Everything About the Resistance: Fall of Man in Interview!

We got a chance to pick the brain of Ted Price, the man behind the recent PS3 launch title smash, Resistance: Fall of Man. Our every burning question about the new FPS was answered, along with a juicy PS3 Rachet & Clank tidbit. Read on for yourself…

GV: From start to finish, about how long was Resistance: Fall of Man in development? Was it a PS3 game from the start, or did it start out as a PS2 game and eventually work its way on the PS3? 

Ted Price: From the very beginning, our goal was to create a launch title for the PS3. We began developing new technology early on, well before we received our PS3 devkits. But we developed it understanding what the Cell would offer. The PS3’s architecture is significantly different than the PS2 so it would have been very difficult for us to develop an engine on the PS2 and try to port it to the PS3. Had we gone that route we certainly would not have been able to take advantage of much of the PS3’s power.

In terms of how long it took, we began concepting way before the PS3 was officially announced, but we didn’t go into production until very late in 2005.

GV: What were some of the challenges that Insomniac faced when developing for the PS3? Was there a sizeable tool set available, or did the team find it had to do a lot of things on its own? 

Ted Price: Since we were one of the first developers on the system, we rolled most of our own technology. We developed our engine from scratch, though we did collaborate with Sony on some technology that helps us to take advantage of the Cell’s architecture. Our physics system, AI, lighting, special effects – the list goes on and on – was all done in-house. Plus, we revised our world-building tools significantly to handle the more complex assets we use on the PS3. While it was certainly a challenge to take on so much new technology development for one game, it allowed us to create a base we’ll use for the games we create over the next several years. Furthermore, developing our own tech has allowed us to specialize our engine and other components for the types of games we create. Having the code in-house also means that we can continue to make improvements very quickly as we become more adept at working with the PS3.

GV: Insomniac is best known for the Ratchet & Clank games. How did your experience with that series help when developing Resistance

Ted Price: We brought our love of exotic weapons from Ratchet to Resistance. Having had experience coming up with crazy weapons for the past six years for Ratchet & Clankhelped us understand what would work and what wouldn’t when we were prototyping weapons for Resistance: FOM. That experience also helped us all understand that it’s worth trying things that don’t necessarily make sense on paper. As a result, Resistance: FOM has a completely unique set of weapons when it comes to an FPS – and that’s one of the many things that makes the game stand out among the competition.

GV: Why did Insomniac choose to do a FPS, especially considering how overcrowded the genre is? 

Ted Price: We knew that the genre wouldn’t be crowded, at least at first, on the PS3. And we saw the PS3 launch as a great opportunity to introduce a strong contender and establish a new FPS franchise. Plus, this wasn’t a new genre for us. As most people know by now, the first game we released back in 1996 was a FPS called Disruptor for the original Playstation. Many of us at Insomniac love first-person shooters and we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to get back into the genre.

GV: Looking back, is there anything that the team really wishes could have made it into the final game, but simply didn’t? 

Ted Price: There are always things that don’t make it through production for one reason or another. That’s standard for game development. But when I look back at our design goals, I can’t point to any major feature we had to drop. We were all really happy with how the game turned out for both single player and multiplayer.

The one thing that, in retrospect, would have been good to have is online co-op. Most reviewers have complained that we don’t support it. But we made the decision early on to focus on other aspects of the game versus online co-op. I don’t think the game suffers at all since offline co-op is a blast to play. Yet for future games, it is definitely something we’ll consider from the beginning.

GV: In the past, Insomniac and Naughty Dog have had a good working relationship. Even though the companies haven’t shared engine tech in a few years, do you have any kind of support system in place for learning the new hardware?

Ted Price: We don’t have any official system, but our programmers do talk and exchange notes occasionally.

GV: Insomniac has been one of the more vocal companies when it comes to the PS3. What is it about the system that Insomniac likes so much? Was the team able to utilize much of what the PS3 has to offer, or is that room for expansion?

Ted Price: We like the fact that it offers what we believe is the most long-term potential for game developers both in terms of processing power and storage. Let’s talk power first. Even though it’s difficult to take full advantage of the Cell’s power when you first start with the machine, you can do a hell of a lot “right out of the box.” As we’ve moved on beyond Resistance: FOM, we’ve already made significant strides in doing more with the PS3. And that progress will be evident in our next PS3 game (Ratchet & Clank). And our third game will look and sound even better. I think every year players will be surprised at how much better each generation of PS3 games look. And that’s important to keep players excited about the console.

Some would counter that this isn’t a good thing – why not work on a machine that’s (arguably) easier to program and shows off more of its potential right away? And they’ve got a point. If a console is easier to work with, it saves time and money. I suppose it just depends on where you think consumers will go. We’ve made our bet that long term the PS3 will be a very successful system and that we’ll be able to sell a lot of games on it. And as a (currently) one console developer, we’re going to do everything we can to support that system with kickass games.

And finally, one word about storage. There has been much noise about Bluray as advantageous over other storage media – some of it attributable to us. But the fact is that bigger games need more storage space. Bluray has more storage space than any other media used by game consoles. And as more layers are unlocked on Bluray, that space will grow. I can’t see this as being anything other than a very good thing for game developers.

GV: Is it safe to assume that work is already underway on another Ratchet & Clankgame? Are there any details that you can share?

Ted Price: Yup, we’re in production on a new Ratchet & Clank for the PS3. But sorry, can’t share any details yet.

GV: Although the two are completely different games, the Think Tanks known as gaming forums still feel the need to compare Resistance to Gears of War. How do you think the two match up? How does Resistance match up to other games in the genre?

Ted Price: Yes, they’re two different games. And as many, many people have said, each has its strengths. Some say that Resistance is better, some say that Gears is better. Many just appreciate the fact that there is an awesome shooter for the PS3 and an awesome shooter for the Xbox360. How can anyone lose when this is the case?

And I’m not going to compare the two or compare Resistance: FOM to other shooters – I’ll leave that to the forums and the reviewers. I will say that there are a lot of things I love about Gears and a lot of things I love about Resistance and I enjoy the fact that both offer unique experiences. I can go back and forth between both games and never feel like I’m doing the same things.

GV: Are there any plans to offer downloadable content? What are your opinions on the practice, especially when it comes to setting a price? 

Ted Price: Downloadable content is something we will probably support for many of our games – but it’s still too early for me to give specifics. In terms of pricing, I think everyone is watching the current crop of downloadable content closely to see what will fly and what won’t. So I don’t have any info on what we’d do in the future when it comes to price. It depends on the actual content, what Sony’s policies are for PS3 downloadables and consumer behavior.

GV: Any final words?

Ted Price: Developing Resistance: FOM has been a rollercoaster ride for us – exhilarating, exhausting and occasionally terrifying. Now that the game is out, we’ve seen a lot of feedback on the forums from those who have played it and we know that the crazy ride was well worth it. People are really digging the game. At the same time, we want to hear even more from those who have played through. What did they like best? What didn’t they like? What can we improve in future games? The more we hear, the better developers we’ll become. People can visit myresistance.net and login to the forums there to share their opinions. We’re really good about responding and about being active on the boards there, so send us your feedback.

GV: Thanks for talking with us!