Monday, 20 May 2013

When Did Insomniac Games Become All About Crazy Guns


The first official trailer for Insomniac's new game Fuse was recently released and gave us a show that we've come to expect from an Insomniac game. Lots of cool gun types, explosions and vague sci-fi set up. I should feel guilty for that last jab because of how good the Ratchet and Clank universe worked, but I'm still confused about how the hell Resistance's universe hangs together as well as what even happened in those games, that I think I've earned a cheap shot.


Many are complaining about Fuses new darker, gritty and some would say unoriginal style compared to the Team Fortress-esque, cartoony and kooky as a bad Zooey Deschanel performance style of the original concept trailer several years back. Some have blamed their new publishers, the evil overlords at EA, who are now viewed by many as so disgustingly diabolical as a company in their money grabbing that they would steal the souls of sleeping children if they could somehow be crafted into irritating and obtrusive enough DRM. I personally don't believe this is the case since the company have said it isn't and unlike Maxis they're not owned by EA, so could leave at any point and I imagine would be welcomed back in a split second into the mothering bosom of Sony to provide a new Playstation exclusive. No, this seems like a genuine attempt by their own free will to make their games continue to be as lifeless and monochrome as possible.

What? These are the people who made Ratchet and Clank. You can't talk about them that way. My problem isn't actually with Insomniac's change of style for Fuse. The game itself seems pretty standard, just another cover shooter but this time with creative weapons. I've basically already played this game before and I don't care about buying it again.

In fact Insomniac have actually just been doing this for a long time, taking a standard, cut and paste game with no real depth to it and just adding in cool weapons. A lot of the time the weapons they create aren't even that strange or interesting, usually just a gun with a buzz saw attached or just a gun that fires a different colour plasma in a long series of guns that fire a pretty coloured plasma that resembles every colour of the rainbow.


That's not to say Insomniac games aren't without merit. I'm just confused about when they became that wacky gun company. It definitely started with Ratchet and Clank which was a series that was all about its platforming, comedy antics and absurd weapons. In fact Ratchet and Clank is the perfect sandbox to explore crazy weapon designs because the games so light-hearted if it was to open its mouth, it'd go into immediate cardiac arrest as its heart floats straight out of its body. The problem I found with Insomniac was that they continued this trend of putting in their wacky gun designs as the main show across the rest of their games, but a lot of the time the tone was off to fully come up with anything that they hadn't really done before.


Resistance for instance sounds great on paper, but for the most part is an underdeveloped trilogy of games with a plot that doesn't really make much sense, in a universe which doesn't even bother to show up. All the guns that were there had been done, and done better in the Ratchet games because Ratchet games could have more bombastic and over the top ideas. In both titles you could get away with a buzz saw gun, but you could never put a disco ball shooting gun that forces all of the enemies on screen to start dancing. That's the kind of place where only Ratchet is a viable game to use that and because of it Resistance being based solely on having crazy guns falls flat as well.


A long time ago Insomniac made another game that was both critically and commercially praised. That game featured no guns, an immersive and fun open world that was both full of secrets but fun just to blast through. The game the Spyro the dragon series on the PS1. Since then, somewhere around the 2000s, Insomniac have never made a game like it and not even that, have continued on with only one trope: Crazy guns.

Look how there are no crazy guns in sight. Unless you count Spyro's different flame powers as bullet types and by extension Spyro as a gun. In which case they've been doing it forever.

My complaint is that basically Insomniac has a trend running through their games that makes no sense to me and over the long run, even though I used to buy every game they produced, has made me bored with Insomniac's game design. It's all about the guns, and with Fuse this trend doesn't seem set to end.

For people complaining that Insomniac, with Fuse, has started to run out of ideas and have become more unoriginal, I ask you to look at all their previous titles and find one outside of Ratchet and Clank that stands out by itself in spite of its wacky guns. I'm just confused why this trend started in the first place, whether it's just a literal obsession with gun design that is sweeping the offices or just sheer laziness to explore other ideas that aren't whoa crazy guns.

Afterall, they come from the same breed as Naughty Dog games and Sucker Punch studios and both of these studios managed to go from happy platforming fun to more realistic and darker routes, as Sucker Punch moved onto Infamous and Naughty Dog heads on towards Last of Us. But the difference with these studios is that they changed their game design to fit and work with these new titles and didn't just try and fit in the same ideas e.g. crazy guns.

Maybe if we see Joel in the last of Us do a body slam and have to find a magic purple crystal to advance from the area, then Insomniac can at least don't be criticised alone for this crime. But until then, Insomniac games have been treading the same ground alone now for a long time and don't seem to be leaving it any time soon.

24 comments:

  1. Would you prefer to have seen Resistance 4 made?

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    1. Lol no although I actually thought resistance 3 was actually kind of fun in coop mode (but that could've been cause I was playing with a friend). I still didn't think it gave a good reason why the resistance franchise should exist. The resistance games only really worked for me because they were hard, which you don't see very often in first person shooters anymore, and had an interesting style and world which they sadly never really did much with.

      My problem with Insomniac's latest releases is that whether or not we get Fuse or Resistance 4, we still basically get a game that revolves around the mechanic of crazy gun designs, except this time Fuse throws in cover mechanics. I just don't think they're being as creative as they were with their first 2 major IPs (spyro and ratchet)

      I don't know if you'll respond to this, but if you do are you looking forward to Fuse, or would you prefer that they stuck with, and improved resistance? Also whether you think Insomniac actually even warrant the criticism I've given them?

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    2. I thinkyour criticism is very fair and you're probably not the only one who thinks this. I shant be playing fuse but would be interested in what you think should youcave in and get it.

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    3. I'll probably get it when it's al;ot cheaper, although if the reviews are astounding and it's actually a long game then I may get it new. Although Insomniac games outside of Ratchet have been very short so it'll probably be a while before I play it, although I'd like to know what it's like from anyone else who gets it when it releases next week, i think.

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  2. Insomniac Games - Twisted Lands - Apple...who on earth would call their child Apple....?

    Im not hinting, im addicted to finding links between anything you write and a long awaited article.

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    1. did a coldplay guy name his child Apple? What a loser

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    2. Afraid so. Coldplay guy, Chris Martin and Gwynneth Paltrow called their daughter Apple.

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    3. I don't even think that Apple is such a bad name. There are alot worse names that celebrities have used over the years. For examples look at what mr prick Jamie Oliver called his kids

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    4. Buddy bear and peony soup or something sounding like that.

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  3. Good sir, give up these games of guns and violence and people with stitched up faces. It cant be good foryour psyche. Play games of trees, and birds, and hoppy bunnies. I recommend sim animals.

    If you delete me, ill tell Mr Chapman.

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    1. I've been telling him to try Pokémon for months...That basically has trees, birds and bunnies...Except all three can shoot lightning at each other...hmm.

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    2. Well I think they should all sit down for a nicecream tea...the trees shoot lightening?

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    3. With the right breeding...Yes. If you think there are 649 of the buggers at least one of them had to fulfill both criteria

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    4. This sounds more violent than sim animals..I think their trees just grow in a pretty, blossomy, treelike way. He should play that. So should you come to that.

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    5. But we all know Pokémon is really about making friends and aiming for your goals, the TV show theme tune tells us every season.

      These Sim Animals...Do you have to catch them all?

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    6. The highlight is growing your own virtual vegetables. You heard it here first.

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    7. Mna I already grew my fair share of virtual vegetables when the sims unleashed released back in the early 2000s. It was a draining experience, so I went back to killing.

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    8. Yeah, you are talking to the man who had a Harvest Moon addiction. I've harvested so many vegetables. (Great game though)

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    9. In an article on gun crazy insomniac games, 4 comments have now been on vegetables.

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    10. It could be two things. Either the article is so good at putting its point across, that there is literally nothing more to be said because the article already said it all and in their need to comment, we now just comment about random things as we walk around in a daze and confused at how spectacular the article was.

      Or alternatively, and more likely, devilsadvocate has a horrible habit of being able to derail discussions and distract mr chapman far too well.

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    11. That Mr Chapman is such a nice man...mellow!

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    12. Now my finals are over, prepare for me to get even more mellow.

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    13. You will have time to watch the Monoco Grand Prix on Sunday.

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    14. Chapman too busy watching the Grand Pree to watch that stuff.

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