Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Editorial: Why New Cole isn't a bad thing.

When the first images of inFamous 2 dropped, there was massive backlash among fans of the original who accused Sucker Punch of turning main character Cole into - and I quote:
"A douche."
And Kotaku's Luke Plunkett said
"Guy looks like he should be dealing cocaine out the back of an Ibiza club, circa 1997."

Now... on the one hand, I can understand the complaints. The original Cole didn't look like any other video game character - or, really, anyone you've ever met in real life.

Actually, let's go back a little further. Original-original Cole looked like the floodpant-wearing weirdo on the left:

Two years later, we got the design that actually made it into the game - on the right. Much cooler - but still just as... well, strange. No one dresses like that! Who wears a bright yellow leather jacket?

Maybe snowboarders? I don't know - but one thing you must admit is that Cole McGrath's original design made it rather difficult for the player to identify with him.

inFamous was meant to be a story of an everyman - a normal guy - who suddenly develops superpowers and has to come to terms with what that means. But, if you ask me, it got off on the wrong foot with that character design. That is not an everyman. That is some sort of leather-clad urban explorer strapped-for-whatever-may-come badass, and I have never met anyone like him.

Now, on the other hand, we have New Cole.

Necklaces? Generic T-shirt? Douchey tribal-ish tattoos?

I know this guy. I've met this guy and had a few beers with him. The pants? Not so much - but that's fine. A little pinch of style is fine, because as a whole New Cole is much more human than his previous incarnation.

Now, perhaps, the player will get a better sense of being an ordinary man with extraordinary abilities. A normal dude, pushed to the limits of his ability. A relateable hero - which, we can all agree, has a massive impact on a player's experience with a title.

In fact, he kinda' reminds me of someone.

And that's a very good thing. Before you sound off for comparing it to the phenomenal standard put forth by the Uncharted franchise, let me leave you with this recent tweet from the supernaturally-informed Geoff Keighley:

"Wow!! Just played Infamous 2. Blown away by it, feels like Uncharted 2. Very impressive."

...which falls neatly in line with what Sucker Punch said they were trying to do with the sequel - turn a very good game into an incredible one - and it's lovely that, by the sounds of things, they've managed to pull it off.

Cole's new design is just one step in that direction - which is not a bad thing.

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