Infamous is the story of Cole, a bike messenger given an assignment to deliver a package that is secretly a bomb. Cole survives the massive explosion and develops electricity-based powers. Soon, Cole discovers that his city has fallen into chaos under the rule of gangs and factions and must fight back against them to restore order.
Cole, a courier in Empire City, is told to deliver a package by an unknown customer, but when he arrives, he is told to open it, revealing a sphere-like device. It activates, causing a massive explosion that wipes out 6 city blocks, Cole being the only survivor. Empire City is put under quarantine, and without outside help, chaos quickly descends on the city. Cole, in the hospital under the care of his girlfriend Trish, recovers in about two weeks and discovers he has been infused with electricity-based powers. As he regroups with his best friend, Zeke, he discovers that a rogue television DJ, "The Voice of Survival", has identified him as the cause of the explosion, turning the city populace, including Trish who lost her sister in the explosion, against him. Cole and Zeke attempt to make it past the quarantine, using Cole's new powers, but they are overwhelmed. Cole is caught by an FBI agent named Moya, who urges Cole to return to Empire City to help recover the Ray Sphere, the device that triggered the explosion, as well as her husband and fellow agent John, in exchange for breaking him, Zeke, and Trish from quarantine.
Moya assigns Cole the tasks of restoring power to the various sectors of the city and to find hints of John's location. As Cole completes Moya's missions, he comes to discover that there are three similarly-supercharged humans in the city. One is Sasha, a woman with the ability to control minds through a tar-like substance that induces mind control, and in control of the Reaper forces that do her bidding. The second is Alden, an old man with powerful telekinesis abilities that seeks to regain control of the First Sons, an ancient fraternal organization that created the Ray Sphere. The final figure is Kessler, a man also with electrical super powers and a metal hand. As Cole completes the missions, he learns that years ago, Kessler displaced Alden from the First Sons, earning Alden's loathing, while Sasha, a former member of the First Sons, seeks to gain Cole's love as a way to get back at being rejected by Kessler. Depending on Cole's actions, he can reconcile his fallout with Trish or earn her scorn. During the story, it becomes clear that Zeke has become jealous of Cole's new found powers, and thus attempts to be a hero in his own right by joining the police, but fails miserably by allowing Alden to escape police custody.
Cole is able to find John, who reveals that Moya has lied to Cole, as John is neither part of the FBI nor married to Moya, and that Moya herself is probably working with a different agency with their own goals. Instead, John explains that he is actally an agent of the NSA and was undercover in the First Sons during the creation of the Ray Sphere, a device designed to consume the bio-electric energy from anyone within a radius and transfer it to its user, giving them super powers. As such, everyone, including Alden, Kessler, and Moya, appear to be after it. Cole reneges on his deal with Moya and helps John to recapture and destroy the Ray Sphere. In their attempt to get the Sphere from Alden, Zeke decides he would want to have his own super powers and activates the Sphere, though nothing happens. Zeke then takes the Sphere to Kessler, much to Cole's anger. Kessler then captures Trish and forces Cole to try to decide between saving her and several other doctors; with either decision, Trish dies, and will either curse Cole's name or finally forgive him for what happened.
Cole helps John locate the Ray Sphere, where Cole is left to choose to either destroy it, or using it to gain an immense power boost; either choice results in both the Sphere and John's destruction. Cole then goes to face Kessler at ground zero; Zeke tries to intervene but Kessler tosses him aside. Cole eventually gets the better of Kessler, and as Kessler dies, he implants memories into Cole's head. It turns out that Kessler is Cole from an alternate timeline in the future, in which he and Trish were married with Zeke as Cole's best man. However, the world is soon presented with a danger Kessler refers to as "The Beast", who plunges the world into chaos. Kessler decides to flee with Trish and their two children, unprepared to face it. Eventually though, the Beast catches up with Kessler, leaving his family dead. He determined the only way to right the world was to go back in time, using powers given to him by the Ray Sphere, and mold his younger self into a being that would be ready to face The Beast. Once in the past, Kessler ousted control of the First Sons from Alden, shunned Sasha's attempts for romance over his caring for Trish, and accelerated the development of the Ray Sphere much earlier in the timeline. He then arranged for Cole to use the device, and prepared him to make the harsh choices that he would need to by killing Trish. After Kessler's death, Cole is left to wonder about his future, realizing he will never be able to go back to how life was before the incident (or if you're bad, he makes the town his own and claims no one is stronger than him).
According to Infamous producer Nate Fox, the development team at Sucker Punch Productions wanted to have Cole as a "kind of an everyman" so that players could then "get into the headspace of what it would be like to be a real human being who has been granted these exceptional abilities". While Cole is the main playable character, he is joined by two friends; Zeke, a fellow bike messenger, conspiracy theorist and survivalist, and Trish, Cole's ex-girlfriend and medical student who resents him due to her sister being killed in the blast but still helps in treating the injured, a "Lois Lane with syringes" as described by Sucker Punch.
PlayStation: The Official Magazine describes Cole as "a regular city guy struggling to make ends meet as a courier. Then one day he gets super powers, and his entire world changes in a heartbeat. It's this event that really defines Cole as a person, as he struggles to learn how to control his powers and the responsibility they bring, not understanding the reason he has them or their full potential." The magazine also notes that no one would "want to be in Empire City after the blast. With no effective law enforcement the streets are a dog eat dog world where at any moment someone might drop the niceties of civilized society and start taking what they want by force. It's a scary and bleak place. Yet, despite all the problems Empire City has endured, thousands of everyday people remain stuck in the city. The place is packed with a weary and scared population in desperate need of relief from the gangs that have imposed their own martial law on the various neighborhoods."
Promotional screenshot of Infamous
Infamous is a sandbox video game. The player controls Cole and his newly acquired electrical powers as he makes his way around Empire City, and gameplay is a combination of platforming, shooting, puzzles, and RPG elements. Ultimately, the player will need to defeat three major forces that have each taken over one section of Empire City. One of those forces is a hooded street gang referred to as the Reapers. The Reapers used to be a scattered group of drug dealers, but after the explosion, the group came together to take the vulnerable city. Though most are thugs, a few exposed to the explosion have gained unique abilities such as teleportation, shadow manipulation, etc.
Cole's primary means of interaction is through the electricity-based powers. These include shooting electricity from his hands to nearby targets, creating an electricity-based shield to repel foes, and create a delayed explosion of a ball of energy much like sticky grenades. The electrical powers can be used both against living targets as well as inanimate objects; Game Informer describes one such situation where the player could opt to take out armed guards with electricity directly, or instead use the power on electrical generators to cause them to explode, damaging the guards in that fashion. During an interview it was mentioned that by the end of the game there will be 17 electrical-based powers. However these powers also have considerable disadvantages and limitations: for example, Cole cannot use guns or cars as the electricity would cause the ammunition to explode. Furthermore, Cole is unable to swim, as the interaction between electricity and water would be lethal. Also, Cole can only manipulate electricity, not generate it: for instance, that Cole's powers are severely limited in areas suffering from blackouts (which are in considerable number, since the city is recovering from a disaster).
Cole is also described as an urban explorer, and the player will be able to jump and climb buildings in order to move about the city, although these are not enhanced by any super-human ability, though he can survive falls of several stories. However, Cole can get the ability to shoot electric jets from his hands, slowing his falling speed.
Cole can extract electricity from nearby power sources for use later in the game.
As the player completes the main goals, side missions will be presented, both as independent missions, and as karmic choices; an example given by Game Informer includes a scenario where, on the way to defuse a bomb, the player is presented with a heavily injured woman that needs medical treatment; the option whether to stop and save her or to continue on will influence the development of Cole. This is tracked through a karma system which influences the growth of Cole's powers, some being enhanced by good deeds, while ignoring the pleas of the citizens will favor the growth of other powers. The karma system will also affect how the citizens react to Cole; if the player has helped citizens, they may come to Cole's help in certain battles, while in the contrary position, the citizens may flee as Cole approaches. However, the player is able to alter their karma and pursue the alternative direction should they decide to do so. The player is not committed to being "good" or "evil" throughout the game, and can change their karma, which will affect what powers and abilities they will possess. If players deeds are considered helpful and good, the powers will be more precise making less domestic destruction. But a player committing bad deeds will have more reckless and powerful powers causing more destruction. It will change the color of his electrical powers: blue for hero, red for infamous