We've been excited about Radical's newest foray into open-world gameplay ever since we announced the game in our August cover story last year, but we've heard very little new information about the game since our visit to the studio. The team broke their silence at the Game Developer's Conference this year, showing off some footage of the game and speaking more in depth about the extravagant plans they have for Prototype's expansive game world.
Set in modern day New York City, the cityscape presented in Prototype is incredibly busy and dense in every direction. Hundreds of cars and pedestrians act as window dressing while main character Alex Mercer tears his way across the landscape. Perhaps the most exciting component of the city itself is how much it appears to change throughout the course of the game. As a strange and monstrous infection overwhelms the city and its populace, players will see individual locations begin to change from familiar backdrops into eerie distortions.
The storyline will follow an anti-hero whose goals rarely coincide with peace and order. Instead, Alex Mercer is firmly focused on finding out what made him the way he is - a shapeshifting beast of magnificent power who can absorb living tissue and thought, integrating them into himself. He'll fight a two-front war against the sinister military forces of the Blackwatch and the growing menace of the Infected.
What we're most excited about are the options Radical will put in front of players to confront objectives. For every dilemma that arises, there will be a choice between a subtle and deceptive course and a destructive path. By shapeshifting and gleaning knowledge from those he absorbs, Alex can bypass overt conflict. Likewise, the ever-growing arsenal of his superpowers will make a frontal assault an appealing alternative to many players. If the excitement of that mechanic isn't enough for you, then recall that original plans for the game included two-player online co-op. While the team hasn't said much about that feature since our visit last year, we can only hope it makes it through to the final version.
"The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction" was one of our favorite open-world games of the last generation. Prototype is being crafted by many of that same team, and the fluidity and quality of the world and animation work shows. It's no exaggeration to say that "Prototype" is one of our top picks for 2008. It may be a new franchise, but trust us when we say that this is one you'll want to watch as the game nears launch later this year.
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