All Features


  PlayStation 3
  PlayStation 4
  Wii U
  Xbox 360
  Xbox One


Ted Price Talks Sunset Overdrive

Game: Sunset Overdrive
Company: Insomniac Games

We recently had the opportunity to ask Ted Price, CEO and founder of Insomniac Games, a few questions about their recent hit Sunset Overdrive. Here’s what he had to say:

GV: First off, happy 20th anniversary to you and the folks at Insomniac Games! Now on to your latest game. As utterly original as Sunset Overdrive is, it comes across like a pastiche (if not an outright celebration) of 1990's nerd culture. While there had to have been a number of influences that helped the game become what it is today, were there any influences (gaming or otherwise) that contributed more than others?

Ted Price: The fundamental premise behind Sunset Overdrive was founded on a simple question, "How would Iggy Pop survive the apocalypse?" We figured he'd last around three days, but what a spectacular three days it would be! During the early stages of pre-production, the team watched a myriad of films spanning three decades and created a punk rock-inspired music playlist to get the creative juices going. While it would take too long to list everything we digested, there were key moments from these films that helped shape our creative thinking. Charlton Heston cruising a desolate Los Angeles landscape in a giant Cadillac in Omega Man, for example. Or Will Smith hitting golf balls off the deck of an aircraft carrier in I am Legend. It's obvious we also paid a lot of attention to Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World when you see our fourth-wall breaking FX as enemies are destroyed in the game.

GV: You've mentioned in previous interviews that the basic design philosophy for Sunset Overdrive is "fun trumps realism." Were there any early challenges in selling this sentiment? After all, the game is a first wave exclusive for next-gen hardware!

Ted Price: The idea that "fun trumps realism" was actually liberating for all of us. After working on more grounded worlds such as Resistance or even Fuse, we relished the opportunity to design something as ridiculous as a giant inflatable balloon boss fight just because it seemed like an awesome thing to do. We actually used this mantra as a unifying principle in the game, so despite the bizarre respawn animations and other fourth wall-breaking antics, the universe itself remains cohesive and well-structured.

GV: The spread gun in Contra. The Lancer in Gears of War. The RYNO from the original Ratchet & Clank. Every game with guns seems to have a crowd-favorite. Do you anticipate Sunset Overdrive having one? (Personally I'm drifting between the TnTeddy and the Flaming Compensator.)

Ted Price: The best compliment we could get is if fans have a raucous debate about the best weapon in Sunset Overdrive. It's hard to argue against the TnTeddy because of its explosive blast radius. But when you use the shocker Amp on your High Fidelity, it can plow through hordes of OD in a flash. My personal favorite is currently the Turret Copter. Not only does it look very "Sunset" (it's a 45 caliber pistol suspended from a hovering RC copter), it's extremely effective against swarming OD.

GV: You've expressed interest in possible applications of Xbox One's cloud computing. Can you give us some insight as to what this means for the future of Sunset Overdrive? Ultimately, where would you like to see it go?

Ted Price: Cloud computing can mean a lot of different things depending on who's talking. But in general being able to offload game-related processes to large numbers of dedicated servers can be a big plus for developers. Right now we're using cloud computing in a more traditional way by running Chaos Squad on dedicated servers. Having instances of Sunset City live on dedicated servers allows 8 players to traverse the giant city together without overburdening the local hardware. However in the future it would be great to use cloud computing for physics, A.I. and other processor-intensive tasks. How much we use without affecting the game experience will depend on a lot of factors like latency, system design, cost, etc...

GV: Red Bull. Monster. Amp. 5 Hour Energy. OverCharge Delirium XT has its work cut out for it. What sets it above the rest of the pack? If I'm already addicted to UNTZ, why should I jump ship? Don't say "it turns people into mutants" -- because let's be real for a second: all energy drinks do that.

Ted Price: I'll channel my inner-Fizzie. (C'mon, we all have one, right?) First off, OverCharge Delirium XT doesn't turn people into mutants. That's a bold-faced (occasionally true) lie. No, OverCharge features an almost-impossible-to harvest special ingredient called Extremophiles that allows you to unleash a better YOU! A more primal you, sure, but I'd prefer to think of it more as being aggressive... even possessed with an adrenaline rush you simply haven't experienced before. I mean literally, too. Besides, Red Bull may give you wings, but OverCharge renders your clothing useless as your energy burns right through the fabric. Need I say more?

Thanks to Ted for taking the time to share this info with us and here’s to the next 20 years!

-FenixDown, GameVortex Communications
AKA Jon Carlos

Interviews Lucha Libre AAA: Heroes del Ring Developer Interview Interviews Sherry Jones Interview

Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated