Tim Bennison knows you're evil. "In open-world games, the player is a son of a bitch. They're going to want to do terrible things," says the Executive Producer of Prototype. "So rather than build a game with a moral code or restrictions on what the character can do because he's not that bad, screw it!"
Hence the quite remarkable level of gore in Prototype. Your military experiment Alex Mercer has to absorb people to survive, and it's not a subtle experience - screaming pedestrians are ripped to pieces on city streets, and he's not shy about property damage either. We saw him running straight up the side of skyscrapers then leaping back to the ground unscathed, hijacking military helicopters by tossing the navigator out and then splattering the pilot messily across the inside of the cockpit...
It can be gory, but it's really impressive - this is a game built of what Bennison calls "Bruckheimer moments". "It's not about climbing every brick perfectly," he grins. "It's about running at 100mph through the world, then parkouring up an exploding cube van that's 100ft in the air, bouncing off it and hitting the wall and keeping on going." This looks spectacular due to the teeming streets - Bennison says that no other game can get as many cars and people into a city block as they can - and fighting powers of Mercer himself. As well as straightforward ass-kicking with his extensible claws, we also saw him switch to an armoured battle form to fight off the Infected who are gradually taking over New York.
And that's just the action - Radical have many, //many// more ideas up their sleeve. Like the stealth sections - one mission demands you disguise yourself as a marine and fly a helicopter mission to get inside the military base. Or the storyline, which Bennison likens to Lost: you start with amnesia and find out what's going on by absorbing key characters and gaining their memories. Completing missions gets you the basic storyline, but there are 200 story chunks out there - "Instead of collecting red flags or glowing orbs, which mean nothing, you're collecting the story," says Bennison.
He also promises Dead Rising scenes as the infection takes over the city, with hundreds of pedestrians (or worse) out for your blood, and a Risk-style strategy as the military battle the Infected for control of different areas - battles you can start yourself, as you can have the military clean up an area to make your mission there easier.
In fact, the only thing that didn't impress was the look, which is a mite crude after the gloss of Assassins' Creed. But Radical have many months to polish it - probably more, as we wouldn't be surprised if it slips past it's end-of-2008 release date. We'll hope for a hands-on report soon.