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:
- Hyperion Base
- Triton Outpost
- Sheng Island
- Raven Facility
- Jodhpur Stronghold
- Grigori Station
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.
There is an assortment of weapons that the Overstrike agents have at their disposal. Each agent can carry a two-handed weapon, a one-handed weapon, grenades and the specific Xenotech weapon that is allotted to them. There are also heavy weapons that can be found during missions, they are dropped by enemies.
Xenotech Weapons: Xenotech weapons are specialized weapons that were created by Hyperion. They were created by combining FUSE with other elements and then weaponizing their reactions. These experiments created vastly superior weaponry each with their own unique use in the battlefield.
Arcshot – The Arcshot fires high-velocity mercury bolts that have been augmented with FUSE, these bolts hit with tremendous force and can pin enemies to walls. It is also outfitted with a scope which makes it highly effective at medium to long ranges. The Arcshot upgrades to allow for charged bolts to be fired, these charged bolts stun and damage groups of enemies within the blast radius of the charged shot. The Archshot is used by Jacob Kimble. (Starting FUSE Capacity – 20, Max FUSE Capacity – 25)
Magshield – The Magshield is primarily used for defense; it creates a shield of magnetized liquid and FUSE that prevents projectiles from passing through it. These shields can also be fired from the Magshield and used as a stationary barrier. The Magshield does offer offensive uses; the magshield can emit a shockwave that will injure enemies that are close enough to it. On top of the shockwave all stopped munitions will also propel back towards the enemies that fired them. The Magshield is used by Dalton Brooks. (FUSE Capacity – 100)
Shattergun – The Shattergun fires a melanite round that has been infused with FUSE. These rounds will incase their target in a living crystal on impact. If enough rounds strike the target a full crystal will from trapping them inside, this also damages surrounding enemies. The Shattergun is used by Isabelle Sinclair. (Starting FUSE Capacity – 250, Max FUSE Capacity – 325)
Warp Rifle – The Warp Rifle combines FUSE with anit-matter rounds that on impact destabilize their target. If enough of these rounds hit their target a violent singularity will occur, damaging enemies within its vicinity. Singularities can be chained together; if multiple targets are destabilized and a singularity is triggered then all destabilized enemies in the area will erupt in a singularity of their own. A downside to the Warp Rifle is that it can overheat quite easily. This can be monitored with a temperature indicator on your HUD, also the rifles audible pitch will get higher the closer it gets to overheating and with practice can be monitored by that alone. The Warp Rifle is used by Naya Deveraux. (Starting FUSE Capacity – 200, Max FUSE Capacity – 250)
Two-Handed Weapons: An agent’s standard firearm, and first option aside from their Xenotech weapon.
Daybreaker – The Daybreaker is a burst fire assault rifle. It fires in three round bursts and is fitted with a scope making it helpful at mid to long ranges. (Starting Magazine – 48, Max Magazine – 62, Available Ammo – 250)
Harbringer – The Harbringer is a semi automatic sniper rifle. It is fitted with a variable scope which makes it most effective at mid to long range. No cross hairs are present from hip fire, making it less effective at closer ranges. (Starting Magazine – 3, Max Magazine – 6, Available Ammo – 30)
Prowler – The Prowler is a pump action shotgun. It is most effective at close ranges, accuracy falls dramatically at mid to long range. (Starting Magazine – 6, Max Magazine – 9, Available Ammo – 36)
Savager – The Savager is a fully automatic assault rifle. It is most effective at mid ranges but in a bind can be used for both close and long range engagements. (Starting Magazine – 80, Max Magazine – 104, Available Ammo – 320)
One-Handed Weapons: An agent’s sidearm, not as deadly as other weapon types but when ammo is low they can help you get the job done.
Dragonfly – The Dragonfly is a sub-machine gun. It is a fully automatic weapon that is suited for close to mid range combat. (Starting Magazine – 80, Max Magazine – 104, Available Ammo – 320)
Guardian – The Guardian is a semi automatic pistol. It has good accuracy with a slow rate of fire, ideal for close quarters combat. (Starting Magazine – 12, Max Magazine – 15, Available Ammo – 120)
Heavy Weapons: Extremely powerful weapons, they do not take up a weapon slot but when used the agent is slowed, they can’t use cover and can’t switch between weapons until it is dropped.
Behemoth – The Behemoth is a mini-gun. It is typically used by Leadfoot Soldiers. (Max Ammo – 252)
Incinerator – The incinerator is a flamethrower. It is typically used by Leadfire Soldiers. (Max Fuel – 606)
Titan – The Titan is a grenade launcher. It is typically used by Leadshot Soldiers. (Max Ammo – 15)
Grenades: Grenades start out rather standard, lob a grenade into a group of enemies and do explosive damage to enemies in that vicinity. Once upgraded to FUSE grenades, grenades will then produce FUSE tendrils that do additional damage to surrounding enemies on top of the initial explosion. (Starting Ammo – 2, Max Ammo – 4)
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.
In 2014, Insomniac Games released Sunset Overdrive for the Xbox One, a colourfully cartoonish and humorously selfaware action game, set in a post-apocalyptic city caused by an evil energy drink conglomerate; Fizzco. The game was a contrasting opposite to Fuse, but in many ways, Insomniac had learnt a number of lessons from their work with EA on Fuse. In a fetch quest description "Defeat the robot focus group" there are number of not so subtle references to appealing to a larger target demographics as determined by a global corporation. The player must defeat a number of waves of Fizzco bots as they spout lines such as:
"Human's cannot measure fun, as they cannot agree on what is fun..."
"To focus test properly, we programmed ourselves to be 'Bro-bots!' I'm gonna smoke your ass bro!"
"Market research suggest balloons are fun, release balloons for maximum fun!"
"Fizzy's voice is perfectly pitched to appeal to infants and males aged in their mid-twenties."
"Robot focus groups are never wrong"
"Worst combat ever bro - 1 out of 5 stars. You suck!"