We Interview Matt Armstrong On Prototype 2
We were recently offered the opportunity to ask Matt Armstrong, design director at Radical Entertainment, a few questions on Prototype 2. Matt Armstrong not only answered our questions, but also humoured us with a tongue-twister at the end.
From the interview, it’s evident that Prototype 2 is going to be a great game. It’s said to be a straight-forward revenge story with a bit of conspiracy. There will be an open-world campaign, however we’re not sure how long it will be. Prototype 2 is said to be a larger game than its predecessor.
Following that, there’s DLC which offers players seven weeks of challenges. If you purchase the game on the first day, you’ll get these for free. And on that note, you can pre-order Prototype 2 here.
Read all of our questions along with Matt Armstrong’s answers below. If you’re looking for more details on Prototype 2, we’ve published a preview as well as other information on the game. Remember to come back for our Prototype 2 review later this month.
eGamer: What kind of story are you trying to tell in PROTOTYPE 2?
MA: The story we’re telling in PROTOTYPE 2 is a very straight revenge story. We realized very early on that the power of the story came from Sgt. James Heller’s sense of loss after the death of his wife and daughter, so focusing the story around this driving motivation and Heller’s hatred of Alex Mercer (the man he holds responsible) made a lot of sense.
eGamer: One of the main issues with the original game was that the narrative got a bit tricky to follow towards the end. How are you handling it this time around?
MA: The key thing that we’ve done in PROTOTYPE 2 is to keep the central story very simple, straightforward and epic. We’ve retained the strong sense of conspiracy that underpinned the first game, but we’ve expressed it through the various side stories and sub-plots of the sequel so that the main story always remains clear and easy to follow.
eGamer: How long is PROTOTYPE 2’s campaign (compared to the original)?
MA: One of the big improvements that we’ve made in PROTOTYPE 2 has been tying our open-world gameplay much more closely into the main campaign. All of the game’s side missions and collectibles are critical to upgrading Heller’s powers and abilities and we’ve done a much better job of integrating them into our world and story. As a result, it’s a little difficult to say just how the experience will be for each player compared to the original. It’s certainly a much larger game than its predecessor, though.
eGamer: How has Blackwatch evolved or changed from the first game? In the original they didn’t exactly give Alex Mercer a run for his money, but how will Heller fair against them?
MA: Blackwatch have had time to bed in and establish themselves since being caught on the back foot by the events of the first game. This has resulted in them having a much greater presence across all areas of the New York Zero theatre of operations. As an opposing faction, they’re certainly a force for Heller to take notice of.
eGamer: It’s quite bold to make players kill the protagonist from the original. How will Alex Mercer be portrayed in the story, and will he have a constant presence in the game?
MA: Mercer’s role in the story of PROTOTYPE 2 is pivotal, so he turns up on at a number of key points throughout the game. His presence within the story is strong enough that you’re constantly finding out more about him and his plans even when he’s not physically present in the scene. In terms of how he’s portrayed in the story, you’re just going to have to play it to find out…
eGamer: Will PROTOTYPE 2 have a New Game+ feature? Or will it continue after the game has ended?
MA: Happily, the answer is “both”. New Game+ is unlocked as soon as the player has completed the main story, but the option to simply continue exploring the world in search of uncompleted side mission and collectibles is still available.
eGamer: What was your main goal for PROTOTYPE 2’s combat? How do Heller’s fighting capabilities differ to that of Alex Mercer?
MA: The main goal for the combat in PROTOTYPE 2 was to put the player in greater control of the experience. We gave the player some fantastic powers in the first game, but the fun of using them was diminished because the whole experience was so chaotic and hard to read. The big goal for PROTOTYPE 2 has been to put the player in charge of every single battle without reducing the sense of epic chaos and carnage that is so unique to the world of PROTOTYPE.
In terms of Heller’s capabilities and how they differ from Mercer, the addition of powerful new abilities such as the Tendrils, Bio-Bomb and Pack Leader are the obvious things to call out. It’s also worth pointing out that even iconic favorites such as the Blades and Claws from the first game have been completely rebuilt, re-scripted, re-tuned and re-animated in order to match Heller’s more militaristic fighting style and deliver the more “in control” combat experience I mentioned earlier.
eGamer: How does PROTOTYPE 2 treat the open-world aspect – what is new?
MA: The biggest change here – and one of the things that I’m happiest about in PROTOTYPE 2 – is the way in which we’ve made sure that all of open-world elements tie into the fiction. This has really helped us to tell a more interesting story and deliver a more varied, interesting and unique world for players to explore.
The single biggest feature is something we call Black.Net, which is Blackwatch’s secure, encrypted communications network. As players explore the three zones of New York Zero, they’ll find Black.Net trucks that they can hack into in order to find out about Blackwatch’s various sinister military and scientific operations. Armed with this information, players can use PROTOTYPE 2’s brand new Hunting ability to track down the key personnel involved with these operations and then consume them for memories that unlock brand new missions.
eGamer: Does the series end with PROTOTYPE 2? Plans for the future? Anything regarding multiplayer?
MA: We have no intention of ending the series with PROTOTYPE 2. We have plenty of ideas for where to take the series from here. As for multiplayer, it would certainly be nice, but no promises.
eGamer: What kind of downloadable content will the game have?
MA: We have big DLC plans for PROTOTYPE 2. The heart of this plan is something we call RADNET Edition content, which is seven weeks of totally free challenges, events and rewards for players that buy the game on the first day. As players engage with and complete these challenges and events, they unlock rewards in the form of developer videos, in-game Mutations and – when they’ve completed all seven weeks of content – all the pieces of an in-game Alex Mercer skin.
eGamer: What excites you most about the new game?
MA: The fact that it’s finally finished! Seriously, though, I think the thing that I’m most excited about is the fact that it’s only a matter of a few short weeks before our fans finally get their hands on the game.
eGamer: Can you think up a good tongue-twister using Heller’s name?
MA: Hugely horrors hurry home to Heller’s heinously hellacious haircut.
(sighs…) I’ll go get my coat…
Thanks a lot to Megarom for the opportunity, and to Matt Armstrong for taking the time to answer the questions.