NYCC: Prototype

By Jim Rossignol on February 7th, 2009 at 3:52 pm.


Prototype is back on course for release in June, and has had a big showing at NYCC. It’s perhaps a little less impressive than it was when we saw it a year ago, but hopefully all that extra time will pay off. The three-way biologic war on the streets of NYC still looks ludicrously violent. I think Gillen is going to unload some thoughts on this next week, having seen it at the show, so I’ll leave you to the walkthroughs.

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48 Comments »

  1. Lars BR says:

    I wonder exactly how far the statistics for those horribly annoying and pointless birthday thingies are skewed towards January 1st…

  2. Oak says:

    They couldn’t have thought up a better title than Prototype?

  3. c-Row says:

    Looks much better than last year. I hope they don’t mess it up on the finish line.

  4. Z says:

    I never realized how much of the funfactor of the Incredible Hulk games was being 18′ tall. Prototype feels like a bit of a random mess in comparison–playing it might feel different.

  5. DeliriumWartner says:

    Kinda reminded me of Spiderman 2, without the sense of freedom. These sorts of games were great 3-4 years ago, and while the visuals have improved vastly since then, the frustrating combat seems stuck in the past.

    I think what puts me off this game is that you don’t seem bigger than the carnage, leaving you searching through the explosions and particle effects to find your character, and what the hell you’re meant to be doing next. It ties in with what Z said. Being 18′ tall meant you could always see where you were and what you were facing. Spiderman likewise always had a sense of being above the city, looking down, via the webswing (barring the frustrating combat, of course).

  6. Gorgeras says:

    Definately need to get some clarifcation on the commitment to the PC. I think a lot of us are getting sick of seven month delays for ‘PC optimisation’ which are either lacklustre or make performance and gameplay worse.

  7. KP says:

    they should re-title this Emo Kid Rage Fantasy. game looks worse and worse.

  8. Heliocentric says:

    Emo kid rage fantasy already came out on the ds. Its called the world ends with you.

    Emo kids don’t like gore as it is too mainstream. But they like quicktime event combat.

  9. DigitalSignalX says:

    Wait, didn’t the civilized gaming world agree to stop making quicktime events? SOMEONE DROPPED THE BALL.

  10. Heliocentric says:

    The un resolution never passed, something about most games basically having quick time events but not making it transparent.

  11. qrter says:

    Yeah and most games are basically just a bunch of zeros and ones, when is that going to get fixed?

  12. Smurfy says:

    I FORT DIS WUZ GON BE COO

    WATCHIN NEW VID

    HOP STILL THINK SOE

  13. Heliocentric says:

    So you think games should have purely simon says right actions and everything else being wrong actions?

    I for one revel in artistic freedoms games present, and believe describing books as characters on paper. And painting as merely pigments on a canvas.

    Yes games are made of simply binary states but the sum product can be so much more.

    Still i love the press x to murder dog or die button in call of duty 4, best qte ever.

  14. El Stevo says:

    That looks like a lot of fun.

  15. Meatloaf says:

    I don’t care about the protagonist being mediocre, the plot, or the technical complaints. I want to punch out a tank. The game, despite it’s shortcomings, looks fun to play.

  16. Z says:

    Being 18′ tall meant you could always see where you were and what you were facing.

    Exactly. It could be fun like Ultimate Destruction (I swear I giggled whenever I could get my hands on a wrecking ball in that game… Whee!!! *smash*). This looks like you’re going to get lost in the bodies.

    The game, despite it’s shortcomings, looks fun to play.

    Still holding out that it’ll be this, though. Maybe you won’t feel as lost in the action when you’re actually playing.

  17. Z says:

    I think just keyed the other thing that bugs me. This is like the transition from Prince of Persia: Sands of Time to Warrior Within–in trying to gritty their series up and make it “I’m so angsty I cut myself”, they sucked out a lot of almost all the little things that made the first one such a joy to play.

    This feels the same. The core gameplay is probably still there (and probably better), but it looks like they sanded the sparkle off.

  18. Z says:

    One more.

    Lotsa people said: …quicktime events?…

    I think most of those (B), (A), & (Y) buttons appearing weren’t quicktime events, they were contextual alerts. As in: You’re close enough to finish fugly fucker #7 now! Press Y to do so!

  19. bansama says:

    It still looks interesting, but I think I won’t bother buying into hype. I’ll pass judgment once it finally gets released and not a moment sooner =)

  20. JKjoker says:

    ok, it looks cool and all, easy as hell, but cool, now is there any story in this game or its just a textbox telling you to kill this, kill that, go there, etc ?
    the entire game is in the city or can we expect some different areas ?
    ever since ive heard about this game they keep showing the same combat scenes, show me something else because so far it is barely worth a bargain bin pick up

  21. Rei Onryou says:

    The gameplay looks like it could be fun, but I think after playing for 5 minutes you’d be going “is this it”? It looks like random button mashing and “press Y to pwn” rather than a ballet of severed limbs.

  22. Lord_Mordja says:

    In an apocalyptic New York, only cab drivers are willing ti=o risk the streets.

  23. Tei says:

    Quicktime events don’t translate well to the PC. Imagine a game that ask you to press “B”. Is soo random, one in 112 keys, that you will end looking at the keyboard searching it. Thats why the U.N was passing a text against it.

    But this game looks interesting, in a way.. I love chaos and stuff, and more chaos and pure crazy overawesome destruction. But anyway this is a console game, so looking at this is not usefull.

  24. Muzman says:

    Looks really boring. Like ‘Devil May Cry’ in a city with car chucking and little else.
    This sounded really good once. Did I get completely the wrong impression somehow?
    The tank crushes the cars in a nice localised though.

  25. Adrian says:

    omg i love games where you can ellbow check tanks and beat them to death with cabs!

  26. Adrian says:

    by the way… this game looked good once but now it looks anoying and boring… you have to aim at the enemies every time you want to do a cool atack…. not much flow.. :(

  27. A-Scale says:

    Even the fellow playing the game was more excited about getting to the next part than he was with enjoying the part he was on. It looks like a game where they tried to sling a lot of really cool ideas into one scenario, but none of them are terribly satisfying. Their attempt at making the Prototype some sort of anti-government anti-hero has failed, he looks like a guy in a big, unappealing mess waiting to be told that he can now hit the Y key to win. Also, verticality.

  28. ChaosSmurf says:

    Personally I find it impossible to knock a game that allows me to elbow drop a tank.

  29. Post Maker says:

    I don’t think he was so much eager to move on with the demo, as he was nervous about speaking in public. Videos like this help people determine whether the game will be a puchase or a rental (or neither), so the pressure is on him to do the best he can and a deliver a good show. Not being given much time to explain how each system works is a problem, especially with the Quicktime Events that people are in a bit of a fluff about.

    From what I saw they aren’t just a simple instant-win mechanic, at least not with the larger enemies; every one of them had been damaged considerably before the finishing move was done, and that move looks to only be possible when that enemy has been grabbed, which is probably hard to when if they haven’t brought to a near-death situation.

    It makes sense when you look at the way he performs it on smaller characters as well, like soldiers or pedestrians. The player character has increible strength, and those humans that he consumes don’t; whats really stopping him from just instantly killing them when he gets close? Nothing, that’s what!

  30. Post Maker says:

    And here I thought I had fixed that post. The end of the middle sentence is supposed to read:

    “…which is probably hard to do if they haven’t been brought to a near-death level of health.”

  31. Steven Hutton says:

    Wow, I’m surprised at the negativity on display towards this game. There’ve only been a few videos and it looks pretty fun to me. It seems to be very similar to Hulk: Ultimate Destruction (which can only be a good thing).

    The graphics are nice, the main character moves in a nice fluid way and it appears to be a whirlwind of sickening, deplorable violence.

    I’m really at a loss to as to how someone can talk about this game as though it’s already a turkey.

  32. Post Maker says:

    I’m at a bit of a loss concerning the comments about losing track of your character in the thick of battle. Sure there are plenty of large explosions, and there are good deal of things that need to be kept track of, but the player character is centred in the middle of the screen most of the time; surely it’s not too hard to flick your eyes back there? And it seems that the only times when he isn’t centred are when the player is performing one of those charged up aerial attacks.

    The need to lock on to a target in order to perform certain attacks seems to be more about player choice; it didn’t look as though he was required to lock on, but chose to do that in order to keep from missing his target.

  33. Dominic White says:

    I’m surprised at how well this game looks to be coming together. I’d heard horror stories about its development, and rumors of layoffs at the studio. Seems it’s working out one way or another, though.

    It really looks like Hulk: UD (by the same studio, even) but with Venom/Carnages powers on top of tank-lobbing super strength. I see nothing wrong with this. There’s clearly some work to be done yet, with more variety on the traffic (it’s all cabs!) and some smoother animations/effects in places, but otherwise it looks solid.

    Surprised by the level of hate in this thread, though. I can’t help but think it might just be the PC purists coming out of the woodwork, as this seems to be a primarily console-oriented game.

  34. Dominic White says:

    Oh, and any incredible ease-of-play exhibited in that video is most likely because that’s the tutorial level or equivalent. The game was giving prompts on how to use each set of powers (neutral/shield, claws, hammer, blade) as they activated, triggered by cutscenes.

  35. Andy`` says:

    Excuse me while I pretend I have a right to ramble on for a few minutes, I’m quite bored.

    “Quicktime events don’t translate well to the PC. Imagine a game that ask you to press “B”. Is soo random, one in 112 keys, that you will end looking at the keyboard searching it.”

    Well, not really – B is actually quite sensible compared to, say, K (a certain game loses a single point of respect with me for binding the microphone to that button by default, guess which one ¬_¬). Unless the control scheme’s poor, any QTE is going to be on a button you can easily reach, or a button which is used again for the same QTE so you can learn where it is. Once you know where B is, it’s not too difficult to remember – it’s also fairly easy to reach just by moving your thumb off the space bar slightly. This doesn’t just apply to QTEs, it applies to everything – the knife in COD4, weapon select keys in Doom, and so on. And then there’s the added benefit of being able to reconfigure keys (unless, as I mentioned before, the control scheme is poor), so if you don’t want to use B, you can bind it to somewhere more comfortable.

    It also depends on what the button press does. QTEs aren’t the problem itself, its how they’re implemented that counts. The “mash Y to take tank” looked a bit unnecessary to me (you’re powerful enough, you should be able to just take the damn tank and keep going imo), but it doesn’t really look like much compared to Mercenaries 2 (which I played in X360) – in which you’d need to perform a combination of things, such as moving the thumbstick in a direction, or mashing a button as fast as you can, sometimes unreasonably fast. Screw one little thing up and your character, that’s considerably more fragile than Prototype’s character, ends up kicked on his ass. This is especially frustrating when you’re taking over helicopters, since you just fall out of control to the ground, vulnerable to fire the whole time. It makes mashing a single button for a brief time look alot easier than your comment wants to make it. Farenheit/Indigo Prophecy was also just a big QTE – it could somehow be forgiven for what it did, but it had frustrating parts that make pressing Y for a few seconds look like a party. And, to further emphasise the implementation point, COD4′s quick-draw knife (ignoring the dogs, just in terms of normal SP and MP combat) was still a QTE. You get the timing of the button press right and you kill, or you miss, and unless you’ve snuck up on someone and can press it whenever you like you’ve got to be quick about it. Do people think of it in terms of a QTE? Of course not, because it’s not implemented like the stereotypical QTE.

    And really, the controls will never be as poor as to have a QTE button press far across the other side of the keyboard. If WASD corresponds to movement (Left thumbstick), and Mouse to looking (Right thumbstick), the other controls are easy enough to work out. A is probably jump, so would be Space on the keyboard. Y looked like a “use” style command, so that would likely map to E. Grab was X so Attack is probably B or Right Trigger, making Lock-on either Right Trigger or Left Trigger respectively, but Attack would happily go to LMB, and Grab and Lock-on to RMB or Shift depending on what works out best for the game’s combat style. That leaves a few buttons that might not even be needed for the game (Either B or one of the triggers, thumbstick clicks, bumper buttons, D-Pad) but around the WASD+Mouse layout there’s still Q, R, F, Ctrl, number keys and your mousewheel click and scroll to tap, mash, or paint pretty patterns with using a minimal amount of hand movement to reach. And there’s a bunch more keys around the layout that just need a slight stretch or twist of the hand to reach, should they ever be needed.

    And no, I don’t like QTEs either, but I find them really easy to defend or simply ignore when the rest of the game looks enjoyable because it’s usually not going to get that much in the way of fun in games like Prototype (I still enjoyed Mercs 2, lots) because the small QTEs generally aren’t the focus of interaction with the game.

    And yeah, the tank thing is the only QTE I actually picked up on…to me the rest just looked like helper prompts. Exactly the same as walking up to a door in any game and the game telling you to “Press Use (E) to open the door”. Unless you consider pressing the Use key to open doors to be a QTE now?

    “The need to lock on to a target in order to perform certain attacks seems to be more about player choice”

    It depends on what they do with attacks, but it might be necessary for some of them. The ground spike for instance – if you can either do an AOE or targetted attack with the same buttons, the lock will be the only way of making the distinction. Charge attacks and firing in the air could be difficult to aim without a lock too, on consoles at least (depends on what free aiming with the mouse is like), but stuff like the elbow drop probably doesn’t necessarily need it (you’re in the air, you’ve got a particular “weapon”, you’re probably not going to do some different move if you’re not locked on).

    “I’m really at a loss to as to how someone can talk about this game as though it’s already a turkey.”

    I imagine it’s disenchantment. Too many games reveal too many secrets about their inner workings too easily, and the magic is gone. Combined with lackluster improvements in newer games, you start to imagine all games work in a particular way, and so nothing looks interesting anymore. You see a particular HUD style that’s vaguely similar to something, a QTE, or some other feature that’s been in a game in the past and you suddenly doubt the new game based on the failings of the old game. Example time: Mass Effect was, iirc, compared to KOTOR and Gears of War alot at one point, even though it wasn’t quite the same as the former, and was even less similar to the latter in my experience. And with the amount of games that seem to disappoint now, either due to overhyping by them or over-reaching expectations from us, why believe the next game will be any good? There’s some belief that it’s easier to assume everything’s going to be bad so you’ll be pleasantly surprised, but more often than not I get the impression those that try it end up convincing themselves a game is bad even after they’ve played the game so they don’t have to change their views, and those that don’t get carried away and end up disappointed.

    T’was a far simpler day when Man could wander by the crest of a hill and be captivated by the brothers of Doom and Sonic, without eternally worrying if Doom would be photosensitive or whether Sonic would be on crutches when they got there.

    Oh, can I make myself look more silly while I’m here? I haven’t played Hulk: Ultimate Destruction yet. Should I?

  36. Dominic White says:

    Yes, you should play Hulk: UD. It’s one of the few good superhero games ever made. The gameplay of Prototype looks nigh identical to it, but with more powers, more gore, and a smaller player character, which means you can use guns/vehicles rather than just smashing them into iron filings.

  37. Shanucore says:

    @Steven Hutton
    “I’m really at a loss to as to how someone can talk about this game as though it’s already a turkey.”

    They may be close relations of the Angry Internet Man; the Beard-Stroking Internet Judge.

  38. Dominic White says:

    Oh, and to all those worried about how the game will control (or fail to) on the PC, man up, put £20 (not a lot of money, especially if you can afford a gaming-spec PC) where your mouth is and get a standard USB 360 controller. It’s officially THE PC gamepad now, and is natively detected/supported by every multiplatform game out there, and a few PC-native ones as well.

    Even Crysis automatically changes the button prompts to their colour/letter coded equivalents if you have a 360 pad plugged in.

    Mouse and keyboard is good and all, but outside of strategy and FPS games, it’s a rather limited setup. Driving games demand an analogue position-relative controller, as to flying games for the most part. Fighting games DEFINITELY require lots of simultaneous button actions, and analogue movement helps too.

  39. waffles says:

    After watching him take over the tank, i began wishing it was a sequel to tokyo wars instead.
    Also more so than being small in size, beating up on hapless human grunts seems like a odd fit for admittedly awesome brutality.

  40. JKjoker says:

    … why so negative ? dude, they released like 10~20 gameplay videos and they ALL look exactly the same, not one different action/monster/feature
    and i did heard hulk for the 360 was ok (for like 2 hours until you got bored of doing the same thing over and over again) but for pc it blowed ass (they ported the ps2 version)

  41. Catastrophe says:

    @JKjoker

    It was Hulk: UD for the Xbox (original – not 360) and Playstation 2 and Gamecube. I wasn’t aware they ported it for the PC at all.

  42. Dominic White says:

    Yeah, Ultimate Destruction never came out on the PC. the Hulk game that made it to the PC was completely unrelated, and largely terrible.

    It was, as mentioned, Xbox, PS2 & GC only, with the Xbox version having the sharpest graphics and best framerate.

  43. Premium User Badge

    MonkeyMonster says:

    That. Looks. FUN! in a very consoley type of way but still. Muchos swearing when a move fails though :D

  44. Catastrophe says:

    Yeah, I’m definately keeping an eye on this one. It looks extremely fun, though I’ll probably get it on the 360 as it looks more of a console style game and I can’t be bothered waiting to find out how much DRM the PC version is going to be bogged down with.

  45. egg says:

    Looks kinda boring if you ask me.

    So do ask me.

  46. Jim Rossignol says:

    egg, what do you think of Prototype?

  47. Dominic White says:

    I’d just like to remind people that this probably isn’t how ‘real’ gameplay looks. It’s almost certainly the tutorial level, as indicated by the linear pattern of cutscene, new power, new target, prompts on how to use it, repeat until all power sets have been cycled through.

    Those complaining ‘There’s no freedom! It’s just following prompts and instructions’ don’t seem to have figure this out.

  48. Kieron Gillen says:

    (Honestly, when I was playing it at NYCC, I didn’t have a single quick time event. The letters are key prompts to remind you what you have to press to do a move in certain situations)

    KG