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- Sunset Overdrive
It’s official: Sony now owns the rights to one of Insomniac Games’ most criminally overlooked titles, Sunset Overdrive. The president of the publisher’s Worldwide Studios, Shuhei Yoshida, confirmed the news via a recent interview. While the man didn’t state whether or not fans will see a PlayStation 4 port of the title, one has to assume that Sony will revisit it at some point in the near future, as it’s become something akin to a modern cult classic. Here’s why Sunset Overdrive can thrive on PlayStation consoles and become one of the brand’s preeminent franchises alongside God of War, Spider-Man, and Horizon Zero Dawn.
Why Sunset Overdrive Will Succeed | The Ratchet and Clank franchise has already laid the foundation
The Ratchet and Clank franchise’s success on PlayStation consoles since 2002 is evidence that the brand has cultivated an audience that’s receptive to adventure games. The 2016 remake is the fastest-selling title in the series’ history, proving that the future of the genre is bright within this ecosystem. That’s not to mention the fact that PlayStation fans know Insomniac Games’ pedigree well, as the developer has had partnerships with Sony since Spyro the Dragon released exclusively on the original PlayStation in 1998. There’s reason to assume that Sony patrons are already aware of Sunset Overdrive due to the fact that Insomniac Games developed it, which means the publisher doesn’t have try to sell a completely unknown quantity.
Ratchet and Clank‘s recent accomplishment isn’t the only reason why Sony should green-light a Sunset Overdrive 2, as most of the company’s best-selling exclusives fall within the adventure category. The genre has wide appeal, allowing new PlayStation owners and veterans to pick up and play without research or prior experience. There aren’t many learning curves when it comes to bouncing on trampolines, grinding rails, and blasting away mutant hordes, given the fluid controls that are accessible yet deep. A love of destruction and witty jokes is all that’s required.
Why Sunset Overdrive Will Succeed | Others can take over the reigns
Insomniac may be preoccupied with a sequel to last year’s Spider-Man and more Ratchet and Clank games, but that doesn’t mean it can’t share resources with first and second-party studios within the PlayStation ecosystem in order to help bring Sunset Overdrive 2 to life. Santa Monica Studio has been doing this for years, as it collaborated with Ready at Dawn and Bluepoint Games to port several God of War titles to PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita.
On the first-party front, Sucker Punch Productions and Japan Studio are two developers that are well-suited to take on a Sunset Overdrive sequel, as the former made the Sly Cooper and Infamous series on PlayStation 2 and PlayStation 3 and the latter made action-adventure titles like Knack and the woefully underappreciated Puppeteer. Though it usually just oversees development of PlayStation-exclusive software, Sony’s San Mateo Studio could also take over responsibility for the game, as it helped bring franchises like Jak and Daxter, Ratchet and Clank, and Uncharted to life.
As far as second-party studios are concerned, Sanzaru Games would be an excellent fit, as it developed Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time and most recently worked on one of the titles featured in the Spyro Reignited Trilogy. The company has already proven that it knows action platforming mechanics well. With a little guidance, it could nail Sunset Overdrive‘s fast, fun, and fluid gameplay.
Why Sunset Overdrive Will Succeed | Sony supports games that aren’t guaranteed to sell
Sony is well-known for funding projects that aren’t guaranteed to provide any return on investment. The Last Guardian is a prime example of this, as its long development time and studio departures undoubtedly cost the publisher a lot of money between 2007 and 2016. When the game finally launched, it was met with poor sales and failed to garner the same praise that other Fumito Ueda-led titles like Shadow of the Colossus and Ico previously received. This being said, the fact that the game released at all built a lot of goodwill among PlayStation fans and showed that Sony had been listening to its fans’ demands.
Sunset Overdrive probably didn’t sell well on Xbox One given where the console was and how Microsoft didn’t secure a sequel, but this shouldn’t stop Sony from porting it to PlayStation 4 or developing a follow-up, as consumers have been clamoring for more from the franchise for a while now. Outside of making a lot of fans happy, the announcement of a Sunset Overdrive 2 would be a huge move against competitor Microsoft, the likes of which were uninterested in funding development of a new game despite Insomniac Games’ interest.
An exclusive sequel will emphasis Sony’s benevolence when it comes to its consumer base and first-party developers. It’ll also portray Microsoft as a greedy entity whose sole interest is to make a lot of money, even though that public image is slowly changing. At the end of the day, every for-profit company out there is looking for a financial return, but the creation of certain perceptions in the consumer’s mind and influencing public opinion goes a long way. The most telling example is that Sony funds single-player games and many other publishers don’t.
There’s a reason why we’re still talking about Sunset Overdrive nearly five years after it released. Though the title incorporates mechanics from games like Jet Set Radio and Infamous, its carefree personality and quips on society allow it to continue to stand out among other shooters today. Its bright art style certainly reinforces the fact that this isn’t one’s typical video game. Here’s hoping we’ll see a lot more of Sunset Overdrive soon, and that the franchise finally enjoys the success it deserves on PlayStation consoles.