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.

[Joystiq]

Will Blackwell
I'm a new dad, gaming machine, and beard aficionado. With a little one in the house, I've come to embrace the single-player experience, as it is much less likely to send me into a profanity-laced, controller-throwing tantrum. Writing and video games are two of my greatest passions, so this is a natural fit for me. As long as it doesn't require me to perform coordinated dance moves in front of my Kinect, i'm willing to pen my thoughts on it. Aside from gaming, I love music (Smashing Pumpkins), coffee (Red-Eye), and sushi (Yellowtail). All offerings of my aforementioned favorites will be accepted with open arms and, if you're lucky, i'll let you touch my beard. Just don't pull on it. That hurts.

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12 Comments

  1. So it&#039s heavy on 4 player co-op and the focus of this experience is guns. An inanimate object. Yes, that sounds terribly exciting. Also, cutting the heads when the rest of the cover art looks like any cover art is not artistic. If the whole thing were fresh, I&#039d get it, but having some tough looking people in armor holding guns is not exactly pioneering.

    But the issue of guns is my problem with it. So you&#039re saying your characters aren&#039t important compared to fancy shiny trinkets? If that&#039s not catering to last-brain-cell-dead gunwank gamers, I don&#039t know what is.

  2. Coming back from the artwork of the Resistance series and Ratchet and Clank: A Crack in Time, this is really bland. I get what they&#039re saying about putting the focus on the weaponry, but how does this get across the fact that they are inventive "Xenoweapons"? Just not very impressed with this game all around anymore, though I&#039m not willing to write it off completely.

  3. I wrote it of the second i herd EA was involved. They said they don’t like single-player, so…. I don’t like them.

  4. So it's heavy on 4 player co-op and the focus of this experience is guns. An inanimate object. Yes, that sounds terribly exciting. Also, cutting the heads when the rest of the cover art looks like any cover art is not artistic. If the whole thing were fresh, I'd get it, but having some tough looking people in armor holding guns is not exactly pioneering.

    But the issue of guns is my problem with it. So you're saying your characters aren't important compared to fancy shiny trinkets? If that's not catering to last-brain-cell-dead gunwank gamers, I don't know what is.

  5. i like the box art, makes the character badass.
    but i don&#039t like the gameplay man…too generic:/

  6. Coming back from the artwork of the Resistance series and Ratchet and Clank: A Crack in Time, this is really bland. I get what they're saying about putting the focus on the weaponry, but how does this get across the fact that they are inventive "Xenoweapons"? Just not very impressed with this game all around anymore, though I'm not willing to write it off completely.

  7. I wrote it of the second i herd EA was involved. They said they don’t like single-player, so…. I don’t like them.

  8. i like the box art, makes the character badass.
    but i don't like the gameplay man…too generic:/

  9. Artistic risks, my ass. Cutting their faces away, specifically their eyes, gives them even less personality and prominence in their own game.

    This whole project is looking blander by the minute. What&#039s happening, Insomniac? You can talk to us! We&#039re here for you.

    1. I feel the exact same way. I am confronted with the reality that Insomniac may be losing it&#039s edge. I love Insomniac and this is painful for me to admit.

  10. Artistic risks, my ass. Cutting their faces away, specifically their eyes, gives them even less personality and prominence in their own game.

    This whole project is looking blander by the minute. What's happening, Insomniac? You can talk to us! We're here for you.

    1. I feel the exact same way. I am confronted with the reality that Insomniac may be losing it's edge. I love Insomniac and this is painful for me to admit.

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