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The story Behind inFAMOUS Second Son’s Photo Mode

Fred Dutton's Avatar + Posted by Fred Dutton on Apr 29, 2014 // SCEE Blog Manager

If you’ve been keeping even half an eye on gaming-related forums, blogs and social feeds over the last week or two you will surely have seen the stunning fruits of inFAMOUS Second Son’s brilliant Photo Mode, which developer Sucker Punch added to the game via an update earlier this month. It’s fair to say the new feature has surpassed everyone’s expectations and taken off in a big, big way – there are some absolutely incredible images out there, all created by you, the gamers.

So, to find out a little more about how it came to be and what the studio is making of its reception, we caught up with the man behind Photo Mode, Sucker Punch Senior Software Engineer Matt Durasoff.

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How exactly did Photo Mode come to be? Was it something you planned early on, or was it more spur-of-the-moment?

Matt Durasoff: There’s nothing novel about setting up shiny screen shots (say that ten times fast), but it was always something we did internally. For Second Son, the motivation for adding this feature came completely from the fans. Right out of the gate, people were sharing awesome shots, without any special tools. Giving people a way to hide the UI was an obvious patch, but then we thought, what if we could provide some more power, open up the game engine a little bit and let everybody tweak the visuals the way we already do in-house?

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How difficult was it to implement?

Matt Durasoff: Photo Mode itself is a simple tool. This was not a big R&D project – that’s what the last two and a half years were for! Camera, depth of field, color grading – the support for manipulating these already existed in our game engine, it was only a matter of creating an interface for them. The real labor behind this feature went into the construction of the game world and characters, and the engine that supports them. So, a feature for taking photos? A few days. Game full of stuff worth taking photos of? Hundreds of person-years!

When you launched the update what were your expectations for how the mode would be received?

Matt Durasoff: We hoped that it would be embraced by the small core of enthusiasts who motivated us to add it in the first place. Beyond that, maybe we’d be lucky enough for shots to pop up here and there on GAF/Twitter/Reddit. Seriously.

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How surprised have you been at the response?

Matt Durasoff: As you might guess from our expectations, quite (pleasantly) surprised! We know that people love to share photos; we know pausing the clock and looking at the FX in-flight is mesmerising; we know the game has an insane level of detail. But the magnitude of the response and what people are doing with it has blown us away. I heard a story today that some Sony execs now have fan-made shots from Second Son as their phone backgrounds. Amazing.

Has everyone at the studio been trying their hand all week too?
Matt Durasoff: Most of the studio is already hard at work on what’s next! But many photos have been taken nonetheless.

Do you think it’s a feature that could become a staple of all Sucker Punch titles in future?

Matt Durasoff: We’re proud of our artwork, and I think whatever helps show that off is important. So yeah, Photo Mode is a good starting point…

What’s the secret to taking a great image? Any expert tips you can pass on?

Matt Durasoff: The secret to taking a great image in Photo Mode is exactly the same as the secret to taking a great photograph in any medium. I’m only an amateur photographer myself, so I can’t claim any expert advice, but I can start you off with this: Every picture tells a story. What’s yours?

Also, lots of particles. Everybody loves particles :)

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Can you show off a few of the studio’s favorite images that you’ve spotted out in the wild?

Matt Durasoff: There are a couple of really amazing close-ups of Delsin’s chain, and some excellent rainy-day shots. People have made some stunning faux movie posters. Also the shot of Delsin hovering posed in mid-air next to the Sly Cooper character line-up is brilliant and hilarious. Personally, I really love the shot of Delsin and Fetch fighting together; it takes some effort to set up that shot, and it’s awesome! Check them out here and here for starters. Massive thanks everyone! This is fun!

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//Add Your Own

19 Comments

1

+ cubbielovr on April 29th, 2014 at 6:17 am said:

I absolutely LOVE the photo mode. I just wish we could have it in all games. Think how awesome this would be in The Last of Us Remastered.


2

+ Shin-Ra on April 29th, 2014 at 6:54 am said:

I’m loving this feature and SHARE. I just wish I could capture lossless .PNG’s to keep in my game media collection.


3

+ RodrigoBrazucaMG on April 29th, 2014 at 7:02 am said:

For photos in Full HD just send them to Facebook, there are automatically posted to the native resolution of 1920 x 1080p.


4

+ loyolakain on April 29th, 2014 at 7:13 am said:

That feature is now absolute must have in all next gen games… instant classic, I love it !


5

+ Old_PopTarts on April 29th, 2014 at 7:27 am said:

The photo mode is a really nice addition. The world you at Sucker Punch built is stunning, this was a great way to showcase all of your hard work. I’m still clearing out the city on the Hero side, going for 100%. I have yet to play the Villain, it will be a bit more chaotic I’m sure.


6

+ JaySwaggg23 on April 29th, 2014 at 7:59 am said:

man infamous second son is beast they should make a competative multiplayer for this.


7

+ D-Squad3 on April 29th, 2014 at 8:14 am said:

EVERY game should have photo mode!


8

+ oversevethousand on April 29th, 2014 at 8:27 am said:

This is definitely a cool concept. I haven’t gotten a PS4 yet (this game is in fact the only one I want for it – but boy do I), but once I do, I’ll be all over this. inFamous is one of my favorite series now, so I hope you guys continue going places with it – I was honestly disappointed when we didn’t get more short adventures like Festival of Blood last gen. Think we could see more of those this time around?


9

+ oversevethousand on April 29th, 2014 at 8:28 am said:

Oh, I do have one other question though. Can you use the photo mode to take pictures of how badly Sony screwed over Vita owners last week and how they continue to let new things pop up on the blog without so much as addressing that previous issue? Now that’s be a great use of a photo mode!


10

+ TomatoDragon on April 29th, 2014 at 8:43 am said:

Should be a standard mode for all games, now. Can’t even think of all the pics I’ve taken with it. Great addition.


11

+ SpooNManX on April 29th, 2014 at 9:07 am said:

Now all we need is a way to save the pictures as uncompressed PNG files.

Many of those amazing pictures look so good because they were snapped using a capture device which doesn’t compress the picture. Jpg artifacts can really blur the detail. It should be an easy fix… PNG and then save to a USB stick.

Also, judging by the great pictures I’ve seen of Killzone: Shadow Fall, I think that definitely deserves a Photo Mode as well.


12

+ Mobius_124 on April 29th, 2014 at 9:50 am said:

this feature should be on all games…theres no going back…yes its that awesome, I love it…


13

+ Oxybelis on April 29th, 2014 at 10:47 am said:

PS4 needs lossless PNG export though. Compressed JPEG degrade quality a lot.


14

+ XtraTrstrL on April 29th, 2014 at 1:33 pm said:

Considering I got the game mainly for the next gen visuals, photo mode is meant for the game. I only played with it once like a week or 2 ago, but it’s awesome and I’ll definitely be messing with it more in the near future.


15

+ Mr_Mackwo on April 29th, 2014 at 2:16 pm said:

I agree that the PS4 needs lossless PNG export, but man there are some cool photo opportunities. I have a habit of clicking L3 many times to see if I can accidentally get a cool new photo. I love the photo mode! Thanks #SuckerPunch!


16

+ GABEv01 on April 29th, 2014 at 4:00 pm said:

I agree with comment #1, cubbielovr. TLOU and/or all PS4 games with a Photo Mode… Oh yeah! Would be awesome!


17

+ Welmosca on April 30th, 2014 at 5:24 am said:

That Sly pic…man that put a smile in ma face ha so early in the day…thank you.Amazing pic.

“Most of the studio is already hard at work on what’s next”….WTF? another infamous already?….hope it comes 2 to 3 years from now…no milk please no milk.


18

+ Elvick_ on April 30th, 2014 at 5:39 am said:

I hope even more games use this. It’s great in Rayman, even better in inFamous: Second Son.

@17: They never said it was another inFamous. That’s just your assumption.


19

+ Welmosca on May 2nd, 2014 at 10:36 am said:

@ 18 – Hum…ha like they would do another game…of course if they’re working in something new….its either a DLC for Second Son,a standalone game ala Festival of Blood or a new full-fledged Infamous game which is more probably…how naive of you to think that after the success that it was Second Son…Sony won’t have them making another Infamous…they didn’t even made Thieves in Time that it was their former franchise let alone another game.


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