Insomniac Games Turns Overstrike Into Fuse, Our Excitement Turns Into Anxiety

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Last year, developer Insomniac Games revealed a teaser trailer for their new game Overstrike, and it got me all hot and bothered. It had a slightly cartoonish art style, some Ratchet & Clank type weapons, four player co-op, and best of all, a sense of humor. It was a perfect amalgamation of what Insomniac did best: make fun, original games with sharp writing, memorable characters, unique worlds, and personality. The Spyro games were great platformers, and the R&C trilogy still stands as a shining achievement of the PS2 era. Overstrike seemed to be a logical step forward for Insomniac, and it quickly became one of my most anticipated games on the horizon. But then on Thursday, Insomniac showed off the first gameplay footage of their new game entitled Fuse.   And we only have one question; just what exactly happened to the game that was Overstrike? 


The game I fell in love with, only after one trailer, transformed into something else. I’m sure Big Brother surrogate/publisher EA had something to do with it, because what I saw didn’t excite me, it worried me. The gameplay footage didn’t impress; it looks rather…what’s the word I’m looking for? Blah? Yeah, blah is a good word for it. It didn’t feel charming or funny, and didn’t make itself differentiate from other shooters. The bright colors were swapped out for a grey, bland look. The characters were gritty soldiers, like they came straight out of the Gears of War army. The enemies were Mass Effect throwaways, and the story revolved around an unknown alien power the government was using for no good. Boy, I haven’t heard that one before.

Okay, so that all seemed harsh, and I don’t mean to shit all over a game without playing it, because that would make me no better than a common household cockroach, but I failed to see the idiosyncratic nature of one of my favorite developers. Even the Resistance series had its own distinct look and feel, with trademark Insomniac weapons and an interesting twist on American history. Fuse, from what I’ve read about and seen, doesn’t have much about it that seems fresh or new. When comparing it to another game with four player co-op, an emphasis on guns, leveling, and humor, Fuse doesn’t hold a candle to the behemoth that is Borderlands. Fuse is coming out in March, which is awfully close, and I have nothing but cautious optimism. And with everything coming out between now and early next year, I’m running out of optimism.

…turns into this.

I’m willing to give Insomniac the benefit of the doubt here, since they haven’t given us any bad games lately, maybe ever, and I’ll still keep a close eye out for Fuse. I’m just worried that EA sucked the life out of it for the sake of better sales and mass market appeal, like another one of their recent franchises that went that direction (cough*Dead Space*cough). Maybe my expectations were a little too high; I just got through playing the R&C HD collection, and those games hold up incredibly well. I guess I’m just clinging to the past, but they are still some of the best action platformers to come out on any console. I even enjoyed the later Ratchet games for PS3, and while my hopes are high for Fuse, they have to do a better job of proving to me they can bring something interesting to the genre, since Borderlands 2 looks like the prime example of a holiday juggernaut.

What do you think? Am I too pessimistic about the change in tone, or am I correct in my fears of EA tampering and focus testing?


  • Celiria Rose

    EA did not suck the life out of the game. More accurately they can’t. Insomniac owns the rights to the Fuse/Overstrike IP and is only working with EA through the EA Partnership Program. This means that EA is publishing but does not have the power to tell Insomniac what to do regarding Fuse or anything else.

    The story and characters have also not changed. Fuse hasn’t scrapped Overstrike and restarted. This was their design from the beginning. They changed the art style and adjusted the tone because over the course of development they realized that the game they wanted to and were making did not mesh well with the art style. So they changed to better match the art design with the game design.

    Furthermore the devs have stated that the characters will still have personality and the game will still have humor. In fact the storyline of the game is being written by Tim Fixman who also wrote the stories for the Ratchet and Clank series. So the characters are by no means going to be stereotypical grunting standard soldiers.

    In regards to what Fuse has that is fresh and new that comes in the gameplay. The four characters each have their own unique gun that allows different abilities (just like when it was overstrike.

    Dalton can create a shield that he can move around with him or place at strategic points. This shield can block attacks as well as absorbing the kinetic energy from those attacks which can be used in attacks of its own. In addition allies can fire through the shield at enemies giving the shield a good strategic advantage.

    Jacob Kimble has the arc shot a long range weapon which can melt enemies. He can also power up the shots and shoot them behind enemies before triggering the shots to explode creating a mix of styles between a sniper rifle and a grenade launcher.

    Izzy has the shatter gun which encases enemies in crystal and raises them up out of cover assisting her allies in taking them out. In addition she has a long range heal ability.

    Naya has a gun that fires small singularities which create larger aoe effects when multiple are near each other. She can also turn invisible.

    All of these weapons are upgradeable with multiple skill trees per gun.

    There is also a fusion mode (which you can use after filling up a meter) that heals all allies and boosts all weapons making them stronger and adding extra effects to what they can do

    You can also switch between the characters at any time (only to npc controlled characters) so you can adjust your role in the middle of a fight.

    It has also been confirmed by people who played the game at a community day that there are multiple paths through the level so it won’t just be a straightforward linear design.

  • shivvy24

    man i loved reading this little article of yours ! i just dont know why people are blaming ea when insom owns it and they also said themselves the cartoonish art didnt fit in !

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