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"Playing as a sewer rat is no fun"

Protoype developer reveals bizarre early superpower, plus a terrifying amount more

Quite recently, we interviewed Prototype Executive Producer Tim Bennison who revealed so much about their forthcoming free-roaming anti-hero action adventure, we (sadly) had to cut about 90% of it out of the magazine - such as the fact they took 22 thousand photos of New York to model the in-game city, and recently modified the gameplay to allow your character to blend into the background by morphing into a 65-year-old jogger. More below...

How would you describe Prototype to the average gamer?

Tim Bennison: Prototype is an open-world action game, offering players the chance to become Alex Mercer, a deadly shape-shifting 'anti-hero'. Mercer can shape-shift his body into lethal biological weapons as well as consume and become anyone in New York City. His main goal is revenge, as he cuts through relentless enemy factions somehow involved in the conspiracy that created him.

When we started this project, we really wanted to create something different that couldn't be done on the previous generation of hardware. We think we've achieved this with Prototype's combination of unique movement and combat mechanics and the original back-story. Judging from gamers' reactions earlier this month at New York Comic-Con, we're feeling great about hitting our goal.

Could you walk us through a typical 'mission' in the game?

Tim Bennison: Due to the large array of over-the-top abilities we've given Alex Mercer, we tried to create equally 'epic' missions. To beat the game, you'll have to make really effective use of movement abilities, shape-shifting combat and disguise, and tons of military hardware. Missions generally revolve around three key elements: adaptive parkour movement, shape-shifting powers, and disguise gameplay.

One example of disguise gameplay might be where Alex needs to infiltrate a rooftop helipad guarded by Blackwatch Special Forces soldiers. Alex needs to sneakily consume a few key outlying patrol guards, and then he can take control of the chopper as a 'pilot'. A different mission may then need Alex to get his hands dirty and chase down a 20 foot Infected boss rampaging through the city streets all while holding a key person Alex must rescue. We've also got a boatload of really cool "Event Challenge" missions, which provide intense doses of extreme action.

Prototype sounds very much like Assassin's Creed with its parkour style movement. Is that a fair assumption?

Tim Bennison: First off, we love Assassin's Creed - it's a great game. One of the main differences between Prototype and AC lies in the character movement. In AC, the movement of Altair is more intricately designed around building 'outcroppings' where the player chooses which brick to connect with as Altair climbs. In Prototype, because Alex Mercer is on the run from military attack helicopters, huge Infected brawlers, etc, the players' decision is not 'which brick to connect Alex to', but rather, 'which skyscraper'. Action will come looking for you in Prototype, so Alex needs to be able to jump across Times Square, not just the roof of a village square.

How realistic is your version of New York, and how important is the look and feel of the city to the overall game?

Tim Bennison: Very early on in development, our main theme was reality plus one 'fantastic' element. The 'fantastic' in Prototype is based around the Infection and the effects that has on the population. But it was important to us to set the game in as real and recognizable world as possible, hence New York City in the present day. We felt that the action and events would have more impact in this kind of setting.

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