How Sunset Overdrive Is Like Pinball

Insomniac creative director Marcus Smith compares the controlled craziness of the Xbox One exclusive open world action game to staple arcade installations.


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From any individual screenshot, Xbox One exclusive action game Sunset Overdrive appears to be a hyperkinetic explosion of colour. But in motion, creative director Marcus Smith says that beneath that colourful exterior is something akin to a pinball machine.

"The gameplay is based on momentum," he tells GameSpot during EB Expo 2014. "You would build up by unlocking parts, and then it would go all crazy. You start off, and as you get into fights, you're building up your style meter. You're unlocking amps, amps are getting more crazy, you're building up your style meter even bigger. Now you've just got explosions going off everywhere, chaos is happing--but it's things that are happening as a result of your input. Therefore, it felt rewarding; it wasn't just random stuff going on."

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Smith identifies a difference between the two when it comes to the learning curve. Sunset Overdrive should be more immediately accessible, and allow inexperienced players to pull off impressive actions without the practice that pinball requires.

"There's a lot more control for normal players. If you're new at pinball, you're just awful. There's a learning curve to pinball. With us, the trick was, almost like Tony Hawk--you can do awesome stuff, even if you're terrible. But then you started to learn the advanced moves and combos. That's the same approach we took to traversal and combat."

Smith also described Sunset Overdrive as being "the opposite of The Last of Us". The Xbox One exclusive will be available for Xbox One on October 28 in the US, and October 31 in Europe.

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