EXCLUSIVE: Sunset Overdrive Q&A
Posted by Ken Barnes
Get your energy drinks ready...
Sunset Overdrive is currently wowing the crowds at E3 after a successful showing during Microsoft's press conference. With interest for the title going through the roof, we thought we'd take the opportunity to sit down with Ryan Schneider, Brand Development Director on the game, to see if he could give us a bit more insight.
So, let's get talking...
pX) Sunset Overdrive is a welcome change to the realistic "brown and grey" shooters that seem to populate the market these days - some have even likened it to a classic Sega Dreamcast game thanks to its blue skies and primary colours. What was the reasoning behind this stylistic choice?
RS) We wanted to flip the end-times genre on its head — no more cowering behind cover trying to scrounge food and bullets. No more monochromatic color palettes and dreary prospects. We said to ourselves, “What if the apocalypse wasn’t the end, but a change for a new beginning?” To that end, everything about the game is built around ‘fun in the end-times’ — be who you want to be, have fun by doing impossible moves at an un-stoppable pace. Those old Dreamcast games like Jet Grind Radio and Crazy Taxi were an inspiration to us. They were furious fun. Our challenge was creating that level of fast-paced action, but have it in the form of a modern, large-scale open world with a deep campaign story and player progression to appease contemporary players. We think we’ve done just that.
pX) Can you explain the plot and setting of Sunset Overdrive?
RS) The year is 2027 and you are a (lowly) citizen of Sunset City, home to corporate titan Fizzco. Energy drink Overcharge Delirium XT is Fizzco’s latest creation, and to celebrate its release, the company is hosting a crazy launch party just for locals. Oh, you’re definitely at the party – picking up trash as a temp worker so you can keep payin’ the bills. Suddenly, your world is turned upside down. Screams can be heard through the city. They turn to explosions…and…growls? Sunset City is overrun with mutants! The end is near! And…it’s freakin’ awesome! Finally, a life spent playing video games and reading comics can be put to practical use as you try to save yourself and other groups of survivors from this deadly outbreak.
pX) As a studio, you've worked predominantly with Sony. What has it been like working with Microsoft on Sunset Overdrive? Would you say the process has been smoother, harder, or simply different?
RS) Working with a publisher that supports our vision for Sunset Overdrive has truly been a rewarding experience. Microsoft is 100% dedicated to the success of Sunset Overdrive. The level of marketing support we’re seeing for Sunset Overdrive is unprecedented for us – which you’ll see in full force at E3.
pX) Can you explain the scope of the "agile combat" featured in the game, and how it makes Sunset Overdrive different form other third-person action titles on the market?
RS) Our agile combat, dynamic traversal, or just plain “move around the city like a speedy badass” mechanic is just one core principle behind Sunset Overdrive. While using cover to steadily progress from Point A to Point B certainly is strategic, it gets kinda boring. We make getting to the battle just as fun as the combat itself. That means Sunset City is your playground from down on the ground to several stories in the air atop giant buildings and communications towers. You can bounce, wall run, grind and leap across the city, which is important because simply running will get you killed…quickly. We think this adds a refreshing wrinkle to open-world shooters, and when you combine that with our overpowered weapons, unique setting, humor and gruesome enemies – you get to play something altogether new and exciting. When’s the last time you got to say that about an open-world shooter?
pX) How will Microsoft's cloud systems help you bring the world of Sunset Overdrive to life?
RS) he cloud system is helping us create a more seamless transition between our campaign and multiplayer adventures. Beyond that, we’re not going to elaborate until a later time.
pX) What aspect of the game are you most proud of?
RS) We’re all proud of creating a new universe that truly feels unique from every other game on the market. We’ve taken creative risks and it’s exciting to see as fans from all over the world respond in such a positive way. It motivates us even more to finish Sunset Overdrive strong and deliver what we think could become our most memorable game franchise yet.
We'd like to thank Ryan for sitting down with us. Sunset Overdrive is an Xbox One exclusive, and will be released on October 28th. Check out the madcap E3 trailer below!