James Doe taking down the Devil
For those who haven’t been keeping up with Prototype developments, the most important story element is that protagonist Alex Mercer has become the antagonist to new star James Heller. It’s often a risky move to change the protagonist from a game to its sequel. The Assassin’s Creed franchise did it successfully with the switch from Altaïr to Ezio, but fans often protest change once they have bonded with a character. Sucker Punch planned to replace Cole MacGrath with a softer, more likeable Nathan Drake-esque version, but quickly reverted back to the original when gamers rejected the switch. Dave explained how Radical’s decision stays true to the core of the franchise while opening up new gameplay opportunities:
“I was on the story team and we were working on a lot of different stories, and really, what it came down to is ‘What is Prototype about?’ and it’s about the virus and how it affects everybody differently. It really came down to that, so we started looking at other storylines and it kind of came full circle. We were looking at a new character and thinking about how that new character became the next Prototype, we thought about bringing back that story and tying Alex Mercer into it. Alex Mercer infecting James Heller means some of those powers have been inherited, but new ones have developed because the virus infects Heller differently. We thought about these two, and thought, ‘How will the story intermingle between these guys, who is the real enemy, what will showdowns look like?’ Definitely, I’d have to say that Mercer makes an appearance.”
Chris: “He’s a major part of the game.”
The Web of Intrigue from the first game was a good idea but a lot of people felt it wasn’t implemented so well and that the story was pushed to the side. Prototype 2 will still have the Web, but it will hopefully be more integral to the story.
Dave: “The idea is that it really has to tie into the fiction and story really well. So we amped up the main story missions, and you’ll get information from them about the core story. The web focuses more on what’s happening in the different zones, but what they do in this game is they unlock missions as well. So rather than being a passive story telling approach, you have to actively hunt down targets and then they all open up objectives as well. There’s more to them now than there was before. I also believe that the story is going to be a lot clearer as well.”
Chris: “A simple but epic story of James Heller trying to take down the Devil, Alex Mercer. So you always understand what you’re trying to do, and then you go into the story. The first one was a conspiracy, and it’s hard to follow a conspiracy over many, many weeks of play. So we want to make it always very understandable, but a very cool story at the same time.”