PAX 2011: Prototype 2 Game Mechanics
In a special PAX presentation, Activision and Radical Entertainment revealed a few more details of their highly anticipated sequel to Prototype. Much like the Prototype 2 demo at E3, the developers are still opting to have an Activision team member showcase the game rather than allow hands on play. So while I didn’t personally get to run amok in the viral cesspool that is New York in Prototype 2, I did glean some interesting info on the forthcoming title.
Apparently Activision felt that Alex Mercer had become such an unstoppable badass by the end of the first game that the next logical step was to hunt him down with a new main character. Enter James Heller. He’s a former Blackwatch soldier who was infected with Blacklight by Mercer. Now he’s out to destroy Mercer… and Blackwatch… and anything else that ticks him off. You can find out more about Heller in this interview.
One of the major changes from the original Prototype will be that it’s no longer possible to get a health boost by consuming innocent bystanders. Heller can still regain some life by snacking on Blackwatch soldiers, but the days of using helpless civilians for a quick pick-me-up are over. In fact, Heller now has the option to nicely put people back down after picking them up. In the first game, Alex Mercer only had two options after picking up a civilian: consume them or splatter them all over the sidewalk.
Dave Fracchia, the vice president of Radical Entertainment explained that the decision to not to gain health from civilians was balanced by the fact that the Blackwatch squads will no longer be ridiculously accurate. In Prototype 2, the enemies actually have a chance to miss you.
Dave Fracchia then went on to break down the different areas of New York. There’s the green zone, which is relatively untouched by the virus and ruled by Blackwatch. The yellow zone is a quarantine zone where Blackwatch is cracking down on any instances of the virus they find. They are also using this area to see how infected creatures “interact” with the civilian population. The demo had Heller stopping Blackwatch from unleashing a monstrous Basher on an unsuspecting populace. The final zone is the red zone which is completely ruled by the virus and home to Alex Mercer. In the red zone, whole buildings are encased in gelatinous viral growths.
In the demo, there appears to be a much heavier emphasis on stealth in the new Prototype game. Using the new hunting mechanic, the player will be able to determine if a target is being watched or not. If a target is not being watched, you can consume them without setting off any alarms and stroll around as a Blackwatch soldier or scientist. If your target is being watched you can take out the guys watching him or just go in guns blazing. And buy “guns” I mean “bladed virus tendrils.”
Another stealth aspect is the ability to hack into the Blackwatch communications network. Hacking in allows the player to locate key Blackwatch operatives. The new hunting mechanic allows you to send out a pulse that will identify the agent in a crowd. Once the agent is identified, Heller can swoop down and consume them.
So far Prototype 2 is shaping up quite nicely. The new mechanics and powers are inventive but still keep with the feel of the original game. Let’s hope they get a playable demo out soon!
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