SDCC 2014: The Fusion of Art and Style (While Channeling Scott Pilgrim And Tank Girl) in Sunset Overdrive


By Madeline Ricchiuto

Major Nelson along with Insomniac Gaming's Drew Murray and Marcus Smith, along with art director Jacinda Chew and lead character artist Gavin Goulden give us a look into the inspiration behind the upcoming Xbox exclusive game Sunset Overdrive.

The game's design was intended to look like a "unicorn threw up" everywhere. And they succeeded. Inspiration was taken from Scott Pilgrim, Tekken, fashion, Tank Girl, etc.

Fizzy, mascot of the game's main enemy corporation Fizz Co., has a twitter. because of course he does. Fizzy is a pastiche created by most of the Insomnia Gaming employees. There are two "mini-Fizzys" on the show floor. Unlike the one at E3, these two character statues do not scream obscenities at you as you walk by.

All future-players beware, with Sunset Overdrive "fun trumps realism." Your character is customizable, so you can be who you want to be, down to the clothes you wear and your body-type. Clothes and hair are purely vanity items, no RPG stats to worry about. The same customization applies to weapons, amps, and gameplay features. You can wear a kangaroo codpiece and nothing esle, if you want.

Things that didn't make it: IPs, Batman stuff, belt-buckles of copywritten guitars, that sort of thing.

Factions: who are the people who wouldn't drink the energy drink? Troop Bushidos (adult scouts obsessed with Bushido code), Fargarths (LARPers building their own civilization), and your objective is to help them help you take down Fizz Co.

How do you make original, defining characters? "Archetypes work well, so you want to build off of those but not be derivative… Tweaking it enough so it has a new point of view." "Make them relatable." Even the LARPers.

Gerry Duggan was one of the writers brought in. So expect a lot of humor.

Q: "Main point of emphasis?"

A: Functionality, making sure people want to play the game.

Q: "Is there a chance for a PC game? And was Dead Space an influence on the monsters?"

A: We're focusing on shipping the Xbox version now. And no, the Soda Monsters are based on the soda lore. We wanted to distance them from humans as much as possible.

Q: "How did you create the game using the colors and textures without overwhelming the characters?"

A: Its all about pallet. What we had to do was restrict the colors. Depth of field helps too. The enemies all have some type of lights on them, which was built into the character design.

Q: "Subversion of authority seems to be a big theme, but how do you take that and adapt it to such a big game?"

A: Thought you were going to ask the obvious of how do you make a game about subversion of authority and get it published by Microsoft. How you do it in a larger environment is easy, you set it up with the rules of the universe… That let us parody a lot more… It has a lot of heart.

Q: "Do you have any DLC plans?"

A: We have a few things at the back of our minds, but the focus is on finishing the game right now.

Q: "Do you have any sequel plans?"

A: We do hope to do a sequel, we came at this planning a franchise not a single game.

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About Mark Seifert

Co-founder and Creative director of Bleeding Cool parent company Avatar Press. Bleeding Cool Managing Editor, tech and data wrangler. Machine Learning hobbyist. Vintage paper addict.
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