The game was released in North America on June 9, 2009, and in southwestern parts of North America as well as Oceania on June 10, and was released in Europe on June 12. Versions for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One were released on July 14, 2015, alongside the sequel as Prototype Biohazard Bundle. Separate versions of the games became available on August 12, 2015.
Set in Manhattan, the game follows a powerful yet amnesiac shape-shifter named Alex Mercer who must stop an outbreak of Blacklight, a plague that mutates individuals into hideous violent monsters.
During his quest, Alex tries to uncover his past while also coming into conflict with both the US military and a black operations force called Blackwatch. Parallel to the game’s storyline is the ability to play the game as a sandbox-style video game giving the player freedom to roam Manhattan.
The game was a critical and commercial success, with critics praising the game for its originality and engaging gameplay. Many reviewers compared and contrasted it with Infamous, another open-world action-adventure game released one month before Prototype, by Sucker Punch Productions which features a superpowered protagonist with developing powers in an urban world.
However, the gameplay and animations of Prototype are very similar to The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction, also by Radical Entertainment.
Prototype follows the story of Alex Mercer, an amnesia-stricken experiment. As the game begins Alex finds himself on the experimentation table with absolutely no memory of his past. The bewildered prototype emerges from an underground lab far below the heart of New York City, only to realize that there is a lot more going on in the outside world.
With no familiarity with where he came from or if he is even human, Alex is forced to slay to discover his past and take vengeance for what has been done to him. He soon discovers that he can devour the power of those whom he kills, taking their memories, skills, and even their appearance.
Above these newfound talents, Alex is suddenly thrown into a war involving himself and two different powers. The Black Watch Special Forces, an unbearably mutated virus-infected population, and the prototype himself all wage war in the streets of New York City.
By interfering in fights between the game’s factions, or even deliberately leading one force into another and triggering a fight, Alex can manipulate the speed and spread of the virus.
The whole game revolves around a giant plot which the developers explain is designed to echo real-world government secrets.