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Sunset Overdrive: The Overlooked Exclusive Part 1 – History and Announcement October 7, 2016

Posted by Maniac in Editorials, Sunset Overdrive: The Overlooked Exclusive.
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If you’re a long-time PlayStation fan you’ve probably heard of the name Insominac Games.  Over the past twenty years they’ve developed some of the finest games avalible for Sony’s game consoles including Spyro The Dragon and Ratchet and Clank.  With each game, Insomniac has always been able to deliver solid gameplay sprinkled with a quirky sense of humor.

I first became aware of Insominac Games right around the time of the PlayStation 3’s release. A cover feature in Game Developer Magazine which has sadly not been re-published online as of the time of this article talked about the development of a PS3 launch game called Resistance: Fall of Man. After reading the postmortem, I did some of my own research on the game and by the time I eventually bought a PS3 in summer 2007 I made sure to pick up a copy of Resistance: Fall of Man with it. I wasn’t disappointed because it was without a doubt the best launch game for the fledgling PlayStation 3. In fact, I stand by the statement that until Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune was released, Resistance: Fall of Man was the best game on the PS3, and it would remain the best PS3 multiplayer game for quite some time after that.

Since playing Resistance: Fall of Man, I became a die-hard Insomniac fan and began to pay close attention to their work. I would even regularly listen to the official Insomniac podcast, The Full Moon Show, for news about their upcoming games.  Years passed and Insomniac released two more Resistance games which I greatly enjoyed.

In early 2013 Sony announced their next console would be the PlayStation 4, and Microsoft announced their next console would be the Xbox One.  Months later, at E3 2013 Microsoft made it clear to consumers they were going to release as many exclusive new games on the Xbox One as they could.  Third party publishers and independent developers were lining up to produce exclusive games for Microsoft including Dead Rising 3, Titanfall, Quantum Break, and D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die.  However, I think everyone was most surprised when Microsoft revealed this trailer brandishing the Insomniac Games logo.

That’s right, you’re seeing the teaser video for a colorful open-world action game with a sick sense of humor, and it was only coming to the Xbox One.  Turns out that was a big problem.  When it was first announced, the Xbox One held a $100 price premium over the Sony PS4.  Microsoft planned to force anti-consumer policies in the Xbox One’s operating system, although they were keeping hush about the details unless the gaming media directly questioned them about it.  Then there was the fact that a new Kinect was going to be included with each Xbox One, fueling every wild conspiracy theory you could imagine, and probably some you couldn’t.

Microsoft would go on to reverse the anti-consumer policies they had planned before the Xbox One launched, enabling players to trade and resell their Xbox One game discs, but consumers didn’t trust Microsoft would not reinstate their policies later on.  The Xbox One launched in late 2013 and languished on shelves.  Even with all the great exclusives, gamers were overwhelmingly choosing the PS4 for its lower price and improved performance for multiplatform games.

Months passed and the third party publishers who developed Xbox One exclusive games were not happy. The console was not selling as well as the PS4 and gamers were not buying the Xbox One’s exclusive games regardless of their quality. To make up for lost sales, some publishers ported their Xbox One exclusive games to the PC, but they could not bring their games to the PS4, which had a commanding market share. Things were not looking good, Sunset Overdrive was still a year away from release and there was no way to tell if it could compete as an Xbox One exclusive.

Stay tuned for next time as we continue talking about this overlooked gem!  Sunset Overdrive is out now exclusively on the Xbox One.

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