Sunset Overdrive Q&A with Insomniac CEO Ted Price

Announced today during the Microsoft E3 2013 media briefing, “Sunset Overdrive” is an always changing, open-world shooter set in the not-so-distant future. A catastrophic event has left your city overrun by mutants. While the majority perish or transform, you flourish. It turns out your calling isn’t picking up trash or serving food, it’s mutant destruction.  With an arsenal of kick-ass, overpowered weapons and a knack for traversing the city with hyper agility, it’s not the end of days for you.

Ted Price, CEO and President of Insomniac Games, sat down with Xbox Wire to talk what it has been like developing “Sunset Overdrive” only on Xbox One, the benefits of working with the cloud and much more.

What has it been like working exclusively on an Xbox platform for the first time?

Ted Price: Microsoft has been fully engaged as a partner on “Sunset Overdrive.” They definitely share our vision for where we’re taking this world. In particular it’s been fantastic to have a partner who enthusiastically supports a super stylized aesthetic, humor and rockinf–kingroll attitude.

You said that “Sunset Overdrive” is a living world, facilitated by the cloud. Can you tell us more about that?

Imagine a game where the experience can constantly change, and is influenced by its community of players. With “Sunset Overdrive” we aspire to redefine “agility” as we listen to feedback players give us while playing the game and then respond with meaningful content – fast. In particular our goal is to maintain an ongoing 2-way dialogue with our community.

Don’t like something? Tell us. Got an idea for something cool in the game? Speak up! We’re building systems to support rapid content updates.  I’m talking about pop culturally relevant content like memes and social commentary, new weapons, new characters, and more. And because “Sunset Overdrive” is a stylized, satirical game we’re not limited by some strict idea of what’s “appropriate”.

What new technologies are you most excited about with Xbox One? What do you think the next generation of gaming will look like?

I don’t think it’s a surprise that we, along with other developers on Xbox One, will take advantage of its graphics hardware. We’re building an open world with a unique aesthetic. That takes horsepower. But a key element of the game itself is the idea of regular and rapid change.

During the last generation of consoles, getting feedback from players and updating content rapidly was almost unheard of. There were far too many technical hoops to jump through to make it practical or even doable for just about everyone. However Xbox One is now making that dream practical for a number of reasons – both technically and philosophically.

“Sunsest Overdrive” has a very unique art style, what was the inspiration for the visuals?

We’re focusing on fun and style over realism. The visuals represent what Insomniac does best – over-the-top, exaggerated, colorful style. And that style is driven by the game’s story theme of freedom and self-expression. This is us truly enjoying the chance to shoot expectations in the head, to be different, to deliver on the brash and irreverent tone that’s on display in our reveal trailer.

Anything else you’d like to add?

We love building new worlds. “Sunset Overdrive” in particular has been a blast in that with this universe, anything goes.