Radical Entertainment is delighted to be offing Prototype protagonist Alex Mercer in the upcoming sequel.
“We were just throwing out ideas about where we could take the sequel after the events of the first Prototype when one of the guys said ‘You know what? We should just kill Mercer,'” design director Matt Armstrong told Destructoid of the genesis of the idea.
“The room was suddenly bursting with energy, excitement and debate around the idea and that made me realize that we had the seeds of something really special. In the end, the premise was just too exciting to pass up.”
Alex Mercer’s role as primary antagonist in Prototype 2 allows Radical to highlight the budding franchise’s true star – the Blacklight Virus – but also to introduce new protagonist James Heller.
“Heller’s a character who’s actually become more and more interesting over the course of development as we’ve got to know him better,” Armstrong said.
“One of the things that I’ve been most happy about in the game has been Heller’s dry sense of humor. Humor in games is a very difficult thing to pull off successfully, but our writers have done a really impressive job of simply allowing it to flow out of certain situations and interactions without forcing it. This has gone a long way to making Heller a really engaging and relatable character.”
In a later discussion, Armstrong assured fans the team had taken feedback on board, particularly in terms of its repetitive side missions, which the developer called a “real missed opportunity”.
“The experience was really hurt by the fact that they were all so simple, abstract and completely disconnected from the world we were building and story we were telling,” he said.
“This time around, we’ve made sure that we have a much wider range of side content and that all of it is tied back into the fiction. Ensuring that all of these elements are supporting and reinforcing the story that we’re telling has resulted in a world that is much more rich, diverse and believable than the world of the first game.”
Armstrong said the new side-quest system was one of the most improved areas of the game, but also noted increased stealth abilities, like sensory tools to find your targets, had been added.
“One of the most interesting aspects of these improvements is how they’ve been folded into a brand new feature we’re calling Black.Net. This is Blackwatch’s secure, encrypted communications network which contains details of all of the various operations and experiments that Blackwatch and Gentek are carrying out across the three Zones of the city,” he explained.
“By hacking into this system via communications vehicles throughout the city, the player learns the identities of the key operatives associated with these missions and, by hunting down and consuming them, opens up brand new missions within the world.”
The seqel has also been balanced to try and avoid the first game’s “attack spam”, but “without reducing the sense of over-the-top chaos that was such an epic and cool defining feature of the first game”.
Prototype 2 is due on PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 at the end of April.