With Sony’s PlayStation 4, Sucker Punch has been able to make the best looking inFamous game yet. However, according to producer Brian Fleming, Sucker Punch isn’t simply adding more particle effects because they can. It’s because enhancing the graphics also enhances the gameplay.
In an interview with Polygon, Fleming detailed the improvements to Second Son, including better particle effects, increased fidelity of character’s faces, and better reflections that allow a new sense of realism to the game’s version of Seattle. “The whole goal of this [focus on special effects] is that we’re making a genre piece,” Fleming said. “This is a special effects[-driven] action-adventure, but part of it is: How do we make those characters seem believable? How do we make it seem like they’re having legitimate emotional reactions to things? That’s part of making this game meaningful to players.”
One big improvement for Second Son has been its focus on motion capture to capture more realistic emotion. “The ability to capture [protagonist Delsin’s] facial reaction when he’s like ‘Oh, shit,’ but doesn’t say ‘Oh shit,’ that’s a big deal. But not because people go ‘Wow, look at the graphics’, it’s because you understand how he feels … what it feels like to get [super powers] and be worried that people are going to hate you.”
Fleming also talked about how particle effects would enhance the experience of Second Son. “The special effects system is sort of like one of the stars of the show. This is a game about super powers, so for us, the way the effects look tells you a lot about how you’re playing the game. It tells you about how much you’ve upgraded. It’s a really meaningful part of the play experience that the effects are immersive and spectacular… it’s as important as the AI.”