Radical Entertainment and Activision have kept fairly quiet on the details for Prototype 2
, their upcoming sequel to Prototype (Xbox 360)
. The Official Xbox Magazine UK has broken that silence with a lengthy preview of the game. Here is a summary of the details.Prototype 2
is set in an open-world post-apocalyptic New York, known as New York Zero. Due to the outbreak of the deadly Blacklight virus, the city has been divided into three zones: red, yellow and green, as the city struggles to cope. Each colour denotes the severity of the virus outbreak in that particular area. The Red Zone is mostly an "abandoned, smouldering wasteland", and has borne the brunt of the virus. As a result, the Yellow Zone is now a giant refugee camp, accommodating thousands of homeless evacuees struggling to survive on the streets. In stark contrast to this, the Green Zone is where the more affluent society resides. This zone is carrying on as normal, apart from the higher-than-usual police presence. Each zone has a unique part to play in the main storyline.
The protagonist from the previous game, Alex Mercer, is now a villain who is using his superpowers to try to control New York Zero. However, before players get excited about taking on the role of a super villain, I will point out that players will not be assuming the role of Alex Mercer. The main protagonist in Prototype 2
is military veteran Sergeant James Heller, the new hero in town. Heller lost his young family to the Blacklight virus and vowed complete revenge. The situation eventually enables him to corner Mercer. Unfortunately, Mercer overpowers Heller and injects him with the virus, whilst vowing: “I could use someone like you. You’ll thank me for this some day.”
The two main characters' personality traits are poles apart. Whereas Mercer was withdrawn, unmotivated, and took orders from his sister, Heller is resourceful, subordinate, and a combat specialist. Eventually Heller learns to appreciate his new physical capabilities, but his goal, and the main aim of the storyline, remains the same: hunt down and kill Mercer. Executive producer Ken Rosman explains why the company switched protagonists:
It really wasn't a tough decision to move away from Alex Mercer and install a new lead character. The Prototype IP was never about Mercer, really - the Blacklight virus is the star of the show. That's where the real intrigue of the series lies - in the many different ways that the virus can affect the individuals who are infected by it, rather than in the individuals themselves. Also, if we don't tie the series to a single character, then that means we're also not tied to any one particular location either.
Out of the superpowers that were available in Prototype
, Muscle Mass is the only superpower that will not be returning. Its replacement is an ability named Tendrils. This ability transforms Heller’s arm into a mass of tentacles, which not only increase the Heller's reach, but are also "capable of shooting out a brown, sticky fluid". This fluid entangles the unwitting target, and can be used to pull the victim apart limb by limb, or create a "black hole effect", which causes nearby objects to be sucked towards the terrified victim at "a terrifying rate".
Players will be able to customize their superpowers but the ‘Move Store’ from the previous game will not be returning. Instead, new moves and abilities are unlocked when players either complete core mission objectives, or infiltrate and disinfect the numerous mutant lairs that are scattered around the city. Radical has also now added a ‘quickswitch’ option, mapped to the RB shoulder button, which allows Heller to seamlessly swap between two mutant powers. For example, players can launch an enemy into the air using the Hammerfist ability, but then switch to the blade and slice the target apart before they even hit the ground.
Players will also be able to seek out ‘Mutations’, which are promised to work in a similar manner to the perks systems found in games such as Call of Duty or Fallout 3
. These are found by using your "illegally-acquired PDF" to seek out and kill targets. (For those of you who are interested, the PDF belonged to an agent working for Blackwatch, who are the military force whose job it is to contain the spread of the Blacklight virus on Manhattan Island). Players will eventually learn to become the ultimate predator. Your prey can only be found by firing a sonar beam into your surrounding environment and heading in the general direction of the rebounded sound waves, until eventually you are completely sure that you are stalking the right person. Players will also still be able to absorb energy from their prey.
Players will still be able to cause a satisfying amount of destruction throughout the game, now with the added bonus of vehicle deformity. This new trailer is a perfect example of the new feature.
Any previous misgivings that you may have had of Prototype
being too chaotic have now been addressed by Radical. Using Batman: Arkham Asylum (Xbox 360)
as an influence, the enemies still attack in packs, but their movements have ‘tell’ signs that will allow you to predict their movements and be able to react accordingly. Players also now have the use of laser sight lines to be able to anticipate incoming missiles, and allow you to escape, regardless of whether you're facing in a completely different direction.
Larger mutants are still causing problems in New York Zero. Stronger mutants can "withstand considerable damage" before they finally keel over. The best way to damage them is to slice their various limbs off. A charged attack is needed to do this, but this also leaves players open to a counterattack for a couple of seconds.Prototype 2
is due to be released in 2012.