inFamous had an interesting karma system that opened or closed pathways to new powers. However the events that determined your karma rating were rather lackluster and mechanical in delivery. Sucker Punch has heard the cries of fans, not only over the karma system but also over the proposed revamp of Cole, and have taken it upon themselves to deliver a more fluid, immersive karma system.
“When we took a look at the Karma system in inFamous we wanted to keep the successful stuff, but also make improvements,” said Sucker Punch co-founder Brian Fleming. “As a top line, we knew we wanted to continue to offer players the choice and responsibility that comes along with having powers. This is one of the central themes of many archetype super-hero stories, as well as an interesting exploration of the relationship between power, responsibility and the test of character that powers bring. So, that had to stay.
“But on the flip side, we got feedback from fans that some of the choices felt too mechanical, and they wanted their choices to have more meaning in the narrative and in the world. So, our challenge with inFamous 2 was to make these choices more real, more believable, and yet still keep them visible and clear to the players.”
And those choices come in the form of two characters, Kuo and Nix, whom you interact with regularly to facilitate your karma influence. This is determined by how you choose to complete a mission.
“When we spent time thinking and designing the improved Karma system, we ultimately concluded that there was a way to make these choices both clearer and much more believable: to make your Karma decisions more about relationships and less about the specific choice at hand,” Fleming added. “So instead of a question that really didn’t relate to our primary gameplay (e.g. ’should we take this food or give it away?’), in inFamous 2 we let the player decide who to ally with on a quest, or choose between Kuo’s surgical strike or Nix’s no-holds barred assault. You aren’t just choosing a mission, you’re choosing an ally and alienating another person. This was both clear for players, and more real.”
This kind of system sounds like it has bits and pieces taken from one of the best karma driven games in the industry, Mass Effect 2. With the ability to “alienate” another character you are effectively cutting off paths that would otherwise be open to you and you have to live with that.
One example of the new system is demonstrated in the new footage below.