Insomniac Games is an American video game developer based in Burbank, California since 1994. They are know for their close relationship with Sony Computer Entertainment; for 18 years they developed games only on PlayStation platforms. This relationship was so pervasive that many assumed that they were a Sony first-party outright despite them remaining independent until 2019. During that time they were considered a driving force of PlayStation systems as their titles were often well-received and considered integral to those consoles lineup, with franchises such as Spyro the Dragon, Ratchet & Clank and Resistance.
The company was founded in February 1994, who was soon joined in the enterprise by the brothers Alex and Brian Hastings. While the studio was originally named "Xtreme Software", the existence of another company with the same name forced a renaming in 1995. Other company names such as "The Resistance Incorporated", "Ragnarok", "Black Sun Software", "Ice Nine" and "Moon Turtle" was suggested, but "Insomniac Games" was eventually settled on.
For their first four games Insomniac published through Universal Interactive Studios, but after the release of Spyro: Year of the Dragon, Insomniac decided to have their games published directly by Sony, meaning they could no longer work with Universal on new Spyro games (in a situation that mirrored Naughty Dog and Crash Bandicoot). After trying to develop two games ideas that were eventually canned* , they created Ratchet & Clank, possibly their most well-known property and the only one they made games for on the PlayStation 2.
Starting in 2013 with Fuse, Insomniac took a dedicated stance towards owning the IPs of the games they developed. Fuse was their first ever multi-platform game,* in partnership with the now-defunct EA Partners Program, and their stance on their IPs led to them partnering with Microsoft Studios for Sunset Overdrive on Xbox One, their first game exclusive to a non-Sony platform. In 2015 they released their first PC title, Slow Down Bull.* Despite being a prolific developer, the anticipation for Spider-Man (PS4) overshadowed that of all their past releases.
They're pretty chummy with fellow developer Naughty Dog, trading game references between each other during the PlayStation 2 era and in particular using portions of Naughty Dog code in the engine used for the original Ratchet & Clank games. They have also become known for having crazy weapons in their titles, especially in Ratchet & Clank, Resistance and Sunset Overdrive. On the side they have also created several mobile games, as well as VR titles exclusive to the Oculus Rift.
After of 25 years of being an independent studio despite their constant partnerships with the PlayStation manufacturer, Sony officially announced that they had fully acquired Insomniac, making them a first party developer for PlayStation systems.
Games and franchises developed by Insomniac Games:
- Spyro the Dragon
- Ratchet & Clank
- Ratchet & Clank (2002)
- Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando
- Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal
- Ratchet: Deadlocked
- Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction
- Ratchet & Clank Future: Quest for Booty
- Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time
- Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One
- Ratchet & Clank: Full Frontal Assault
- Ratchet & Clank: Into the Nexus
- Ratchet & Clank (2016)
- Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart
- Resistance: Fall of Man
- Resistance 2
- Resistance 3
- Outernauts: Monster Battlenote
- Sunset Overdrive
- Slow Down Bull
- Fruit Fusion
- Bad Dinos
- Digit & Dash
- Edge of Nowhere
- Song of the Deep
- Feral Rites
- The Unspoken
- Marvel's Spider-Man
Known canceled or discarded games:
- Monster Knight: The first attempt at the codename I5 (Insomniac title #5) concept starring a knight named Madi who would craft equipment from slayed monsters that take on their appearance and properties. This idea predates Monster Hunter by two years and was revealed thanks to IGN's History of Insomniac article ten years later. Monster Knight's RPG mechanics would influence the gameplay of the next idea: Ratchet & Clank (2002).
- Girl With A Stick: The second attempt at the codenamed I5 (Insomniac title #5) for the PlayStation 2, starring a staff-wielding mage character in a fantasy world. The team was never that enthusiastic about the game, however, so after six to eight months development was halted with Sony's blessing while they scrambled for a new game idea. The name would later be used as the codename for Resistance 3's beta, and referenced in Ratchet & Clank (2016).
- Ratchet Racing: The initial idea for I8 and a fourth Ratchet game for 2005, this idea would be canned extremely early on when Insomniac learned that Naughty Dog was making Jak X.
- Captain Starlight (a.k.a 1080Pinball) A scrapped space-themed pinball game that was in development in 2007, It was intended to be the most realistic pinball simulation ever but was later canned. See more about the game in this article on their official Facebook page along with some concept art.
- Ratchet Nexus: not to be confused with the 2013 game with the same subtitle in Europe, the second I8 idea revolved around Ratchet and Clank picking sides in a planetary conflict, and was darker in tone due to the popular Halo franchise. Much like with Monster Knight's RPG ideas, Nexus' darker tone would influence the third and final idea: Ratchet: Deadlocked, and the idea of a game taking place on a single planet would later appear in 2011's All 4 One.