Sucker Punch's Infamous Got Its Start as a "Superhero Version of Animal Crossing"

Sucker Punch's Infamous Got Its Start as a "Superhero Version of Animal Crossing"

Unfortunately, "superhero Animal Crossing" didn't quite pan out.

Fresh off of the Sly Cooper series' 15th anniversary from September 23, developers Sucker Punch are celebrating their very own 20th anniversary as a company today. Sucker Punch are mostly known for their roles in developing two landmark franchises for Sony: the mischievous heist-undertakings of Sly Cooper and the superhero shenanigans of Infamous.

The latter has been Sucker Punch's primary effort in recent years, culminating in the PlayStation 4 title Infamous: Second Son. Infamous was Sucker Punch's first attempt away from the kids-focused Sly Cooper property, the developers' chance to step out of their comfort zone and try something new. According to a new blog post commemorating the team's anniversary on the PlayStation Blog, co-founder Chris Zimmerman notes a singular, surprising influence before they started on the series: Animal Crossing.

"At first, we were building a superhero version of Animal Crossing," wrote Zimmerman. "You roamed your city, tracked down criminals, helped out the citizens, and did some light zoning work along the way. The best superheroes have alter egos, right? So your alter ego was a property developer, deciding where to put the pet shops and tiki bars the citizens were demanding. Sounds awesome, right? Well, it wasn’t. After six months of experimentation we gave up on property development and focused on superhero action."

Infamous eventually scrapped the alter ego stuff and the tiki bar and pet shop planning to focus squarely on where it mattered most to players: the superhero action. The use of karma in the game arose from replacing said mechanics, birthing the central idea of what someone would do themselves if they woke up with superpowers: would they use them for good or evil? By implementing karma in the game, that choice became tangible.

The blog post penned by Zimmerman says nothing of Sucker Punch's future, only reflecting on their past. Given that it's been three years since Infamous: Second Son and its DLC First Light, perhaps a new Sucker Punch announcement isn't too far off in the future.

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Caty McCarthy

Features Editor

Caty McCarthy is a former freelance writer whose work has appeared in Kill Screen, VICE, The AV Club, Kotaku, Polygon, and IGN. When she's not blathering into a podcast mic, reading a book, or playing a billion video games at once, she's probably watching Terrace House or something. She is currently USgamer's official altgame enthusiast.

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