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GDC 10: A Small inFamous Team Achieved Big Things

inFamous was one of our favorites last year and we know a lot of readers had a blast, too.

But did you realize that the entire massive city in that game was produced by only 12 total artists? According to Joystiq citing Sucker Punch's Nate Fox at GDC 2010, the accomplishment that was Empire City didn't require a big team. This is all the more impressive when we remember just how much of that city had to be "interactable" with Cole; so much had to be destructible or climbable or "grindable." So how did they manage? Fox says it was all due to reusing the game's catalog of environmental assets. They give the example of having only two cars in the entire game; the only other differences are cosmetic, like color and decals. And hey, here's another really cool behind-the-scenes tidbit:

"The map was partitioned into a hexagonal grid -- the inspiration for which came from the popular board game Carcassonne, Fox explained. Edges of each hex were designed to effortlessly fit together, allowing designers to make minor changes to each compartment, and paste the location into another chunk of the city."

Now, for those of you who will condemn this behavior and dub it "lazy," bear in mind that Sucker Punch's "time and resources were limited." It's pretty amazing what a small, determined group can do when facing some pretty big obstalces, huh? I particularly like the fact that when playing, I really didn't notice a heck of a lot of environmental repetition. I guess it was because I was having so much damn fun, I was only focusing on that.

Related Game(s): inFamous

3/11/2010 9:11:06 PM Ben Dutka

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Comments (67 posts)

Jawknee
Thursday, March 11, 2010 @ 9:42:55 PM
Reply

No word on Infamous 2 yet i guess? Loved this game. I really wasn't expecting it to be as good as it was.

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NightHawk17
Thursday, March 11, 2010 @ 11:23:37 PM

I was interested since the first E3 teaser, and can't wait to play the second after that twist nobody saw coming XD

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godsman
Friday, March 12, 2010 @ 1:00:39 AM

I think its hard to make a sequel out of this. The ending was perfect the way it is. Maybe introduce a new character from another perspective at the time of the event?

Agree with this comment 1 up, 1 down Disagree with this comment

Jawknee
Friday, March 12, 2010 @ 1:12:37 AM

No way! Easy sequel. Cole confronts the Beast.

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SaintX
Thursday, March 11, 2010 @ 9:51:54 PM
Reply

Thats a big accomplishment from sucker punch. I also did not realize any repetition of the environment. However, Infamous is totally awesome. Its just so addictive. Can't wait for an inFamous 2 announcement. Only thing they should improve on is the graphics especially character model. Cole's gf looked a little scary to me lol. I know its a sandbox game, and we shouldnt expect it to have great graphics like uncharted, cause that would be impossible, but I am just expecting some sort of improvement given that the first game is a success and they should be employing more people now that (I believe) they are developing the second game. Other than that, gameplay and game controls are pretty tight already.

Last edited by SaintX on 3/11/2010 9:52:39 PM

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WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, March 11, 2010 @ 10:19:02 PM

I'm sure there will be an improvement, but honestly I thought the graphics were well done. Still better than any multiplat, and hella more crisp than GTAIV.

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NoSmokingBandit
Thursday, March 11, 2010 @ 10:49:28 PM

I thought inFamous had some of the best sandbox graphics this generation. Combine that with no pop-in, no tearing, no framerate drop....
Sucker Punch did an excellent job with inFamous.

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Jawknee
Thursday, March 11, 2010 @ 11:05:28 PM

Yea the lack of pop in and screen tearing unlike AC2 was most welcome. Even my bot noticed when he finally played Infamous. He was like "man, there's no tearing! Assassin's Creed has a ton." Assassin's Creed was the only sandbox game he played before Infamous.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, March 11, 2010 @ 11:12:12 PM

Jawk, I always get a chuckle when you talk about your bot, like he's your pet or something.

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Jawknee
Friday, March 12, 2010 @ 12:04:02 AM

haha he may as well be. haha I've been supplying his PS3 exclusive nutrition since he bought a PS3.

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laxpro2001
Friday, March 12, 2010 @ 12:19:19 AM

I noticed a good amount of repetition in the environment but it really doesn't bother me at all especially since it was a team of only 12

EDIT- @World, yea I kept saying to my little brother "this is like GTAIV if it was done right, only with super powers." lol definitely had a lot more fun with this game

Last edited by laxpro2001 on 3/12/2010 12:21:01 AM

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SaintX
Friday, March 12, 2010 @ 12:53:34 AM

Well again, the graphics were pretty good. Just that the character models werent up to par with PS3 exclusives standards. I dont mean the pedestrians and other characters need to be good. I meant for the main characters, like Cole and Trish. The model werent very good. Like I said, Trish kinda scared me a little. However, I am confident Sucker Punch will improve on that and deliver a fantastic sequel.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Friday, March 12, 2010 @ 12:58:24 AM

I don't hate Xbots, I think everyone should have one as a pet :)

Last edited by WorldEndsWithMe on 3/12/2010 12:58:38 AM

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Jawknee
Friday, March 12, 2010 @ 1:19:25 AM

You can get them at walmart right next to the chia pets.

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laxpro2001
Friday, March 12, 2010 @ 5:36:14 AM

@Saint
Yea I definitely agree with you there... after hearing this there is no doubt in my mind that Infamous 2 is going to be one of my most anticipated titles in the year its released.

Speaking of which when the heck are they going to announce it?

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Snaaaake
Thursday, March 11, 2010 @ 9:57:18 PM
Reply

They had the option to ask for more funds and manpower but they didn't take it.

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Shams
Friday, March 12, 2010 @ 12:50:02 AM

I'm sure they'll be taking up on that offer for the sequel, especially with the job posting for online programmer in Linked-in as an indicator of anything. Boy, are we in for a treat.

Agree with this comment 5 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

rell
Friday, March 12, 2010 @ 9:58:49 AM

Im sure Sony will give them the funds sense this game sold close too 2 million units. Playb3yond.

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BikerSaint
Thursday, March 11, 2010 @ 9:58:42 PM
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Wow, talk about "the little developer that could", then SP is definitely that!!!!

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tes37
Thursday, March 11, 2010 @ 10:07:31 PM
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I wouldn't think of them as lazy. I think creative or ingenious would be a more fitting description.

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NoSmokingBandit
Thursday, March 11, 2010 @ 10:09:44 PM
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I would call them lazy if any of this was noticeable during gameplay. I spent a lot of time in inFamous and i didnt notice there was only 2 cars, nor did i notice any repetition in the map. Sucker Punch isnt lazy, they are smart, and pretty damn talented.

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FxTales
Thursday, March 11, 2010 @ 10:18:00 PM
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The little big game that could. Hopefully with the success of the first much more can be done with the sequel.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, March 11, 2010 @ 10:18:05 PM
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Not lazy, smart. I admit I didn't notice any of that. Without Uncharted 2 inFamous would have been my GOTY. Looking forward to inFamous 2 on day 1. Give it up to sucker punch for creativity. I mean prototype was the same everywhere you looked.

Agree with this comment 10 up, 1 down Disagree with this comment

Victor321
Thursday, March 11, 2010 @ 10:20:00 PM
Reply

Big Things come from Small Packages =)

Agree with this comment 6 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, March 11, 2010 @ 11:13:25 PM

Especially if that package just got out of the pool.

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Victor321
Thursday, March 11, 2010 @ 11:19:49 PM

XD

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Jed
Thursday, March 11, 2010 @ 10:22:03 PM
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I really don't remember any redundancy in the environments at all. Of course some of the buildings are going to look the same, that happens in any sandbox game. It's really quite astonishing that they were able to hide it so well with only 12 artists on the team.

I'm glad they are getting the all the recognition they deserve.

I played through inFamous once as good Cole, and started an evil Cole game, but then moved on to others games. Every you guys bring it up it makes me want to go back and play again. I finished up my God of War collection "refresher" play through last night, so maybe I'll get back to inFamous tonight.

Last edited by Jed on 3/11/2010 10:23:34 PM

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Bo0mKiiD
Thursday, March 11, 2010 @ 11:10:24 PM

lol I was so absorbed into the game all the buildings looked different to me. Really looking forward to 2. And maybe if were really good kids another sly cooper? :D

Last edited by Bo0mKiiD on 3/11/2010 11:11:06 PM

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komotaya
Thursday, March 11, 2010 @ 10:24:08 PM
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its impressive what they did but i still dnt like infamous

Agree with this comment 3 up, 5 down Disagree with this comment

NoSmokingBandit
Thursday, March 11, 2010 @ 10:35:16 PM

I thought it was pretty awesome, but everyone can have their own opinion ;)

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Scarecrow
Thursday, March 11, 2010 @ 10:33:54 PM
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Infamous 2! We better get a sequel!

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Victor321
Thursday, March 11, 2010 @ 10:51:33 PM

If it does, I predict a May-July 2011 release date =D

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Jawknee
Thursday, March 11, 2010 @ 11:05:56 PM

I thought the sequel was already announced no?

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WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, March 11, 2010 @ 11:15:13 PM

Not announced, but I think Ben dug up some circumstantial evidence once.

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Victor321
Thursday, March 11, 2010 @ 11:21:12 PM

Yah, I remember it being leaked "unofficially", as it was seen in an issue from the Official Playstation Magazine" (UK, or NA, I've forgotten....)

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Jawknee
Friday, March 12, 2010 @ 12:04:26 AM

ah, worldends, that's right.

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inkme101
Thursday, March 11, 2010 @ 11:24:18 PM
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i have still yet to play infamous. i just keep passing it by for some reason. maybe late in this summer ill have the time for it.

Agree with this comment 7 up, 1 down Disagree with this comment

WorldEndsWithMe
Friday, March 12, 2010 @ 1:00:00 AM

Make time Doc! You have the flux capacitor!

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kraygen
Friday, March 12, 2010 @ 7:13:42 AM

Infamous is amazing and the Doc should know good tech when he see's it. So open your eyes Doc and welcome to the future.

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___________
Thursday, March 11, 2010 @ 11:38:58 PM
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big things indeed, so big in fact it was able to starve off uncharted 2, batman AA and assassins creed 2 for GOTY.
they will do a sequel thats confirmed by infamous its self, does not take a brain surgeon to figure that out.
im betting on a E3 announcement and a may 2012 release date.
it took them 2 years to make the first game, and id like to think they will not reuse all their code, instead go back and improve the engine add a few bells and whistles.
if theres anything infamous needs its better graphics and art design.
art design is one of the only things that can take a bad looking game to a decent looking one, perfect example of that is bioshock 2.
one of the boringest simplest most under detailed environments ive ever seen, but the art design and character design is top notch, and thats where it matters.

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maxpontiac
Friday, March 12, 2010 @ 12:04:41 AM
Reply

Impressive for such a small team.

I look forward to seeing what inFamous 2 will be like with a bigger staff on hand.

Agree with this comment 6 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Milonakis
Friday, March 12, 2010 @ 12:31:21 AM
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Maybe the lazies at squeeix should hire some of these guys so they can make some hd towns.

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telly
Friday, March 12, 2010 @ 12:52:52 AM
Reply

Hey everyone,

So I've been swamped at work the last few days and am just getting the chance now to check in on the latest PSX gossip... and there's a FF XIII Xbox 360 bundle ad running on the front page. Wow. Those who know me know I'm hardly a 360 hater... but wow! On the front page of the site?! Hey, for PSX fans with the means, it's an awesome complimentary system. Lots of great exclusives. But I for one was pretty shocked to see that ad here. Craziness!

Agree with this comment 6 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

WorldEndsWithMe
Friday, March 12, 2010 @ 1:01:04 AM

All it means is that MS is paying Ben and Arnold's bills so that we can have fun here :) Thanks MS!

Agree with this comment 7 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Scarecrow
Friday, March 12, 2010 @ 1:10:10 AM

If there's a new way
I'll be the first in line
But, it better work this time

*Megadeth solo*

Agree with this comment 2 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Jawknee
Friday, March 12, 2010 @ 1:21:02 AM

Yea what world said. Were directly benefiting from MS's naivety about selling Xbox Final Fantasy XIII bundles to PS3 owners.

Agree with this comment 8 up, 1 down Disagree with this comment

Kai200X
Friday, March 12, 2010 @ 1:48:25 AM
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I really really enjoyed inFamous. I thought if I play the game the second time it won't make much difference but man was I wrong. inFamous is even better the 2nd time around. Can't wait for inFamous 2

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OtisFeelgood
Friday, March 12, 2010 @ 2:19:50 AM
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I noticed the environment but it didnt bother me because I was too busy running from bad guys. >_>

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Oyashiro
Friday, March 12, 2010 @ 3:11:47 AM
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Only 12 people? Wow. Goes to show you don't need a lot of people, just a few very talented ones.

I'm looking forward to whatever the creative bunch at Sucker Punch decides to cook up next.



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Fane1024
Saturday, March 27, 2010 @ 2:50:16 PM

12 artists. That number doesn't include the directors, writers, animators, programmers, sound engineers, etc.

It's impressive nonetheless.

Last edited by Fane1024 on 3/27/2010 2:51:29 PM

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SaintX
Friday, March 12, 2010 @ 5:43:04 AM
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Really hoping they will release this fall. But then again, if its this fall then its SP has only 1 and a half year of development time and that would be too rush for them. I rather wait longer for a quality title than a rushed game. Take all the time you need SP, so long as you produce an awesome sequel. Surpise me, Sucker Punch!

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Imagi
Friday, March 12, 2010 @ 5:53:35 AM
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Great game, I could tell that the city was repeated but that never took anything away from the game. Hope that a #2 is in the works, anybody that has not played it should go out and show their support by getting it, it's a blast.

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kraygen
Friday, March 12, 2010 @ 7:18:37 AM
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I noticed similarities but, don't most cities have building that look alike? It's not like they looked exactly alike.

Way to go sucker punch peeps, you are awesome.

Also on a side note, maybe SE should call sucker punch and ask for them to teach a class on how to make a video game.

I'm sorry but if 12 can do Infamous SE has no room for excuses of any kind in my opinion.

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FullmetalX10
Friday, March 12, 2010 @ 8:08:05 AM
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Infamous 2 will definitely get my money.

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Snaaaake
Friday, March 12, 2010 @ 10:21:45 AM
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This is very very impressive, 12 man and they can make inFAMOUS like how it is now?

Add another 50 and we'll have a GOTY.

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NoSmokingBandit
Friday, March 12, 2010 @ 10:47:14 AM

A bigger team doesnt always make a better game. Insomniac and Naughty Dog are fairly small compared to giants like EA, Ubisoft, etc. but they make some of the best games out there.
Its better to have a tiny team of guys dedicated to making the best game possible instead of a ton of guys in it just to get the job done.

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Snaaaake
Friday, March 12, 2010 @ 12:17:07 PM

SP said they could have asked for help from Sony but they didn't.
Maybe manpower could be added a little but for budget I bet Sony will provide whether they like it or not seeing that inFAMOUS sold close to 2 million now and I highly doubt that it's even a high budget game.

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NoSmokingBandit
Friday, March 12, 2010 @ 9:47:12 PM

Sony doesnt seem to shy away from giving developers more time or moeny to get a project done (look at GT5). They know its all about the quality of the games released, not the quantity. Im sure when GT5 is released it will sell more in one month than both 360 Forza titles combined, and Sony knows that is what keeps the gamers coming back.

Last edited by NoSmokingBandit on 3/12/2010 9:47:30 PM

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Irievibes
Sunday, March 14, 2010 @ 12:16:53 PM

smaller team = better communication = similarly aimed efforts = better game....usually

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Fane1024
Saturday, March 27, 2010 @ 2:53:13 PM

Most licensed games are built by small teams.

The reason Naughty Dog, Sucker Punch, et al. can make great games with relatively few people is the people are more talented.

Last edited by Fane1024 on 3/27/2010 2:56:29 PM

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Jonesy555
Friday, March 12, 2010 @ 11:20:45 AM
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Holy crap! 12 people? I gave them alot of crap about the robotic animations when characters were talking, but they were doing this with only 12 programmers! The game was better than most games with many more programmers!

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vicious54
Friday, March 12, 2010 @ 11:26:32 AM
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Can't wait for the sequel, don't you take away my ability to hover.

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Snaaaake
Friday, March 12, 2010 @ 12:24:04 PM

Now why would they do that?

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vicious54
Friday, March 12, 2010 @ 12:37:17 PM

Just saying, that makes getting around the city so much more faster.

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Irievibes
Sunday, March 14, 2010 @ 12:15:30 PM

static thrusters = badass

grinding on the train rails isnt too shabby either, just gotta watch oput for those incoming trains lol

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King James
Friday, March 12, 2010 @ 8:56:30 PM
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I just finished this game last night. GREAT game! didn't see that twist coming at the end.

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Irievibes
Sunday, March 14, 2010 @ 12:14:09 PM
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ahh... i still remember that first time i fired up that demo, then launching a couple of electricity granades by mistake on the wrong button push, then seeing a car , and a couple of pedestrians just come flying of the bottom of my screen (you start on a roof) and hearing the people freaking out , inmmediatly followed by the the biggest LOL in recent memory over something i saw on my tv...god i laughed so hard, and i played hell out of that demo, had so much fun, went and reserved it in full next day, still one of the most pleaseant surprises ive gotten and one of the favorite titles in my collection...

hoping the 2nd installment is all that and more
i wouldnt mind better character models for the cutscenes , but its minor as the game runs perfectly smooth, offers a challenge, and most of all IT IS FUN AS HELL, thank you sucker punch for a memorable experience

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