Happy Friday, everyone! It’s been a momentous week for Insomniac. Most of you know we just launched Feral Rites, our second virtual reality game on Oculus Rift and the first VR brawler-adventure of its kind.
As we do with all our games, we’ve paid careful attention and responded to player feedback so far. We appreciate the support from everyone who has experienced Feral Rites, and we understand the concerns as well — especially about the game’s price. Effective immediately, the price of Feral Rites is $29.99. The game’s original price was largely based on all the work that went into it. We’re proud that Feral Rites is among the largest VR games of its kind available today.
Oh, and one more thing. You may have seen that the Oculus Fall Sale has begun. Feral Rites is a part of the sale, which means you can buy the game for $9.99 USD through Tuesday, September 20! That’s 66% off! After that point, Feral Rites will return to its $29.99 price point.
For those of you who bought the game at the original price, we’ve worked with Oculus to provide you with the following games for free to thank you for your early support.
Defense Grid VR
Edge of Nowhere
The games should automatically appear in your library by Sunday, September 18. If you have any questions about this, please contact the Oculus support team at support.oculus.com and click on Contact Us.
We deeply appreciate our Community’s passion for all the games we make, even when that feedback is sometimes difficult to hear. We’ll continue to monitor feedback about Feral Rites and Edge of Nowhere — and we cannot wait to show you more spellbinding details about The Unspoken very soon. Please continue to chat with us on Twitter and visit us on Facebook. We love hearing from you!
Mike Acton is Director, Core at Insomniac Games. He has been with the company since Tools of Destruction, heading up the Insomniac Engine team. Core Dump is a two-day event where we will be sharing in-depth stories from the game-dev front lines along with tangible lessons learned and practical solutions for some of today’s toughest challenges.
Why a Core Dump conference?
Last year I had the pleasure of being part of HandmadeCon and I was impressed by how much useful (or at least interesting) information we were able to share just through a casual conversation. There is a place for the more formal talks at other conferences. But the idea of creating something where our team could share their thoughts on real issues without the constraints of trying to present a “novel” solution (sometimes things are just complicated, not necessarily new), fancy slides or an hour-long lecture format has been percolating in the back of my mind since then.
The fundamental question we’ve been asking is “if someone else was doing this, what would we want to ask them?” I know that if some of the other studios in our area were putting on a similar conference of interviews and panels, we’d definitely be interested. I assumed that’d be true for us as well. The opportunity to ask questions like “How do you divide up your team?” or “How do you review code?” or even “How do you branch and release changes within the studio among different games teams?” is usually limited to the moments we can gather together between lectures at other conferences. And often that’s where the most interesting conversations happen.
On top of that, the barrier to entry in doing a full hour-long presentation at another conference is quite high. For some that might represent between 40-80 hours of preparation through the year in advance. There are people on the team that just aren’t going to be able to make that kind of commitment year after year. And certainly the whole team is never going to be able to do it on any given year. But if we could capture some interesting answers to questions on topics I know the individuals can speak about without preparation (in the same way we all do in those casual meetups), we could create an opportunity for our team to share thoughts that simply would not have been shared otherwise.
It’s not at all obvious that this will work. I’m going to interview everyone on the team. I’m going to moderate panels on subjects where we have something interesting to share. Maybe we fail to come up with good questions. Maybe we can’t direct the discussion toward something that could be a useful takeaway for the audience. But I’m betting on the team. Everyone on the team is a genius and extremely knowledgeable in their areas – I have very little doubt that something interesting will be said by everyone. I am constantly impressed and surprised by the team, so this is my chance to share that particular experience too.
We also take our responsibility to give back and share with the community seriously, and when it’s obvious that The Way Things Are Done get in the way of our ability to do that, we will work around it. Hence, Core Dump.
If you are passionate about game development, specifically engine tech and tools, and love solving meaty problems, please join us at our Burbank studios on August 5-6. All the fine details are linked here. We are capping attendance around 100 and have around 20 seats left.
The original patch 2 was updated to add additional fixes. Because of that, we are now referring to it as patch 2.5. Patch 2 went live on Steam last Friday, but not on PS4 or Xbox Live. If you have patch 2 on Steam, the first fix in patch 2.5 fixes those people who became stuck in Merrow Ruins.
Additional patch 2.5 fixes include:
Fix to statue puzzle doors locking players in some areas
Fix to display Icepedo help message
Make Bone Vaults Red Reaper chase easier by decreasing their grab radius
Fix to The Architect issue where player could get stuck away from their sub
Various additional fixes to mirrors getting out of alignment in Deeplight
First and foremost we would like to thank everyone for playing Song of the Deep! We are thrilled by the love and support we have seen for the game.
Having said that, we realize some of you have been experiencing issues. For that, we apologize. Below is a list of fixes and improvements we are planning to release via a patch on all platforms soon. We expect it to hit PC, PS4, and Xbox One within the next week. Timing may vary per platform.
Fixed rendering issue that resulted in what appears to be stuttering/hitches (PS4/XB1/PC)
Improved mouse/keyboard controls (PC)
Added additional controller support (PC)*
*If your controller still doesn’t work, please contact us and let us know. We will do our best to add support.
Fixed issue where tether mines become invisible when exploding as the player dies
Various Fomori Architect boss fixes
Fixed issue where various claw switches were not opening doors
Fixed issue where one of the triggered doors in Deeplight closes again after getting the Sonar
Fixed issue where players could get stuck in the pathway leading up to the Resonance Orb
Fixed issue where totem heads could become stuck in collision or lost
Fixed issue where specific doors would appear to be destroyed, but players still couldn’t pass
Fixed issue in Deeplight where some player’s mirror would not align properly
Re-tuned Red Reapers in Bone Vaults to keep them from hitting the player unfairly
Calling all Achievement and Trophy Hunters! Song of the Deep is out next week in North America and on Steam, and we have a fresh list of objectives for you to obtain. These are available on all platforms. For those of you on Steam, we will also have trading cards, emoticons, and profile backgrounds! Happy hunting!
The Last Merrow (50 points / Bronze) – Meet the Merrow
Your Watch is Over (50 points / Bronze) – Defeat the Watcher
Rest in Pieces (50 points / Silver) – Grab a flower with your claw and drop them on the watcher’s corpse.
Aquatic Laser Show (75 points / Bronze) -Activate The Deeplight
The Inner Sanctum (75 points / Bronze) – Commune with the Giant Seahorse
Poor Turtles (100 points / Bronze) – Defeat the Fomori Boss
Feast for a Queen (100 points / Silver) – Feed the Queen Leviathan
Merryn and Goliath (100 points / Silver) – Kill a Tremorclaw Crab as Merryn
Sea Saver (200 points / Silver) – Destroy the Forbidden City forever
Gearhead (200 points / Gold) – Purchase all the upgrades from the vendor
Pre-order Song of the Deep for $14.99 ($29.99 for Collector’s Edition)
Ryan Schneider is Insomniac’s Chief Brand Officer. He has been with the company since the PS2 Ratchet & Clank days.
I’ve seen many changes in games marketing and PR the last 12 years at Insomniac, perched atop my old-man porch here on the fifth floor in Burbank. We were there for the birth of AAA console community developers. We watched the near-extinction of enthusiast magazines along with the early rise of social media.
But perhaps the biggest shift we’ve experienced has been the emergence of YouTube and Twitch content creators. We’ve seen a gradual shift from press, to developers, and eventually players influencing other players on what to play through their own hosted channels.
Admittedly, Insomniac has been a little late to officially embrace this movement. It’s not because Insomniac hasn’t cared though. The truth is, we weren’t exactly sure how best to interact with content creators — even though we’ve been content creators ourselves for many years producing our own trailers, podcasts, dev diaries, screenshots, music videos and even community day events. We also were watching to see if YouTube and Twitch content creators would be interested in games besides League of Legends, Minecraft, Hearthstone, Call of Duty and Halo. Ratchet & Clank and Sunset Overdrive proved to us there’s room for games like ours to catch on with the streaming community.
That’s not to say we’ve been completely on the streaming sidelines all this time. We started experimenting with live streaming way back in the Fuse days almost four years ago, continued with Ratchet & Clank: Full Frontal Assault and even tried open development streaming with Slow Down, Bull. We learned how challenging and rewarding live streaming can be, and applied some of those lessons to our weekly in-game “Sunset TV” episodes within Sunset Overdrive starting a couple years ago. And PS4 Ratchet & Clank recently had its own Twitch stream series, hosted by Melonie Mac, to support the launch of the game and film.
Ratchet & Clank Livestream with Melonie Mac
While we knew the value of producing our own content, we still didn’t fully understand how to work with fellow YouTube and Twitch content creators. For starters, we weren’t sure if those relationships should be managed through our publishers. (Depends.) Did all content creators require payment to engage with us? (No!) We weren’t sure how to even refer to content creators. Streamers? Twitchers? YouTubers? Influencers? (Consensus from the folks we spoke with seems to be “content creators” so that’s what we’ll go with now.)
Then we stumbled upon a little secret… everyone, including games publishers, is still learning!
A few weeks ago, we hosted a media day event at our Burbank studio where several content creators joined us to experience our 2016 games lineup. We learned so much from our guests at that experience, along with a Ratchet & Clank streaming event hosted by PlayStation a few weeks prior at our studio.
After much discussion internally, we decided to focus more on building relationships with content creators directly. It’s one of the many reasons we love being an independent developer – we can have greater control in how and when we interact with the community at large. Perhaps more relevant, we are taking a closer look at how we make our future games more amenable to content creators wishing to stream our titles, along with players who simply want a fun spectating experience.
If you’re a content creator, how does all this affect you? First and foremost, we understand more how you prefer to be treated. We think we better understand your objectives, and your wide-ranging equipment needs when you visit us to capture content. Most of all, we know we must be flexible to help you produce the best content, treating each of you as unique producers – not merely relying on the same assets we provide more traditional games journalists.
Content creators at the Burbank studio in April.
How to Engage with Insomniac
Here’s the tl;dr part…the best way to work with us. While we’d love to be able to support every content creator, it’s just not realistic for us. We will correspond with as many creators as possible, as we try to respond to every inquiry we receive. But we have to be judicious with how we’re able to engage. Therefore, we’ve decided to focus on content creators with a minimum reach of around 10,000 on their combined social media and content channels. Videos should regularly generate more than 1,500 views per episode.
In addition, we will not pay content creators a fee to attend our events or to cover our games. Honestly, we don’t have a budget to do that. It’s also a matter of philosophy. We believe our games and access to the development team is valuable for content creators, and hope that value is apparent. If it’s not, we’re probably not a good fit to work together. And we want fans who watch streams that involve our titles to know that Insomniac is not paying their favorite content creators to praise our games. This feels like the most genuine approach.
Sunset TV Episode from June 2014
Finally, we’ll place a slightly greater emphasis on west-coast based content creators coast since it’s easier from a logistics standpoint if travel to our studios is involved. Full disclosure: At our recent media day events, travel costs were covered for several content creators who flew to our Burbank headquarters from various parts of the US and Canada. This is exactly how journalists are treated for press events.
If you are unsure about where you might stand, please use this brief form (below!) and we’ll get back to you promptly with some guidance. You should also refer to our content creator policy online for our stance on how to properly use or credit Insomniac-generated footage and audio.
Content creators are an important part of the games community and we now feel more equipped at Insomniac to build a meaningful relationship together. We’ll make mistakes along the way. But we’ll learn… and we’ll probably make new mistakes! Especially as we head into the new frontier of VR content creation (aka, help wanted!). We’ll work hard to continually improve though. Please come along for this crazy ride with us.
Launching one game in a year can be a complex, exciting, and occasionally nerve-wracking endeavor. Developing five games simultaneously for 2016 launches on console, PC and VR might sound as crazy as it sometimes feels, but that’s just what we’re doing here at Insomniac. And we’re loving it.
To share (almost) everything we have going on inside the studio, we decided to host our first-ever Insomniac Games media event, spanning two days late last week for journalists and YouTube/Twitch streamers. This is one of the reasons why we love being an independent developer – not only can we make the kind of games we love playing, but we can share them with you in our own special way.
Of course, that meant our publishing partners had to agree to support each other, which is not always that common. Oculus, GameStop and PlayStation could not have been more gracious though. That spirit of collaboration is one of the many things we appreciate about each partner.
Now, onto the games! First, we revealed two new VR franchises, both for Oculus Rift. Here’s a bit more info, but be sure to check out their respective game pages on our website:
Feral Rites: Avenge the death of your father by fighting your way through missions and quests in this VR adventure-brawler. Set on a mystical island, explore unique areas of the island from jungles to temples, while mastering new abilities including the power to transform into a feral beast. Below is the reveal trailer, and our first screenshots from the game, which will appear on the Oculus Store in Fall 2016. Feral Rites will be playable at E3 this year.
The Unspoken: An Oculus Touch‐enabled VR action game that pulls players into a hidden world of spellcasting and magician’s duels. Manipulate the environment around you with the powerful arcane forces that flow through your fingertips, summon ghastly monstrosities with your bare hands, and rise up through the ranks of an urban magic fight club in supernatural PVP combat. Check out the reveal trailer below, and our first screenshots from the game, which will release in November 2016. Attending media got to go hands-on with The Unspoken, so look for their impressions online. The Unspoken will also be playable at E3.
Of course, we’re in the thick of development for our original VR franchise, Edge of Nowhere. We allowed direct feed capture of gameplay we originally showed at GDC, while some folks got to play the first several minutes of the game. Look for those videos online, and check our social media feed for links to footage from other outlets. You can check out some recent screenshots below.
As part of our VR-related announcements, we shared that Edge of Nowhere will be available in the Oculus Store on Monday, June 6. Price details to come soon.
While VR is an important focus at Insomniac, we’re very proud of our unique partnership with GameStop and Song of the Deep. The game is about how far a young girl will go to find her missing father in the depths of a vast ocean. Song of the Deep is a Metroidvania-style 2D adventure game. We announced at our media event that it will land exclusively on GameStop shelves Tuesday, July 12, along with Xbox Live, PlayStation Store and Steam.
We allowed direct feed capture from a GDC build of the game, so be on the lookout for those videos. In addition, we revealed a new Song of the Deep story trailer, which you can watch here:
We’re encouraged by all the positive feedback on the game’s art style, story and soundtrack. Furthermore, a novelization that Chief Creative Officer Brian Hastings has written will appear in Barnes & Noble stores soon.
Last but certainly not least, we gave everyone a chance to play and stream Ratchet & Clank, which launched earlier in the week exclusively on PS4. We’ve been thrilled with the response so far, from both reviewers and fans. It’s heartening to see how much love exists for our favorite intergalactic heroes. We’re equally excited about an entirely new generation of fans who will be introduced to the franchise when the film launches in theaters beginning on April 29. YOU have the power to make the film No. 1 on opening weekend, so we hope you fill those theaters!
So that’s a look at what we’re up to inside the ball of energy that is Insomniac. We’re looking forward to hearing what you think about everything you’ve seen here. Feel free to share a comment below, or follow us on our social media channels and interact with us there. As always, we appreciate your ongoing support and passion not just for our games, but for this amazing craft in general.
We are truly humbled and honored by the outpouring of love and support we have received from Ratchet & Clank for PlayStation 4 this week. We are excited for our friends in Europe to start jumping in the game next week (April 20th in EU, April 22nd in UK)! But as we have said, this is just the beginning. On April 29th, the first ever Ratchet & Clank movie will hit theaters! This is an amazing moment for us, to see our beloved duo hitting the big screen, and we wanted to share it with you!
On April 28th at 7:00pm Eastern time, we will be at Silverspot Cinema in Chapel Hill, NC (near our Durham Studio) for an early screening of Ratchet & Clank (2D). We will be there early showing off the game and talking to fans, as well as, sticking around after the movie for Q&A, autograph signings, and maybe even a few giveaways.
If you would like to join us, you can purchase tickets to the show here (seating is limited by the theater capacity): Buy Tickets
We hope to see you there! If you can’t make it, we hope you can at least experience the movie at your local theater of choice.
We are excited to announce the Official Ratchet & Clank Collection from iam8bit. All items will go on sale Thursday, April 7 at 10AM PDT through the iam8bit Store. Screen prints are limited to 350 so act now if you want one of those!
Limited Edition 6-Color Screenprint
Original art by Mark Englert Limited to only 350 copies 36 x 12 inches $50
With Ratchet & Clank hitting the PlayStation 4 next month all across the globe, we wanted to give everyone some more information about pre-ordering. As we have announced, the Bouncer weapon is only available via pre-order at participating retailers. Once you get the pre-order bonus, you will download and unlock it in the game. The Bouncer will then be available at the first vendor after the intro portion of the game (for 100 bolts!).
Here is a list of all the current places you can pre-order and receive the Bouncer*.
North America (April 12th) PlayStation Store**, Amazon, Target, Best Buy, GameStop, Wal-Mart
France (April 15th) PlayStation Store, Micromania, Fnac, Auchan, Cdiscount, Amazon
Italy (April 20th) PlayStation Store Exclusive
Germany (April 20th) PlayStation Store, Amazon, MM / Saturn, Redcoon, Digitec, Libro, Gamestop, Playcom, Flashpoint, Vitrex, WOG
Spain (April 20th) PlayStation Store, GAME
Australia (April 20th) PlayStation Store, EB Games
New Zealand (April 20th) PlayStation Store, Mighty Ape, EB Games, JB HiFi
Netherlands (April 20th) PlayStation Store, Nedgame, Bol.com, Wehkamp, Coolblue, VSN, Bart Smit, Intertoys, Media Merkt, Micromedia, Redcoon
Belgium (April 20th) PlayStation Store, Game Mania, BEM’s, CLD
Austria (April 20th) PlayStation Store, GameStop, Media Markt, Saturn
Switzerland (April 20th) PlayStation Store, Amazon, GameStop, Media Markt, World of Games
Ireland (April 22nd) PlayStation Store, Smyths
UK (April 22nd) PlayStation Store, GAME, Amazon, ShopTo, Zavvi, Grainger Games, Tesco
*Dates are subject to change and additional retailers may have the ability to offer it. Always check with your local retailer.
**NA PS Store pre-orders also get a Ratchet & Clank PS4 theme (note, there will be a new theme replacing the current pre-order theme, which is similar to the one we’re giving away for free)