As we continue towards this Fall, we wanted to spotlight various members of the Sunset Overdrive team with some questions you hopefully haven’t seen answered elsewhere. Get to know the Sunset Overdrive team. This week we talk to Director of Project Management Bryan Intihar.
How did you end up at Insomniac?
Ryan Schneider (our Director of Marketing and Brand Development), that’s how. During my days at Electronic Gaming Monthly (EGM) I worked very closely with Ryan whenever it came to writing about Insomniac titles. Ryan—along with Ted—always went above and beyond whenever I had a request and I really enjoyed visiting the studio.
When I got the itch to move into game development, Ryan was the first person I called and was fortunate that he had a position open on the community team. After about a year I moved into production with Ryan’s blessing (if you can’t tell already, he’s one awesome guy).
I know it might sound cliché, but I truly do have the greatest job. That doesn’t mean things don’t get tough/stressful at times, but it’s still amazing to see on a daily basis how these games come together.
How did being in games media help you in your position now?
Well, let’s start with how it didn’t help—I COMPLETELY underestimated just what goes into making these things. I’ve written a lot of articles and been on numerous gaming podcasts, and when I think about at some of my comments/criticisms I’m like “wow—you really had no idea how difficult it can be to do what you’re asking.”
However, I feel like being part of the games media did allow me to give the dev team some insights on how people might react to , say, a new game feature or initial impressions of a demo build through the eyes of a journalist.
Sunset Overdrive Character Grouping by Julien Renoult
What’s the biggest challenge when guiding roughly 200 people making a game?
Communication, communication, and—oh yeah—communication. Sunset is easily the biggest game we’ve ever made at Insomniac, which has led to us staffing up appropriately. But when you have team size this big, it’s a constant challenge to keep everyone in the loop. Luckily, I have an amazing production team that keeps the flow of information going throughout the studio.
Any “ah-ha” moments on Sunset Overdrive?
I would say the first time we got actually shooting-while-traversing working in the game. Early on Steve Ryder—one of our animators—did some pre-vis work about what it could feel like running through the city like in those parkour videos yet blasting away OD with such unbelievable style. The day I grabbed the controller and said “it’s just like Steve’s video,” I knew the team was on to something pretty special.
How many different departments go into making a videogame?
Lots! You have the ones that you might expect: Design, Programming, Animation, Audio, etc. However, there’s also several that I like to call “unsung heroes” that go into making this game (and studio)—tick, such as our QA staff, community team (who are rocking it these days with our weekly Sunset TV episodes), and yes—even HR. Our HR group is always doing something special for the studio to keep things fun even at the most difficult times at the project.
How is Insomniac managing Sunset Overdrive differently than other projects?
The sheer size of this game has forced us to improve our tracking methods. There are so many features/assets/etc. that you really need to be buttoned up as a production team so things don’t fall through the cracks. We’ve made some tremendous headway in this area on Sunset, but it will continue to be a point of emphasis on future projects, as well.
What are your three most vital tools that you couldn’t do your job without?
- My legs: People always laugh at me I’m usually seen speed-walking around the office trying to track someone down. I’m not a fan of communicating via e-mail or IM; it’s all about the face-to-face.
- My team: The production team (Heather, Kevin, Peter, Scott) along with my QA leads (Doug, Joe, and Ricky) make it possible for me to do my job. I ask so much of them on a daily basis and even when I put new stuff on their plate they always find a way to deliver.
- My Insom family: Insomniac is more than just a job for me. I’ve always described this place as a second family and I’d do anything to help it succeed. For as much time we spend here making these games, you better really like and respect the people you work with—and that’s exactly the case here at Insomniac. It’s an amazing place to be.
I hear you’re a Browns fan. How’s that going?
Such a loaded question! No matter what, I will always bleed orange and brown. #Believeland
What faction do you honestly think you would be a part of in Sunset City?
Hmm, great question. If it were up to me, I’d be a rebel and try to be part of TWO factions at once—Troop Bushido and the Fargarths. And thanks to our customization system, in Sunset I can sure look the part!!!
The Sunset Overdrive team dresses up to storm the green carpet at the Xbox E3 Media Briefing in 2014
Check out all of our Before Sunset interviews here.