually, as you can see from the screenshots, it's heading in a GTA IV/Crackdown/Saints Row kind of direction, although we're also told to expect cut-scenes inspired by the comic books that obviously inspired the superhero premise.

It all sounds quite interesting, and if you missed last year's E3 unveiling, you can check out that blurry trailer over on Eurogamer TV. At the time we'd been told to expect inFamous in 2008, but now Sony is saying 2009 - perhaps springtime. We're doubly excited because Sucker Punch made our beloved Sly Raccoon games.

We hope to see more of inFamous at E3 next month, so expect first-hand impressions sooner rather than later.