Console game developers and publisher are getting more confident about releasing social game tie-ins for their blockbuster products. The latest entry in this type of social game to see launch is inFamous Anarchy, a tie-in game developed by Mob Science in conjunction with Sony Computer Entertainment for the PlayStation 3 game, inFamous 2, which launched June 7. inFamous Anarchy is off to a slow start in traffic and cross-game promotion thanks to a security breach that took Sony’s PlayStation Network offline for a significant period of time in the weeks leading up to inFamous 2’s release.
In inFamous Anarchy, players take the role of a citizen within a post apocalyptic city besieged by militia forces. These citizens have the ability to manipulate electricity either to do good or harm, depending on what actions the player takes. The core gameplay loop involves exploring sections of a destroyed city by clicking on buildings to either “break in” or “examine” them for items, currency and energy drops and also by clicking on non-playable characters to fight them with lightning powers. To resupply a character’s powers, players must maintain an “amp farm” of minerals to harvest in their “home” city block. Players can earn addition in-game currency through a bonus bar that fills as the player clicks on dropped items. The in-game currency mainly goes toward player equipment and decoration items for the city block, although the aesthetic remains firmly post-apocalyptic.
There is a player-versus-player component that ties into a good vs. evil dynamic directly lifted from the inFamous franchise where players must choose whether to be good or evil throughout the course of the game. In inFamous Anarchy, players earn goodness or evilness depending on whether they attack players in the Good or Evil factions. Clicking a fight button brings up a list of inFamous Anarchy players with whom the player is not friends to choose from, sorted both by player level and faction. Fighting Good player earns the attacking player evilness points while fighting an Evil player earns them goodness points. The combat itself is asynchronous where artificial intelligence controls the defending player and player statistics primarily determine the outcome of the fight.
Players can have a more significant impact on combat through equipping special clothing items, which is the primary revenue stream inFamous Anarchy. Players can either buy the items outright or earn them through a crafting game where they hunt for materials in the world or receive said materials as gifts from in-game friends. Aside from premium clothing items, inFamous Anarchy also monetizes through the sale of energy recharges and special decoration items. Both are available for purchase with the game’s standard in-game currency of Cash or with Facebook Credits, which functions as the game’s premium currency.
Mob Science co-founder Michael Witz walked us through some of the long-term plans for inFamous Anarchy now that PSN is back up and inFamous 2 has enjoyed a successful launch to favorable reviews.
“There’s going to be a lot of unlockable content [in the console game] from the social game,” he says. “There were plans for deeper integration, but the PSN experienced temporary issues, so they kind of got derailed. Right now you earn voucher codes [to unlock content].”
Further out, Witz says Mob Science is looking to flesh out the good vs. evil element to the point where players earn special items and rewards for being especially good or especially evil. No matter how far a player progresses down one side of the spectrum, however, Witz says it will always be possible to “earn” your way back to neutral or all the way over to the other side of the spectrum. Mob Science also wants to experiment with more under-the-hood calculations that affect the outcome of PvP matches, like weighting the number of friends a player has that align with their faction. We’re already beginning to see facitons play a larger role in the game as inFamous Anarchy asks us to recruit for one faction or the other.
Though the future of inFamous Anarchy is directly tied to the health of inFamous 2 through consistent downloadable content releases for the console game, Witz says the goal with Anarchy was to create a social game that had “legs of its own.” This is challenging, as many players attracted to the social game will have already spent up to $60 on the console game and therefore be reluctant to spend more money on microtransactions.
“The only way we can justify people spending money [in Anarchy] is if we give them a benefit for it with fun gameplay,” Witz says. “That’s what we’re trying to achieve.”
You can follow inFamous Anarchy’s progress with AppData, our traffic tracking application for social games and developers.