Working as a team of four in Fuse

Insomniac Games' first multi-platform title blends sci-fi with shooting.

Fuse marks somewhat of a rebirth of Insomniac Games. The developer spent the last decade exclusively developing for PlayStation consoles, creating landmark franchises such as Ratchet and Clank and Resistance. The developer is trying now to reinvent itself with Fuse, a game to be published by Electronic Arts on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.

We caught up with Insomniac Games creative director, Brian Allgeier, to talk about how the game is shaping up.

Is it getting easier to come up with new game concepts?

Insomniac Games creative director, Brian Allgeier (BA): It’s still very challenging. We always would like to think it gets easier, but when you are developing a new concept and try to come up with something unique, as well ensuring that it is something that people understand, it can be very hard. We’ve definitely gone through some growing pains in developing it. Originally, the game was Overstrike and we had to do a big shift to change it to Fuse. That was more transparent in terms of our development of a new IP than we have with our past games. Every game goes through creative growing pains, and there’s a technical aspect to it as well.

Were any key learnings from past games applied to Fuse?

BA: The one key thing has been our weapon development process. Back on Ratchet and Clank, we had a very collaborative way in coming up with our weapon ideas. That process has remained the same throughout all of our games. The sky is the limit, and we can come up with any idea that we want, and our goal is always to make out weapons better than the previous game. The same held true with Fuse, but the unique challenge with the game has been creating weapons that are not only satisfying to use individually, but also work together as a team.

Did last year’s Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One provide inspiration?

BA: We certainly do a level of experimentation with every game we make, and you never quite know how a game is going to be received. All 4 One was no way a test for Fuse, as that was a game we felt stood on its own. It was a very different style of game in that all four characters were on one screen. There were certainly some elements that we learned from it and applied to Fuse, but we never looked at it as an experiment.

Have unique weapons become a characteristic of Insomniac?

BA: I believe it is part of Insomniac’s DNA. We like to create rich stories and inventive weaponry, as well as memorable characters. So we were excited about making a game with four unique classes, and each character has their own special weapon that they can use. We really wanted to push our weapon designs much further in a cooperative setting.

How has development been with the Xbox 360?

BA: It’s been surprisingly smooth. We started changing our technology to develop for cross platform, and hit the reset button to make tools and an engine that would work on both consoles. The great thing is that we’ve been able to have a tighter creation loop in that our tools support iterations, so we can quickly get ideas into the game to see how they work and then improve on them, which wasn’t always the case with our previous toolset. With the Xbox 360, our first priority was to make sure the game ran well on it, because we weren’t familiar with that platform, and now we’re working on PlayStation 3 to bring it up to speed. The game is essentially going to be the same experience on both platforms.

What about working for EA?

BA: It has been going really well. It has been a cool opportunity for us to develop a cross platform game. Insomniac has always been independent and we’ve been very happy with Sony, and continue to have a great relationship with them. But the opportunity came up to work on this cross platform game with EA and we jumped on it.

Any interest in reviving 1996's Disruptor?

BA: [Insomniac Games President and CEO] Ted Price is probably better to answer this question, but I would guess he would say no. [Laughs] Part of it is Universal owns that game and we’d kind of have to go back and approach them, but we’re quite happy doing new IP like Fuse and owning it. You definitely have more control over it and it’s something we can develop over the years to come.

Want to read other video game interviews with key figures from Sony, Microsoft and more? Then check out Good Gear Guide's complete interview archive.

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Patrick Budmar

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