As many of you already know, Moonlighting with Insomniac is focusing on diversity and women in the game development industry this year. That theme continues this month with our guest speaker, Emily Saliba from Girls Who Code.
Emily Saliba, Girls Who Code
Emily is recent graduate of Columbia College Chicago and was the first woman to receive a BS in Game Programming. She started working with New York based non-profit, Girls Who Code, to ensure the gender gap in tech closes. Girls Who Code runs a summer program for seven weeks, and hundreds of clubs, that teaches high school girls the fundamentals of computer science. Emily taught at the General Electric site in Chicago and is now the site lead for the Los Angeles Summer Immersion Programs. Emily is an aspiring technical artist and current student at Rigging Dojo and aims to inspire women to enter the video game industry.
If you’d like to learn more about Girls Who Code, please join our discussion by posting comments or questions below. You can also visit their website http://girlswhocode.com/.
The comments section is now open for this edition. We’ll be answering questions and joining you live on Wednesday, June 1st from 1:30 – 2:30 PM Pacific / 4:30 – 5:50 PM Eastern.
Please remember, we want to encourage open communication and informative discussions but we also need to be respectful around the subject. What subject are we being respectful of? Not sure that this is needed – but maybe I’m missing something.
Ryan Schneider is Insomniac’s Chief Brand Officer. He has been with the company since the PS2 Ratchet & Clank days.
I’ve seen many changes in games marketing and PR the last 12 years at Insomniac, perched atop my old-man porch here on the fifth floor in Burbank. We were there for the birth of AAA console community developers. We watched the near-extinction of enthusiast magazines along with the early rise of social media.
But perhaps the biggest shift we’ve experienced has been the emergence of YouTube and Twitch content creators. We’ve seen a gradual shift from press, to developers, and eventually players influencing other players on what to play through their own hosted channels.
Admittedly, Insomniac has been a little late to officially embrace this movement. It’s not because Insomniac hasn’t cared though. The truth is, we weren’t exactly sure how best to interact with content creators — even though we’ve been content creators ourselves for many years producing our own trailers, podcasts, dev diaries, screenshots, music videos and even community day events. We also were watching to see if YouTube and Twitch content creators would be interested in games besides League of Legends, Minecraft, Hearthstone, Call of Duty and Halo. Ratchet & Clank and Sunset Overdrive proved to us there’s room for games like ours to catch on with the streaming community.
That’s not to say we’ve been completely on the streaming sidelines all this time. We started experimenting with live streaming way back in the Fuse days almost four years ago, continued with Ratchet & Clank: Full Frontal Assault and even tried open development streaming with Slow Down, Bull. We learned how challenging and rewarding live streaming can be, and applied some of those lessons to our weekly in-game “Sunset TV” episodes within Sunset Overdrive starting a couple years ago. And PS4 Ratchet & Clank recently had its own Twitch stream series, hosted by Melonie Mac, to support the launch of the game and film.
Ratchet & Clank Livestream with Melonie Mac
While we knew the value of producing our own content, we still didn’t fully understand how to work with fellow YouTube and Twitch content creators. For starters, we weren’t sure if those relationships should be managed through our publishers. (Depends.) Did all content creators require payment to engage with us? (No!) We weren’t sure how to even refer to content creators. Streamers? Twitchers? YouTubers? Influencers? (Consensus from the folks we spoke with seems to be “content creators” so that’s what we’ll go with now.)
Then we stumbled upon a little secret… everyone, including games publishers, is still learning!
A few weeks ago, we hosted a media day event at our Burbank studio where several content creators joined us to experience our 2016 games lineup. We learned so much from our guests at that experience, along with a Ratchet & Clank streaming event hosted by PlayStation a few weeks prior at our studio.
After much discussion internally, we decided to focus more on building relationships with content creators directly. It’s one of the many reasons we love being an independent developer – we can have greater control in how and when we interact with the community at large. Perhaps more relevant, we are taking a closer look at how we make our future games more amenable to content creators wishing to stream our titles, along with players who simply want a fun spectating experience.
If you’re a content creator, how does all this affect you? First and foremost, we understand more how you prefer to be treated. We think we better understand your objectives, and your wide-ranging equipment needs when you visit us to capture content. Most of all, we know we must be flexible to help you produce the best content, treating each of you as unique producers – not merely relying on the same assets we provide more traditional games journalists.
Content creators at the Burbank studio in April.
How to Engage with Insomniac
Here’s the tl;dr part…the best way to work with us. While we’d love to be able to support every content creator, it’s just not realistic for us. We will correspond with as many creators as possible, as we try to respond to every inquiry we receive. But we have to be judicious with how we’re able to engage. Therefore, we’ve decided to focus on content creators with a minimum reach of around 10,000 on their combined social media and content channels. Videos should regularly generate more than 1,500 views per episode.
In addition, we will not pay content creators a fee to attend our events or to cover our games. Honestly, we don’t have a budget to do that. It’s also a matter of philosophy. We believe our games and access to the development team is valuable for content creators, and hope that value is apparent. If it’s not, we’re probably not a good fit to work together. And we want fans who watch streams that involve our titles to know that Insomniac is not paying their favorite content creators to praise our games. This feels like the most genuine approach.
Sunset TV Episode from June 2014
Finally, we’ll place a slightly greater emphasis on west-coast based content creators coast since it’s easier from a logistics standpoint if travel to our studios is involved. Full disclosure: At our recent media day events, travel costs were covered for several content creators who flew to our Burbank headquarters from various parts of the US and Canada. This is exactly how journalists are treated for press events.
If you are unsure about where you might stand, please use this brief form (below!) and we’ll get back to you promptly with some guidance. You should also refer to our content creator policy online for our stance on how to properly use or credit Insomniac-generated footage and audio.
Content creators are an important part of the games community and we now feel more equipped at Insomniac to build a meaningful relationship together. We’ll make mistakes along the way. But we’ll learn… and we’ll probably make new mistakes! Especially as we head into the new frontier of VR content creation (aka, help wanted!). We’ll work hard to continually improve though. Please come along for this crazy ride with us.
Ratchet & Clank opens nationwide in theatres on April 29th, but many theatres have special screenings on April 28th at 7pm.
Our local theatre in Burbank, the AMC Burbank 16 at the Burbank Town Center has both a 3D and 2D screening at 7pm. Some Insomniacs and special guests will be stopping by the theatre to say hi to fans at the 7pm screenings, so if you’re looking for a spot to see it in LA, look no further!
As you may or may not know, this year Moonlighting with Insomniac is focusing on diversity and women in the game development industry. That theme continues this month with our guest speaker, Insomniac’s very own Animator, Lindsay Thompson.
Lindsay Thompson, Animator
Lindsay attended Otis College of Art and Design with the initial intention of joining the Fashion Design Program, but in a snap decision changed her major to Digital Media at the last minute. There she discovered an unknown interest and talent for character animation. Upon graduating with a BA, she was hired at Rhythm and Hues in Los Angeles to work on Alvin and the Chipmunks and The Incredible Hulk. For the next 6-7 years she traveled the world, working on films at Weta Digital in New Zealand, Animal Logic in Australia, ILM, Disney, and Sony. Lindsay has played video games casually her whole life, but remembered playing Ratchet and Clank: Tools of Destruction and noting how appealing and polished the animation was and always tucked Insomniac away in her brain as a place she’d like to work someday. When she saw the opportunity to apply, she jumped on it! She’s coming up on three years at Insomniac and feels so fortunate to be a part of the newly released Ratchet and Clank for PS4!
Please join Angela and I, along with our guest Lindsay, on Wednesday, May, 4th at 1:30 PM PT / 4:30 PM ET.
The comments section is open now for your questions so feel free to post away and we’ll answer you when we log in on 5/4/16. Please remember, we want to encourage open communication and informative discussions but we also need to be respectful around the subject. What subject are we being respectful of? Not sure that this is needed – but maybe I’m missing something.
Launching one game in a year can be a complex, exciting, and occasionally nerve-wracking endeavor. Developing five games simultaneously for 2016 launches on console, PC and VR might sound as crazy as it sometimes feels, but that’s just what we’re doing here at Insomniac. And we’re loving it.
To share (almost) everything we have going on inside the studio, we decided to host our first-ever Insomniac Games media event, spanning two days late last week for journalists and YouTube/Twitch streamers. This is one of the reasons why we love being an independent developer – not only can we make the kind of games we love playing, but we can share them with you in our own special way.
Of course, that meant our publishing partners had to agree to support each other, which is not always that common. Oculus, GameStop and PlayStation could not have been more gracious though. That spirit of collaboration is one of the many things we appreciate about each partner.
Now, onto the games! First, we revealed two new VR franchises, both for Oculus Rift. Here’s a bit more info, but be sure to check out their respective game pages on our website:
Feral Rites: Avenge the death of your father by fighting your way through missions and quests in this VR adventure-brawler. Set on a mystical island, explore unique areas of the island from jungles to temples, while mastering new abilities including the power to transform into a feral beast. Below is the reveal trailer, and our first screenshots from the game, which will appear on the Oculus Store in Fall 2016. Feral Rites will be playable at E3 this year.
The Unspoken: An Oculus Touch‐enabled VR action game that pulls players into a hidden world of spellcasting and magician’s duels. Manipulate the environment around you with the powerful arcane forces that flow through your fingertips, summon ghastly monstrosities with your bare hands, and rise up through the ranks of an urban magic fight club in supernatural PVP combat. Check out the reveal trailer below, and our first screenshots from the game, which will release in November 2016. Attending media got to go hands-on with The Unspoken, so look for their impressions online. The Unspoken will also be playable at E3.
Of course, we’re in the thick of development for our original VR franchise, Edge of Nowhere. We allowed direct feed capture of gameplay we originally showed at GDC, while some folks got to play the first several minutes of the game. Look for those videos online, and check our social media feed for links to footage from other outlets. You can check out some recent screenshots below.
As part of our VR-related announcements, we shared that Edge of Nowhere will be available in the Oculus Store on Monday, June 6. Price details to come soon.
While VR is an important focus at Insomniac, we’re very proud of our unique partnership with GameStop and Song of the Deep. The game is about how far a young girl will go to find her missing father in the depths of a vast ocean. Song of the Deep is a Metroidvania-style 2D adventure game. We announced at our media event that it will land exclusively on GameStop shelves Tuesday, July 12, along with Xbox Live, PlayStation Store and Steam.
We allowed direct feed capture from a GDC build of the game, so be on the lookout for those videos. In addition, we revealed a new Song of the Deep story trailer, which you can watch here:
We’re encouraged by all the positive feedback on the game’s art style, story and soundtrack. Furthermore, a novelization that Chief Creative Officer Brian Hastings has written will appear in Barnes & Noble stores soon.
Last but certainly not least, we gave everyone a chance to play and stream Ratchet & Clank, which launched earlier in the week exclusively on PS4. We’ve been thrilled with the response so far, from both reviewers and fans. It’s heartening to see how much love exists for our favorite intergalactic heroes. We’re equally excited about an entirely new generation of fans who will be introduced to the franchise when the film launches in theaters beginning on April 29. YOU have the power to make the film No. 1 on opening weekend, so we hope you fill those theaters!
So that’s a look at what we’re up to inside the ball of energy that is Insomniac. We’re looking forward to hearing what you think about everything you’ve seen here. Feel free to share a comment below, or follow us on our social media channels and interact with us there. As always, we appreciate your ongoing support and passion not just for our games, but for this amazing craft in general.
We are truly humbled and honored by the outpouring of love and support we have received from Ratchet & Clank for PlayStation 4 this week. We are excited for our friends in Europe to start jumping in the game next week (April 20th in EU, April 22nd in UK)! But as we have said, this is just the beginning. On April 29th, the first ever Ratchet & Clank movie will hit theaters! This is an amazing moment for us, to see our beloved duo hitting the big screen, and we wanted to share it with you!
On April 28th at 7:00pm Eastern time, we will be at Silverspot Cinema in Chapel Hill, NC (near our Durham Studio) for an early screening of Ratchet & Clank (2D). We will be there early showing off the game and talking to fans, as well as, sticking around after the movie for Q&A, autograph signings, and maybe even a few giveaways.
If you would like to join us, you can purchase tickets to the show here (seating is limited by the theater capacity): Buy Tickets
We hope to see you there! If you can’t make it, we hope you can at least experience the movie at your local theater of choice.
We are excited to announce the Official Ratchet & Clank Collection from iam8bit. All items will go on sale Thursday, April 7 at 10AM PDT through the iam8bit Store. Screen prints are limited to 350 so act now if you want one of those!
Limited Edition 6-Color Screenprint
Original art by Mark Englert Limited to only 350 copies 36 x 12 inches $50
With Ratchet & Clank hitting the PlayStation 4 next month all across the globe, we wanted to give everyone some more information about pre-ordering. As we have announced, the Bouncer weapon is only available via pre-order at participating retailers. Once you get the pre-order bonus, you will download and unlock it in the game. The Bouncer will then be available at the first vendor after the intro portion of the game (for 100 bolts!).
Here is a list of all the current places you can pre-order and receive the Bouncer*.
North America (April 12th) PlayStation Store**, Amazon, Target, Best Buy, GameStop, Wal-Mart
France (April 15th) PlayStation Store, Micromania, Fnac, Auchan, Cdiscount, Amazon
Italy (April 20th) PlayStation Store Exclusive
Germany (April 20th) PlayStation Store, Amazon, MM / Saturn, Redcoon, Digitec, Libro, Gamestop, Playcom, Flashpoint, Vitrex, WOG
Spain (April 20th) PlayStation Store, GAME
Australia (April 20th) PlayStation Store, EB Games
New Zealand (April 20th) PlayStation Store, Mighty Ape, EB Games, JB HiFi
Netherlands (April 20th) PlayStation Store, Nedgame, Bol.com, Wehkamp, Coolblue, VSN, Bart Smit, Intertoys, Media Merkt, Micromedia, Redcoon
Belgium (April 20th) PlayStation Store, Game Mania, BEM’s, CLD
Austria (April 20th) PlayStation Store, GameStop, Media Markt, Saturn
Switzerland (April 20th) PlayStation Store, Amazon, GameStop, Media Markt, World of Games
Ireland (April 22nd) PlayStation Store, Smyths
UK (April 22nd) PlayStation Store, GAME, Amazon, ShopTo, Zavvi, Grainger Games, Tesco
*Dates are subject to change and additional retailers may have the ability to offer it. Always check with your local retailer.
**NA PS Store pre-orders also get a Ratchet & Clank PS4 theme (note, there will be a new theme replacing the current pre-order theme, which is similar to the one we’re giving away for free)
As you know from last month’s Moonlighting with Insomniac, this year we’re focusing on diversity and women in the game development industry. That theme continues this month with our guest speaker, Insomniac’s very own Gameplay Programmer, Brandi Wilcox.
Brandi Wilcox, Gameplay Programmer
Brandi graduated from Smith College with a BA in Physics and received a MFA from USC Interactive Media Division (now the Interactive Media and Games Division). While attending USC, Brandi was a design scripter intern for Ratchet and Clank: A Crack in Time at the Burbank studio. She later joined Insomniac’s team permanently as a scripter at the North Carolina studio. A few years later Brandi transitioned into being a gameplay programmer and that is the role she currently holds here at Insomniac. Just a few months ago, Brandi celebrated her fifth year anniversary here at Insomniac Games… she’s had quite a journey!
On another note, this month’s Moonlighting will be pushed back a week. Angela and I are attending the Great Places to Work Conference the first week of April, so we’ll be unable to host Moonlighting at our regular time. Please join Angela and I, along with our guest Brandi, on Wednesday, April, 13th at 1:30 PM PT / 4:30 PM ET.
The comments section is open now for your questions so feel free to post away and we’ll answer you when we log in on 4/13/16. Please remember, we want to encourage open communication and informative discussions but we also need to be respectful around the subject. What subject are we being respectful of? Not sure that this is needed – but maybe I’m missing something.