For all of us at Insomniac, every time we build a new property it’s a wild and crazy rollercoaster ride. From the initial concept to the day that first game hits the shelves, anything can happen. Fuse is our latest escapade.
From the outside it probably appears that the development process for a new franchise is fairly mechanical where there is a recipe of sorts one uses to build the game. Put tab “A” into slot “B”…make sure each box is checked…file all the right TPS reports.
But the reality is far different. Game development is an insanely fluid process even when you’re not making new IP. After almost 20 years we’re still figuring it out. Still evolving. Still trying, failing, trying again, succeeding, and still learning. And that’s what makes building games so much fun!
While we’ve continued to experiment with Ratchet & Clank and while we’ve jumped into browser games (and soon mobile) with Outernauts, Fuse is the first new console IP we’ve built since Resistance. It’s also our first multiplatform game ever. It’s running on a brand new engine. It’s got a new world, new characters, new weapons…and it’s doing stuff that no other 3rd person co-op shooter does.
We’re damn proud of it.
Of course I’m well aware that we’ve taken some heat over our switch from Overstrike to Fuse. We read the YouTube comments. We watch the forums. And we listen.
After our re-reveal of the game in summer 2012 we continued to make adjustments to the game, adding more color; making sure the humor came through in emergent dialogue. No, we didn’t make aesthetic changes because of a 12 year-old’s focus test comments. We did what we thought was right for the Fuse universe. In particular we focused on creating co-op weapons and gameplay that we think work better than any other co-op shooter out there and allowed that to drive the game.
In particular I remember when we had a collective “eureka” moment with the Shattergun. It was last year in mid-spring – in other words way late in production. But we were up against the wall with none of our Xenotech weapons achieving the fun factor we knew we needed.
We decided to go back to the drawing board with all four weapons. Better, our weapons team decided to take off the T-rated shackles and go big with the weapons’ visceral nature. The Magshield started liquefying enemies with a satisfying blast of kinetic energy. The Arcshot began to shoot streams of molten mercury for its traps, melting soldiers. The Warp Rifle, a complete redo, generated black holes where the blast rings would chain together and disintegrate nearby enemies.
It was also then that the Shattergun, my favorite weapon in the game, was born. The weapons crew prototyped this vicious-looking effect where enemies were trapped in razor-edged black melanite. Shooting the melanite resulted in an explosion of bloody black melanite shards – it looked like something out of a heavy, dark sci-movie. And it worked big time. With the Shattergun, everything clicked into place and we knew we had finally figured out the weapons puzzle we had been trying to solve for so long.
That’s just one story out of many. Yet we’ve been unusually (and sometimes unintentionally) open – giving everyone a window into the changes we’ve made along the way. This has been both good and bad for us. While I know there are some who will never be convinced that moving to Fuse was the right decision, I know there are many who appreciate what we’ve done. I know there are many who will try Fuse and will love it.
For you, our fans…for those of you who dig what we do with crazy worlds, characters and weapons…for those of you who check out Fuse and enjoy a co-op romp through a very “Insomniac” game, this is what I have to say: we’re just getting started.
We’ve already begun expanding what we’ve begun with Fuse. Right now as I write this we’re taking the core concepts behind Fuse and prototyping new stuff…stuff that leverages this bizarre alien substance which is at the heart of the game. No, I’m not talking about DLC. I’m talking about new Fuse experiences altogether.
What’s wonderful about creating and owning one’s IP is that you can take it any direction you want. And that’s what we’re going to do. Stay tuned!