Insomniac Games, Inc. is an independent American video game developer founded in 1994 that has released titles for the PlayStation, PlayStation 2, and PlayStation 3 video game consoles. They created Disruptor, the first three Spyro the Dragon games, and the Ratchet & Clank franchise. Insomniac released Resistance: Fall of Man in 2006, a first-person shooter and PlayStation 3 launch game. In 2007, Insomniac released Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction, their first Ratchet & Clank title for the PlayStation 3. In 2008, the company released their first title for the PlayStation Network, Ratchet & Clank Future: Quest for Booty, and their third PlayStation 3 title, Resistance 2. At the moment they have released their 5th game for the PlayStation 3, Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time. Insomniac Games have sold a total of 32 million games for the PlayStation series. On January 23, 2010 a job listing was posted which revealed that Insomniac are currently working on a new PlayStation 3-only game (possibly Resistance 3).
Insomniac was founded in 1994 as an independent video game developer and is now based in Burbank, California. Its initial game, a first-person shooter called Disruptor for the PlayStation, was released on November 20, 1996, and received critical success. Since then, the company has released eight more games in two series (both of which were created by the company) for the PlayStation, PlayStation 2, and PlayStation 3 and all have been both critical and commercial successes. After the company produced the first three Spyro the Dragon games, the company lost the Spyro the Dragon license to Universal Interactive Studios, which became known as Vivendi Games (now Activision Blizzard), after ending their publishing relationship. They later went on to create the Ratchet & Clank series. The first Ratchet & Clank has the notable distinction of being the first western-produced game to be officially bundled with the PlayStation 2 in Japan. This was a result of Ratchet & Clank being the first western video game to make Japan's top 100 list.
The company has been named as one of the top 10 Best Small Companies to work for in America for 3 years in a row for their relaxed environment and flexible hours.
In 2003, a few of Insomniac's staff members left the company to create a new company called High Impact Games.
In 2006, Insomniac released an M-rated PlayStation 3 first-person shooter, very unlike its other works. Its name during production was I-8, but it was later renamed Resistance: Fall of Man. The game's futuristic weapons seem to be influenced by the company's Ratchet & Clank series.
At the 2008 Game Developers Conference, Insomniac announced a new project titled the Nocturnal Initiative. This is a free wiki based project designed to encourage the distribution of development technologies which may be used in other games. Insomniac has shared technology they developed for use in titles such as Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction and Resistance 2.
In an interview with GameDaily BIZ in June 2008, Ted Price announced that Insomniac Games plans to expand and open a sister studio in North Carolina, with Chad Dezern taking on the role of studio director. Dezern will be hiring twenty-five to thirty new developers and will prepare the studio to begin work on games based on new and existing intellectual properties. The new studio opened January 2009 and has eight opening for North Carolina.
In Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando and Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal, the player can visit an Easter egg known as the "Insomniac Museum". This is located on the planets Dantopia (a reference to the late Dan Johnson) and Burbank (a reference to the company's location). The museum lets players find items, enemies, objects and conceptions that did not make it into the final resulting games. The Insomniac Museum in both games has the actual layout of the Insomniac Games offices. This is also true for the more recent game Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time.
Insomniac Games have released thirteen games since the company was formed.
|Game Title||US release date||Platform|
|Disruptor||November 20, 1996||PlayStation|
|Spyro the Dragon||September 10, 1998||PlayStation|
|Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage!||November 2, 1999||PlayStation|
|Spyro: Year of the Dragon||October 11, 2000||PlayStation|
|Ratchet & Clank||November 7, 2002||PlayStation 2|
|Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando||November 11, 2003||PlayStation 2|
|Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal||November 2, 2004||PlayStation 2|
|Ratchet: Deadlocked||October 25, 2005||PlayStation 2|
|Resistance: Fall of Man||November 17, 2006||PlayStation 3|
|Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction||October 23, 2007||PlayStation 3|
|Ratchet & Clank Future: Quest for Booty||August 21, 2008||PlayStation 3|
|Resistance 2||November 4, 2008||PlayStation 3|
|Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time||October 27, 2009||PlayStation 3|
Partnerships with other developers
Insomniac has had a close relationship with developer Naughty Dog from when the two companies worked together in the same building on a Universal Studios back-lot. The company makes games that are similar in style, which sometimes contain references to each other. Demos for one company's games often appear on the other's releases. For example, Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage! contained a demo of Crash Team Racing. Because of their friendship, many fans have wondered if the two companies would collaborate on a game. However, it has been publicly stated that the two companies do not have plans for making a game together, although both Jak II and Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando feature billboard cameos of each others heroes (and a scene in Going Commando shows Ratchet playing both Jak games). This is taken one step further in Jak X: Combat Racing and Ratchet: Deadlocked as both feature Ratchet and Jak respectively as unlockable skins/characters. In the game Daxter, a Ratchet and a Clank mask can be found.
Contrary to popular belief, Insomniac never borrowed the Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy engine code from Naughty Dog to use on the Ratchet & Clank games, though several key renderers from Naughty Dog made it into code. As for the two companies' direct involvement, Naughty Dog's Richard Lemarchand said: "We don't really trade anything concrete in terms of technology, but we definitely compare war stories of life in the trenches, and try and learn from each other's experiences." Ted Price clarified Insomniac's stance on engine technology while obliquely mentioning the shared renderers:
"We've always developed all our own technology. It's been a little frustrating in the past for us to hear people say, 'Oh yeah, the Insomniac game is running on the Naughty Dog engine.' People assumed that we were using Naughty Dog's engine for Ratchet, and that was not true. We shared some technology with Naughty Dog way back when, and that was great, but we are a company that puts stock in developing specialized technology and we will continue to do so." -- Ted Price, Independent PlayStation Magazine, September 2006
Despite these quotes, the credits sequence for Ratchet & Clank on the Sony PlayStation 2 states that "The Ratchet and Clank background engine was developed using proprietary techniques and code developed by Naughty Dog."
With the release of the PlayStation 3, both developers seemed to be changing focus aesthetically from character-based platformers to more realistic, mature-themed action games with Naughty Dog's action series Uncharted and Insomniac's sci-fi first-person shooter series Resistance. Both main protagonists of these series has the same first name "Nathan" (Nathan Drake in Uncharted series and Nathan Hale in Resistance series). The exception is Insomniac's continuation of the Ratchet and Clank series onto the PlayStation 3.
Sucker Punch Productions
Although Insomniac isn't as close to Sucker Punch Productions as they are to Naughty Dog, they do exchange stories and tips. Sucker Punch (much like Insomniac and Naughty Dog) created a well known platformer in the PS2 era (Sly Cooper) and a more realistic game on the PS3 (inFamous). A demo of Sucker Punch's Sly Cooper 2 can be found in Ratchet and Clank: Up Your Arsenal. Sucker Punch is also a second party developer to Sony Computer Entertainment with nearly all their games being published by them and also being PlayStation exclusives.
High Impact Games
High Impact Games is a company formed by ex-Insomniac staff. They have released the titles Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters and Secret Agent Clank for the PlayStation Portable, as well as a PlayStation 2 port of Size Matters. They are also close friends with Naughty Dog and are finished working on Jak and Daxter: The Lost Frontier for PSP and PS2.