Design Director Matt Armstrong Talks Prototype 2

Crix: Can you describe Prototype 2's three different "zones" and how you came up with them?

MA: The idea for PROTOTYPE 2’s three zones occurred almost organically from an exploration of what the post-PROTOTYPE world would look like. This led us to a kind of “three ring” approach to the containment of the virus.

The outer ring is the Green Zone. This area is the closest thing to normality in the world of PROTOTYPE 2, but it doesn't take long for you to begin noticing the heavy Blackwatch presence in certain parts of the city – military helicopters flying overhead, tanks rolling down the city streets, watchtowers on urban rooftops, and heavily fortified military bases reveal that this is where Blackwatch has drawn the line where they will not allow the virus to cross.
Closer to the heart of the original outbreak is the Yellow Zone. This previously pleasant suburban neighborhood has been transformed into a sprawling, overcrowded mass of makeshift shanty towns. It's within this zone that Blackwatch and Gentek (the scientific arm of Blackwatch) find themselves with a free hand to conduct a wide variety of deeply unethical experimentation on the captive populace.

At the very heart of our world is the Red Zone. This area is what used to be Manhattan, but it's now a devastated wasteland of shattered skyscrapers and enormous viral outgrowths. Oh, and it's also swarming with vast quantities of grotesquely mutated bloodthirsty Infected monstrosities; some the size of a normal human being, and some the size of a three-story building J.

Crix: What was the hardest part about getting Prototype 2 from concept to completion?

MA: That's a really good question. The hardest part was probably getting it off the ground and getting the team pointed in the right direction. There's always a huge amount of excitement at the start of a big project like PROTOTYPE 2 and lots of great ideas about where to go with it. The tricky part is selecting just the right combination of ideas and then getting everyone onto the same page so that the whole team is singing from the same hymn sheet.

How much pressure did you feel to deliver a bigger experience yet keep the feel from the first game?

MA: Immense pressure, is the short answer. The first game showed us that we were on the verge of delivering something very special, but we knew that we would have to make some major changes in PROTOTYPE 2 in order to really deliver on that promise. I think our fans and critics saw that, too, and that's generated a real weight of expectation that has certainly resulted in a lot of pressure. It's a very positive pressure, though. I'd far rather feel the pressure of a rabid, excited fan base than the pressure of working on a project that no one cares about.

Crix: Ken Rosman stated that there WILL be DLC for Prototype 2; can you give us a wee bit more of what that DLC will be? Plllllleeeeeeeease?

MA: Ha ... absoultely not! – Ken would kill me. Just kidding…he’d probably just maim me a bit. But in all seriousness, we've got exciting plans for PROTOTYPE 2, but we're not quite ready to talk about it just yet. However, I can say that you should definitely stay tuned for more info on this front because exciting news is just around the corner.

Crix: Who are your influences, gaming wise?

MA: I've always been an obsessive gamer with an interest in a very wide range of genres, so my influences come from all over the place. In terms of specifics, I'm certainly a huge admirer of what the teams at Rocksteady and Ubisoft have done with the Batman and Assassin's Creed games, respectively, but I also love the kind of avant garde thinking that underpins games such as Catherine or (going back a few years) Killer 7. I'm also a fan of the Mass Effect games because of the strength of their storytelling and the very clever design decisions that allow them to deliver such compelling narratives.

Crix: Who're your horror influences?

MA: Our biggest influences have really been in the areas of monster design. Specifically, it's been classics like John Carpenter's “The Thing” and the work of character and special effects designers such as Steven Wang and Carlos Huante that have really had the strongest influence on us.

Crix: If you found yourself in New York Zero, where would you last longer: Red or Yellow?

MA: The Yellow Zone. My life expectancy would be at least 30 seconds greater over there (pushing it up to a total of about 32 seconds in total).

What's the main thing you want players to take away from Prototype 2?

MA: A sense that they had a huge amount of fun. If players reach the end of the game with a big, broad grin on their faces, I'm happy. That's what it's really all about.

Crix: (obvious question here, BUT...) ARE there any plans for a Prototype 3?

MA: I'm sorry, I can't hear you...there’s some static on the line…(insert static noise here)…you're breaking up...hello...? Hellooo...?


Well, can't blame a girl for trying, right?

Ready to murder your maker? You'd better be as Prototype 2 will be available for PC, PS3, and Xbox 360 on April 24th (US) and April 27th (EU) of this year!

Thanks again to Matt Armstrong for sitting in the hot seat with me!

E3 2011: New Prototype 2 Trailer

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