Insomniac Games

Disruptor [Playstation – Beta]

Disruptor is FPS developed by now popular Insomniac Games for the original PlayStation and published in 1996 by Universal Interactive Studios. Disruptor was initially planned for the 3DO game console back in 1994 but due to the bad reception of the 3DO development of Disruptor was quickly shifted over to the PlayStation 1.

As we can read on 1UP:

“I think we were very lucky to get out of the Disruptor development process alive,” says Price. “None of us had ever been in the game business before. We were just guessing that it might be fairly easy to do, and man, were we wrong.”

It was 1994. The 3DO, a platform created by EA founder Trip Hawkins, was the cutting edge of game-console technology, a CD-based system retailing for an insane $700. Insomniac took advantage of the CD format‘s low price and dove into Disruptor. Within a year, the rug was pulled out from under the team. “3DO tanked, big time,” says Price.

They shopped a demo around to publishers up and down the West Coast, looking to move Disruptor over to Sony’s newly released PlayStation. It wasn’t going well. “Everybody had turned us down,” says Price. “We were down to no money in the bank, and this was really our last shot.” Their final meeting was with Mark Cerny, a veteran game designer/producer whose work spans 1984’s Marble Madness to the recent Jak and Daxter series. At that point, Cerny was scouting developer talent for Universal Studios Interactive in Los Angeles. He found it in Insomniac.

“Mark saw the engine that Al [Hastings] had programmed on the 3DO and said, ‘Wow, these guys have potential.’ We signed a three-game deal with Universal based on that meeting,” says Price. “It saved our asses.” Ted Price was 24. Al Hastings was 21.

Some more details can be found on IGN:

“We began on 3DO because when I started Insomniac, 3DO was the first really viable CD-based system out on the market,” Price explained. “They had dev kits available for very low prices. And Sony, at the time, wasn’t making dev kits available to everybody. So I was able to purchase a dev kit for about $8,000. We kind of set our path.”

Hastings told me more. “We started on 3DO, because… I guess when we were starting, it was before anybody like us could get our hands on a Sony dev kit. I don’t even know if they were out or not. But the 3DO, they were pushing it to anyone who wanted it. At the time, I think a lot of people thought it might succeed. I don’t think we were alone in our naiveté. But pretty soon, maybe halfway through [development], it became clear that 3DO was just never going to be viable. It was about that same time that Sony and SEGA were putting out the alternatives,” in the form of PlayStation and Saturn, respectively.

The gallery below includes some early beta screenshots from the PS1 version of the game, with some small differences from the final game.

These beta screenshots was found on the official interplay website for the game. They are pretty similar to the final game with the exception of the HUD, where the health bar is moved to the bottom corner and features a different design than the final game, the Psionics icon seems to be a little bit different than in the final game and the Ammo count has been moved to the opposite corner of the screen.

These beta screenshots were found in a small article in the French PlayStation Magazine (issue 4). It’s much of the same from the other ones.  The last one is the most interesting one, as the enemies appear to be actual 3D models, however in the final game all the enemies are pre-rendered 3D-looking sprites in a 3D environment. The psionics icon had red eyes which is not present in the final game. And the weapon shown does not directly match any weapons from the final game.

Article by Hennamann 

I:5 (Insomniac) [PS2 – Cancelled]

Codename I:5 (aka “Girl with a stick”) is a cancelled game that was in development by Insomniac Games, between Spyro: Year of the Dragon (2000) and Ratchet & Clank (2002). As the name of the project suggests, it was going to be the 5th game from Insomniac studio, but after some time they decided to stop the works on it, as it was not much fun to play. I:5 was never officially announced, but  they talked about it in one of their “The Full Moon Show” video podcasts, in which they even shown some footage of the prototype. The game was meant to be an action adventure / RPG, inspired by Zelda / Tomb Raider, in wich the main character was a girl with a stick as a weapon and magic powers, exploring a fantasy /prehistoric world. Huge props to Insomniac for sharing some info on their lost game!



Resistance 2 [PS3 – Beta]

Resistance 2 is a FPS developed for the PlayStation 3 by Insomniac Games and published by Sony in 2008. Metin has noticed a lot of differences between the old footage and the retail release (and even the private/public beta). The differences are mostly found in the multiplayer mode, as they didn’t change a whole lot in Single Player (or we did not see much from the early development so can’t accurately measure the changes). In Chicago, Hawthorne, Capelli and Warner run with you from the beginning through the alleys. These were previously Black Ops soldiers running with you and it was also a Black Ops soldier who throws a can to the other side of the street to determine where the Hellfire is.

The beta multiplayer mode:

* Objectives had a real names (go take over the gorge, go take over the lumber mill) instead of “capture the beacon” on every single beacon.

* Augers had the RFOM shield (a plate shaped shield in front of you instead of half a circle in front of you).

* Wrath was called the Minigun early on, it didn’t spin up so fast as it does now and it was less powerfull.

* Marksman was called the Sharpshooter early on, and it didn’t have the 3 bullet burst, it had a regular 1 shot with 10 bullets in a clip instead of 33.

* When you killed someone you’d see ammo boxes pop out of there bodies (might sound weird but it actually looks good).

* Grenade boxes looked like the grenade boxes in Co-op.

* Carbine had alot of recoil and a different aim.

* The water on the ground of Orick was not there in the early footage, it only had a dry ground. Also Orick was called Scotia before the private beta began.

* Also in the lumbermill there is a sort of catwalk going to the top, it’s where a Titan spawns in R2 co-op, they had large iron crates there, and wooden poles ontop of eachother there, these were removed in the final game.

* Secondary fire for the Wrath was supossed to be like this: you press R2, you drop a tripod and you get a shield up in front of you. You can’t move, just turn and aim. You could only be killed by a grenade, someone meele’ing you in the back, or a Sniper shot right where the barrel of the gun comes out. (my guess is they changed this because it would not work in a fast paced game like R2).

* Burning cars looked amazing, there was good looking fire, and thick black smoke coming from burning cars. The smoke would not go straight up in the air but it had a small twist to the right, probably due to wind.

Thanks to Metin and Robert_Kendo for the contributions! Thanks to Jason for the english corrections!




Ratchet and Clank [PS2 – Beta]

Ratchet and Clank was the first game in a series that would become a cash cow for Insomniac Games. The main goal of the game, is to blow up anything that moves, while exploring large levels for hidden items. The series is also known for it’s comical approach, with weapons such as the Morph -o- Ray, which turns enemies into chickens. There were some changes made to the final game however, one of which, involves the farm friendly foul.

In this video, can be seen what appears to be a mashup of different betas. To start with, at 0:22, it’s rather fast, but pause it and you’ll see the beta bolt meter, but in the top left part of the screen. In all Ratchet games, it’s in the top RIGHT. It can be seen there in another part of the video, but also in it’s proper place as well. At 0:49 can be seen a strange weapon icon, a no chickens sign. The HUD is still beta here, and the no chicken sign is too.  

Ratchet Deadlocked [PS2 – Beta]

Ratchet Deadlocked (Ratchet: Gladiator in PAL regions, also known as Ratchet & Clank 4) is an arena style shooter from Insomniac games, released on 10/25/05 for the Playstation 2. This game strayed the most from the standard gameplay of the Ratchet and Clank series, being the first and only Ratchet game to be based upon the idea of arena fights instead of exploration.

Combat bots at one point were supposed to have legs instead of their hover base. This changed how they affect gameplay, mainly because flying lets them get a better angle than they could by walking. Also to be seen here, is that when given a command, that command appears above their heads. This can be seen at the very start of the video. The combat bot on the left to be precise. Also here, is a beta version of the ammo crate. It’s orange here, but the final version is green. And also, the ammo refills are the Gadgetron ones, and they are cylinder shaped. The final versions, are more box shaped, and green and black in color. Finally, notice that Ratchet has two combat bots here, and rescues a third. It is not known if the third battle bot would have affected gameplay or not.

Evan Hanley found even more differences in the early trailers shown at E3 and Tokyo Game Show:

  • The Eviscerator lacked his leg pads.
  • Ace Hardlight has a different missile glove.
  • The combat bots had legs at one point.
  • The Landstalker had different missile sound effects.
  • The HUD was different.
  • The health bar was different.
  • The weapon icons look slightly different.
  • The number text for the health bar, ammo and bolts was different.
  • The minimap is different.
  • The robot ability box is a different shape.
  • There is no level text for the weapons.
  • The EXP text is different.
  • The EXP bar is smaller and harder to see.
  • The Weapon EXP bar is different and in a different position.
  • The Landstalker’s health bar is different.
  • The Flail Whip has no hit sound effect.
  • The Electric Mine Launcher has a different sound effect.
  • Ratchet doesn’t grunt when hit.

The Online Multiplayer footage has pretty much the same differences as the Tokyo Game Show Trailer but has different HUDs and activity texts for different modes.

Thanks to Evan for the contribution!