inFAMOUS: Second Son: Lack of Dynamic Day/Night Cycle and Presence/Absence of Shadows Explained

Many have been wondering why inFAMOUS: Second Son doesn’t have a dynamic day/night cycle, that is pretty much standard for open world games, and why the demos we have seen seem to lack shadows, and during a livestream event on Destructoid┬áSucker Punch Productions Chris Zimmerman explained both elements of the game.

Because the game all takes place in Seattle, we wanted you to feel like you’re going to different places and the way we do that is by having all the parts of Seattle have difference feels, and you go from one neighborhood to the other and they feel pretty different.

But a lot of it is that we actually give you different weather conditions. Here you played that mission and it was night time and rainy, but you also get day time and the city feels really different when it’s lit a different way.

So the day/night cycle just kind of happens as you play through the game. It kind of tracks the story.

Again, if you think back to what we’re trying to do, we’re trying to really blow it out like a spectacular looking game, and that means hand tuning a lot of stuff. So for doing the day/night cycle, we really wanted to have the lighting be spectacular. And that means really tweaking and tuning things for that time of day to make sure the color balance is right, to make sure the lighting is spectacular, and trying to make that happen and also go through a day/night cycle is super hard to pull off.

It’s hard to make 6 AM look good. It’s hard to make noon look good. And to try to interpolate between those two… It’s kinda beyond what we’re comfortable trying to pull off right now.

He then went on to explain why the demo didn’t showcase visible shadows:

It Depends. We turn them on and off. Here you’re not gonna see so much shadowing going on because it’s night time so you don’t really have a strong directional source…

It kind of depends on the effect we want to go for. In a bright day time scene, absolutely, you get these really nice smooth shadows on everything, at night time when the light really is coming from all around you, you don’t get super crisp shadows in the real world, so we don’t have them here.

So there you have it, straight from the lion’s mouth. I’m actually quite curious to see how the story-driven weather/lighting will work, considering that I’m used to open world games with dynamic day/night cycles. Hopefully it’ll be spectacular as Zimmerman promises, but from what we’ve seen so far there aren’t many reasons to doubt his word.

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