Previews

E3 2011's Most Anticipated: Prototype 2

CVG E3 2011 Awards: Vote for the games that most excite you!

The games on show at E3 2011 are some of the best in living memory. So you really owe it to yourself to vote in CVG's inaugural E3 2011 Awards... in the Most Anticipated Title category.

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Shortly before the show, we'll work out which of these 60 special E3 game previews have enjoyed the most page views, Facebook 'Likes', ReTweets and poll votes (see below) and crown our first victor at the Los Angeles event. Show your favourites the love!

Game: Prototype 2
Publisher: Activision
Likelihood of E3 2011 showing: Certain

Radical Entertainment have had to make a lot of tough decisions during Prototype 2's development - but turning Alex Mercer from hero to villain wasn't one of them.

"Prototype as a series is supposed to be the 'ultimate power fantasy' - it's supposed to make the player feel empowered," explained Prototype 2's producer Ken Rosman during a recent investigatory sojourn in Vancouver.

"Alex was a barrier to that. He was unmotivated, afraid of his powers... he ran around taking orders from his sister. Whose power fantasy is that?"

The new hero is revealed on screen. His name is Sergeant James Heller, and he's a growling army veteran who's grieving the death of his young family at the hands of the Blacklight Virus.

His design won't win any originality awards (unless someone starts up a ceremony called the IRONY BAFTAS), but he certainly fits Radical's criteria for a Prototype protagonist to a tee. He's uniformly grizzled, ultra-confident, keen to embrace his new-found superpowers, and he's very, very highly motivated... about killing Alex Mercer.

That's probably to be expected considering that Mercer's now a criminal kingpin, and that we see him injecting a defeated Heller with Blacklight during the game's opening act. But isn't it always a bit dangerous to turn your lead character against the fanbase?

Rosman doesn't think that he has. "Mercer was never intended to be the main focus of Prototype. The virus is the star. Prototype's real intrigue comes from seeing how infected individuals are affected by it.

Also, if we don't tie the series to a single character or location, it gives us incredible freedom to experiment and innovate with the series in the future. You could see an FPS set in a jungle, for example, or we could do a survival horror game in which you play as a small girl who has been infected."

There will be few changes to the actual nuts and bolts of the game, but Radical are looking to tighten up the combat sequences so you feel more in control, more like a superhero - and for inspiration, they're looking towards the master of doing exactly that, Batman: Arkham Asylum.

One of the key things they've drafted over from Rocksteady's magnum opus is the concept of 'tells' - if you pay attention to your opponent's body language during fights, you can learn to predict their next move, which in turn will allow you to identify who poses the most immediate threat during multi-man beatdowns, allowing you to turn the tide with style.

Our main beef with the first iteration of Prototype was that the on screen chaos often left us feeling bewildered and helpless - hardly an 'ultimate power fantasy'. But Radical has listened diligently to criticism of the first game, and when Heller finally takes Mercer down, perhaps it'll be symbolic of Radical burying the mistakes of their past.

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