(Sorta long rant, tl;dr at bottom, can skip italics if you want to skim)
With the announcement of a new IP from Insomniac Games today at the Microsoft E3 conference, I felt like I wanted to share my feelings on the current state of the company as a long time (obsessive) fanboy of the company.
First, a bit of history; I really became a fan with the release of the Ratchet & Clank franchise back in 2002, and began to follow the company actively. I loved every PS2 Ratchet game (Going Commando is the best. <3 Angela), and still play them to this day. Ratchet & Clank: Tools of Destruction is literally the reason why I got a PS3 6 months after launch. While waiting for it to release, I got Resistance: Fall of Man. FPS games aren't really my thing, but it was fun. ToD turned out to be great, as did Q4B, ACiT (favourite R&C game, and one of my all time favourites), and R2 (co-op, campaign was eh). R3 was alright, but the co-op was gone, and the campaign was... good, but bad.
With that out of the way, I would like to discuss the recent direction of the company. Since the new studio opened in 2009, we have seen Insomniac take some new approaches. They tried a co-op Ratchet & Clank game (All 4 One, which was entertaining, and Full Frontal Assault, which wasn't my cup of tea). They also went into mobile/facebook gaming with Outernauts (looks interesting, but I swore to never touch Facebook gaming). Their most recent release came out last month; Fuse (formerly Overstrike). I own Fuse, and I've played it quite a bit. It's entertaining. But it's not really a title I'd say is great. On par with A4O, perhaps.
What does all this mean? Well, they're trying new things. That's good. They tried out some co-op and a tower defense game. More variety isn't bad, right? Well, sort of. More variety is good when the variety is good quality. I was able to write off the newer R&C games as being developed by the new studio, but Fuse was made by the main studio.
So, time to put on your tin foil hats. Compare Overstrike with Sunset Overdrive. Note the similarities in art style (and name...). I've always maintained that EA was not the reason for the change from Overstrike to Fuse, and I believe that this is the case. I think that Sunset Overdrive is the reason behind the change. More specifically, when they found people not enjoying Overstrike, they had to change it, but still wanted to make a similar game... and came up with Sunset Overdrive to compensate. So, what the hell happened? Did Insomniac pitch this game to Microsoft and then just decide to send Fuse out to die? It sure feels like it. Fuse doesn't come anywhere close to the wonder that was A Crack in Time. I didn't expect a masterpiece, but I have to admit that I'm let down a bit even with my low expectations.
Where does that leave me? Disappointed. That's made worse because of the exclusivity... and not out of any dislike towards the X1. My problem is that if Insomniac were to make more Resistance or Ratchet games, those would be PS4 exclusives. It feels like a bit of a kick in the crotch for IG to split their games between consoles like that. Of course, I don't know that they'll even touch either franchise again, and I'd really only be upset if they made a new Ratchet game. But I don't want to have to own two consoles just to play all of the games from my favourite company. I bet that makes me sound like a bitter fanboy. Well, I am. With the declining quality in Insomniac's titles, and now the possibility of needing multiple consoles to play all of their games, I'm upset. Sure, I could just not buy all of their games, but then I wouldn't be the obsessive IG fanboy that I've been for literally half of my life.
tl;dr: Sunset Overdrive is why Overstrike became Fuse. Insomniac has really stumbled with their recent games. I'm upset that I can't play all of their games on one console, and I'm also sad that I don't even know if I want to play all of their games anymore.