- “Vermaak will be whole!”
- — A recurring phrase, shouted by the Vermaak 88.
Vermaak 88(often referred to as The Ice Gang, The Ice Freaks, or The Ice Soldiers) is a very large and powerful South African based Private Military Company hired by Joseph Bertrand for experimentation, initially for protection. It is reported that Vermaak 88 had extended 43 percent of its operations in the last five years and had become one of the largest Private Military Contractors in the world due, in part, to lucrative government contracts with the United States Military during the War in Iraq.
The organization had paid Joseph Bertrand III to become test subjects in his experiments with making Forced Conduits, hoping to use their new powers to utilize on the battlefield and increase their skills. Unknown to the Vermaak soldier test subjects, Bertrand planned to use Vermaak for his own benefits. When Vermaak were transferred to New Marais, where the experiments were to be held, Bertrand kidnapped Lucy Kuo, and brought out her Conduit abilities through experiments. Bertrand had her strapped into the Power Transfer Device and unlocked her Cryokinesis abilities and transferred them into Vermaak 88. The process was successful as all Vermaak soldiers gained her Cyrokinesis powers.
EscapeThough gaining Cryokinesis abilities, they only gained a fraction of Kuo's powers. The Vermaak were then stored in cells, keeping them contained, preventing escape and allowing Bertrand to carry out his true plans for the Vermaak.
Cole later broke into the facility used to contain the Vermaak to free a captured Kuo, though accidentally deactivating 88's cells as well. With this, Vermaak soldiers broke free from their cryogenic containment cells.
Vermaak troops escaped in rage and began to engage the Militia standing guard. Subsequently, the Vermaak soldiers scattered across New Marais areas such as the St. Charles Cemetery. Though pursued by Militia, Vermaak was able to easily evade them.
Terrorizing New Marais
- “Ever since you busted them out of that underground lab they've been acting crazy, attacking everyone they come across in Flood Town.”
- — Zeke Dunbar on Vermaak's actions.
Vermaak soon assembled together and established themselves in Flood Town. As Sebastian Wolfe predicted, Vermaak wore their bodies out trying to sustain the powers they gained, and descended into insanity. The Vermaak, however believed Blast Cores would make them sane again and began looking for them. They were eventually successful in finding one, but had failed to obtain it.
Vermaak continued to rampage in Flood Town. Resorting to terrorizing and mugging civilians, taking hostages, stealing medical supplies, and capturing groups of Militia. A defecting soldier from the 88 however, established contact with Cole. The soldier lead Cole to several Blast Shards, thus starting an alliance. Soon Vermaak became prominent in the Gas Works, where they covered most of the district.
They then began to descend further into insanity as feared and reached higher stages of mutation, a side affect of gaining their powers. When John White, now known as the Beast, was near New Marais, many Vermaak soldiers fought him as he approached the city, though this proved unsuccessful.
Soon, the defecting Vermaak troop and Cole rampaged through the warehouses and killed many Vermaak soldiers in the process. The Vermaak were able to secure several Blast Shards for themselves, and a Blast Core, however, they were stolen by Cole, thwarting many of their operations.
Conduit Arms RaceThe Vermaak, however, were soon ready to become a part of Bertrand's ultimate plan: Vermaak troops, along with Corrupted, were being held in cryogenic containment and were to be sold and shipped all across the world by Bertrand to wealthy warlords, allowing them to use the Forced Conduits in the battlefield. Nations would soon start fighting for control over the Forced Conduits, kick-starting a new arms race in the process and causing a conduit genocide.
With hundreds of Vermaak soldiers already being loaded onto cargo ships in the New Marais harbor, Bertrand was ready to have them transported across the world until the boat engines were dismantled by Cole, greatly sabotaging Bertrand's plan. Meanwhile, the defecting member of Vermaak 88 eventually lost his sanity also and started rampaging through New Marais harming civilians but he was finally killed by Cole MacGrath and Lucy Kuo and the NMPD.
- “The one walking around with the Blast Core is their leader.”
- — Zeke Dunbar on the Vermaak General.
Still having one Blast Core left in their possession, Vermaak's leader, the General, attempted use the core to make the Faction "whole" by putting the core on top of the ice tower and waiting next to it until a storm activates it. However, his plan failed, as Cole attacked the last hideout of the Vermaak (while draining power from the storm, making him nearly impossible to defeat). The Ice General then fled with the Blast Core, and in the process was close to death. Choosing his life over the core, he initially changed his plan, and encased the core slightly into the tower so Cole wouldn't be able to take it. Cole proceeded to activate the burner of the tower to melt down the ice, which caused the core to fall into a swarm of Ice soldiers. Cole proceeded to kill every Vermaak soldier around the tower, ranging from every type of Vermaak (Crusher, heavy, titan and normal), and retrieved the blast core.
Despite their failures against Cole, Vermaak remained active in New Marais, continuing to terrorize certain areas of New Marais. After Cole activated the Ray Field Inhibitor, however, the majority of Vermaak as well as the Corrupted and mostly everyone on Earth with the Conduit gene were killed, ending the Faction.
In an alternate timeline, Cole instead sided with John White and decided to create a world of Conduits. With this, Vermaak 88 remained partly active in New Marais, though their eventual fate was uncertain.
- Assault Rifle: The assault rifle is a weapon that is frequently carried by the standard Ice Conduits. The Vermaak soldiers have a good and quick aim, and an automatic firing mechanism on the weapon can deal a substantial amount of damage to Cole, even with a small squad of soldiers. Ice Conduits with assault rifles frequently protect themselves with their Frost Shield ability when attacking.
- Shotgun: The shotgun is another weapon frequently used by Ice Conduits, and their Ice Dash ability allows the soldiers to quickly dash to their foes and execute them with a shotgun blast at close range. A soldier wielding this weapon can be a great threat to Cole as, in addition to large amount of damage it deals, it can easily knock him off his feet.
- Rocket-Propelled Grenade Launcher: The Vermaak soldiers wield this weapon a lot less frequently than the other factions in the series, especially when compared to the Militia. The weapon has a devastating amount of damage if it hits it's target directly, has a large range for splash damage, and can stun Cole or knock him off his feet, leaving him vulnerable for a short period of time. However, Cole can use his Blast ability to redirect the rockets and possibly hit other enemies.
- Grenades: The Vermaak 88 members often throw grenades to flush Cole out from cover. They deal exactly the same amount of damage as the ones utilized by the Militia, and are extremely dangerous if Cole is anywhere near the blast radius. Even if Cole is at the edge, the explosion can knock him down, although it doesn't do as much damage.
- Shield: The Vermaak produce ice shields from their arms and use the assault rifle mentioned above to fire at the side. The shield can be broken with just one melee attack but when not in close combat, they can re-produce the shield again.
- Main article: Vermaak 88/Types
The Vermaak 88 consisted of different "ranks" that could be fit in these categories: Ice Soldiers, Ice Heavies, Crushers and Titans.
- Ice Soldier: The least mutated and the most common form of Vermaak soldiers, light Vermaak troops possess a basic range of Cryokinesis abilities, such as Ice Launch and Frost Shield variants. Light infantry wear long white suits with areas of black/gray padding, black combat boots, gloves, and metal masks. Additionally, standard Vermaak have gas tanks on their backs. Standard Vermaak soldiers also use a large variety of weapons, such as assault rifles, shotguns, and RPGs.
- Ice Heavy: At the second stage in their mutation, their skeletal structure becomes much larger than normal humans and they have larger muscles; their Cyrokinesis abilities are also more advanced and more powerful than the lighter soldiers, while the standard Ice Soldiers use their abilities for defensive purposes, the heavy Ice Soldiers use their powers for offensive purposes as well. With their larger frame, they need a different, larger armor set. Heavy Vermaak infantry has similar armor to their lighter counterparts, such as the gloves, boots, etc. However, their masks differ from the light infantry's masks and their respirator is of a large and circular build. Heavy Vermaak soldiers do not use weapons; they instead rely on their advanced Cryokinesis abilities. Heavy infantry do not need to use Ice Launch anymore as they can leap buildings with their own strength, they can shoot Ice Beam at their enemies, as well as create Ice Pillars under their feet to gain higher grounds against their enemies.
- Crusher: Mutated even further, Crushers have the same build as the heavy infantry. However, Crusher's arms and shoulders are formed entirely from ice and Crusher's do not wear metallic masks. Crusher's utilize variants of Ice Launch, Ice Throw and Ionic Freeze. Despite a Crusher's size, they have great speed and often rely on melee attacks in close combat.
- Titan: The last stage of their mutation, Titans are formed entirely from ice and no longer wear Vermaak military attire. Relying entirely on their Cyrokinesis abilities in battle, Titans possess Ionic Freeze, Ice Throw and Ice Beam powers. However, Titans are far slower than the other Vermaak stages and use melee attacks. Titans also have the ability to replace their arms if ripped off in battle. At this stage in their development, it is generally believed they have lost what was left of their sanity.
- "Vermaak" roughly translates to "entertainment" in both Afrikaans and Dutch.
- Vermaak 88 actually mispronounce their name in-game, the pronunciation, perhaps deliberately, sounding like "Wehrmacht." This is rather supported by the fact that "88" corresponds to the letters "HH," used by white supremacists to stand for "Heil Hitler."
- It seems members use Cryokinesis in very simple ways such as making ice shields, dashing, and using Ice Launch to escape battle.
- Some of the Vermaak units referred to Cole as the "Prime Conduit".
- The Vermaak 88 is creatable in UGC, and will act hostile towards anybody unless reprogrammed not to.
- The Vermaak Conduits' powers are generally weaker than Kuo's due to the fact that theirs were spread over all of them at once from a single person.
- The Vermaak 88 mercenaries bear a striking similarity to the Hellsing's Last Battalion. Basically being nothing more than weaker copies of the original, for the sole purpose of war.
- It is possible that Vermaak uniforms are rubber insulated granting them increased resistance from Cole's attacks, explaining why they can take so many blasts from Cole.
- As Cole got Kuo out of the lab she was imprisoned in, the Vermaak would show in the area, only attacking the Militia and using Ice Launch as long the touch the ground. They completely ignore Cole and Kuo, and Cole can't attack them. They will disappear from the area after the mission ends.
- They use exactly the same assault rifles and rocket launchers as the Militia.
- They scream out orders, such as flanking or outnumbering Cole, although they only follow on their words in missions and rarely outside missions.
- While Cole is trying to activate the burner of the ice tower, the Vermaak general suddenly screams, "Ambush!" and the ice soldiers start ascending onto the tower.
- When attacked by an RPG by either the Militia or the NMPD, one Vermaak soldier will scream, "RPG!", warning his teammates.
- While Cole is trying to find a blast core hidden in one of the warehouses, the Vermaak will shut down all entrances to the third warehouse shortly after Cole arrives, then one Vermaak soldier shouts, "Now! The gas!", proceeded by the Vermaak escaping and releasing toxic gas into said warehouse.
- The Vermaak are only seen fighting Rebels, Police and Corrupted in Flood Town while they are seen fighting the Militia in Gas Works.
- Though there is an exception to this in a side mission where the Militia are seen attacking the Vermaak in Flood Town.
- The rifles and shotguns wielded by the Vermaak 88 appear to be based on the Remington ACRs and the Italian SPAS-12 combat shotgun.
- They are one of two factions in InFamous 2 to have an insignia, although it is only shown once in game, during a USTV News broadcast.
- Their insignia is a gray shield with a V on the top and 88 below.