ALTERNATIVE MUSINGS – Why Changing Cole For Infamous 2 Is A Bad Idea (PS3)

By Marty Mulrooney


Cast your eyes above for me. See that mean looking dude? That is Cole MacGrath from 2009’s Infamous on PlayStation 3! Pretty badass huh? Well, the folks at Sucker Punch Productions obviously didn’t think so. They have decided to completely revamp the character, in both looks and voice, for the sequel. Suffice to say, I think this is a pretty bad idea…


Please, tell me it isn’t just me. To the left is a recently released image of the new version of Cole, who will be appearing in Infamous 2 in 2011. Does this new Cole look anywhere near as badass as the old one? This new art actually seems to have a GTA IV: The Ballad Of Gay Tony vibe more than anything else!

I am really worried about this drastic change. So, why specifically do I think it is a bad idea?

  • I am not saying that the original design for Cole, or the voicework provided by Jason Cottle, were exemplary. However, Cole was always supposed to be a regular guy in the end and I feel that they got that across pretty well. It would have been interesting to see the same character again in the sequel, to see how he has grown now that he is actually a bona fide superhero. Instead, by totally revamping the character, any changes will seem less natural and clash with what went before. They should have taken their previous effort and built upon them.
  • Which is why it comes across as lazy storytelling. I loved the original, but I didn’t get completely giddy about it. It certainly had its faults, one of which was some poor characterisation and storytelling. The game was more about the superhero sandbox experience than anything else. It is nice that Sucker Punch want to expand on Cole and address these issues, but they are going about it all wrong. Why even call him Cole? Different city, different looks, different voice actor. Wouldn’t it have been nice to see how the original city had evolved? To see how Cole had grown since we last saw him? Instead, they took the easy route and changed the central protagonist so much that none of that even matters anymore. It may as well be a reboot.
  • David Sullivan as the new Cole sounds okay, but the personality is way off. In the new trailer, it sounds like they have swapped Cole’s grumpy, world-weary attitude for a more youthful, generic persona. Why?! This seemingly isn’t the same character in anything more than name alone at the moment. It really proves distracting if you have played the original game: these are real inconstancies that starts to niggle at the back of your mind. I am worried it could overwhelm the experience.
  • One plot point in the original that worked really well was the gradual realisation of who your arch nemesis Kessler actually was. It tied in really well to the original Cole’s design and personality. Now, with the new Cole, keeping the old Kessler is going to really clash in the sequel. Does this mean Kessler will be redesigned as well if he shows up?
  • Continuity. I know this is obvious, but really… would you enjoy playing the Metal Gear Solid series half as much if Snake’s appearance and voice changed between games? How about if Lara Croft became a blonde American for the next instalment? You may think I am going slightly over the top with my examples, but really, continuity is a sure-fire way of increasing the enjoyment of sequels. The writers at Sucker Punch could have worked hard with the original character and voice actor to update Cole organically and take him in some exciting new directions. Instead, they have likely alienated over half their fan base with their new design. They basically took the easy way out.

Of course, this is all just speculation and personal opinion, hence being posted under the Alternative Musings section. Still, I feel that this was a bad decision by Sucker Punch. Cole may not have been the most well designed or well acted video game character in the world. But fans of Infamous grew to like him all the same. Sadly, I have a sinking feeling that playing as the redesigned Cole in Infamous 2 is only going to make him feel like an imposter to those very same fans.

Infamous 2 is due for release in 2011, only on PlayStation 3.


Filed under Alternative Musings, Games

16 responses to “ALTERNATIVE MUSINGS – Why Changing Cole For Infamous 2 Is A Bad Idea (PS3)

  1. crap

    all i hear from this article is bitching about a character design that shouldnt even matter what you dont like the design? then go and make you’re own gaming company and design you’re own characters

    • Marty Mulrooney

      Erm… okay? I think the character design must matter, otherwise why is it being changed? Also, your swearing and bad grammar makes it hard to comprehend what you were actually trying to say?

    • What an incredibly mature and well thought out comment, and not at all sounding like an internet troll…

      Character design is probably one of the most important aspects of a game. Do you think Halo would be as successful if the typical bad-ass Master Chief was a bog standard American hero with a crew cut? Or if Alyx from Half Life 2 and its episodes wore shades so you couldn’t see the emotion in her eyes? Didn’t think so. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, as you are, but at least think before rolling your face across the keyboard.

      Anyway… like the article Marty, I’ve not had the chance to play Infamous, but from the looks of it it just seems he’s being turned into a generic everyman. Not a patch on the guy-you-wouldn’t-want-to-meet-down-an-alley from the original.

  2. Megamorf

    I absolutely agree with what you have said. I liked his bad-ass attitude because it really differed from the normal every-day people.

    SP stated their intention to create a hero that you could have a beer with. What the heck, I don’t want to drink beer and watch tv with a hero.

    In my opinion this will change the game for the worse.

  3. Aaron Johnson

    They have a pretty good reason for switching it though, it’s because working with the Good and Bad system, even when you were good, Cole still looked like he should of been a bad guy, so they re-vamped him so that he would be more moldable as to which side you chose in the game!

    • Marty Mulrooney

      Thanks for disagreeing with me but remaining constructive! I like your explanaton, but I still feel they could have built on the old Cole and attained the same result: this redesign feels like a completely new person in everything but name alone.

  4. anonymous

    played the demo for the 1st game, never was able to get the full game even though i wanted to, heard about this new Infamous 2, was excited, heard about and saw the new character design, now i don’t give a shit about # 2, sucker punch might want to think twice about this new character design idea

  5. David Rosas

    I understand where you’re coming from Marty, and I too felt a grudge when Cole was redesigned. I think SP can redeem themselves a little bit by making it look a little more like Cole. If you compare the old and new Coles, you can kind of see a resemblance. Personally I look at the new Cole and tell myself that he has just put on a few pounds, grown out his hair, and got some very douchebag tattoos. All in all I think SP is making a mistake by drastically changing Cole, but if they can work the change into the story and actually give a good explanation as to why he looks so different, they can probably win me back on this one.

  6. LB

    I’m happy for them to move away from the generic shaven headed guy look. But the ultra boring black t-shirt Nathan Drake wannabe, does look considerably less badass than Cole’s old yellow leather jacket thing.

    The voice change is pretty jarring though. From what I’ve heard (through random internet comments), the voice actor change may not have been by choice on the part of the devs, however.

  7. JS

    I agree with most of what you said, Marty. I can understand having a new city to play in for two reasons. The obvious one being that it would be kind of boring being stuck in the same place as the first game. The second could be that Cole may be trying to track down the “beast.”

    Cole’s look may not have been anything unique, but that had it’s own appeal. They made his character believable by making his attitude that of Joe Everyman.

    So far, I don’t think I will like Infamous 2 as a sequel. Imagining it as a different character, it may be fine. We’ll have to see how they handle the storyline. As a side note, I hope they kept the comic book-esque cutscenes.

    Thanks for the link, Duncan. Never heard of hair being an issue before…I don’t really buy that excuse. I still think they should of kept the original voice actor. =[

  8. chris

    but if you really put some thought into it… a grumpy deep voiced attittuded bike messenger… doesnt fit in my opinion I have a great feeling about the new cole perfect time for a refresh

  9. Watched the new infamous 2 trailer and the actor just sounds off. In fact, it doesnt even sound like Cole, or look like Cole, and that just pulls me out of the whole thing. I have a funny feeling Sucker Punch isn’t just changing Cole’s looks; they’re changing his storyline. They’ll probably come up with something like Cole never had a girlfriend or some stupid shit.

    I too am disappointed with Sucker Punch’s decision to take this route and I’m seriously doubting whether I’ll buy this game. It feels more like making a different product and wrapping it up in a popular brand.

  10. Will King

    Okay… First off, why complain about aesthetics and art of a game when things like software should be addressed first? If we had requested a co-op experience, it would’ve been implemented into the story and the create-a-mission modes. Second, his bald, grim look did fit the first game. Not the sequel, since it takes place in a southern jazzy, funky city. And why? Because Empire City gets creamed by the Beast. And Cole has to hurry and travel pretty damn far to get a breather and amp hi mself up even much more. Third, this is who he evolved to!! He looks practically the same, and sounds relatively the same. In the first game, he was blasted in the face with a ray sphere bomb. It had taken a normal man’s voice away entirely, where as Cole had some-what of instant healing abilities, and still had his, but barely. And the sequel takes place months after the first game, I think I would’ve grown out my hair well enough by then. My hair grows an inch every month, so get over it. And about the tattoos? He could’ve had them before he got his powers, considering we never saw his flesh and saw him in a coat. And the coat? It’s freaking 102 degrees in New Marais! Which is based off of New Orleans. And I’ve been in New Orleans. No way would I wear a 5 pound wind breaker there. lol

    • You do realise that Sucker Punch have now changed the character design AGAIN so that Cole more closely resembles his original appearance… right? This article is from 10 months ago!

      • However, his look is still more youthful, and his voice sounds like a young kid. When I saw the opening video, I was like… “Whoa! Is this gonna be a prequel or something?” and then Cole begins to describe what happened in the last game, and I felt really disoriented hearing Edward Furlong from Terminator 2 voicing Cole this time around. ( I realize it isn’t actually Edward Furlong. )

        I seriously couldn’t agree with the author more, Marty felt exactly the same way I did.

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.