Insomniac CEO Ted Price On What Is Missing In Third Person Shooters

By Matt Hawkins . May 7, 2013 . 5:48pm


Insomniac Games known for Ratchet & Clank, Resistance: Fall of Man, and much earlier the Spyro games for PsOne is working on their first multiplatform title. Electronic Arts will publish Fuse (previously known as Overstrike) which follows four agents from Overstrike 9. In lieu of standard machineguns, Insomniac created weapons like the Magshield that reflects bullets and the Warp Rifle which creates a chain of singularities that hit nearby enemies. Ted Price, CEO of Insomniac, spoke to Siliconera about Fuse and Insomniac’s approach to creating weapons.


So, first question: it’s the year 2013 and there are countless third person shooters out there. How did you and the rest of Insomniac address this fact when developing Fuse? What does it do that others are not doing?


Ted Price, CEO of Insomniac: There are a lot of shooters out there, aren’t there? And third person shooters have been multiplying over the years, and have perhaps taken the crown from first person shooters. But for us, what’s been missing a real dedication towards creating an amazing cooperative experience.


By that I’m talking about taking advantage of the fact that you’re playing the game with friends, who all want to tell their own story, and have their own identities. By creating four very different characters with very different skills, and also adding a progression system that allows you to customize your characters in a very action oriented manner. And by providing a function like leap, that allows you to jump back and forward between characters.


This game is built from the ground up as being a multi character game, and that drove many of the design decisions we made early on, about the kinds of features we’d have. For example: the weapons you experience were built from the ground up to compliment each other. For us as a company that thrives on coming up with exotic weapons, that was a really fun challenge for us to dig into.




What was the hardest part of creating the perfect cooperative experience in your mind?


By far the hardest was coming up with weapons that work well with each other. If you play most squad based shooters today, you’ll see that they’re still about giving everyone the same weapons, the same real world bullet spewing machine gun, and asking everyone to point and shoot at the same exact enemy. The developers basically keep their fingers crossed that it’ll be fun.


We wanted to deviate significantly from that formula, to think about new ways to interact with friends or bots in a more thoughtful way. And because each of these weapons are based upon class like archetypes, there are many different ways you can approach each combat set-up, and we believe it creates a unique flavor for the game. Something distinctly Insomniac in flavor.


Fans of your games perhaps know what you mean, but can you characterize what "Insomniac in flavor" is exactly?


If you had to boil it down to one thing, it would have to be the weapons.


From Disruptor to Ratchet & Clank to Resistance… even Spyro to a certain extent… we’ve been focused on exotic and innovative weapons that are simply fun to use. It’s in our DNA as a developer, so we don’t like to do what’s expected when it comes to weapons. As a result, we’re pretty hard on ourselves during the prototyping phases, when it comes to getting them just right.


When showed off the first trailer in 2011, back when it was still called Overstrike, we showed off a very early version of the shatter-gun that ended up looking like the glue weapon from The Incredibles. And it looked cool, but frankly, it wasn’t particularly satisfying to use and it didn’t have that c-op functionality that was going to be crucial if we wanted to raise the bar on co-op.




I have to ask; do you guys have a notebook filled with wacky weapon ideas, maybe stuff you thought about in the past for a particular game that didn’t fit for whatever reason, for maybe the future?


Whenever we develop a new game, there’s a lot of brainstorming dedicated towards crazy weapons, and certainly we’ll sometimes revisit past weapons that were discarded from a previous games, to see if they fit for a newer game. Though for for whatever reason, it always feels like a fresh experience when we’re looking at a brand new franchise, when we have a blank slate.


It’s a complicated process; an idea might be great, but then proving it in the context of the game, so that it works well, with your enemy archetypes, is difficult. And then for Fuse in particular, figuring out how this crazy weapon compliments that crazy weapon, as noted, is an even bigger challenge.

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  • Can’t say I’m a fan of their competitive coop. Just makes people be more greedy than they already are

  • WhyWai

    I hope Insomniac will back to making PS exclusive.
    This game has lukewarm marketing from EA.
    And, no thanks for co-op shooter

    • and EA shut down their studio that helped other developers release games. Forgot what they called it

      • Elvick

        I want to say it’s EA Partners or something.

    • KuchikiSentou

      Lol, just like Army of Two. I can swear that EA forgot that game was to come out.

  • Hossi Blumengaarten

    hope it does ok

  • sandra10

    Something I’d like to see asked: the demo they put out gave off Uncharted vibes mainly with the platforming in the beginning – was that always meant to be the case? Just seems weird to me given the devs’ history with each other.

    Anywho, I wish them the best. I can’t imagine reading online impressions has been uplifting regardless of how good of a co-op game it is. Many of their “fans” have been nothing but toxic towards them since Overstrike became Fuse and underwent that makeover. Can’t be feeling good about that, I reckon.

  • KnifeAndFork

    Characters look like they graduated from the Binary Domain, S.O.C.O.M 4, Bulletstorm, Gears, Time Crisis 4 and Front Mission Evolved school of generic dudebros

  • Namuro

    For a sec, I thought that crouching guy in the right corner of the first picture is Chris LOL. They look almost identical there.

  • brian

    I agree about this genre having too many (successful) games with shotguns/machine guns/pistols/etc, it baffles me that a lot of those series still sell so well even with nothing particularly exceptional about them.
    FPSs are still definitely on top though, at least they seem to be.

  • Bakuryukun

    I was actually really interested in this game back when it was Overstrike…but now it looks kinda bland and generic to me, so I’ll pass.

  • gamerdude

    What is missing in 3rd person shooters is straight white male protagonists!

    …no wait.

    • Straight white male protagonists with over inflated muscles to lift dem awesome GUNS.

  • gamefreak86

    Favorite coop 3rd person shooter is Gears of War. Fuse looks eh. Also Resistance was the worst POS fps ps3 game I’ve played. Killzone is miles ahead of it overall.

  • Valtiel Ikari

    Warframe maneges to make teamwork fun, with diferent abilities depending on your character armor, costumisabol weapons abilities and stuff.

    But I definetly see this game here bringing the team work up a notch, hope it turns well for them.

  • The best thing for fps and other game genres would be for them to take a 3 year break and try to make something original that does not mime any other given title in the same genre.

  • Strid

    Like a developer of console shooters could even fathom what is missing in a shooting game. They can’t even get the platform right.

    • Luna Kazemaru

      And you are implying what?

  • Elvick

    Character. That is what’s missing in TPS these days, and “Fuse” doesn’t have it. Overstike did though. R.I.P.

    One of my favorite TPS is Brute Force. I love the characters in it. Not related to either game, sans being co-op with 4 players. But felt like mentioning it.

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