Ten Things You Should Know About inFAMOUS: Second Son - Article

By Matt Ashbaugh, May 10, 2013
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Warning! There will obviously be spoilers from inFAMOUS 1 and 2!

infamous second son

Like the guy talking about the third game isn't going to talk about the first two games.  C'mon!

#1: The series canon was chosen by the gamers

Cole's dead.  

Hey, I warned you about the spoilers.  Did you think I was joking?  

Anyway.  Since there are two possible endings in inFAMOUS 2 that are wildly different from one another, Sucker Punch had to do something it has been making fans of the franchise do in the game... make a choice.  Instead, they didn't make a choice.  We did.

Using the trophy metrics, Sucker Punch noticed that a majority of players went with the "good" ending of inFAMOUS 2 on their first playthrough.  Cole decides to sacrifice himself (and all the superhuman conduits) in order to cure the world of a deadly virus.  So the world is safe, but Cole MacGrath is dead.  

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#2: Seven years have passed

While only two years have gone by for us in the real world, Second Son will take place seven years after the end of inFAMOUS 2.  This is just long enough for the events of New Marais to have rippled through the world and make a new normal.  Of course, this is also short enough for us to be dealing with people that remember a time before Cole MacGrath and the conduits started running around.  There are plenty of those who long for "the good ol' days".

#3: It is set in "real world" Seattle

In the previous entries, your setting was a fictional location that was modeled after real-world places.  New York City became Empire City and New Orleans became New Marais.  This time the team chose to abandon this practice and set the third game not in Northwestiaberg but in just straight-up Seattle.  However, it will not be a strict street-by-street accurate version of the city (as games like L.A. Noire have done) but instead they are recreating the feel of their hometown.  The exact location might not be exactly where it is in real life, but landmarks like Mount Rainier and the Space Needle will be faithfully recreated for you to climb on.  

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#4: The main theme of the game is Security vs Freedom

Cole activated the RFI device which killed countless conduits around the world.  The few who somehow survived are now demonized by the news media and average citizens live in fear of them.  Conduits are now commonly known as bioterrorists.  To most of the world Cole was "The Demon of Empire City" and is held up as a villain despite his heroic deeds and ultimate sacrifice.  

Immediately after the events of the last game, the United States government formed a new bureaucratic organization specifically to keep tabs on conduits.  Called the Department of Unified Protection (aka DUP) they constantly watch over the public.  If you are identified as a conduit you are captured and held without trial in dedicated containment facilities. 

The parallels to our real-world, post-9/11 United States of America are quite obvious.  Sucker Punch is not bothering to use a subtle brush with this one.  "The DUP is the TSA," says producer Brian Fleming. "It's a new organization with broad powers to detain and control American citizens if they're suspected."

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#5: The new hero represents liberty

Meet Delsin Rowe

24 years old.  Native American.  Graffiti artist.  Conduit.

He's always been an anti-authoritarian fan who expressed himself through street art.  His "screw the rules" attitude has caused him to lead a rather unremarkable life so far.  But all that is going to change soon.

Also a mildly interesting fact: His name is an anagram for "New Soldier".  

#6: Less comics, more Banksy

The infamous (hey, that's the name of the series!) street artist Banksy is well known for his graffiti and his anti-authority sentiments found therein.  Where the previous games modeled cutscene styles after comic books, Second Son will instead be using a Banksy-esque stenciled style.  Sucker Punch believes that this style is a much better representation of the story they are trying to tell.  So much so that Delsin himself is a graffiti artist who is quite fond of tagging buildings with his work.  This conveniently is also the plot explanation as to why our new protagonist can parkour and climb as well as Mr. MacGrath did.  

infamous banksy

#7: You control smoke

What first sounds like one of the most worthless powers ever, is made quite useful with Sucker Punch's clever gameplay mechanics.  In a world full of security cameras, being able to disappear in a puff of smoke is quite useful.  Delsin's standard "smoke projectile" is capable of taking out security cameras with ease.  As seen in the trailer from the PlayStation 4 reveal event, he will also have a Nightcrawler-like smoke-dash.

Using air ducts, Delsin can quickly go from ground floor to rooftop.  From this elevated vantage point, he can rain smoking fireballs down on the DUP agents.  Or he can produce a large smoke cloud, temporarily blinding the agents allowing for him to escape.  

#8: Like Cole, your powers use energy

Where MacGrath had to recharge from generators and street lights, Delsin will also find his powers to be finite.  With electricity, there is nearly a limitless supply in our modern age.  However, smoke is quite a bit less omnipresent.  Replenishing requires being a bit more creative.

If Delsin sticks to the rooftops, he is likely to run across plenty of chimneys which will supply him with an ample amount of smoke.  If he is trapped on the ground, destroying a car is one option.  The burning wreckage will release plenty of smoke.  Sometimes even enemies can help you out.  Some DUP agents who don't fully understand your abilities might attempt to disable you with a tear gas canister.  This, of course, is like trying to put out a fire with gasoline.  

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#9: Smoke is not your main power

It turns out that you are not just a dime-store Human Torch.  Your base power is actually the ability to absorb the powers of other conduits.  So that smoke you are flinging used to be someone else's ability.  Sucker Punch is obviously keeping quiet about the story, but they did say that controlling smoke is not the only power you will have.  

The main plot of the game gets kickstarted when a DUP transport vehicle that is carrying an assortment of conduit detainees crashes in downtown Seattle.  They immediately flee and the DUP quickly quarantines most of the city creating a strict police state within the barrier.  

#10: Karma karma karma chameleon

Aside from chucking electricity at people, inFAMOUS is a series that places an emphasis on player choice.  The decisions were very clearly divided down the good-verses-evil line in previous games.  While Sucker Punch is not offering any direct examples, but they have said that players will have to make many tough decisions in Second Son.  

In a gameplay demo, it was reported that a DUP officer surrendered himself to Delsin's power.  The player was given the choice to let him live or kill him anyway.  Whether this means that the strict "be an anti-hero through fear" or "be a selfless hero for all" returns is unclear.  

I would speculate that perhaps you will find yourself in battle with the other conduits.  Upon subduing them you might be given the option to take their power from them, or have them join you and let you build a little group of freedom fighters.  Possibly a similar concept to the choice of whether to save or harvest the Little Sisters in BioShock.  This is all just speculation, anyway.

Here, have a little interview video:

So are you excited?  Would inFAMOUS: Second Son as a launch title be enough to get you to buy a PlayStation 4?  Or does the idea of a smoke-powered Johnny Knoxville-like guy just make you nervous that the franchise has lost its way?  Comment away.

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