Brian Flemming from Sucker Punch has recently begun explaining the improved Karma system in InFamous 2. In the sequel Karma choice are said to be much clearer and more believable allowing for the player experience to revolve more closely around relationships than choice. Here’s what Flemming had to say on the Karma System in the upcoming InFamous 2.
When we took a look at the Karma system in inFamous we wanted to keep the successful stuff, but also make improvements … 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.
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. 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 I2 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.