News

We hope you have been having a blast traversing around Sunset City. If you haven’t played yet, there is still plenty of time to cash in on some great holiday sales!

Many of you have been asking us on social media about Sunset Overdrive swag. Well we are happy to announce that we have partnered with Teespring to bring you our first Official Sunset Overdrive Apparel. Check out our first round of shirts here. Hurry, these are only available until 12:00am PST on December 8th! This is to allow for shipping in time for Christmas (at least to US address, International may take longer).

Chemical Smile

This is the FIRST time we are even making this design – originally featured in our E3 2014 trailer. This shirt will be available in long and short sleeve, women’s sizes, AND in hoodie.

chemical-smile

Sexburger

Everyone’s favorite burger joint, now in t-shirt form! Available in long and short sleeve.

sexburger

Fizzie Flakes

Start your morning off right with Fizzie Flakes! Available in long and short sleeve.

fizzieflakes

On top of it all, because it is the holidays, we are offering a Shipping Discount on all your orders. You just have to make sure you include the promo code in your URLs. Check the descriptions on the shirts or click on any of these below to get the Free Shipping links.

Chemical Smile: http://teespring.com/chemical-smile?pr=SHIPLESS
Sexburger: http://teespring.com/sexburger?pr=SHIPLESS
Fizzie Flakes: http://teespring.com/fizzie-flakes?pr=SHIPLESS

STORE LINK

Hi. My name is Marcus. While not acting as Creative Director on Sunset Overdrive, I enjoy listening to music. One of the amazing benefits of this incredible job I have is getting the opportunity to work with artists I love. The music in Sunset Overdrive is exactly that- music I love. From the very early days of working out the rough ideas that would become the game, Drew (Murray, Game Director) and I would make mix tapes for one another to express our ideas tonally. We had a shared affinity for hardcore and punk rock, the music we’d grown-up listening to, but we’d also included styles that exemplified facets of the world that became Sunset City- from the strutting nature of Glam Rock to “classic rock” to proto-punk to electroclash to new wave to shoegaze and artists that defy genres. The point is, even before we knew what the game was, we were using music to define it. And one of the coolest things in the world is that we got to work with many of the bands that were on our original ‘inspiration’ list (created over two and a half years ago).

Audio Director Paul Mudra and I spent a lot of time looking for the perfect sounds to fit Sunset Overdrive. We worked with Pyramind Studios and Cutting Edge Group to locate the sounds that drive the action. As a result, Sunset Overdrive has a soundtrack made up of original songs created by bands Cheap Time, The Bronx, Dan Sartain, Bass Drum of Death, Meat Market, BOATS!, and Brenna Red. The bands created the songs incorporating story elements from the game and were edited to create “sub-mixes” that are layered in depending on the intensity of action in the game, so the more intense the action, the more full and intense the songs will be. These bands fit the tonal qualities that work for the theme and tempo of the gameplay and we couldn’t be happier with the results. Sunset also features great licensed tracks from bands FIDLAR, Cheap Time, The Death Set, Carbonas, The Glockenwise, The Blind Shake, Cerebral Ballzy, Bass Drum of Death, and Zig Zags. Everybody should go see these bands if they play in your town because they are all incredible.

And as if that weren’t enough, we also had a chance to work with Buzz Osborne. A while back, Jon Paquette (Sunset’s Lead Writer) came to Drew and I and said that he wanted to write a mission where the player had to put together a concert for a sick kid and asked who we’d most want to work with. It took me exactly zero seconds to reply with The Melvins. Buzz Osborne is such an incredible inspiration because he works incredibly hard and creates unique, relevant music. All hail King Buzzo!

Dreams really do come true:

marcus-buzzo

Buzz Osborne (left) and Marcus Smith (right)

Timing is everything! Friends of Insomniac and contributing band The Bronx have a new album out now from their alter egos, ‘Mariachi El Bronx’ (“Be who you want to be!) Also go see them live at one of these upcoming events! You won’t regret it!

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Between you and 1,000 shiny new Gamerpoints is 64 Achievements to slay in Sunset Overdrive. Want to know what they are? We’d assume so, since you clicked this link. So, let’s just stop the tibber-tabber and get listin’!

A Challenger Appears Complete 10 challenges with at least a bronze rating. 10G
Second Place Complete 30 challenges with at least a silver rating. 20G
The Champion Complete 50 challenges with a gold rating. 30G
Perfection Complete an optional Night Defense without losing any of your Overcharge. 10G
Replay Replay any Mission and complete it under par. 10G
Not the Boss of Me Replay the final mission and defeat the boss under par. 10G
Chaos in the Old Factory Survive Chaos Squad in the Old Factory District with at least 150 Chaos. 25G
Chaos in Little Tokyo Survive Chaos Squad in Little Tokyo District with at least 325 Chaos. 25G
Chaos in the Harbor District Survive Chaos Squad in the Harbor District with at least 750 Chaos. 25G
Chaos in Downtown Survive Chaos Squad in Downtown with at least 1625 Chaos. 25G
The Floor is Lava Chain together 100 traversal moves without stopping or touching the ground. 10G
Orange Soda 5,000 OD’d massacred. 10G
Orange Soda II 15,0000 OD’d massacred. 25G
Grind Kills Kill 100 enemies while grinding. 5G
Bounce Kills Kill 100 enemies while bouncing or while in the air. 5G
Trap Kills Kill 500 enemies with traps. 5G
Flung to Safety Kill 100 enemies by flinging them into danger using the Springboard Trap. 10G
Stylish Kills Kill 500 enemies while at Style Level 3. 10G
Grind Melee Melee 50 enemies while grinding. 5G
Let Me Count the Ways Burn, Shock, Freeze, or Enrage 1000 enemies. 15G
Favorite Upgrade one of your guns to Level 5. 10G
Many Favorites Upgrade ten guns to Level 5. 20G
I Like Them All Upgrade 20 guns to Level 5. 30G
Amped Up Equip five AMPs on your character at the same time. 10G
Over-Amped Earn an Amp upgrade in Chaos Squad. 10G
Mixology 101 Collect 20 Amps from Floyd. 15G
Out of Stock Destroy 250 Overcharge XT vending machines. 10G
Crash Landing Destroy 25 Fizzco Blimps just because you can. 10G
Badge Earn a badge. 10G
Overdrive Unlock an Overdrive. 15G
More Overdrive Unlock at least one Rank 4 Overdrive. 25G
Intel Collect all 40 Smartphones. 20G
Explorer Find all 20 secret sightseeing locations in Sunset City. 10G
Big Brother Destroy all 150 Fizzco security cameras. 20G
Wire Tapping Eavesdrop on nine conversations by hacking into satellites. 10G
It’s Art, Ok? Deface 40 billboards with graffiti. 10G
Shoe Closet Collect all 150 shoes hanging from wires. 20G
What’s Your Sign Collect all 150 Overcharge hologram signs. 20G
Hot Air Collect all 150 Fizzie balloons. 20G
Litter Collect all 150 scraps of toilet paper. 20G
Who is Sending These? Loot 25 emergency supply drops. 10G
Going to Need a Bigger Closet Collect 250 fashion items. 10G
Can’t Commit Equip one piece of clothing from each Faction at the same time. 10G
The 0.1% Spend at least 25,000 Overcharge. 10G
Overachiever You earned an achievement. 5G
Appreciation Watch the credits all the way through. 10G
I Should Get Paid For This Beat Insomniac QA’s high score of 534, 080 on the Challenge “Buck’s Revenge.” 25G

Spoiler Alert

These next few have some story elements in them, so divert your eves now cuz’ spoilers. (if you want. We’re not being pushy.)

Not So Secret Ingredient Get to the bottom of Fizzco’s corporate secrets. 20G
Roleplay While Roleplaying Reach Level 99 in Ignatius’ epic RPG campaign. 10G
Vat Pack Rat Upgrade the Overcharge vats at every Fort. 15G
Ultimate Collection Liberate all the comic books for the comic book collector. 15G
Defender of the Realm Clear Fargarthia of a hidden evil. 15G
Revolutionary Take back Sunset City for the misfit survivors. 15G
Equal Opportunity Complete a quest from every faction. 20G

There are actually 10 Secret Achievements, as well. But, we’re not going to put those here because that would defeat the whole point of them being a secret.

Some things are still sacred, okay?

ig_office

A note from Carrie, Insomniac’s Chief People Officer.

Little did I know when I came to Insomniac Games 11 years ago that I was joining such an incredible company. Sure, I was amazed by Ted on my first meeting (just like everyone) but I really had no idea in September of 2003 how truly special Insomniac was, is, and will always be. What I instantly realized was that from day one, Ted, Al and Brian created a studio with a culture of inclusion, creativity, collaboration and FUN. I don’t think this was done with much thought toward “what is our culture” but is rather a reflection of these amazing individuals and their passion for making games. As we’ve grown and the industry has evolved, we’ve never deviated from the most important aspect of who we are – Insomniacs! To know us is to know that our heart and soul is a tremendously talented and vocal team that creates amazing games for our fans. I’d be bold-faced lying if I didn’t say that we have our challenges and that some problems are easier to fix than others. We still have a long way to go but, no matter what needs to be addressed, the foundation of our studio is solid and if you ask anyone here, they’ll tell you that we’re part of a unique place that cannot be duplicated.

SME-Logo2014

Being recognized on Fortune’s 2014 Best Small & Medium Workplaces list marks our 15th award in nine years and, yes, I’m bragging right now. How many companies, especially in our industry, can wear that badge? Even more important, these awards are the direct result of survey feedback received anonymously from Insomniacs. There is no buying your way onto a list like this and if we weren’t doing an amazing job focusing on our employees we wouldn’t be recognized year after year. Here’s a little-known fact, the only two years we didn’t make the list is because we chose not to apply so we could just focus on the feedback we’d received and wanted to address employee concerns. Hindsight being what it is, I realize we short changed everyone by not applying and not soliciting feedback because everyone here takes great pride in this accomplishment. Even during times where we’ve had our biggest growing pains – new tech, new IP, new publishing relationships, new consoles — I’ve wondered if we’re really doing all we can to create a culture that can withstand and evolve change. But our employees have said that we’re doing almost everything right and when we’re not, we admit it!

Insomniac Games turned 20 earlier this year and I can honestly tell you that I hope I’m here when we celebrate our 40th!

sunset_overdrive_lascatrinas_fizzco

Microsoft and Insomniac Games are excited to announce even more explosive action and mutant-infested mayhem for fans with the “Sunset Overdrive” Season Pass, available for purchase on Xbox Live and participating retailers at release.

Packed with exclusive content, the “Sunset Overdrive” Season Pass includes the first three complete Game Add-ons for “Sunset Overdrive,” as well as six character outfits, two Amps and two Traps available exclusively to Season Pass purchasers as soon as the game is released.

The “Sunset Overdrive” Season Pass grants you:

  • Two campaign Game Add-ons that each deliver new locations to explore, stories to experience, and bosses to battle. Each of these Add-ons also includes new weapons, new Amps, a new Trap, new character outfits as well as new challenges and Chaos Squad* objectives!
  • The Weapons Pack Game Add-on, which includes four deadly new weapons to augment your arsenal!
  • BONUS – six character outfits, two Amps and two Traps to use as soon as the game is released

In total, the Season Pass delivers a massive amount of adventure and destruction: eight new devastating weapons, four deadly traps to deploy in Chaos Squad, four new Amps to unleash over-the-top mayhem, and 10 unique outfits for your character – all for $19.99 U.S. ERP, a savings of more than 20% compared to purchasing the three Game Add-ons individually.

*Sunset Overdrive game required, sold separately. Chaos Squad objectives and Traps require Xbox Live Gold membership, sold separately. Retail prices may vary.

pax

PAX Prime! Set in the magical land of Seattle where games and gamers of all types come together to celebrate games and gamers of all types! Well, Sunset Overdrive’s going to be there, too! With figurative bells on! Although, we’re not ruling out the possibility of some bell-inspired attire.

Let’s run through what we’ve got in Sunset store:

  • Sunset Overdrive’s 8-Player Co-op experience, Chaps Squad will be playable on the show floor! So, stop by the Xbox booth and get grindin’!
  • Volpin Props made amazing life-size replicas of the Captain Ahab and High Fidelity weapons from Sunset. If you want to grab pictures with these beauts – simply head over to the Paramount Theatre (911 Pine) and smile.
  • We are also a part of Pinny Arcade! We’ll be giving out limited edition Fizzie pins at the booth (limited number available each day and only for Chaos Squad group winners) and at the Paramount Theatre (if you get your picture taken.) Now Fizzie has a reason to stab you in the chest repeatedly!
  • But, that’s not the only thing we’re giving away! We’ll also be passing out limited -edition Kuturu shirts for the first 75 people that play the game every day. So, best be early!
  • On Saturday night, Sunset will be taking over the GameSpot Metrople (820 Pike Street.) Everyone is invited to attend and Sunset Overdrive themed drinks will be served. Plus, the first 250 people to arrive will receive “Fast Passes” which let people skip to the front of the line to play the demo at the Xbox booth.
  • The infamous Sunset Bus will be carrying people from the Convention Center to Lil’ Woody’s on Capitol Hill. There you can order yourself a Sunset Burger (read: Sexburger). Between the hours of 11-1 we’ll even supply free drinks and fries with every Sunset Burger you purchase! And, yes, there will be lots of chilled Overcharge on the bus.
  • And, finally, Sunset Overdrive’s composer, Boris Salchow, will be appearing on the Maestros of Videogames panel on Saturday from 5:30 – 6:30 P.M. Wanna learn more about the music in Sunset – or the music of games in general? Here’s your shot! It’s in the Sphinx Theatre.

Whew – we think we’ve covered everything. You could literally spend your entire PAX time just doing Sunset Overdrive things. That would flatter us, but there are plenty of other amazing games to see, as well. Still! Get your fill of Sunset. There are some awesome exclusives!

Aight – if you see us around – say “Hi!”

*salute*

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.

brianiHow 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

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.

OneHandedDragon_E3trailer

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?

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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

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.

SunsetOverdrive_060

Big news: Sunset Overdrive is getting bundled with a white Xbox One! Surprise!? This is also the first time that the public has the chance to grab the white edition of the console. It looks pretty snazzy! It comes out on October 28th and will be $399.99. That’s means you are basically getting the game for free. And free is better than not free!

The Xbox One Special Edition “Sunset Overdrive” Bundle will include the following:

  • White console and controller – available to consumers for the first time
  • Full game download token for “Sunset Overdrive”
  • All Day One Edition in-game content, including the Nothin’ but the Hits gun, a custom Fizzie outfit and the Hardcore! Hammer

Not bad, eh?

The Xbox One Special Edition Sunset Overdrive Bundle will be available at retailers in worldwide Xbox One regions while supplies last, beginning with the game’s North America launch on October 28th.

We also just released a new trailer for Sunset Overdrive showcasing the variety of insane enemies you’ll be pitted against in beautiful Sunset City – including new mutant types and Fizzco’s robotic security force. Check it out here.

That’s about it for now. If you’ve been waiting to get an Xbox One for Sunset Overdrive – might we suggest this bundle?

Sound good? Good! Enjoy!

Pre-Order the Bundle Here!

Snowstorm US Box

Greetings everyone! Thanks to all who stopped by the chat last week for Rename-the-Bull-athon 2014!! We had a lot of fun discussion suggestions with all of you, and the team has narrowed it down to a short list of favorites:

  • Franklin
  • Esteban
  • Buster
  • Phillis
  • Rufus
  • Terry (oh the puns!)
  • Reginald/Reggie
  • Quinton/Quincy
  • Benson
  • Sir Benjamin Bullsworth
  • Bill
  • Bobert
  • Baltazar/Baltie
  • Constance
  • Felicity
  • Hyde
  • Blue

If you have an opinion on any of these, or have a last minute suggestion, tweet it to @SlowDownBull or post it in our forum thread. This Friday we will tell you which name we picked! This week on stream will mostly likely be me building a level, so you’ll get to see a lot of nitty-gritty editor process in Unity. Be sure to follow the Insomniac Twitch Channel to get notified about when we go live.

Pickup Art

Speaking of art, Dave has been doing passes on pickups for each area in the game. Our bull is collecting objects to use to beautify his art projects so they can be perfect. We’re trying out different objects in each area that would use to really spruce up a craft project (shells, buttons, bells, beads..), and changing up the sprites based on your multiplier, so it’s more easy to visualize the value of what you’re carrying around. Here’s a shot of some shells on the beach…

pic

 

One interesting design challenge came up with the pickups. We originally wanted to try out actual craft objects for them with the more photoreal textures (the macaroni shells, some gemstones) but ran into some issues with them reading awkwardly. They didn’t stand out as things you could pick up, and looked like oddly placed environment objects. We decided to stick with the visual design that any interactable game element (the bull, the NPCs, the cat, the pickups) should be in the crayon style with the paper backing, and reserve the crafted materials for the environment. It helps push the two apart on the playfield to keep things clear.

So walls, ground, trees and hedges will all be crafted textures, such as our cottonball cloud wall:

cloud

 

But the characters and game elements will be crayon drawings on paper

bull

Articles and Podcasts

Slow Down, Bull has shown up in a few places around the web, so check these out in case you missed them.

Indie Game Magazine interview about the project.

Spawn On Me Podcast where I talk about the project in addition to other general gaming going-ons.

Hope to see you in the stream this Friday!

-Lisa

We’ve seen a few reports from some of you who happened to catch a very special episode of Sunset TV that is currently playing in theatres across the United States. That’s right, Sunset TV has gone to the silver screen.

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For the next few weeks at theatres in the United States in front of PG-13 and R-rated films, those of you heading to the cineplex may get to see a special episode of Sunset TV featuring host Brandon Winfrey, with special guest appearances from Creative Director Marcus Smith and Game Director Drew Murray.

The video rotates between theatres in the next couple weeks, so if it’s not in your theatre this week, it may be in a week or two. The episode plays in the very last section of pre-movie behind-the-scenes videos that play before the previews begin, so make sure to show up a little bit early with your popcorn (and Buncha Crunch, because Buncha Crunch and popcorn were made for each other).

If you caught it, let us know where and what you thought of the special episode! We’ll get to post it online for you all to view after its finished its run in theatres!