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The Big Story… Prototype


Rampaging mutants, trigger-happy armies and butchered civilians. New York gets terrorised yet again, but this time you’re not the one coming to the rescue…

Gamers can be a nasty bunch. On the surface we’re just like everyone else. We laugh, we love, we ethically interact with fellow citizens and we abide by the laws. But as soon as we find ourselves in a virtual world that gives us even a fraction of the freedom afforded by reality, we’re compelled to do very bad things. “Did that pedestrian look at me funny?” Smash. “Did that car cut me off?” Bang. “Did that hoochie really give me my money’s worth?” Thud.

It’s not that we’re some morally corrupt sub-culture (not unless you believe the Daily Mail that is), it’s just that a world without repercussion really does seem to bring out the worst in everyone. If you put a player in control of a car, and plonk a gaggle of pedestrians in front of him, his first thought will inevitably be “let’s paint the pavement red” (this macabre impulse even forms the basis for an entire game – Carmaggedon).

So what turns us gamers into such bastards whenever a control pad is plonked into our hands? Perhaps it’s the same morbid fascination that slows down traffic around car crashes. Or maybe it’s some dark impulse caused by the constraints and trappings of modern society. Whatever the reason is (and before this preview turns into a National Geographic article), players behave badly in games which allow them to get away with it, and this assumption is one of the core elements of Radical’s new open-world extravaganza Prototype.

“Can you make the average gamer care about the teetering schoolbus on the edge of a bridge about to fall into the ravine,” asks Prototype’s lead designer Eric Holmes. “We’ve done conclusive testing and decided that… no you can’t. In fact every player would push that bus off the side of the bridge, swim down in the ravine to look at the carnage, and then expect to be given points for it.”

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