*Warning article contains spoilers for Infamous and Infamous 2. Infamous was a very compelling concept right from the start. Playing as a super powered man where you can fill in the role of hero or anti-hero by blasting people with electricity from your finger tips seemed like nothing short of a fantastic idea for a video game. The first Infamous was one of the reasons I bought a Playstation 3 and was one of my first games on the console. I spent hours roaming the world of Infamous and played the game off and on all the way up to the point when Infamous 2 was released. I played through both games as a good and evil character and could not get enough of the narrative that the games provided which only got better with the sequel. Sucker Punch Productions, which is more known for the Sly Cooper games, created a universe with so many story possibilities that I hope we are able to revisit this world many times to come. But what exactly has been going on in the universe of Infamous and where should the story go? The Infamous franchise is open to so many options that it’s hard to imagine where Sucker Punch might want to take the series next if they decide to make another game.
The Story so Far.
Infamous follows Cole MacGrath, a bike messenger from Empire City, and his best friend Zeke. One day while Cole is delivering a package he gets a phone call and is asked to open the package but when he does he unintentionally sets off an explosion which decimates an entire city block and causes Empire City to be quarantined. Somehow Cole was the only survivor to make it out of ground zero and has emerged with superhuman abilities. Cole now has electrical powers and can absorb electricity to make himself stronger, however Cole was not the only one to gain super powers from the blast. There are three other people who have gained abilities and are using gangs to take over different parts of the city. Cole sets out to stop them and along the way meets his now archenemy Kessler. After meeting an FBI agent named John, Cole learns what set off the explosion was a device called the Ray Sphere and was developed by Kessler and that there are certain people called conduits that all gain powers when they come in contact with the power from the Ray Sphere. Through a series of events Cole gains possession of the Ray Sphere and in the process John is thought to have been killed. Cole then comes face to face with Kessler and after defeating him realizes that Kessler is actually the future version of himself. Cole learns that in the future his loved ones are killed by a creature called “The Beast”. Using a new power that he had acquired Cole traveled back in time to help prepare his past self to be ready to defeat” The Beast” when he appears.
Infamous 2 wastes no time and introduces “The Beast” in the first few minutes of the game. He quickly defeats Cole and him and Zeke and an FBI agent named Lucy Kuo flee to New Marais to prepare to fight “The Beast.” In New Marais Cole learns that Empire City was destroyed and that “The Beast” is chasing them. Not only that but there are other Conduits in the city because of Kessler’s work from the first game. Kuo tells Cole that they have to find a Dr. Wolfe who may have a way for them to defeat the beast. Unfortunately they have another problem in the form of Joseph Bertrand. An unbalanced man who thinks conduits are an abomination to man and thinks that they should be exterminated. After rescuring Dr. Wolfe from Bertrand, Cole receives a device called the RFI and learns of the blast cores. Cole needs to collect blast cores so he can gain enough power to activate the RFI which will drain the powers of “The Beast.” After Cole manages to destroy Bertrand he comes face to face with “The Beast” only to learn that it is John who was a conduit and when he came in contact with the Ray Sphere in the first game he was transformed. However John gives Cole a proposition to help him save the world as the Radiation from the Ray Sphere is poisoning the world or Cole can use the RFI which will kill all the Conduits in the world and eliminate the disease.
Where Should the Future Lead?
Now the challenge with continuing the Infamous storyline is the fact that Infamous 2 has two drastically different endings. In the good karma ending Cole uses the RFI and kills all of the conduits in the world including himself. Zeke takes his body on a boat to give him a proper send off somewhere else and when the boat is on the horizon a lightning bolt strikes before the credits roll leaving an almost ambiguous ending. In the bad karma ending Cole joins with John and kills his best friend and gains some of John’s powers allowing him to bring out the power in other conduits. He travels the country creating an army of conduits and starts to create a new world order while realizing that he has become “The Beast” and thus the very thing he was supposed to destroy.
Both of these endings could spin the series in two very different directions depending on which one Sucker Punch decides to make the true ending if they choose to continue the story of Cole. Infamous 2 really opened up the universe that Sucker Punch created which reminds me of a different fictional universe, the X-Men. To me there are a lot of similarities between X-Men and Infamous that I think were missed by a lot of people. Both stories contain humans that are gifted with super powers only they are obtained through different means. The most showing similarity between these two franchises is Infamous 2’s bad karma ending which depicts Cole bringing out all of the different Conduit’s powers and building an army to take over the world, an act that is mirrored by the main villain of X-Men, Magneto.
The bad karma ending of Infamous 2 is probably the most interesting way to follow up the series in my opinion. Sucker Punch would be taking an unexpected step forward and could create a game that is a lot more diverse than the last two. A Infamous game where you play as a conquering super human could change the structure of the franchise and add in some new features such as traveling to new cities through the course of the game or even some commanding or squad based mechanics as he controls his army of super humans. On the flip side there could also be a totally different version of the same game where you play as one of the super humans rebelling against Cole thus giving the player to choose to play as the good character or the evil character and have them be literally two separate characters and add more diversity to the game.
However if Sucker Punch were to follow up the good karma ending we would probably see something totally different. In the good Karma ending Cole is believed to be dead but it is left ambiguous as to if he actually is or not. Also all of the conduits are supposed to be dead as well, so it could be a little more difficult to explain away this ending. They could probably find a way to bring back Cole and say he didn’t die but there is still the need of a villain and a compelling story and it may just seem a little copped out if the writers just wrote around the ending. I think if this ending is followed up the best thing to do would be to set the story a couple years in the future and create entirely new characters with a new story line. It could be possible for the conduit gene to resurface in new people and have someone gain powers in another way. This would be the best way to handle the good karma ending and Sucker Punch wouldn’t have to stray too far from their formula to make a game that is still compelling. It would also give them the chance to experiment with a new character that has gained some new type of powers and move away from the electricity, something they experimented with in Infamous 2.
While it’s still up in the air on if we will even see another Infamous game, or what it will be if they do make one, I can only sit and think of what my dream Infamous game would be and what would make sense in an Infamous 3. Whether it’s a prequel, sequel, or side story I can only hope that Sucker Punch keeps improving on their formula and is able to provide gamers with more Infamous in the future. As a big fan of the franchise I am willing to check out any more Infamous that comes my way whether it’s a new game, a movie, a book, a hand held game, or even another downloadable title. Meanwhile we can all just wonder what Sucker Punch has up their sleeves with Cole and the Infamous franchise.