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A farewell to Prototype
Ever since its release in 2009, Prototype has remained a series with a niche audience. The first release was overwhelmingly eclipsed by Sony’s Infamous. Both offered similar gameplay (open world sandbox) but very different stories and characters. I recall the launch of both games. I thought to myself, “How can a guy with lightning powers compete with the guy that has a giant blade on his arm?” Infamous also featured moral choices, which, was a recurring trend around that time following the release of Fable II. Being unimpressed with Infamous, I purchased Prototype (though later I would come to appreciate Infamous just as much). When ever asked what Prototype was like, I replied with, “Have you ever wanted to be a Resident Evil monster with the freedom of Grand Theft Auto?” I was in love! Never tired of the missions, loved free roaming, adored the powers available, and was convinced that Alex Mercer was one bad ass dude
I was ecstatic but cautious when a sequel was announced with a new protagonist. The focus of the new game was to, “Kill Alex Mercer!” I didn’t want to though. All that Alex went through in first one seemed meaningless now. Why was he the bad guy all of a sudden? Once I started playing Prototype 2, all fears were washed away. The story did a great job establishing just who this new comer was and why he was out to kill Alex. James Heller even had new powers based on new mutations which put an interesting spin on the old gameplay. “Surely more people will appreciate the series now.” I thought.
Last week the developer of the Prototype series, Radical Entertainment, essentially closed its doors due to the sequels unimpressive sales. Squashing all hopes of a third or even downloadable expansions; I was very sad to see this news. The series never had its moment to shine. In a market where multiplayer ruled at the sacrifice of, well, just about everything else in a game, Radical kept Prototype single player and gave it a full flushed out story. Be it a sign of the times or just a trend, it is a shame that this happened. (No, I am not blaming the lack of multiplayer for the game’s downfall. I am merely stating that it probably played a part.)
Looking back on Prototype 2, part of me wonders if they didn’t know something like this may happen. The games finale wrapped up everything rather nicely. A few questions did remain though. Why did Alex’s personality do such a turnaround and just who exactly was “Pariah”? Normally I’m not a fan of prequels but given just how climactic the ending of Prototype 2 was, a prequel seems the obvious choice. The whole scenario that happened in Hope, Idaho would be an interesting excuse to try a Prototype first person shooter with a story told through the eyes of a Blackwatch soldier. Alex’s loss of faith in humanity would make a rather cool prequel scenario as downloadable content. All of this is quite minor in the grand scheme of things and might actually delude another great story (which happens more and more these days). Considering they could have given us a cliffhanger with more questions than when we actually started the game, I am grateful that so much was concluded.
Another series comes to an end and regrettably another developer shuts down. As a gamer I want to say, to all of the men and women who made this game: Thank you! Thank you for giving us such memorable characters. Thank you for introducing us to the Prototype universe and its unique story. Your hard work and determination have not gone unnoticed. Even though Prototype never became as big as other games, it still made its way into a very large group of gamer’s hearts. We hope that you are able to pick yourselves up from this experience and continue to follow your dreams. Perhaps down the line, we will be able to play your video games once more. Prototype, Radical Entertainment, you will be missed.