Ted Price Talks PS4, Fuse, Resistance 3 and the Ratchet & Clank Movie
Given that the action genre is very much dominated by males, was it difficult creating female characters that would be perceived as capable as the other male counterparts in Fuse?
I think there’s wide acceptance of capable female characters in games today, I think actually Lara Croft had probably done more for that than any other game character. I think it is more difficult to create a female protagonist who is accepted as capable, while at the same time, ignites the same loyalty among players as the typical male soldier.
It is great that the games populous is becoming broader, and there are a hell of a lot of women and girls playing games, many more than so just 10 years ago. And that’s changing the landscape for developers in terms of what we can do with our characters – male and female. I personally don’t want to live in a world where all game characters are male, I think that’s ridiculous, and for us, we want to have variety across the board in terms of who are characters are, we are never going to limit ourselves.
As with the stereotype that all games now require someone to be bald or some form of space marine?
I think that has more to do with the success of certain shooter franchises, and certain certain shooter franchises dominating the market. When, in reality, there has been an explosion of variety in terms of characters we have seen in games across platforms, consoles, mobile, etc… and that is pretty exciting to watch. In particular, I think a lot of indie games do a great job of breaking preconceived notions about what a video game character is, and that’s inspiring to see.
You can talk about success in the console world and you can point to Call of Duty and Call of Duty and Call of Duty, but then if you look at the mobile world there is some pretty amazing success stories which don’t involve a shooter mechanic or a male protagonist and that’s great to see. Clash of Clans, Angry Birds – I mean those are just two well known examples, but there are many, many, mobile games that are being played by millions of people that are completely breaking the mold when it comes to what a game is. And, I said the say the same thing is true on PSN, XBLA and Steam. Right there, you can see more and more experiments, I call them experiments, but they are games that are not your traditional console shooter, that are successful and, as I said before, inspiring.
With the Xbox 720 or Infinity set to be announced a week before Fuse launches, and with E3 less than a month later, do you think it will be hard to get noticed with all of the publicity surrounding those events?
I think that it is always hard to be noticed when you are bringing a new IP to an established market. And, unless you are a launch title for a new platform, you’re always going to be screaming loudly for attention. That was, and that’s been a reason I’ve personally been on a world tour to get the game in reviewer’s and in journalist’s hands, so they can see first hand what the game is all about. It’s also why we released a demo, so that people who have questions about the game can pick it up and play it with their friends. I really hope that gamers are taking advantage of the fact that the demo is one, two, three, or four players. You can do plenty of leveling and experience the skill trees, and there is a lot of things you can do in the demo that gives you a flavor for the game.
Is the latest Insomniac Engine next-gen compatible and do you have any next-gen dev kits in house?
[Laughs] OK, so, I can’t answer those questions directly. But, I will tell you that we built the engine and toolset for Fuse from scratch, and we did it when we began working on Fuse because we were anticipating it. We knew that the next-gen consoles would be coming at some point, but we didn’t know when, and we needed to make an engine and toolset that was multi-platform capable. Furthermore, because we were working with the same toolset for a long time, we had learned a lot of lessons about decreasing iteration time and needed to rethink our tools with an eye towards more efficiency. So we spent a lot of time, and it has really paid off in terms of what we were able to do with Fuse, and it will help us as we move ahead onto whatever is next.
I know you can’t speak too freely on this, but what has been your impression of the PS4 so far?
I’m really happy about two things in particular: The first is that Sony has recognized that gamers are becoming more connected, more social, and with the features they have announced for the PS4, it seems that developers will be able to more easily take advantage of that increasingly social nature that gamers have. The second is that we’ve seen more and more of over the last few weeks that Sony is opening their arms to indies.
That is awesome, and we are an independent developer. However, because we have been around for a long time and our size, people don’t consider us an indie as much. But, I know what it’s like to be on a small team with limited resourced and to feel intimidated by consoles. The fact that Sony is helping independent developers get onto a console and reach audiences, that perhaps they wouldn’t normally couldn’t reach is great. It’s a recognition of how much things have changed in the development industry, and how accessible game development is to anybody that wants to make a game. I think they’re helping lower barriers for those of us that maybe aren’t intrenched already in the console and high end PC world.
What PS4 feature are you most excited about as a developer and as a gamer?
Well I will probably go to the most obvious one, based on my last answer, and that’s the share button and the potential it has. Sony showed off one aspect of the it, but I anticipate there will be more functionality either built in, or that developers will be able to take advantage of it to bring gamers closer together with that kind of sharing.