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The majority of this article contains spoilers and crucial plot details from inFamous.
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- "Being a hero is optional."
- — Tagline.
Infamous, stylized as inFAMOUS or inFamous, is an open-world action adventure game developed by Sucker Punch Productions and published by Sony Computer Entertainment. It was released in 2009; May 26 (North America), May 29 (Europe), June 4 (Australia) and November 5 (Japan), exclusively for the PlayStation 3 system.
The game follows the story of Cole MacGrath, a bike courier turned superhuman after an explosion that leveled several city blocks and killed thousands of lives. Now living in a world of crime and violence, Cole takes up measures in order to survive while utilizing his new-found powers, while also trying to learn more about how and why he got them.
inFamous incorporates various elements of platforming, shooting, role-playing, and puzzles in an open-world environment. The player takes on the role of Cole MacGrath, and must navigate through Empire City and carry out specific missions to progress the story. As a superhuman, Cole has improved resistance and dexterity, and also has access to several powers specific for combat, defense, and navigation.
Set in the world of Empire City, where a major catastrophe has just erupted, the player is engaged into a post-apocalyptic environment where majority of the inhabitants have been made to live in misery. Scarce on supplies and kept separate from the rest of the world due to a quarantine applied to the city, the inhabitants are preyed on by the criminals that banded together within the city. Due to the adamant amount of criminal activity, majority of the law enforcement have decided to flee, leaving the civilians even more powerless.
Empire City is composed of three districts: the Neon, the Warren, and the Historic District. Each district is home to a specific faction that are hostile towards Cole. Due to the disaster that's occurred, Cole must restore power to several parts of the city by going to the sewers and fixing the substations located there. The player is allowed to freely move around in the city, though the game must progress story-wise in order to unlock the other districts.
As a superhuman, the player is given the choice to either do good or do evil to the city with Cole's powers. Depending on the side the player has taken, the allies, missions, and the civilians' reaction to Cole will vary differently from one another. Each of the karmic sides have three ranks to keep track of the player's progression, and as the ranking goes up, the player will have a different impact towards people, and also have access to different powers specific to the karmic side.
Also due to his superhuman nature, several civilians will ask Cole for help with several tasks and errands that only he could do. Karma-specific side missions are also available for the player to take up that helps improve Cole's powers and karmic points. The player is free to take on these missions anytime outside the story missions. In doing these side missions, the player eliminates the enemy presence found in the specific area of the mission, which will render the area safe for civilians. Other perks in doing missions include the allowed use of medical clinics, and also access to other missions.
Part of the story is that the protagonist is given powers akin to electricity. Cole can utilize his powers for use in combat, such as blasting a lightning bolt or throw grenades at a designated area or target. Other specific powers are used for improved navigation, such as hovering over short distances or riding electrical wires. Certain powers designated for defense can also be used, such as the Polarity Wall. These powers are obtained through the progression of the story as the player restores power to each portion of the city's districts.
Cole's powers are not without restrictions. Some of his powers require a great deal of energy to utilize. The greater the power, the greater the amount of energy depleted. If done too much, Cole's electrical energy (kept on track with the Battery Cores) will start to deplete, and once completely drained, his damage resistance will weaken, and he will not be able to utilize some of his powers. In order to restore energy, the player must drain electricity from a nearby power source, such as a lamp post or a fuse box. In doing so, the Battery Cores will be restored, and Cole's health will also improve.
Other restrictions include the use of transportation vehicles, as his powers would cause the vehicle to explode. He is however, allowed to ride on the outside of a train. Cole cannot also wield firearms, but he can use this to his advantage by disabling enemy turrets. Cole's resistance and constitution is significantly weakened whenever he is at an area with no power, which renders him extremely vulnerable to damage. Also, Cole is restricted from most bodies of water, else he'd die if he is submerged too deep.
Several upgrades are available for most of Cole's powers. Powers can be upgraded to a maximum of three, and varies, depending on Cole's karmic side. Upgrades are available for purchase once the player earns enough experience points. Experience points are gained by defeating enemies, taking on missions, and performing specific stunts. Several of the upgrades are based on the roles of each karmic side, with the good karmic powers being more focused and accurate, and the evil karmic powers being more destructive and scattered. There are also other powers that do not require a specific karmic side for an upgrade to be available.
Part of the tasks available for the players to take up is to collect Dead Drops, hidden messages tucked away within satellite dishes by one of the player's associates. Fragments of the story and the activities of one of the rival factions are detailed within the messages. Also, Blast Shards are another collectible item which Cole can gather to gain experience, and also increase the length of his health. There are a total of 32 Dead Drops and 350 Blast Shards for the players to collect.
Specific stunts are also added to the gameplay, where the player has to perform a specific action to an enemy target utilizing Cole's powers. When performed, these stunts give the player more experience points compared to taking down an enemy. There are a total of 21 stunts for the players to perform.
The game's cutscenes are 2D comic book-styled cinematics that depict most of the important events of the game. Like most affected by Karma, some of the cutscenes vary depending on the player's current karmic status. All of the cutscenes are narrated by the protagonist himself, and gives his own insight on the events that are happening.
Also, several TV broadcasts air as the player progresses in the story. These broadcasts reveal more of the story, such as how the government is handling the problem in the city. One of the broadcaster however, reveal to the city's inhabitants what is truly happening, and keeps things in check by motivating the civilians in the face of adversity.
The PlayStation 3's Trophy system was made available for the game, with a total of 50 trophies.
StoryAn explosion that leveled 5 or 6 blocks occurred at Empire City's Historic District, killing thousands of civilians and destroying several buildings. In the midst of the explosion's crater, lay Cole MacGrath, a bike messenger who was later revealed to the courier who brought the bomb responsible for the explosion. As he made his way out of the area, he soon discovered that he had gain the ability to channel electricity from his body, and passed out after making his way out of the city district, in the midst of a freak lightning storm caused by Cole.
As Cole was nursed back to health by his girlfriend Trish Dailey and best friend Zeke Dunbar, Empire City fell apart after the day of the Blast, riots and crimes being committed all over the city, along with a violent plague. As a desperate attempt from the government to contain the said plague, they've issued a quarantine on the city, leaving everyone trapped within the chaos and crime of the city. With the lawmen gone, the criminals took over the districts, leaving the city lawless and miserable.
Cole, after a few days, awoke, and soon discovered his new found powers. Getting out of bed, Cole practiced his powers with Zeke, hoping to control it for good use. Cole would use his powers to help assist the city in recovering the food drop, along with Zeke, after he recovered his firearm, and Trish, who made his way to the area right after the latter two's success. Afterwards, a TV broadcast by the "Voice of Survival" had Cole named a terrorist, causing several civilians to become hostile and suspicious towards him. Also, in the midst of this, Trish walked out on Cole, with the latter believing that it was due to him being partly responsible for her sister's death in the Blast.
Cole, with Zeke, decided to meet up at the Stampton Bridge, planning to escape the city before things got ugly. Though their escape with the rioting civilians managed to garner a minor success, they were stopped by a wall of turrets and razor wire, slaughtering every civilian that tried to escape. Zeke broke the nearby gate and fell down to the harbor, while Cole made his way out through the exit Zeke made, managing to hide within a decontamination chamber. Cole was then greeted by name, by an FBI agent named Moya Jones. She saw the footage of Cole being at Ground Zero, and figured he'd try to escape (also knowing he had superhuman powers).
She explained that the night before the explosion, John White, her husband and fellow agent, disappeared. She continued, explaining John's mission to infiltrate the First Sons in order to learn more of the device known as the Ray Sphere, a device designed to drain the energy out of nearby civilians and then focusing it on the one holding the device, the same device that gave Cole his powers. Without being able to establish contact with John, Moya offered Cole a deal: he goes back into the city to find John and the Ray Sphere, and in return, she'll get him out of the quarantine and clear his name. Cole agrees, and returns to the city.
Cole would then return to the city and, after telling Zeke about the situation, goes on to do several of Moya's requests, such as helping out one of his associates and rescuing a train line that might have been where John was. His activities eventually led him and Moya to Sasha a former member of the First Sons, now the leader of the Reapers, a local faction that took over the majority of the city's Neon District. Deducing her location, Cole made his way into the area and confronted her.
After a fight, Cole was able to subdue Sasha, but as he was about to question her about the First Sons, the area was destroyed and infiltrated by a group of men. The men took Sasha and left Cole for dead underneath the rubble. After getting out of the rubble, Cole makes his way out of the area and into the city slums, the Warren. After restoring power, Cole would later continue his work with Moya in locating the Ray Sphere and John.
As he went about his activities, Cole was able to encounter Alden Tate, a former member of the First Sons who was born to the faction's leader. His position was taken away by Kessler, a man whom Cole met while looking for John and the Ray Sphere at the Neon District. Now leader of the Dust Men, Alden terrorized the district with his superhuman powers. After rescuing Trish from Alden's rampage, Cole would work with Moya and the Empire City Police Department to apprehend Alden. Making his way to the faction's home territory, Cole worked in conjunction with the police in arresting Alden, and after a battle, was successful in arresting him.
Alden was then taken to Eagle Point Penitentiary for Moya and his men to extract him. Cole and Zeke, who decided to help out the police after a certain situation, were present during Alden's transfer to another cell, believing that his men will go after him. Their guess proved right, as the Dust Men invaded the penitentiary. Cole and the other policemen held back the attack while Zeke and the other policemen take Alden to his cell. After the transfer was finished, Zeke came out of the facility in order to assist Cole and the others, despite his orders to stay with Alden. A worried Cole immediately went to check on Alden, but by the time he got there, the policemen were already dead, and Alden have already escaped.
Cole left the area and went on to restore part of the district's power, while Zeke contemplates on his failure. After restoring the power, Cole was contacted by John White, who told him to meet up with him alone. Though he did come on his own, Cole, unbeknownst to him, was followed by a chopper that were supposed to extract John. John, due to his long time undercover, believed that they were the First Sons, and fled the area before they could explain themselves. As the chopper followed John, so to did Cole. After the chopper's destruction by Cole's doing, John kept himself hidden yet again, and contacted Cole once more.
John informed him that Alden Tate had the Ray Sphere in his possession and has kept it safe at the top of his tower. John instructed him to go there with someone he could trust, and as he listened, Cole asked John what did he want to tell Moya. This is where it was revealed that John was never married, and knew no one named Moya. After this revelation, Cole avoided contact with Moya and worked cooperatively with John, as he instructed Zeke to meet him at the foot of the trash tower.
Meeting up with Zeke, Cole would then navigate up the tower while working with Zeke. After a few floors, Cole and Zeke was able to reach the top, and there laying in wait was Alden and the Ray Sphere. While Cole held off Alden's subordinates, Zeke would keep himself at bay and wait for the right time to take the Ray Sphere. After defeating the last of Alden's men, Zeke took the Ray Sphere out of its cradle, though was soon stopped by Alden and Kessler, whom arrived at the area via chopper. Caught between both Alden and Kessler, Zeke gave in to his selfish desire after realizing that it was just inches away from him. He would then activate the Ray Sphere in order for him to gain powers, though as the energy surged out of the device, it would later retract, causing no change to neither Zeke nor his environment.
Kessler immediately grasps the situation by telling Zeke that he can help him gain the powers he wanted, claiming that he knew what was wrong with the device. Zeke, after looking back at Cole, takes off with Kessler in his chopper with the Ray Sphere. Alden would then go berserk over the loss of the device, which resulted in Cole being subdued by the falling debris, and Alden leaving the area. After awaking, Cole was instructed by John to meet Alden at the bridge to the city's Historic District, in order to stop Alden's rampage. Cole would make his way to the bridge, and after dealing with Alden's men, was able to defeat Alden. As Cole grabbed him and pinned him down to a wall, Alden offered a truce between them, claiming that they should work together. The moment Cole hesitated, Alden jumped down to the river. Despite this, Cole would later continue to make his way to the Historic District.
In this district, Kessler had set up a challenge for Cole to rescue several civilians held hostage with bombs nearby their location, and also reveals that he has Trish held hostage as well. After saving all of them, Kessler presents Cole with a choice: save Trish, or save 6 other doctors, both of which hang on a building on the opposite side of each other. With only enough to save one side, Cole made his move, though despite his efforts, he's failed to save Trish. After giving her a proper burial at the district's park, Cole prepared to face Kessler, vowing that he'll pay for Trish's death.
With John White, Cole worked with him together in order to take on the First Sons. He started off by dealing with the air balloons that deployed a deadly gas that roots from Sasha's tar, then moved on to destroying the signaling device that was jamming John's radar for the device. Though during his activities that Cole would be contacted by both Zeke and Moya, Cole would not hear what they had to say. and continued on with his tasks. After destroying the device, Cole and John were able to learn the location of the Ray Sphere, and made immediate plans in order to obtain the device.
Arriving at the area where it was being kept, Cole and John worked together to lure out the First Sons and the device. With Cole handling the anti-aircraft turrets and John deploying a toxic chemical to the designated building, they were able to get the First Sons out of the building. Unfortunately, the group had a truck already waiting, and after the chemical's deployment, made their way out of the facility and into the harbor. Cole followed them along with John, and after subduing all of the nearby First Sons, was able to get the Ray Sphere. After contemplating on what to do with the device, Cole took action, though right after Cole's act, the device cracks open. A powerful vortex of energy swallows John and tears him apart, subsequently tearing the environment apart. Cole made his way out of the harbor before he himself was swallowed by the vortex.
Kessler would then contact Cole right after, and informs him to meet with him at the site of the explosion. With him waiting there, Cole finally confronts Kessler, and after a battle (with the interference of a repentant Zeke), was able to defeat him. As Kessler tried to stand up, Cole would hear him mention Trish, how he loved her, and asked her for forgiveness. Kessler would then immediately leap towards Cole and grab him by the head the same way he did during their first encounter. As Kessler repeats all of the visions he's showed, Cole begins to understand.
Kessler shows an alternate timeline where the world was ravaged by a powerful entity known only as "The Beast". Though during the entity's early days Kessler had his powers to try and stop it, he instead chose to flee away from it with his family. As the Beast hunted him down while subsequently destroying everything in its path, Kessler and his family watched as the rest of the world fall apart. After the death of his family, Kessler made a desperate attempt to undo his mistake by going back in time in order to rewrite history.
Kessler would then accelerate the chain of events that lead to Cole's conception as a Conduit, which involves all of the events that has happened in the city (The Blast, the Quarantine, and many others). Kessler's only driving force and motivation was a picture during his wedding day: with Trish Dailey as his bride and Zeke Dunbar as his best man. Cole then realized that he and Kessler were the same person. Kessler went back in time to make sure that Cole gets his powers, and take measures so that he can do the impossible; make him strong enough to face and defeat the entity he wasn't able to confront. After giving his final message, Kessler succumbs to his injuries, and as Cole takes one final look down at his future self, he turns away while holding down the rage within him, subsequently vowing that he will be ready for The Beast's advent.
Good: Cole would later on reflect on his journey, and remark that he thought it would be all over once Kessler was out of the picture. Though as he realizes his place in the world, he begins to accept that there is no going back to the life he once had; that his powers would be a burden to carry until his death, using them as a means to help the city back up its feet. Though, he is reminded of Moya's promise of revenge, and Zeke's moment of betrayal, not sure what to make of it. He would then remark that he's never been more alone, as he watches over the city.
Evil: Cole tore down the city and reduced it to a wasteland, taking it down notch by notch as he went about his activities. As he looked on, he would remark that his powers are only good for one thing: letting him take what he wants, when he wants, and completely neglects what Kessler has laid out for him, claiming that he was an idiot for trying to make him into a savior. Cole declares that in a lawless town, the strong take what they want and the weak are slaves, mere playthings. As Cole looked around the wasteland he's created, he would remark that there is no one stronger than him, and that the city was his for the taking.
Development on inFamous began after the end of Sly 3's development, which was done by a team of 60 people from Sucker Punch Productions. Under the project name "True Hero", Sucker Punch searched for several sources of inspiration for the game, such as the novel DMZ and No Man's Land, which both focuses on a city after a catastrophic disaster, and also drew inspiration from the film Batman Begins and the game Grand Theft Auto III.
The game's setting, Empire City was designed to marry the aspect of Cole as a superhuman, building it around the idea of a "crime ecosystem", where the area would often be plagued with petty crimes and trouble, and that it would make the player's decide whether to help out or not in order to resolve it. Climbing was also made an important aspect of the city, with the developers citing it as "fun to do", while also being part of the superhero motif. They would then make all of Empire City climbable for Cole.
Comic book styled cutscenes were integrated into the game to give more emphasis on the superhero motif of the game. A Karma system was later implemented in the game, with the team's agenda being able to integrate a "judicious use of power" within the game, focusing on making the player's choose between right and wrong.
Sony Computer Entertainment America released a trailer entitled "The Beauty of Powers" during March 2009, which was later released on the PlayStation Store. The game's demo, which was a pre-order bonus at first, was later made available for download to everyone on May 21.
An inFamous-themed game space on PlayStation Home was made available for users to visit on July 2009. The area was modeled after a portion of Empire City, and was dubbed "The Abandoned Docks of Empire City". The area featured a mini-game where users can zap Reapers for clothing rewards, as well as a graffiti wall where users can create their own graffiti. The space was first to broadcast exclusive media from the game developers themselves.
Cole, the protagonist, appears in several other media to continue the promotion of the series, such as several elements of his costume were made outfits in Little Big Planet, and also his appearance as a multi-player skin in Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (along with Zeke).
Gamestop offered the Gigawatt Blades power as a pre-order bonus for inFamous. Amazon.com also offered a pre-order bonus for inFamous, which was a Reaper costume for PlayStation Home. Those who downloaded the inFamous demo from the PlayStation Store and cleared it were able to receive a Cole costume for PlayStation Home.
Pre-orders from GameCrazy and Best Buy stores came with an early copy of the demo, released on May 7. The redeem codes were sent via email to several PlayStation Network users from Oceania on May 14.
Sequels and prequels
IGN.com released a graphic novel entitled inFamous: Post Blast, which served as a prequel to the events of the game. The novel depicted the events shortly after the Blast, showing several of John White's and Cole MacGrath's activities before the events of inFamous. A 2D mini-game entitled inFamous Precinct Assault was also featured in the game's official website.
Sucker Punch also collaborated with DC Comics in producing a six-issue comic series of inFamous, which show the events after the original game. It shows Cole dealing with the remnants of the First Sons and Moya, and also facing off with David Warner, a security guard-turned-Conduit that Kessler had left sealed within the organization's facility.
A sequel, inFamous 2, was unveiled after the magazine Gameinformer released images of the cover of their July 2010 issue. After an ample amount of time in development, the game was released on 2011. The game's event begin a month after the events of its predecessor.
- The game's timescale spans at approximately 21 days.
- The events of the game seem to take place in late 2010, since it's sequel takes place in early 2011, and Second Son takes place in 2018.
- The plot of the game, tone and setting is similar to Batman:No Man's Land and DMZ. While Kessler's arc is similar to X-Men Days of Future Past and the backstory of the Mutant Cable.
- Based on the events that follow inFamous (which can be seen on the inFamous Comics), the Good Karmic ending is the story canon, as Cole is depicted with blue lightning within the comics (one of the many traits that appear when Cole does good deeds).
- inFamous was included in both PlayStation 3's Platinum and Greatest Hits budget line-up.
- The logo of Sly Cooper, a game also developed by Sucker Punch, can be seen on Cole's sling bag.
- Most missions aren't played in a specific order.
- While Cole stretches out his powers, Zeke Dunbar can be seen reading Atomic Lead, a comic book published by Sucker Punch.
- Cole was given several codenames during the early stages of development: "Talon", "Gear Wolf", and "Chance". Early released info also had Cole's name listed as "Dylan", but was later changed to Cole.
- Several notable quotes from famous figures of history can be seen during some of the game's loading screens. The people quoted were the following:
- Jean Nidetch
- Victor Hugo
- Immanuel Kant
- Edmund Burke
- Helen Keller
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
- Henri Bergson
- Abraham Lincoln
- John F. Kennedy
- Winston Churchill
- Charles de Montesquieu
- Kahlil Gibran
- Franz Kafka
- Mahatma Gandhi
- Thomas Jefferson
- Early concept art depicted Cole utilizing his powers to lift a vehicle over his head. The power was cut in the final product, though was reintroduced in the sequel as a new power.
- The pre-order power from Gamestop, the Gigawatt Blades, would later be made available as a free-download on the PlayStation Store.
- inFamous was among the games made available to download for free, as part of the PlayStation Network's "Welcome Back" pack.