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Generating Resistance

Insomniac's Ryan Schneider on Holiday releases, working with Sony, and enjoying success

One of the key PlayStation 3 franchises that's made a splash since the console launched is Resistance - although the orginal caused some controversy over the setting of part of the game (inside a cathedral in the UK), the fuss did no harm to sales, and the sequel late last year also sold well.

But independent developer Insomniac - also working on Ratchet & Clank: A Crack in Time - has no intention of shying away from the busy pre-Christmas release schedule, as the company's director of marketing and communications, Ryan Schneider explains here. It's been an interesting few years for Insomniac - looking back at Resistance 2, how do you look back and appraise its release?
Ryan Schneider

Well, Resistance 2 is our fastest-selling title so far in Insomniac's history, so it's definitely been a commercial success. It was perhaps our most ambitious project - essentially you're getting three games in one, with the co-op, the competitive and the campaign... you're talking eight-player class-based co-op which was breaking new ground, and sixty-player multi-player was huge.

We learned a lot along the way, and we always try to grow from title to title. We definitely had a lot of lessons that we learned. In the UK there was a degree of fuss around the first game - is that something you bore in mind for the sequel? Did it prevent you from doing certain things, or make you tread carefully?
Ryan Schneider

With Resistance 2, with it being set in America we had a completely different palette to contend with, and we wanted to bring to life what we called "alternate Americana" - we wanted to show this idyllic 1950-60s lifestyle turned on its head. It was really a completely different set of opportunities. Did you have those meetings where you talked about what might offend people, though?
Ryan Schneider

I don't think so. I think it was more about what was the kind of story we wanted to tell, and the best way to tell it. I think you have to be aggressive but at the same time you're not being sensational for its own sake. You want to tell a certain story, and make sure that you're using the best devices for doing so. When Resistance 2 launched, it was a really busy release time - you said it was your fastest-selling game, but would it have been better to have waited until January?
Ryan Schneider

I think the Holiday season is still a great time to release a title - it's been hugely successful for us in Insomniac's 15-year history. If we'd pushed to January we'd have been closer to Killzone's launch window as well, so I think one of the strengths of working with Sony is that you have this huge pipeline of great content.

So we pick our spots, and stick to them. We've consistently delivered during the Holiday season and I think we're proud of how we did. You can see we've had a lot of success over the years, and still Resistance 2 will probably be our biggest commercial success. The Holiday season's treating us just fine so far. There's a general trend to move away from platform exclusivity - cost of doing business being what it is. Do you wonder how many more units you might have sold if Resistance 2 was multi-platform, or is it the sort of thing you just don't think about?
Ryan Schneider

Sure, as an independent developer, you do consider those options - but at the same time we do have a great relationship with Sony. We've been with Sony for a long, long time now, and that's where we intend to stay for the foreseeable future.

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