Fuse (formerly known as OverStrike) is a third person shooter developed by Insomniac Games and published by EA under EA partners. This is Insomniac's first multiplatform game, releasing on Xbox 360 and PS3 in May 2013. This will also mark their first wholly intellectual property.
The game was originally revealed as Overstrike during the EA's E3 2011 press conference. The game then disappeared until September 2012, when it resurfaced as Fuse, sporting a less cartoonish art style.
The game takes place in the near-future and tells the story of OverStrike 9, a rag-tag group of special agents who are infamous for breaking protocol. They are tasked with thwarting a terrorist plot. An evil terrorist organization plans to break into a top-secret US facility containing alien weaponry recovered during the 1940s. Overstrike recovers some of said weaponry and go on a killing spree to defeat the terrorists.
OverStrike 9 consists of four members, of whom players will take control in the game:
Fuse is a third person-shooter with an emphasis on cooperative gameplay. Players can choose to play as either one of the Overstrike 9 operatives and switch between them at will while playing alone (if playing in coop, the player's allies will take control of the operatives). By killing opponents in fast, stylish ways, players get Fuse points which can then be used in the Fuse store.
The Fuse store is where players can unlock new abilities and weapons for their characters. For example, the thief of the group can unlock an ability to become invisible. The game also has a variety of special weapons that only certain members of the group can unlock and use. The heavy of the group can use the MagShield, a weapon that creates a large force field that protects teammates while allowing them to shoot through at enemies. The medic of the group can use the Shattergun, which freezes enemies in place.
Overstrike was first revealed at E3 2011, as a new EA Partners publishing arrangement. The animated trailer by Blur Studios showed a stylistically caricatured art style with vibrant colors that combined humor and action. Though visually and stylistically the project was still going through revisions process. The main reasons for Insomniac’s partnership with EA was the fact that they had been a single platform developer for Sony, since the company’s inception even, which impeded both sales and exposure to a different audience. Prior to this point, Insomniac also did not own any of their intellectual properties, due to its exclusivity development with Sony, marking Fuse as their first wholly owned title.
On August 31st, 2012, Insomniac revealed that they had retooled Overstrike and rebranded it to Fuse, though while still keeping the core gameplay relatively the same. As a result of the revisions, the comic art direction, caricature model designs and narrative tone, all changed dramatically from what was originally shown to the public in 2011. Fuse was a darker, grounded narrative and described as a more serious game. According to game designer Brian Allgeier, the drastic changes in tone and art direction came after focus testing with a certain demographic of gamers.
" Maybe it was going to appeal to gamers who, we thought at the time, might be in their late teens. The industry’s changed quite a bit… We started to discover that everyone thought this was a game for their younger brother. We would hear this from 12-year-olds. So we decided that we needed to make a game that had an older appeal." - Brian Allgeier
Allgeier had also stated that due to the serious tonal shift in the game’s narrative, the campy cartoony aesthetics would not suit the “action orientated” direction the game was heading in or the intended target audience they're after. Insomniac’s staff writer T.J. Fixman has said much of the game’s humor was toned down to a “more sophisticated, dry wit”.
With the changes included a more graphic and mature take on violence and gore. Insomniac founder, Ted Price, considers this as the best way to exemplify the weapons and not have its affects restricted to a T-rating.