The 2009 release that was Prototype, despite a few flaws here and there, was one hell of a sandbox game. Stuck in New York City, while the mother of all plagues ravaged through the populace, players had to use every skill available to survive the onslaught of secret paramilitary armies and mutated denizens rampaging through the infamous boroughs.
You’d think with so much carnage erupting around us, we’d get a point of view protagonist who wasn’t an insufferable jerk, but our lead character, Alex Mercer, was just as bad as everyone else. So much so, that it would have been great to actually see him die.
Which is just what developer Radical Entertainment is proposing for the sequel.
“We were just throwing out ideas about where we could take the sequel after the events of the first Prototype when one of the guys said ‘You know what? We should just kill Mercer,’” design director Matt Armstrong explained to Destructoid.
The room was suddenly bursting with energy, excitement and debate around the idea and that made me realize that we had the seeds of something really special. In the end, the premise was just too exciting to pass up.
With Mercer emerging as the primary antagonist, Radical is hoping that the blacklight virus and new hero, Sergeant James Heller become the true stars of the franchise. “Heller’s a character who’s actually become more and more interesting over the course of development as we’ve got to know him better,” Armstrong said.
One of the things that I’ve been most happy about in the game has been Heller’s dry sense of humour. Humour in games is a very difficult thing to pull off successfully, but our writers have done a really impressive job of simply allowing it to flow out of certain situations and interactions without forcing it. This has gone a long way to making Heller a really engaging and relatable character.
Another flaw that has been addressed for the sequel according to Armstrong, are the repetitive side-missions of the original game, which Armstrong described as a “real missed opportunity”.
The experience was really hurt by the fact that they were all so simple, abstract and completely disconnected from the world we were building and story we were telling,” Armstrong said.
This time around, we’ve made sure that we have a much wider range of side content and that all of it is tied back into the fiction. Ensuring that all of these elements are supporting and reinforcing the story that we’re telling has resulted in a world that is much more rich, diverse and believable than the world of the first game.
But beyond the new side-mission structures, Armstrong also spoke about how stealth played a more crucial role in the game.
One of the most interesting aspects of these improvements is how they’ve been folded into a brand new feature we’re calling Black.Net. This is Blackwatch’s secure, encrypted communications network which contains details of all of the various operations and experiments that Blackwatch and Gentek are carrying out across the three Zones of the city.
By hacking into this system via communications vehicles throughout the city, the player learns the identities of the key operatives associated with these missions and, by hunting down and consuming them, opens up brand new missions within the world.
The one improved aspect of the sequel I’m looking forward to the most, personally, has to be how the world won’t suddenly explode in an orgy of tanks and mutant berserkers should I accidently bump a civilian. A major stumbling block for the first game that made escalating scenarios harder than adamantium nails, the difficulty in Prototype was quite intense.
Prototype 2 launches in April.
Last Updated: January 12, 2012