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Fuse Interview: Ted Price Introduces Insomniac’s Shape-Shifting New Shooter

Fred Dutton's Avatar + Posted by Fred Dutton on Oct 25, 2012 // SCEE Blog Manager

FUSE_Group

In terms of things that constitute A BIG DEAL, the arrival of a new Insomniac game is right up there. The California-based studio boasts one of the sturdiest resumes in gaming, with past works including Spyro, Ratchet & Clank and Resistance, and its latest effort – spectacular third-person shooter Fuse – looks every bit as distinctive.

The set-up is simple – you play as one member of a four-strong squad of special agents, each armed with a high-concept weapon powered by a mysterious alien substance called Fuse.

There’s beefy Dalton who wields a weapon that allows him to generate a force field. Naya’s assault rifle generates a mini-vortex which sucks in enemies. Izzy wields a shatter gun that freezes foes on the spot, allowing colleagues to step in and vaporize them. Finally, Jacob sports a crossbow that fires molten projectiles capable of turning the opposition into a pile of ash.

It might sound like a rather familiar set-up on paper, but in action it’s an extraordinary sight to behold, with each outrageous weapon interacting with each other to create uniquely over-the-top action. Take a look at the announcement trailer below then read on to find out what Insomniac founder Ted Price has to say about the project.


PlayStation Blog: What was the seed of the idea that later grew into Fuse?
Ted Price, Founder of Insomniac Games: Brian Allgeier, who’s our creative director on the project, proposed a four player co-op game featuring a team of agents who would travel around the globe infiltrating various facilities, lairs, and such like.

PSB: And when did you add in the fantastical Fuse powers?
TP: That was a relatively recent occurrence. We always had a McGuffin that we were chasing – ostensibly an alien substance but we hadn’t defined it very well. It wasn’t until fairly recently that we realized there was something of a disconnect between story and gameplay. Story was living separately. That was a hard realization for us, because for a game to really impact people, we believe story and gameplay have to be tightly meshed.

“For a game to really impact people, we believe story and gameplay have to be tightly meshed.”

So we started developing Fuse, and we started looking at it as something that powers gameplay as well as story. We made it the driver for the weapons and we made it the core of the progression system. When we did that everything started to click. That was the time when we made the tone shift as well.

PSB: Yes, the game was first revealed at E3 2011 as the more family-friendly Overstrike, but you’ve since given the concept a bit of a make-over. Explain how that happened.
TP: When we showed off the trailer in 2011, that was for the promise of gameplay that we had then. It was very story-focussed and less gameplay-focussed. In the intervening time we started really thinking harder about what the game was and where it was going to get its greatest impact.

That was when we started experimenting with Fuse. We created more visceral impact for our weapons, took a page from Resistance, went over the top with the visceral nature of each of the weapons and rethought the story in a slightly more grounded fashion.

The world is still very ‘Insomniac’ – it’s stylized in its own way and doesn’t adhere to any realistic conventions that we see today, and it is in no way a military sim. And it still has humor, but it’s a very different kind of humor to the campy, cartoony approach we originally took. I understand too that the change upset some of our fans who saw the trailer in 2011 and expected something very different. But what we have now is actually a better, deeper experience where we have gameplay and story tied more closely.

FUSE_EnforcerFUSE_Dalton_Naya

PSB: Gamers are really spoiled for choice when it comes to third-person shooters these days. How hard is it to make your game stand out from the crowd?
TP: That’s where we focus a lot on gameplay, where we do things such as introduce Leap where you can move back and forth at will between our four different character archetypes. It’s why we’ve created these Fuse weapons which have multi-purpose functions where not only is, say, the Shatter Gun is a great crowd-control weapon, but it’s also a great healing device. This creates layered gameplay for each of the four characters that you can control in the game.

But we understand how competitive the environment is; we’ve been there. Just a few years ago we were releasing Resistance games into what was at that time the most crowded market! We roll with the times!

PSB: Each of the four characters has its own distinct gameplay system. How difficult was it balance these mechanics so that they interacted with each other in an entertaining way?
TP: It’s hugely challenging. It took us a long time to get it right. We had a lot of failed attempts at creating weapons that were not only fun to use but also balanced and worked together.

“It’s really easy to take the default approach where you give everybody an assault rifle or a giant cannon and everybody is firing the same weapon.”


It’s really easy to take the default approach where you give everybody an assault rifle or a giant cannon and everybody is firing the same weapon. We absolutely did not want to do that but that did make the problem tough to solve. Creating differentiation without making one weapon better than the others was the result of prototyping – lots and lots of prototyping.

PSB: Fuse is clearly built around co-op play – is there much here for the single-player gamer to enjoy?
TP: I mostly play Fuse in single player. I play it a lot, because as part of the team that’s my job. In single player you get a great experience because we spent a lot of time on the bots. We know how important it is to have great AI bots in a multi-hero game. Our bots – we hope – strike the right balance between bots that support you well and bots that don’t kill-steal or get in your way.

We want to avoid those annoying traits that you see so often in bots because as a single player with three bots the potential problems are multiplied. So, one of the great aspects of playing a single player is that you can leap between all four characters at will and it gives you many different ways to approach our different combat scenarios.

FUSE_Dalton_MagShieldFUSE_Izzy_Naya_Shot

PSB: Insomniac Games are known for their wicked sense of humor. Is Fuse going to make me laugh?
TP: We have a lot of subtle, sophisticated humor throughout the game. We definitely play up the strained relationships between our various agents. Dalton is probably the funniest character in the game. I really like Dalton because he doesn’t take himself too seriously. The characters do evolve in the game – we try hard in the story to show how they’re coming to terms with their situation. We hope players appreciate that as we have spent a lot of time trying to flesh these guys out and create a compelling story.

PSB: Of all the franchises Insomniac has created, do you have a favorite?
TP: It’s difficult to answer because I have been heavily involved in all of them. Shoot, I’ve been creative director on Ratchet games, Resistance, heavily involved with Fuse, I love Outernauts as somebody who has been peripherally involved with that, and Spyro… They’ve all been really fun and challenging as someone who has been part of the development team.

So, my current favorite – and this sounds like a suck-up answer – is Fuse, because I’m playing it a lot, I’ve been heavily involved in the process and I’m really proud of what the team has pulled off, especially in light of how much we’ve changed it in the last year.

PSB: All of your games have a very distinct personality. They’re all very different but all unmistakeably bear you mark. What specific quality defines an Insomniac game?

“We’ve developed a reputation for creating over-the-top crazy weapons.”

TP: It’s a great question. I don’t know what the right word is. Every one of our games has a quirky nature no matter how serious it is. Even Resistance in its own way was a bit quirky. But when you ask players and fans they’ll probably point to weapons first and foremost. For us, we’ve developed a reputation for creating over-the-top crazy weapons. And Fuse is not a departure from that at all!

PSB: Do you go back and play your old titles much?
TP: Not as much as I’d like to, but I have a lot of kids and as a result I get to relive them through their eyes, and that’s really fun.

PSB: Is that a painful process? Do you just see things that you wish you’d done differently, or done better?
TP: I think there are always improvements that I know we could have made in our games. Ask any developer – if they say they’re completely satisfied with their creation, I would question that. Mostly because there is never enough time to do everything we want to do in any game. But I’m always proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish with the resources we have, and I’m really grateful for the fan response we’ve had to each our games. It keeps us going – it’s why we make games.

//Add Your Own

36 Comments   9 Replies

1

+ Stringer2355 on October 25th, 2012 at 6:13 am said:

Any plans for Move or 3D Support ?


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    + James Stevenson on October 25th, 2012 at 8:19 am said:

    Not at this time.


2

+ IcedDice777 on October 25th, 2012 at 6:43 am said:

I’m keeping my four eyes on Fuse! PS3 version, of course.

Please add LAN option for multiplayer and Insomniac will earn two guaranteed sales from this humble fan. Btw… You guys should consider rebooting DISRUPTOR or at least give us sequel to that cool ps1 game! Thank you


3

+ KrisButtar on October 25th, 2012 at 7:05 am said:

the 4 player co-op is that 4 way splitscreen? but the game looks awesome!


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    + James Stevenson on October 25th, 2012 at 8:20 am said:

    No four-player split-screen unfortunately, but two-player split-screen will be happening.


4

+ KazeEternal on October 25th, 2012 at 7:12 am said:

#Questions#
1) Co-op Online and Couch?

2) Will PS3 owners have any special extras like our save data from R&C or Resistance can unlock certain things exclusive to the PS3 version?

3) Any nods to Resistance or other Insomniac Games that fans might want to watch out for?

4) Why didn’t you Insomniac make this game 7 years ago lol?


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    + James Stevenson on October 25th, 2012 at 8:21 am said:

    Definite couch co-op w/ 2-player split screen + online.

    No extras from Resistance / Ratchet, since this is a different publisher and all :-).

    There may be subtle nods, but nothing outright! You’ll have to see if you notice them!

    We were making Resistance then!


5

+ remanutd5 on October 25th, 2012 at 7:20 am said:

I want Resistacen 4 on the ps4, thank you.


6

+ remanutd5 on October 25th, 2012 at 7:21 am said:

Resistance oops


7

+ Wozman23 on October 25th, 2012 at 7:39 am said:

Insomniac never disappoints, which is why I pre-ordered after the initial trailer. I love that you’re keeping Ratchet and Clank fresh too. (I, unlike a lot of people, thought All 4 One was amazing!) I’m still a bit bummed Resistance is out of your hands, as there were a lot of things I wanted to see (like the Chimeran homeworld, the Prometheus Weapon, and the other speculated ancient alien race). Hopefully, Fuse will fill this void and become one of my new favorite franchises.


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    + James Stevenson on October 25th, 2012 at 8:21 am said:

    Thanks! We appreciate your support and we hope you’ll be happy with the game! We’re working really hard on it to try and make sure you are!


8

+ JKar275 on October 25th, 2012 at 7:41 am said:

Questions:

a) Will there be a pre-release demo?

b) Will this game be released as a digital download on the PS Store?

c) If yes, will there be a discount for PS Plus members?

d) When will the other game modes be revealed?


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    + James Stevenson on October 25th, 2012 at 8:22 am said:

    There will definitely be a demo of some sort.

    Not sure on the digital release + discount stuff, that’s EA’s call. We’re still just trying to work on the game.

    The other game mode will be revealed before launch for sure.


9

+ BlooodyCow on October 25th, 2012 at 7:52 am said:

Meh.
Overstrick looked (art direction, visual, etc) look a lot more promising that this game. This game just look uninspiring and boring…Hell even the character names is uninspiring. This just look like ever other TPS out there.


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    + James Stevenson on October 25th, 2012 at 8:23 am said:

    We think this game has a lot of unique factors and the whole change has made the gameplay better than ever. Don’t take my word for it though, give the game a shot and see what you think.


10

+ Sir_Dr_JM on October 25th, 2012 at 7:57 am said:

Ohhh Insomniac.. You guys are just the ticket. I <3 you so. Still haven't finished the R&C collection as I feel this need to own everything and complete everything.

But I digress. I will just have to have no life and no money because of your games. To all my friends and girlfriend I say, it's been nice. Ttyl.


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    + James Stevenson on October 25th, 2012 at 8:24 am said:

    Thanks for being a great fan! Couldn’t do it without you!


11

+ Ryumoau on October 25th, 2012 at 8:08 am said:

never played any of the resistance games, but this looks interesting.


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    + James Stevenson on October 25th, 2012 at 8:24 am said:

    Thanks! Please keep an eye on it. You can Like Fuse on facebook or follow Insomniac on twitter for all the latest.


12

+ GhostMachine1 on October 25th, 2012 at 8:12 am said:

Yesterday I bought that awesome screen-printed poster and I cannot wait to frame it up and hang it in my room. I am a huge fan and always will be. Thanks for the great work you guys do.


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13

+ James Stevenson on October 25th, 2012 at 8:24 am said:

Your support means a lot to us. Not saying that lightly. Thanks for being a huge fan. And always feel free to let us know what you think!


14

+ Krymalis on October 25th, 2012 at 8:34 am said:

It’s looking good. I do kind of miss the tone, and character designs from the original Overstrike trailer. That was pretty cool. But I did play the Resistance series, and Ratchet and Clank series. So I know you guys will keep some type spirit and design from that. I will keep my eyes peeled for this game.


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    + James Stevenson on October 25th, 2012 at 8:41 am said:

    That means a lot to all of us here. I’ve been playing the game a lot this week and it really is a ton of fun. I hope you give it a shot, because I think fans of Insomniac will see our fingerprints all over it.


15

+ Hogwild333 on October 25th, 2012 at 8:44 am said:

I see your comment above about split screen + online and that makes it a definite buy for me (two copies). We need more good co-op games so I am so glad to see the direction you guys are taking this game. Will there by any leveling, loot or RPG elements to the game?


16

+ Elvick_ on October 25th, 2012 at 8:47 am said:

No thank you.


17

+ KrisButtar on October 25th, 2012 at 9:11 am said:

is the camrea angle going to be fixed or can we freely move it around? 2 player co-op w/splitscreen is awesome more games need this feature. could care less about online features

@15 “Will there by any leveling, loot or RPG elements to the game?” i would like to know this too


18

+ KrisButtar on October 25th, 2012 at 9:14 am said:

btw new IP’s are always welcome :)


19

+ YuukiFayt on October 25th, 2012 at 9:55 am said:

Looks like a crappy wannabe serious borderlands with some Prototype in it…the original idea was fun and interesting…now its just this random shooter with elements from other games and looking as grey and boring as any other crappy shooter out there…
What happened to Jacob’s and Dalton’s original looks? why does it look so generic now? Im honestly disappointed u.u


20

+ TubaDude49 on October 25th, 2012 at 10:22 am said:

I’m not going to lose faith yet without playing the final result, but from the trailers alone, I really don’t like the direction things have turned.
The Overstrike trailer got me excited for the game and I couldn’t wait to play it, while I got nothing out of this trailer, it just felt bland.
For me it doesn’t matter if the gameplay is the same, Fuse just doesn’t have the amazing atmosphere from Overstrike as far as I’ve seen.


21

+ MarinoBrea on October 25th, 2012 at 10:32 am said:

This will fail miserably. A new shooter IP at the end of a console cycle, third-person shooter with no apparent “wow-factor” whatsoever. It’s sad because it looks cool, original and creative. So don’t take all my negativity the wrong way. Just be prepared to pay major websites for great reviews. And don’t expect to sell more than 1 million between both consoles.


22

+ ChaosHeroZX on October 25th, 2012 at 10:56 am said:

Wow, this is a surprise for me. I was looking forward to Overstrike. Artistically, I kinda liked Overstrike better. To me this looks no different from all the other shooters, visually. Maybe its just because I only saw the announcement movie, and no actual gameplay? As far as gameplay goes though, this looks great. If the story and gameplay continue to impress I’ll be really looking forward to Fuse.

I really like the idea of 2 player co-op. Is there going to be 4 player co-op with two groups of two people, or are there going to have to be 4 separate groups for online co-op? If you can do two groups of two, I’d be sold. It would be awesome to play with my friends online.


23

+ DarkOne_PR on October 25th, 2012 at 11:41 am said:

Insomniac…. PLS go back to Resistance…. go make it what made the first one the game that made me buy a ps3. Nathan Hale and its storyline was so awesome and so much to be done with him… and the ending in R3 was so weak and they left us no where with it…. PLS Give us R4 with the ending that franchise deserve.

Even in one of the intels u find in R2 i guess, they talk about regeneration and stuff…. how about Hale’s cells mixed together with the chimerian virus brought him back to life (given that Malikov had Hale’s body in one of those tanks with water and stuff) to give humanity their world back in a campaign back to back with Joseph Cappelli (Co-op Campaign with a second partner that matters in the story! Not like John….) Also to finish the story u can put the creatures or life specimens that forced the chimeras get out of this planet long ago that left a big hole unexplained… u can put cappelli and Hale in a quest to find the origins of this creatures and get them to help humanity one last time along with their efforts?


24

+ KidCommando on October 25th, 2012 at 11:51 am said:

It just looks so been there, done that.

So it is a military shooter but with 4 Fuse weapons. The weapon effects are cool and all, but with only 4 crazy weapons it just seems like it will get stale fast. …even if there are skill trees that improve upon those weapons.

“Brian Allgeier, who’s our creative director on the project, proposed a four player co-op game featuring a team of agents who would travel around the globe infiltrating various facilities, lairs, and such like.”

Really? I mean, that is the best formula for a new IP you guys can come up with. geez, your brainstorming sessions must come with a carton of milk and a blanket….zzzzzzz


25

+ TMAZT3R on October 25th, 2012 at 12:14 pm said:

A vita version will be pretty cool for your game insomniac, include cross play and cross buy.


26

+ JFrespect on October 25th, 2012 at 12:20 pm said:

The Resistance franchise is one of my favorites. I can’t wait until Fuse comes out.


27

+ tusunami on October 25th, 2012 at 12:43 pm said:

I for 1 am disappointed in the gaming community for letting RE3 fail, but on a another note i am thrilled for fuse.Excellent job Ted Price & team on bouncing back with a original IP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


28

+ TubaDude49 on October 25th, 2012 at 1:15 pm said:

Also, I really miss Kimble’s tie. It really added to his character.


29

+ ResistanceGTA on October 25th, 2012 at 1:44 pm said:

Its always nice to have Insomniac post on our blog. You are the only company I will buy games for based off of blind faith, that’s just how well you’ve treated me for years now. Keep up the good work guys. Definitely a day one purchase for me.


30

+ Leo_D_Destroyer on October 25th, 2012 at 3:45 pm said:

When they first showed Overstrike to me it gave me an Austin Powers meets Timesplitters vibe which is something that needed. Every shooter is too serious now and honestly this just looks like another resistance. The weapons are really no different then whats in resistance so at this point there is nothing that say to me you need to get this game.


31

+ GhostMachine1 on October 25th, 2012 at 5:18 pm said:

A brand new IP for the vita would be sick! Please do that.


32

+ leukoplast on October 25th, 2012 at 9:04 pm said:

Stopped reading as soon as I read “co-op”.

Insomniac needs to go back to their roots of SP only games, enough with the co-op online stuff already.


33

+ nikrel on October 26th, 2012 at 8:19 am said:

Pass for me, Military shooters are so overdone, even tho this has a twist i’m burnt on them after so many years.

Plus this looks like R&C style in a military settings, R&C has charm due to it being funny and colorful yet this just feels bland, no flare. Sorry

Good Luck, i’m sure it will sell fine.


34

+ DarkMegamanSX900 on October 28th, 2012 at 6:15 am said:

Well I have seen gameplay this game long time ago,and it was called overstrike and I like that name better.Still I’am a big fan and I got to say this game is looking awesome graphics look awesome to but one question…and James please answer If you can why did you guys change the name of the game to Fuse don’t overstrike sounds more epic O_O


35

+ DarkMegamanSX900 on October 28th, 2012 at 6:21 am said:

And what nikrel said it has a Ratchet and Clank feel to It was a little funny at the start Ha Ha Ha Shooting meet Funny Funny meet Shooting only in america…. This Goes for all the gaming “The More Things Change The More They Stay The Same”


36

+ EXQUISITEEMPRESS on November 23rd, 2012 at 5:37 pm said:

Admittedly, the original style is more exciting than this version. The characters were hilarious. The art style was comical. The weapons are over the top. It was exciting because it wasn’t generic. Despite the changes and after watching the video I can honestly say I’m still excited to play it.


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