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Insomniac and EA, what the hell did you do to Overstrike?

10

“What have they done to my game?”

The views and opinions expressed throughout are solely those of the author and do not reflect OnlySP.com.

Back in E3 2011, something wonderful happened. Gamers the world over were shown a trailer for Insomniac’s upcoming game, Overstrike. It showcased eccentric personalities, colorful action, an enthusiastic spirit, and a plot that allowed the mercenaries to become relatable and fleshed-out characters. Sure, the game’s title was a bit underwhelming, but nothing that could sink this intriguing project. For a while, it seemed that gamers were in for a treat. Then, some changes came. The title was changed to Fuse, The aesthetic was completely re-hauled, and the entire premise was re-envisioned. Thanks to Insomniac and/or EA, the whole game was utterly crapped on.

Now, everything looks different. Dalton has transformed from a witty and sarcastic leader to a generic grumpy meathead. The original rogue mercenary plot has been abandoned in favor of a hackneyed alien scenario that takes itself way too seriously. The environments have lost their color and now resemble grey urban sludge that any modern FPS barfed out.

What happened? Why did such a promising new IP turn into a “me too” clone of Gears of War and every other successful shooter out there? The answer should be quite obvious…

Make it rain.

Yup. Either EA demanded that Overstrike be a thousand times more bland in order to have more mass appeal and be marketable to people who probably aren’t interested in video games in the first place, or Insomniac didn’t have enough confidence in their creativity and decided to neuter their IP in order to play it safe and have a shot at hanging out with the Big Boys Club (read: Gears of War and Call of Duty), not realizing that the Big Boys Club is fine as it is and doesn’t need any more members. I’m not sure which party is to blame for this. Maybe it’s a combination of both. Whatever it is, though, it succeeded in making Overstrike into what will likely be another forgettable shooter.

Sure, some may argue that we don’t have any right to complain yet. After all, we’ve only seen tidbits of Fuse so far from screenshots and videos. However, the damage has already been done in my eyes. I can usually spot soulless stories easily and early during a game’s development. Inversion, Quantum Theory, and Red Faction: Armageddon were just a few examples of games wherein it was clear from day one that the developers forgot to add something to their games in addition to the graphics and the gameplay: soul.

Believe me, no such soul is evident in Fuse. Don’t believe me? Look at some of the screenshots. Take a look at the character models as they do now; can you tell anything about their personalities or mannerisms? Anything to suggest that they’ll be worth investing in emotionally? How about the environments? Is there anything about the bland urban buildings that draws you in and makes you want to discover more about the game’s world? Because it sure doesn’t excite me. All I see is layers of afterthought, the kind of stuff that developers intentionally ignore or set aside because they simply don’t care about those aspects of the game. We all know Insomniac is capable of doing better; they already have done better back at E3 2011.

What? Were you expecting some originality?

That’s not to say I’m calling out EA and Insomniac as some sort of exception to the rule. This generation, we’ve seen countless games in which the developer and/or publisher have decided to homogenize their project in accordance with the rest of the market. They’re so afraid that a game might not be taken seriously that they’ve stooped to intentionally cutting off flow to the creative parts of their minds, thinking that ultra serious material is the only kind that sells while anything that dares to approach the realm of lighthearted and humorous is ‘immature’. They seem to think that gamers are on the same bandwagon they are, attempting to gain respect from society by playing it cool and presenting themselves in the most bland and straightforwardly polite way possible. Are we gamers like that? Do we only buy games that are serious and are emotionally one-note and depressing like some emo teenager? I’m not really sure.

There is one thing I’m definitely sure of, though; I won’t be getting Fuse at launch. Not unless leprechauns magically make their way into Insomniac’s studio and rewrite a vast majority of the game’s code. There was a time when Insomniac could be counted on to deliver fresh, unique games that oozed charm and personality. I still remember playing Spyro 2 for the first time as a kid and smiling throughout. There was also a time when EA were interested in originality, believe it or not.

However, those days seem to be long gone. Games are so expensive to make these days that risks are no longer possible. Every game is doomed to have the most plain settings and the most plain characters imaginable in order not to push any boundaries. Despite Fuse‘s title, there doesn’t seem to be a climactic explosion at the end of it all; just a dull whimper in an overly saturated market.

Michael Urban
Now an occasional contributer, Michael Urban is the former Editor-in-Chief at OnlySP and has the nickname "Breadcrab" for reasons his therapist still doesn't understand. From the moment he first got hacked in Runescape, he's been uninterested in multiplayer games and has pursued the beauty of the single-player experience, especially in terms of story and creative design. His hobbies include reading, writing, singing in the shower, pretending to be productive, and providing info and feedback regarding the games industry. It is an industry, right? You can ask him a question or send him spam at michaelurban@www.onlysp.com. Also, follow him on Twitter or the terrorists win. (@MichaelUrban1)

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10 Comments

  1. they modernized it they made them look &#039cool&#039 and "syndicate&#039 ripoff. personally the only co-op games i plan on getting is borderlands 2 and dead island riptide. too be honest over strike wouldn&#039t have sold ass sad but true but neither will fuse most likely which is sad but what they did to over strike pissed off the people who played on buying over strike. too be honest though from over strikes trailer it felt soo much like the incredibles movie i couldn&#039t help but not care still that&#039s my opinion.

  2. they modernized it they made them look 'cool' and "syndicate' ripoff. personally the only co-op games i plan on getting is borderlands 2 and dead island riptide. too be honest over strike wouldn't have sold ass sad but true but neither will fuse most likely which is sad but what they did to over strike pissed off the people who played on buying over strike. too be honest though from over strikes trailer it felt soo much like the incredibles movie i couldn't help but not care still that's my opinion.

  3. dont worry they already ruined it

  4. dont worry they already ruined it

  5. Insomniac hasn&#039t had confidence in their projects since Resistance: Fall of Man. The radical differences between the three games in the series is a testament to that.

  6. Overstrike looked like a fun game that was big on personality and wit, and guns, you know, an Insomniac game. Fuse looks like a game being published by EA.

  7. This is exactly how I felt when I read about the changes on the PSBlog. I commented there about how the changes they made are in direction opposition to what they had originally created. They skipped right over my comment and proceeded on to other people. Some developer comments were saying the through play tests, the way they had things setup originally weren&#039t working out from a gameplay standpoint. I&#039m not sure I buy that.

    It appears that since this game is for both 360/PS3, with the big push to draw in the 360 crowd, the original style looked like what Insomniac has been known for (ratchet style) and someone…“suggested” that if you want to appeal to the 360 crowd, that you better change things to what 360 gamers look for. That would very much explain the changes and would coincide with the first line in the article ” After a long journey navigating the sometimes-challenging waters of new IP development, we’re proud to reveal Fuse. Fuse, formerly known as Overstrike”. I don&#039t like it, and won&#039t be buying it either. Just you wait and see though, how well it sells on 360! It&#039s just what those shooter-addicts are looking for.

  8. Insomniac hasn't had confidence in their projects since Resistance: Fall of Man. The radical differences between the three games in the series is a testament to that.

  9. Overstrike looked like a fun game that was big on personality and wit, and guns, you know, an Insomniac game. Fuse looks like a game being published by EA.

  10. This is exactly how I felt when I read about the changes on the PSBlog. I commented there about how the changes they made are in direction opposition to what they had originally created. They skipped right over my comment and proceeded on to other people. Some developer comments were saying the through play tests, the way they had things setup originally weren't working out from a gameplay standpoint. I'm not sure I buy that.

    It appears that since this game is for both 360/PS3, with the big push to draw in the 360 crowd, the original style looked like what Insomniac has been known for (ratchet style) and someone…“suggested” that if you want to appeal to the 360 crowd, that you better change things to what 360 gamers look for. That would very much explain the changes and would coincide with the first line in the article ” After a long journey navigating the sometimes-challenging waters of new IP development, we’re proud to reveal Fuse. Fuse, formerly known as Overstrike”. I don't like it, and won't be buying it either. Just you wait and see though, how well it sells on 360! It's just what those shooter-addicts are looking for.

Comments are closed.

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