Tag Archives: Before Sunset

As we continue towards this Fall, we wanted to spotlight various members of the Sunset Overdrive team with some questions you hopefully haven’t seen answered elsewhere. Get to know the Sunset Overdrive team. This week we talk to Director of Project Management Bryan Intihar.

brianiHow did you end up at Insomniac?

Ryan Schneider (our Director of Marketing and Brand Development), that’s how. During my days at Electronic Gaming Monthly (EGM) I worked very closely with Ryan whenever it came to writing about Insomniac titles. Ryan—along with Ted—always went above and beyond whenever I had a request and I really enjoyed visiting the studio.

When I got the itch to move into game development, Ryan was the first person I called and was fortunate that he had a position open on the community team. After about a year I moved into production with Ryan’s blessing (if you can’t tell already, he’s one awesome guy).

I know it might sound cliché, but I truly do have the greatest job. That doesn’t mean things don’t get tough/stressful at times, but it’s still amazing to see on a daily basis how these games come together.

How did being in games media help you in your position now?

Well, let’s start with how it didn’t help—I COMPLETELY underestimated just what goes into making these things. I’ve written a lot of articles and been on numerous gaming podcasts, and when I think about at some of my comments/criticisms I’m like “wow—you really had no idea how difficult it can be to do what you’re asking.”

However, I feel like being part of the games media did allow me to give the dev team some insights  on how people might react to , say, a new game feature or initial impressions of a demo build through the eyes of a journalist.

Sunset Overdrive Character Grouping by Julien Renoult

Sunset Overdrive Character Grouping by Julien Renoult

What’s the biggest challenge when guiding roughly 200 people making a game?

Communication, communication, and—oh yeah—communication. Sunset is easily the biggest game we’ve ever made at Insomniac, which has led to us staffing up appropriately. But when you have team size this big, it’s a constant challenge to keep everyone in the loop. Luckily, I have an amazing production team that keeps the flow of information going throughout the studio.

Any “ah-ha” moments on Sunset Overdrive?

I would say the first time we got actually shooting-while-traversing working in the game. Early on Steve Ryder—one of our animators—did some pre-vis work about what it could feel like running through the city like in those parkour videos yet blasting away OD with such unbelievable style. The day I grabbed the controller and said “it’s just like Steve’s video,” I knew the team was on to something pretty special.

How many different departments go into making a videogame?

Lots! You have the ones that you might expect: Design, Programming, Animation, Audio, etc. However, there’s also several that I like to call “unsung heroes” that go into making this game (and studio)—tick, such as our QA staff, community team (who are rocking it these days with our weekly Sunset TV episodes), and yes—even HR. Our HR group is always doing something special for the studio to keep things fun even at the most difficult times at the project.

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How is Insomniac managing Sunset Overdrive differently than other projects?

The sheer size of this game has forced us to improve our tracking methods. There are so many features/assets/etc. that you really need to be buttoned up as a production team so things don’t fall through the cracks. We’ve made some tremendous headway in this area on Sunset, but it will continue to be a point of emphasis on future projects, as well.

What are your three most vital tools that you couldn’t do your job without?

  1. My legs: People always laugh at me I’m usually seen speed-walking around the office trying to track someone down. I’m not a fan of communicating via e-mail or IM; it’s all about the face-to-face.
  2. My team: The production team (Heather, Kevin, Peter, Scott) along with my QA leads (Doug, Joe, and Ricky) make it possible for me to do my job. I ask so much of them on a daily basis and even when I put new stuff on their plate they always find a way to deliver.
  3. My Insom family: Insomniac is more than just a job for me. I’ve always described this place as a second family and I’d do anything to help it succeed. For as much time we spend here making these games, you better really like and respect the people you work with—and that’s exactly the case here at Insomniac. It’s an amazing place to be.

I hear you’re a Browns fan. How’s that going?

Such a loaded question! No matter what, I will always bleed orange and brown. #Believeland

What faction do you honestly think you would be a part of in Sunset City?

Hmm, great question. If it were up to me, I’d be a rebel and try to be part of TWO factions at once—Troop Bushido and the Fargarths. And thanks to our customization system, in Sunset I can sure look the part!!!

The Sunset Overdrive team dresses up to storm the green carpet at the Xbox E3 Media Briefing in 2014

The Sunset Overdrive team dresses up to storm the green carpet at the Xbox E3 Media Briefing in 2014

Check out all of our Before Sunset interviews here.

As we continue towards this Fall, we wanted to spotlight various members of the Sunset Overdrive team with some questions you hopefully haven’t seen answered elsewhere. Get to know the Sunset Overdrive team. This week we talk to Lead Character Artist Gavin Goulden.

gavingHow has your past work experience influenced your work on Sunset Overdrive?

I’ve been given a lot of great opportunities in my career and try to apply lessons that I have learned from those past experiences to my current situation.  In the past, I was the Lead Character Artist on Bioshock Infinite, this role prepared me for better team management, finishing a giant project as a lead, creating modular character systems, really learning about smarter design choices, and let me play a bigger role in the art direction of enemy characters, fashion sense, and overall consistency throughout the game.  Before that, I played a big part in the character customization system for Dead Rising 2, which obviously I am still carrying with me today.  I am a huge character customization nerd, it’s a thing I’ve always been interested in from a professional standpoint and as a gamer, I like dressing up my in game character as much as I like building the system for how to do it.  I think that job really taught me a lot in how to build a working clothing system, and  the expectations of variety in such an open world game.  Plus, in general, my personal artistic “flavor” matches pretty closely to what the creative and art directors like, and wanted to push for in Sunset Overdrive, which makes it a dream project in many ways for me.

How would you describe the character’s style in Sunset Overdrive?

It’s the end of the world, and you can do whatever you want.  The laws don’t apply to you anymore, the rules you had to follow are gone, and you can be who you want to be.  You really have a new lease on life and have gone from a nobody in a dead end job to the protagonist of a video game.  This gives us a lot of room to play with, and justify, fashion sense.  We’ve grabbed a bunch of different references (anime, Tank Girl, Gorillaz, Iggy Pop, etc.) and have tried to tailor outfits that would loosely fit these archetypes that were once popular, and allow the players to mix and match.  We also have many different costume elements that are just plain fun to have, wouldn’t make sense to be wearing walking down the streets of LA (well…it depends where you go, I guess) that mix well with the palette of normal fashion options.  So, you can easily have a track jacket, fur vest, pair of jeans, cowboy boots, and a WW2 pilots helmet – they all mix and play well together.

How many different customization combination option do you gather are in Sunset Overdrive?

Well, I could look at my Excel sheet, do some quick math, and give you an exact answer – but – I’m just going to say the amount of possible combinations is easily in the thousands or more.  We wanted to take the element of choice in a  different direction with Sunset Overdrive.  Rather than just slapping color changes onto an asset, we wanted to feel like you were opening your closet and picking out your favorite shirt.  Each option is hand crafter and given purpose, and are specific.  Though, that being said, there are many, MANY different pieces to pick and choose from to take you anywhere on the scale from boring business man to a super hero from space.

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About how long does it take you to make a character from scratch?

Starting from scratch, most character artists are looking at about 2 – 3 weeks of work, give or take some time depending on how difficult the character is.  This breaks down to about a few days of creating a base mesh, a week of sculpting, a few days of creating a low poly model and unwrapping, then creating textures.  Once the model is finished, we hand it over to our rigging team and get the character moving in game.  If there are any obvious issues we missed during it’s creation, the model gets kicked back and we do any necessary fixes.  Generally, we are in constant communication with the department before and after us, though, to minimize bouncing models back and forth.  Luckily, after a while you have a system in place where you can grab different elements of a model and reuse it in your new character.  So, for example, there’s no point in recreating cargo shorts if you already have cargo pants.  Not only does this save a ton of time during production, but it also helps keep our look and style consistent throughout the game, since many things will come from the same root.

What is your philosophy before creating a new vanity item?

Obviously, the first question we need to ask is “Will It Work”?  New pieces need to fit in the system that we have set up before we can really dive into it.  But that doesn’t sound fun.  We need to always be player facing and questioning if this new piece of vanity will add to the experience of players, and that the new article of clothing will add to the enjoyment of the game.  Rather than trying to create every possible type of shirt, we want to hit with heavier punches, and leave each item feeling totally different than the last.  Looking at the vanity items we have as a whole, we need to ask “Would this be fun to wear?”

Can it be difficult to generate new ideas? How do you get over that?

Thankfully, I have a whole team of people that have great ideas.  Jacinda (Chew, Art Director) is the driving force for our high level style, we have a team of concept artists that bring a lot of different outfit styles to the modelers, and my direct team are all very creative and can generate ideas for items that we need.  Mostly, that takes care of a lot of the pressure, and it’s not hard to ask those around you “How can I make this better?”  Left alone, though, I would always go back to our references – the main pieces that inspired our game.  There are so many possible things to gather influence from, comic books, movies, runway fashion, music videos, etc.  I am also becoming a bit a fashion nerd, not that I’m fashionable by any means, but I find myself looking at people on the street and seeing what they decided to wear that morning, how different materials give a desired effect, what works and what doesn’t, what is common and what isn’t, etc.  When it comes to thinking of a new idea for clothing, we are literally surrounded by inspiration.

What is your favorite vanity item in the game? Would you ever wear it in public?

There are so many to choose from and, as the team lead, I see everything come through and get to play with different combinations on a daily basis.  I want to break the rules and give you a top 3.  The first one, of course, is the Luchador assets we have.  Given the right combination you can become a high flying, suplex machine, running through Sunset City.  Second is our Fizzie loadout (available to players in the Day One Edition of Sunset Overdrive) where you get to dress as Fizzie stage performer from Horror Night, you get an awesome garage jacket, Fizzie themed pants and a glorious Fizzie helmet.  Finally, we have a “Wasteland” themed jacket that has you fully decked out for anything that comes your way – this piece is a big technical achievement for us as it involves so many parts giving secondary motion to the character – chains, straps, sleeping bags, backpacks, it’s basically the kitchen sink asset.

You can reskin any game with Sunset Overdrive art. What game is it?

My knee jerk reaction to any question like this is to just say Doom or Xcom because they’re my favorite games of all time.  But, I can’t imagine Doom in a brightly colored world, where you slay demons while wearing a kangaroo head cod piece.  I really like all types of games, but it’s tough because Sunset Overdrive is a very unique creature – not many things look like it, and the tone that we set, the attitude that we have, hasn’t really been done before.  Thinking about it, I would say Fable.  I’ve always really liked the game, and I think it would work well in a world like our own. Rather than chasing chickens through Albion, you would be chasing them through Sunset City.

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Check out all of our Before Sunset interviews here.

As we continue towards this Fall, we wanted to spotlight various members of the Sunset Overdrive team with some questions you hopefully haven’t seen answered elsewhere. Get to know the Sunset Overdrive team. This week we talk to Art Director Jacinda Chew.

jacindacHow did you come to be an Art Director at Insomniac Games?

I started here as an environment modeler back in 2003 and worked my way to art director.

What were the major influences for the art style of Sunset Overdrive?

I looked at a ton of reference when we were researching the game. I looked at Havana and Shinjuku when we were building the environment. I looked at Phil Hale, Jamie Hewlett, and Jean Paul Gaultier when we were designing the characters and fashion. The Scott Pilgrim movie is a huge influence for our FX. There is an irreverence or attitude that I liked about each of these artists and architectural styles.

How long did it take to find the “style?”

I think it took almost two years to get some solid target renders. If you’re wondering why it took so long, it’s because it was a game that started as a huge pile of disparate ideas that I spent two years distilling into an art style. One of our biggest challenges was figuring out the building style. Since the buildings are closely tied to the game traversal, we had to work hand-in-hand with Design to make buildings that were traversal-friendly so it was an organic process. We probably rebuilt the original prototype city eleven times as we re-adjusted our metrics and building designs to meet the needs of gameplay. The character style went through some iteration as well. I wanted to design characters who were believable as underdogs, but also aspirational and capable of performing our parkour moves. There is remarkably little concept art for this game because so many things were dependent on the modelers working collaboratively with design and creative.

Why all the color?

Sunset Overdrive is all about fun in the end times and I wanted to reflect that in the art style. I was inspired by some colorful buildings in Havana and I loved how the peeling paint and plaster would often reveal other colors underneath. This eventually made it into our game as brushstrokes that are splashed onto the asphalt, buildings, and even clothes. Not only did I want the world to be a happy place full of vibrant color, but a place where you didn’t have to follow any rules. This is why we didn’t bother to paint within the lines. It’s controlled chaos.

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If an animation studio made a movie out of Sunset Overdrive – who would you want it to be and why?

Actually, I’d want Edgar Wright to direct the Sunset movie because the irreverence and humor in his movies would fit really well with our game.

Do you have a guide when it comes to what vanity to put in the game for character customization?

I find a lot of vanity systems to be rather limiting because there are a lot of options, but most games don’t really spend a lot of time considering the design of each individual piece. I want you to be able to be who you want to be, but I also want you to look cool.  I’m really interested in fashion and wanted to design clothes that people would actually want to wear in real life.  I tried to pick a wide range of garments that would appeal to as wide an audience as possible. The Insomniacs were the ultimate guinea pigs because we would drop new vanity items on a weekly basis and see what people would gravitate towards. It was really gratifying to see even the most conservative players creating outlandish costumes. Sure, you have the option to wear blue jeans and a t-shirt, but why would you want to?

You can be one of the character we showed off in the E3 Chas Squad demo. Who do you choose?

I’d be Bunny Girl all the way.

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Check out all of our Before Sunset interviews here.

As we continue towards this Fall, we wanted to spotlight various members of the Sunset Overdrive team with some questions you hopefully haven’t seen answered elsewhere. Get to know the Sunset Overdrive team. This week we talk to Game Director Drew Murray.

drewm

 

There is a rumor that you were standing on top of a chair when pitching Sunset Overdrive to Microsoft, can you confirm or deny?

Confirmed. I was telling the story of what we thought would be a typical experience in the game, and as I reached the culmination of the story, I was building up the performance, talking louder and gesticulating more. At the end, I jumped up on my chair, switched to yelling, and acted out the last 45 seconds or so. I’d actually been practicing jumping up on a conference table, but the table at Microsoft seemed a bit flimsy so I decided to go with the chair, not really considering the fact that jumping up on a swivel chair maybe wasn’t the best idea. Thankfully, Noah Mussler at Microsoft snatched his arm out and held the chair for the rest of my performance so I wouldn’t flip over.

Describe your ideally dressed Sunset Overdrive character?

As part of our pitch, I described what I pictured me and Marcus looking like in-game. My character was wearing nothing but a Speedo, a kangaroo codpiece, and sneakers. Add a black-eye or a bloody nose, and I’m good to go!

What were some of your first design rules for Sunset Overdrive?

After seven years of Resistance, “no rubble, no grey” was our first rule!

Our best rule, though, was “Less talk, more rock!” (which we totally ripped off from a Superbrothers article based around a Jordan Mechner quote). The core idea is that most developers spend a ton of time talking and talking and talking about how to translate their basic, essential inspiration into a game, and then start working on it, but the best way is to go directly from inspiration to making, or “rocking.” As the article said, “Don’t think it through. Don’t talk about it. Don’t plan it. Dive in and start making it happen.” As soon as something is playable, you find consensus much quicker, even if it’s to go a completely different route, and you also get people focused on improving a feature instead of arguing against it as a theoretical concept.

All game designers should read this: http://boingboing.net/features/morerock.html

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Sunset Overdrive inspiration concepts

What’s the hallmark of a well-designed game for you?

I think it’s how well a game reflects its inspiration and intent. “Fantasy-based melee game” could be used to describe both God of War and Dark Souls, but those games have completely different inspirations and intents. One is to make you feel like a total badass the moment you pick up the controller, the other is to oppress you and make you work for every inch of ground you gain. And they’re both fantastically successful at evoking the feeling that they intended.

You’re a stickler for terrific controls, can you talk about the process? How do you know you nailed it?

The process really just comes down to tons of iteration. We do a rough pass to get the overall experience feeling vaguely correct, and then drill into the details. We’ll look at a particular thing like camera turn speed and really drill into top speed, acceleration and deceleration, how the stick-input-angle relates to different speeds, how the turn speed is affected by zooming, and tons of other details. Details like whether acceleration to top speed is going to take 5 frames or 6 frames are huge decisions, and there are heated debates about them.

Then we start playing the game and looking for cases where the controls don’t feel right, and we decide whether to adjust the core controls or set up special-case adjustments.

Along the way, we’re doing constant usability tests – first internally and then bringing in outsiders who have never seen the game – and seeing how players handle the controls. We get a lot of feedback from players telling us what they like and don’t like, but we’re also watching them play and will pick up on a lot of details that players may not consciously realize but that they’re having problems with. We take all we’ve learned, adjust what we need to, and run more people through it.

It’s a balance, though – your intent for the game has to stand firm. A game like Dark Souls could be considered non-responsive by a lot of players in a usability test, but those delays and slow, heavy animations and losing control after a big hit from an enemy are what make that game great at realizing its intent and inspiration. For Sunset Overdrive’s high-action, immediate responsiveness is what we aimed for, and so making sure that the controls are fast and tight was our goal.

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The One-Handed Dragon from the E3 2014 trailer. Drew’s favorite Sunset Overdrive weapon.

What’s your favorite video game of all time?

Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal. I already loved Ratchet – the colors, the weapons, the combat, the tight controls, the humor, the minigames, the variety of mechanics, the different planets – and Up Your Arsenal took everything that was already great about the franchise and made it so much better. It cemented my desire to come to Insomniac to figure out how they made such great games. We’ve described Sunset Overdrive as “the game for adults who grew up loving Spyro and Ratchet,” because that’s who we are.

If your city was overrun by mutants who had drank Overcharge, how would you survive?

I’d steal an ice cream truck, cover it with pinwheels and roman candles, and blast T. Rex from the truck’s speakers while cruising around the city in order to gather a group of like-minded survivors. Then we’d drive to the Santa Monica Pier while eating ice cream novelties and create a post-apocalyptic pagan nudist colony in the amusement park there, surviving on funnel cakes and beer while we watched the sun set into the Pacific from the top of the Ferris Wheel.

Your Sunset Overdrive Weapon of Choice?

The One-Handed Dragon. I love the whistle-sounds of the fireworks, I love the risk-reward of the delayed-explosion, I love the dragon fireworks effects, and I love the gun model itself. I also spent a lot of time defending its early implementation, so I think the One-Handed Dragon and I bonded over other people’s mutual disdain for us.

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Drew and Conan O’Brien at E3.

What was it like demoing to Conan O’Brien?

It was fun. I knew in the back of my mind that I might look like an idiot on national TV, but I’m the guy who was jumping around on tables and chairs when presenting the game and asking concept artists to tweak the ears of the in-game kangaroo codpiece for the fifth time so it would look just right; it’s not like I have a lot of shame. I know how lucky we are to have people interested in the game, so I’m just trying to enjoy all the cool and unique experiences that are coming up, and this definitely fit the bill. Conan and his crew were very cool and, despite the appearance on TV, they all seemed to really dig Sunset Overdrive. As a bonus, my mom now thinks I’m famous.

Check out all of our Before Sunset interviews here.

As we continue towards this Fall, we wanted to spotlight various members of the Sunset Overdrive team with some questions you hopefully haven’t seen answered elsewhere. Get to know the Sunset Overdrive team. To kick us off, we talk to the man himself, Creative Director Marcus Smith.

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How did Sunset Overdrive come to be?
Well, sonny… pull up a rocking chair and let me spin a yarn from a bygone era… Drew Murray and I were finishing up Resistance 3 (I was the Creative Director and Drew was Lead Designer). We’d immersed ourselves in “end-times” themed entertainment both as part of R3’s thematic crux and because, frankly, we were thinking a lot about the apocalypse. It was all the rage, reading Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road”, Robert Kirkman’s “Walking Dead” comics, watching all the different film versions of Richard Matheson “I Am Legend”, etc.

And maybe it was because both Drew and I were about to become first-time parents pretty close to one another, but you might say we got kind of obsessed with post-apocalypse scenarios. (Drew more than me. He was a full-on prepper. Moderation isn’t even in his vocabulary). But after our daughters were born and the world didn’t end, we started to get pretty worn-out on the whole, “dark, depressing, monochromatic, just scrapping by” genre. Still, there was still *something* that attracted us to the idea of an end-times scenario. Seeing the character Jim walk around the empty streets of London at the beginning of “28 Days Later”, or seeing Charleton Heston cruise around the streets of Los Angeles in the whale of a convertible, even Will Smith hitting golf balls of an aircraft carrier in “I Am Legend”, there was something clicked about how you could have fun in the end-times.

We started looking at it less as “the end” and more like a new beginning. One where the laws and societal rules no longer control our behavior. The idea that we wouldn’t have to devolve into “Lord of the Flies” when society breaks down, but perhaps we could re-build based on more creative philosophies, like Burning Man. That was the spark, the impetus that drove Drew and I to create the basis for Sunset Overdrive. Luckily for us, (CEO & Founder) Ted Price, (Chief Technology Officer) Al Hastings and (Chief Creative Officer) Brian Hastings supported our crazy idea and everyone at Insomniac got behind it, turning it into something so much better than we could have ever imagined.

Can you talk about the inspirations that drove the creation of Sunset Overdrive?
I just did! What do you want from me!?!? Well, after we’d “turned the corner” and started thinking about “fun in the end-times,” Drew and I amassed a huge collection of inspiration- music, images, fashion, artists, pop culture, etc. Our very first pitch had literally no story, enemies, or gameplay. It was like we were a couple insane hoarders dumping a giant pile of ‘stuff’ on a conference table. Some of that included: Veladoras, vintage Halloween masks, the “Hyena Men” of Nigeria, pictures of young Keith Richards, H.R. Pufnstuf, Jean Paul Gaultier, Nanook of the North, Wacky Racers, Tank Girl (the comic, not the movie!), tons of artists (like Jamie Hewlett, Ashley Wood, Frank Kozik, Jim Mahfood, Geof Darrow, Rhys Owens, Banksy, Clement Sauve, Phil Hale, Raymond Pettibon, Rob Schab, Jeff Soto, Bill Barminski…), movies (Repo Man, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Idiocracy, The Warriors, Fight Club, Dogtown and Z-Boys, The Stuff, Streets of Fire, Turk 182, They Live…), The Gorillaz “On Melancholy Hill” music video, Harajuku fashion, Mardi Gras Indians, Devine & John Waters, Burning Man, British mods, Dia de los Muertos, Rude Boys, vinyl toys, and so, so, so much music.

Drew and I both grew up listening to punk rock and music is important in our lives, so when we first started talking about the energy of the game, we would make each other mixtapes with bands like The Misfits, The Saints, FIDLAR, Stiff Little Fingers, The Monks, Swell Maps, Bass Drum of Death, Dead Kennedys, Dickies, Slade, Le Tigre, Dan Sartain, The Birthday Party, Jay Reatard, Bad Brains, Killing Joke, Ty Seagall, Nation of Ulysses, Tricky, The Bronx, Youth Brigade, Buzzcocks, Fear, Cheap Time, Germs, DZ Deathrays, The Peechees, Gang of Four, Adolescents, D.R.I. Melvins, Iggy & the Stooges, Minor Threat, Thee Midniters… I could literally go all day here. In summary, inspiration came from everywhere!

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What’s your favorite video game of all time?
Me? Oh, man. That’s a tough one. Tetris was pretty good… I’m not sure I could say one game. I’ve so many good experiences playing games and it varies so much by what was going on in my life when I played. Like, maybe I was going through a bad breakup when Mario Sunshine came out and I really never gave it a real chance, you know? Ok, let’s see… Ocarina of Time is certainly up there. For some reason I think back on B-17 Bomber for the Intellivision all the time. Marble Madness was an incredible *experience* when you played it in an arcade, artful, but stress filled (plus, I love Mark Cerny). I got completely immersed in Myst and Doom right around the same time. Spent way too much time with Super Mario Brothers. And GTA3. Jumped ship after Vice City (GTAV got me back, but I could also complain about it for hours) Loved Ico. I work at Insomniac because I loved Spyro (added advantage: it was the only game my girlfriend at the time- wife now- asked me to play so she could watch). COD: Modern Warfare was such a well crafted experience. Peggle is a phenomenon. Lucasarts had a western called, “Outlaws” that was incredible- such a good soundtrack. Years later, “Red Dead Redemption” equaled the feat (loved just riding a horse around and hearing the sounds of cicadas coming out at dusk). Minecraft is so damn addictive!

Some of the most memorable gaming moments came playing Counterstrike & Marathon in office environments (i.e. day jobs. I’m old.). Beyond Good and Evil didn’t get the respect it deserved. Last of Us was incredible. Arkham Asylum was a perfect game. This is hard. So many good games! If I had to choose… I’m going to go with Half-Life (first one). It changed my perception of what a shooter was and I completely fell into the world of being Gordon Freeman at Black Mesa. Plus, I had a really powerful PC at my job at the time, so it was super smooth. I’m going to be up all night now, thinking about the games I should have mentioned…

If your city was overrun by mutants who had drank OverCharge, how would you survive?
First of all, I live in Los Angeles, so nothing would probably change. However, I would take over a 7-11. It’s stand-alone and well stocked with supplies that take a while to expire. It could be easily fortified and I could build means of moving around to surrounding buildings above the heads of any mutants. Plus, they’d probably stock OverCharge, so if things got really bad, I could just join the rest of ‘em!

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Describe your ideally dressed Sunset Overdrive character?
Let’s see. I usually start with hats. Maybe a pith helmet. One with a built-in fan system. Then some aviator sunglasses to protect the eyes. UV rays are no joke, people. Maybe a marching band jacket with the arms torn off, a color-coordinated baseball jersey under that. Get me some of those MC Hammer pants in garish color, a pair of painted-up wrestling boots, some wings made of Raven feathers and a pimp cane. Just add an ice-cold a mint julep silver goblet and chill. That’s my Awesomepocalypse.

Your Sunset Overdrive Weapon of Choice?
I’m a sucker for the TNTeddy. Everything about it- the animations on the little bears trying to get away, the voice of the bear Teddy Ruxpin wanna-be, the giant, satisfying teddy bear flame effect that shows up when you do a lot of damage… Plus, it makes big explosions. Which is always nice.

Favorite Amp for your character?
You’ve put me in a tough spot because we haven’t shown many amps yet, so I’d normally answer something that I can’t talk about yet. Let’s just say that my favorite is one we’re currently calling “Grim Reaper.” I can’t really tell you about it, but I’ll add that I loved Mr. Zurkon in the Ratchet games and I’ll let you piece that together. (note to self: I sure hope we don’t cut the Grim Reaper..)

Give us a couple songs on your current playlist (from the Bus playlist?)
I’m at this moment listening to DZ Deathray’s new album, “Black Rat,” which is incredible. Maybe it’ll be released in the States at some point… Checking my recent listening: “Hussy Woofer” by Pink Mexico, “This Town” by Kid Karate, “Yellin'” by Cy Dune, “You Are Dead” by Mind Spiders, and everything by Sleep Maps (check out their Band Camp!). Was that a couple? I really like music…

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Check out all of our Before Sunset interviews here.