Since being unveiled at E3 2011, Insomniac Games’ Fuse, originally known as Overstrike, has undergone a number of changes that have been called into question by critics and gamers alike. Initially, Overstrike seemed to be a new IP featuring eccentric characters, an intriguing plot, and a generally spirited feel that differed greatly from other shooters. Then came the re-branding and subsequent videos and screenshots that generated such ire from the gaming public – so much so that our own Michael Urban was prompted to write an editorial entitled simply “Insomniac and EA, What the Hell Did You Do to Oversrike?”
When the box art for Fuse (seen above) was revealed last month, it fared no better than the unveiling of the aforementioned changes. Aside from the cliche space-marine look of the four figures, the bland grey backdrop, and the explosions of orange everywhere, the most notable feature was the characters’ heads – or lack thereof. According to Insomniac’s CEO Ted Price, this was an intentional and deliberate move:
“I’m very clear on what the reaction has been from some of our critics to the cover, but we wanted to pull attention to the Fuse weapons: the Xenotech. That’s why they’re featured prominently. Fuse is – the game revolves around ‘Fuse,’ storywise and gameplaywise. I think that we wanted to do something that was different. Cutting off characters’ heads is not something you see in other game covers. The standard approach is to have the full character, front and center, right in the middle of the box – and we took some creative risks with that. I think some people have spoken out about the fact that we took a creative risk. Some people liked it, some people didn’t.”
While it seems apparent that the cover art was not well-received by the general gaming public, Price defended the company’s decision. Oddly enough for the game that has been criticized as falling victim to the cookie-cutter format of the modern-day, action-over-substance shooters, he states that the image was meant to differentiate the title from others in the genre while giving some indication about the cooperative gameplay.
“Our goal was to very clearly indicate that this is a four-player game, a four-character game. We also didn’t want to do something that looked like Charlie’s Angels. I think the temptation with four characters sometimes is to have a very high-action shot where they’re posing. And we would’ve been raked over the coals for that.”
Insomniac partnered with LA-based Petrol Advertising to create the cover art. Their client list includes a number of game developers and publishers, including Activision, Sony, Nintendo, Capcom, Namco, and more. It may come as no surprise to see the seemingly uninspired covers of the Modern Warfare and Black Ops series alongside that of Fuse in their portfolio. However, finding great examples of marketing art from Dark Souls, Metro: Last Light, Saints Row: The Third, and Dragon’s Dogma in the same list may once again force gamers to ask, “What the hell happened?”
What are your thoughts on the the cover art for Fuse? We here at OnlySP know that the outside of the box does not in anyway make or break the quality of a game, but considering the changes we’ve seen in the transition from Overstrike to Fuse, we can’t help but question if the above image is indicative of the final product. We’ll find out next year, as it is slated to release in March for XBox 360 and PS3.
We’re still waiting to find out more about the game’s single-player playability. Obviously, Fuse is focused on four-player cooperative gameplay, but as long as it maintains a cohesive single-player experience, albeit shared by four players, we’ll continue to cover it. Stay tuned to OnlySP for more news and make sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for up-to-the-minute information.