Insomniac's Xbox One exclusive game Sunset Overdrive made a big debut in this month's issue of Edge magazine, with a ton of new features detailed and discussed.
"Sunset Overdrive recalls the blue skies and punk rock of Crazy Taxi, the speed and style of Jet Set Radio, the grindable city of Tony Hawk's Project 8 and the firepower of any Insomniac shooter," say Edge, who later add: "[It] feels like a Dreamcast game dragged 14 years into the future."
Reading their bumper ten page preview, here are some new details revealed.
Sunset Overdrives story concerns Sunset City being overrun with zombie-like "OD'd" who, according to Creative Director Marcus Smith are "a disaster brought about by corporate greed". When they take over the city, corporation Fizzco shuts its doors and barricades the city claiming a viral outbreak, trapping everyone and every OD'd inside.
You play as a created character who is working a janitorial job when the OD'd start running wild. As Edge say in their feature: "Sunset Overdrive's philosophy is that, for the right person, the apocalypse could be a thrilling escape from everyday life."
Game director Drew Murray adds: "One man's apocalypse is another man's awesomepocalypse!"
With no job and no responsibilities, the main character throws themselves in the situation unfolding in what is called "a video game set in a video game land" and which operates under "video game logic".
There are also factions - some good, some bad - human enemies called Scabs and more powerful OD'd that have absorbed machinery to use as weapons.
"Sunset Overdrive's open world is a series of islands with a full day-night cycle and a Crackdown-like degree of verticality," say Edge.
"It's an open world superhuman adventure in the mould of Prototype and Infamous. But your power is traversal – every wall can be run on, every ledge mantled; every car and awning is a springboard, every rail and wire can be grinded indefinitely while firing on the armies of OD'd zombies."
Travelling gets trickier the higher up you are. "You can move through the world at ground level using basic grinds and basic bounces, but you start climbing higher and seeing more areas, more routes, faster shortcuts. We wanted the growth [and the challenge] to be the world itself," says Level Design lead Cameron Christian.
Gameplay and Weapons
Sunset Overdrive is a third person action shooter, mixing elements of the shooter with free-running style movement. Players will have a Style Meter which rewards flamboyant travel and kills. A kill while grinding is worth more for example, and your style meter falls if you're not doing anything.
"We wanted to take the shooter genre away from cowering behind cover," says Murray.
As for the weaponry, Insomniac hopes to recreate the kind of arsenal worthy of their PlayStation platformer series Ratchet and Clank. "The biggest thing we're trying to do is get back to some of the things we had with Ratchet and Clank," says lead gameplay programmer Doug Shehan. "The big thing is giving players the ability to build different strategies out of their eight chosen weapons."
Edge list a few of the weapons they saw in the demo, ranging from the normal – an AK assault rifle and hover turrets – and the far less normal - Roman candle firework launcher, teddy bear grenade launcher made from a fire extinguisher and a flame-throwing shotgun among them.
Amps are the superpowers which can be created within the game with built up "Overcharge". Each character has three slots and one for their gun for interchangeable Amps that range from turning your character's roll into a fire ball to ice and thermonuclear ammunition.
The character creator tool has both genders and allows players to clothe their character from their underwear out. Insomniac hired its first fashion designer, Carin Cronacher, to help with the game's wardrobe.
Sunset Overdrive's Design
The work of UK design firm I Love Dust informs the game's style. The firm has also helped with user interface elements, concept art and in-game graphic design. "We wanted the graphic design stuff to look... not grungy, but more 'I don't give a s**t'," says Art Director Grant Hollis.
Sunset TV is Insomniac's own TV station which runs on in-game screens and billboards. It will discuss the game's current and future state and allow players to vote on how the game changes and evolves. "Better than just posting on a forum," it says. Further details will be revealed in due course.
Sunset Overdrive will be released later this year. More details can be found in Edge magazine's feature and will be revealed at Microsoft's E3 press conference on 9 June.