Insomniac Proves Exclusives Are Dead
Sony’s loss is Microsoft’s gain as Insomniac Games finally goes multiplatform…
Insomniac Games has revealed that its first major new IP for years will be bucking the trend of Sony exclusivity and making its way to the Xbox 360. While there are first-party studios that hinge their success on one specific console, there have always been others, though dedicated to the cause, that never sign on the dotted line. Microsoft’s relationship with Bungie is indicative of a studio relationship where the studio remained independent, despite a close working relationship. Similarly, on the Sony side, Insomniac Games has been instrumental in making sure the PlayStation brand is a success.
Successful series such as Spyro or Ratchet & Clank created colourful characters and platforming fun that lead into the more serious Resistance FPS games, but what has Insomniac in store for its first foray into 360 territory? Well, for those that have spent their gaming lives with a 360 pad glued to their hands, Insomniac has been keen to point out its core tenets of humour, exotic and explosive weapons, and immersive storytelling. You can usually add stunning locations and scenery to that list too, and currently, Overstrike’s lovely CGI trailer has been living up to that promise.
But, why wouldn’t it? Look past the glossy theatrics and on paper Overstrike is hitting a pretty perfect balance between action-adventure gameplay and four-player co-op; a feature of this generation of gaming that has been depressingly under used. The game focuses on four characters: team leader Brooks is cocky and to the point, best friend and black guy Jacob The ‘Pacifist’ is anything but, Maya is the stealthy femme fatale and there’s Isabel, shooting from the hip for women’s rights. It’s obvious that subtlty and avoiding clichés are at the bottom of Insomniac’s to-do list, but where most characters this banale would be the death knell of a third-person action game, in Overstrike, its humour and fun shine through regardless.
There’s little reason to doubt Insomniac’s history from an artistic or technical point of view, but where Overstrike will succeed or fail is how well its four characters and co-op gameplay can be implemented alongside its narrative.