I remember interviewing Ted Price at an EA showcase a couple of years back and wondering where the boundless energy of the Ted Price I had in my head had gone. The game Insomniac was showing off there was Fuse, and only a few weeks before, a new trailer had emerged that probed our deepest fears for that game -- the transformation of a colourful, mechanically-noteworthy shooter into a grey mess with a far more serious tone.
I asked him why the name had changed from Overstrike 9 and it looked like something behind his eyes just died.
But Sunset Overdrive is different. It's colourful, loaded with bonkers weaponry, and seems utterly determined to prove that post-apocalyptic games can embrace a frenzied party of irreverent fun, all the while channelling the spirit of Crackdown and Jet Set Radio and, according to Insomniac's community lead James Stevenson, The Omega Man.
Moreover, everyone seems really happy with it. Microsoft seem absolutely besotted with it, and why wouldn't they be? They've successfully managed to bag an exclusive original IP off of one of Sony's biggest stalwarts, and it looks vibrant, entertaining, and impressively different. Insomniac are over the moon, and that's because they're "making the game that [they] always wanted to make". And everyone who's played it has pretty much been over the moon too, because it's shaping up very nicely indeed.
I had a little chat with Mr Stevenson after enjoying some hands-on time with the game, and he spilled the beans on how Insomniac are embracing freedom and fun for this, their sandbox opus.