A small teaser trailer released during E3 2011 for a game called Overstrike turned a lot of heads as one of the more pleasant surprises of the show. What’s this? A fun looking shooter that doesn’t succumb to the soul-sucking trends of gritty realism? Are these characters able to display emotions other than monotonous manliness? Is this campy humor making me laugh? Cyborg German super soldiers? Sign me up!
But, nope, it seems that ship has sailed, and it won’t be coming back. At the sacrifice of what looked like could have been a wildly fun and original game, Insomniac turned to a more realistic and mainstream approach and re-dubbed it Fuse. Direcor Brian Allgeier recently said in an interview with Polygon that the new direction is “more relevant to the gamers they were targeting,” and that “they were struggling to find the fun.”
“When we went in a darker direction, a less comic direction, we were able to do a lot more over-the-top experimentation with the weapons. We were able to make them look more brutal and do things to enemies that we simply couldn’t do with our previous incarnation of the game.”
Allgeier claims that the deciding factor behind the chance was actually the weapons. The dual-purpose weapons, once called gadgets, were launched to the forefront of the development process, and Insomniac was simply not able to use the cartoony graphics to create “the impact that we believed they needed to make combat feel satisfying.”
Of course, the decision was not made lightly, and the team underwent a lot of “soul searching” and “debate” to ultimately remove the game’s charm, but in the end, they feel they’ve made the right decision and will be using it to lay the foundations for a new IP.
“But there are some folks who loved the original campy direction. You can never please everybody. You have to do what you think is best for the game.”
Obviously not. In a world where Insomniac’s Resistance series was more popular than Ratchet & Clank, perhaps this excuse would fly; but, we live in the real world where Ratchet & Clank sells millions, gets HD ports, and shows the kind of wonderful cartoonish humor Insomniac is truly capable of. Instead, we’ll be getting another rough and tough game of soldiers who all wear featureless black body armor, fire generic looking assault rifles, and attempt to tell an original story of aliens invading Earth without the slightest traces of irony on their faces.
Regrettably, it’s a decision I can’t get behind. Overstrike‘s amazing aesthetic and characterization were pitch perfectly and had me hooked after only 2 minutes. It was exactly what I expected from Insomniac Games from their first multiplatform IP. They can talk for hours about 4-player combat, cover-base shooting, or dual-use weapons, I can get those in plenty of other games these days. They aren’t exactly groundbreaking ideas anymore. What I can’t find in a shooter is honest to god campy fun humor, and without it, Overstrike…or I guess Fuse has been stricken from my wishlist. Sorry guys
And just for a friendly reminder, here is that wonderful trailer one last time. Sadly, it will be irrelevant from here on out.
[via The Verge]