Infamous is an action-adventure video game series developed by Sucker Punch Productions. The games have had commercial success, with Infamous Second Son being one of the best-selling games on PlayStation 4. The franchise also boasts a comic book series sharing its name, drawing heavy inspiration from comics for its gameplay mechanics and superpowers.
The first game in the franchise, Infamous, was developed by Sucker Punhc Productions and released exclusively on the PlayStation 3. The story follows bike messenger Cole MacGrath after he acquires electric superpowers. Set in Empire City, a fictionized New York City, after a series of explosions across city blocks. One of the main aspects of the game is the Karma system which changes the course and outcome of the game. If the player chooses poorly, Cole could stunt his character growth as the city resents him more.
Comic books heavily inspire the game and take the player on an origin story adventure. It was received well at launch and is considered one of the best games on the platform. Critics and fans pointed out the fun movement system and engaging story. The game suffered when it came to enemies, with criticism pointing out the repetitive nature of fights. It won multiple awards, including “Best Action/Adventure Game” and “Studio of the Year.”
Infamous 2 (2011)
After the success of the first game, Infamous 2 began production immediately. The story follows the events of its predecessor one month later, with Cole MacGrath fighting the Beast. The Beast proves to be too strong for Cole and saps him of his energy. Upon defeat and with weakened powers, Cole flees to New Marais, and the story beings to unfold. The Karma system returns to track players’ decisions which affects the world around them. There are two endings, with one being “Good” and the other “Evil.”
Upon release, the game received positive reviews with some mixed opinions. While some critics praised the comic-book-style narrative, others found it cliche and cheesy. The graphics and movement mechanics were once again praised, but fans had problems with the Karma system and how it functioned.
Infamous: Festival of Blood (2011)
Festival of Blood is a standalone expansion of Infamous 2. The story tells a completely different narrative from the base game. Coles’s best friend, Zeke Dunar, tells the story of Cole becoming a vampire. The game lacks a Karma system and provides players with a fun story and gameplay mechanics that don’t take themselves too seriously. While completely different from the mainline games, it adds a few hours of fun and a refreshing experience. Reviewers have noted that the story is ridiculous while still following the comic-book-style plot, but the gameplay is addictive and a nice change of pace.
Infamous Second Son (2014)
Infamous Second Son is set seven years after the events of Infamous 2, during which Cole MacGrath sacrificed himself to destroy the Beast permanently. This is the first title in the series to have a different protagonist with Delsin Rowe. Delsin gains new powers throughout the story that allow him to manipulate various materials. Like Cole’s electrical abilities, Delsin uses his powers to fight and move around the open world.
Its reception was mixed, with fans criticizing the overall writing and plotlines, which needed more creativity. While it did feature the iconic Karma system that made the games popular, the decisions made by players felt unimportant to the story. Despite the feedback the game received, it was one of the best-selling PlayStation 4 games and sold over 6 million copies in its lifetime.
Infamous First Light (2014)
The fourth and final game in the franchise, Infamous: First Light, follows Abigail “Fetch” Walker. She originally appeared in Infamous Second Son as a supporting character who has the power to control neon light. Set in a fictionalized Seattle, the game follows the standard Infamous formula of using powers to traverse the city. The story is a prequel to Second Son as it takes two years before the events of Delsin Rowe.
It notably lacks a Karma system, making it the only mainline game without one. Its release was met with positive reviews as critics admired the new protagonist. While Cole is the series’ fan favorite, Fetch offers a new perspective and subverts many tropes. The game may not have been the end fans were hoping for, and unfortunately, no games have been announced. Sucker Punch stated in 2022 that they have no plans to bring the franchise back, putting an end to the rumors and speculation.