From Spyro the Dragon and Ratchet & Clank to Resistance, Insomniac Games has been a premiere developer for the PlayStation family of consoles. While gamers frequently--though mistakenly--believe the studio to be a part of Sony, Insomniac has always been an independent developer.
The studio is providing a strong reminder of that today, as it has announced a deal with Electronic Arts' EA Partners program that will see an all-new Insomniac property arrive on the Xbox 360, as well as the PlayStation 3. Neither the game's title nor its planned release window was announced.
"We want to reach more players," Insomniac founder and CEO Ted Price told GameSpot. "We've always been very excited about our PS3 fan base, but we're at the time in our company growth where we would like to also bring the entertainment experiences we're creating to the Xbox 360 fan base…Certainly, our interest is in owning what we create. And working with EAP, we can do that, and that's a boon for us."
Price was also adamant that the move should not be viewed as a rejection of Sony or an abandonment of the series it has made for the electronics giant.
"I want to make it clear that we're not stopping working with Sony," Price said. "We've had a long relationship with Sony, and we've produced some great franchises together, and our commitment to them and those franchises--Ratchet and Resistance--remain just as strong." (A third Resistance game was hinted at by a billboard on a Baton Rouge movie set last year.)
Insomniac is the latest in a string of high-profile independent developers to announce a big publishing deal. Earlier this year, EA Partners came to terms with Respawn Entertainment, the upstart studio formed by ex-Infinity Ward executives Jason West and Vince Zampella after the pair were fired by Activision. That publisher then made headlines by signing an exclusive 10-year deal with Halo developer Bungie to create a line of games based on an original intellectual property.
Price acknowledged the successes of some independent developers of late but stopped short of ascribing bigger picture significance to the deals.
"I don't know if this is a trend, necessarily," Price said. "I think the industry's going to continue to evolve, and we're going to see different types of deals…different approaches every year."
EA Partners general manager David DeMartini similarly balked when asked if the deals signaled a change in the developer-publisher balance of power.
"I like to categorize it as balance of partnership more so than balance of power," DeMartini said. "And in that balance of partnership, the entity that has the greatest influence over creative direction should have the most creative control. And that's why as it relates to the well-established independent studios like Insomniac…like Respawn, they absolutely should have control over the direction that their property goes."
In a post on Insomniac's official Web site, Price further explained the impact this agreement will have on Insomniac's future titles. "We've been developing games on an annual pace during the last 16 years," Price said. "One thing that has become apparent to us, though, is that in order to live up to our own high standards of quality, we want to give ourselves more development time to iterate and polish our games. All future Insomniac titles will benefit from longer development cycles, which will directly benefit you, our fans."
Gamers eager to see what direction Insomniac is heading in will need to be patient. DeMartini said the publisher won't be revealing anything more about Insomniac's EA Partners game at next month's Electronic Entertainment Expo.