|Discover what lies beyond the edge of evolution. An all-new, 3rd person open-world/action game, PROTOTYPE puts gamers at the helm of Alex Mercer – a genetically mutated shape-shifter with no memory of his past hell-bent on solving the mystery of his existence – as he tears through a densely populated New York City moving with Parkour-style fluidity and consuming anybody that gets in his way…assuming their physical identity, memories and abilities. Fueled by three key factions consisting of Alex, the Blackwatch (military) and a viral outbreak known as the Infected, players will venture into a deep, dark conspiracy 40 years in the making!
|Sometimes prototypes don't work quite as well as envisioned. Sometimes they just need a bit more work before they're ready for production.
A representative with Sierra Entertainment today confirmed that to be the case with the company's upcoming open-world action game Prototype. Originally set for release on the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC this fall, the game has been bumped to a nonspecific 2009 release date.
"Since its announcement, Prototype has been regarded by many as groundbreaking and taking the open-world genre in new directions, and in the simplest explanation possible, we need more time to deliver the game the team initially set out to create," the representative said.
Developed by Radical Entertainment (the studio behind The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction and Scarface: The World is Yours), Prototype casts players as a genetically altered shape-shifter tearing a path of destruction through New York City. Along the way, gamers try to discover who they are and what's behind their mutations, all while fighting off an assortment of military and mutant adversaries.
We take Prototype's person of mass destruction, and use it to smash, slash, and gorge our way through New York.
By Garnett Lee 02/06/2009
After merely watching Prototype played more times than I care to count, Activision personnel finally passed the controller and gave me a turn at the open-world superhuman action game. For this first hands-on session, developer Radical Entertainment set up a very controlled sequence of fights that served as a basic introduction to using some of the weapons lead character Alex Mercer can morph his limbs into. The developers held nothing back in providing fodder for me to try said weapons out on. From the word go, combat became a furious storm of blood and limbs centered around Alex. While it might not be this way throughout the game, the relentless pace of the action made the single biggest impression on me. The game begs for you to go on a rampage, and when you do, it responds by keeping up and throwing more your way. You auto-target enemies based on priorities such as threat level and proximity, and the game knows to not attack friendlies when you're disguised. This makes it so you can easily hop in and just start wailing away on the enemies by mashing the buttons.
Click the image above to check out all Prototype screens.
Naturally, there's more to the combat than that. You can charge up most of the actions and attacks by holding down the corresponding button. So you hold the jump button to get a lot of air, and then drop with a powerful ground-pounding punch by holding its button down. In conjunction with that, you can also choose your own target using a simple lock-on system. For this demo, the combat bounced back-and-forth between ripping wild through masses of easy enemies (regular soldiers), and picking out the more serious threats (tanks and helicopters) for focused attacks.
You can also hijack vehicles if you get tired of smashing them all to pieces. Controlling both the tank and helicopter felt really smooth (flying uses the analog sticks, just the way you'd expect), and it needs to be smooth, because once you've gone that far into the game, the military throws just about all it's got at you, with no shortage of targets to rain missiles down on. You can also grab regular guns, but Alex's natural weapons are so powerful that a machine gun feels like a joke. If anything, the vehicles provide a change of pace you'd get from the guns in other games.
Everything happened so fast, that it calls into question how well you'll be able to juggle all the powers at your disposal in the heat of battle. This demo locked a specific power to each section. And yet, had that not been the case, I'm not sure when I would have stopped to switch my powers around. Of course, each encounter was built to work with the accompanying power, so in the final game, you may potentially need different attacks depending on the situation. Next time we play Prototype, we'll hopefully get to find out.
We talk to developer Radical Entertainment about how many enemies you have to throw at a helicopter to make it fall to the ground, and other things.
By Matt Leone 12/09/2008
Check out our Games of 2009 hub page for exclusive previews every weekday in December.
If everything had gone according to the original plan, we'd be playing Prototype right now. Thanks to a development delay and a publisher merger, we're not, and developer Radical Entertainment is still in its workshop, poking and prodding the game into shape. Given the sales challenges facing original games like Mirror's Edge at the moment, this all seems to have worked out well for Activision. And since Prototype remains one of my most anticipated games of 2009, I recently tracked down Radical's Chris Ansell to get an update on the open-world action game. 1UP: I've heard a lot about Prototype's bigger features, like the parkour movement, shape-shifting, etc. But does it have any smaller or more subtle features that haven't been talked up much that you find particularly important?
Chris Ansell: Absolutely! Perhaps the most important "subtle" or "underlying" component of Prototype is the seamless progression of intensifying action from moment to moment. Many other games have wonderful "singular moment highlights" in a mission -- for example, a large boss fight in an arena that happens after a long dungeon crawl. In Prototype, our open-world game mechanic enables "boss fight"-style intensity of action at any moment, often hitting you in the face as a smooth progression within our scripted moments. An example might be hitting a perfect backflip off a skyscraper, diving through and destroying a Blackhawk helicopter midair, and then landing in Times Square, surrounded by Blackwatch tanks and Infected that are in the middle of a massive firefight. That's not even the main objective of the mission, though you can get the rough idea. It's pretty intense stuff, and we can't wait to show it off in 2009 to gamers.
Click the image above to check out all Prototype screens.
1UP: I heard rumors at one point that Alex's character model might change before the game ships. Any truth?
CA: We've made a few tweaks to Alex since the game was initially "green-lit" -- that is pretty much standard practice with any team working out a new IP and creating a character from scratch. Our initial sketches and imagery have been refined now to show the true Alex Mercer in the game environment. His overall look from our last round of videos seen online is definitely the final iteration. We designed him to be an antihero and to be able to blend into New York City at any moment.
1UP: Is co-op still a possibility?
CA: We made the decision earlier this year to focus the development team 100 percent on the core single-player experience for Prototype, so there are no plans for multiplayer co-op functionality. We were really glad to see that the large majority of our hardcore fans agreed with us in making the decision to leave multiplayer out of this product and focus on the core experience.
1UP: Is there any chance of co-op making its way into the game as downloadable content at some point?
CA: The honest answer is that while it would be incredibly cool, adding a "bolt-on" cooperative mode to a big open-world game that was sculpted around a single-player experience would be a gargantuan task and difficult to pull off with the same levels of quality and polish of the original game. This is why we made the decision to deliver a knockout punch with Prototype's single-player game experience.
1UP: I'm always interested in how the combat and gameplay options evolve as you upgrade your character in games like this. Is your goal to make Alex feel dramatically different -- faster, stronger, etc. -- by the end of the game, or is it to give him more abilities? Or both?
CA: Alex really does evolve significantly in powers and abilities after each mission in Prototype. That said, "instant fun" is key for us right from the start -- instant fun is vital to hook gamers into our world. In the first 10 seconds of the first mission, you are going to experience awesome and unique attack and movement powers. And we build you up from there. So the answer to the question is "both." Although the first mission approaches insane levels of combat and destruction, our upgrade system allows you to dial up your character with many more abilities and powers by the end of the game.
1UP: Can you give a few examples of things Alex can do at the end of the game that he can't do at the beginning?
CA: 'Jacking military vehicles is one of these examples. By consuming the right "web of intrigue" target, Alex acquires the skills and upgrades to pilot helicopters, tanks, and APCs. You'll come up against some impressive military firepower early on, so finally getting the ability to wrestle control of a gunship and engage in air combat is a lot of fun right now. There's a really unique combat flow in our missions when players chain together shape-shifting powers with attacks using hijacked military vehicles. Combining tactics in this way means you have a lot of choice in how you complete missions, and it's something really unique to Prototype.
Click the image above to check out all Prototype screens.
1UP: Do you worry that players starting at the beginning of the game won't feel as powerful as the Alex they've seen in video footage doing his most over-the-top attacks? This was something that happened to me with the Prototype team's previous game, Hulk: Ultimate Destruction -- I had seen footage of Hulk powered up before playing the finished game, so when I sat down, I had to adjust to having a weaker character at the beginning.
CA: We definitely took that feedback on board after Hulk was released. We're certain that gamers will be really satisfied with the level of powers provided from Mission No. 1 onward in Prototype. You can jump 50 feet, run up any skyscraper, flatten a tank, and trigger some sweet attack powers, all in the first 30 seconds. We haven't tallied up the max body count you can achieve in the first mission, but it's pretty epic. And like I said, the rest of the game builds up from this baseline of power. We've also been doing a lot of testing with real gamers as we tune the game, so you continually get the feeling that your character is evolving into monstrous levels of power.
1UP: Are you guys planning to have a prerelease demo for Prototype? If so, do you know what part(s) of the game that will include?
CA: The overall development schedule and process will definitely help assist us in knowing the answer to this question in the near future. Obviously, we would love to have a prerelease demo, but again, not at the risk of us not delivering the final product the way we envision it. We can't wait to get the game into players' hands, so rest assured that "if" the planets align correctly, a sizeable chunk of New York City and its best/worst inhabitants will be offered up.
1UP: Can you give us one fact or bit of trivia that no one knows about the game?
CA: I can tell you that if you have a random burning desire to take out a military transport helicopter by pitching an enemy soldier into its rotors...the average number of soldiers you'll need to pull this off is two. Again, we're still tuning that, so it might change, but let us know if you want more info on this feature.