Insomniac Games is an independent American video game developer responsible for the Spyro, Ratchet & Clank, and Resistance series of video games. The company has since developed games for all three major Sony video game consoles. The company is currently headquartered in Burbank, California and has a second building in North Carolina. The company is known for it's relaxed working environment (Including a fully-stocked kitchen, several different recreation areas, in-house masseuse, and more.) and has been named as one of the top 10 Best Small Companies to work for in America for 3 years in a row.
Insomniac Games was founded in 1994 by Ted Price and Alex Hastings, who were working on a game for the Playstation which would later be known as "Disruptor". After going to several publishers and being turned down, Ted and Alex met Mark Cerny of Cerny Games who took interest in their project, later referring them to Universal Studios. This relationship helped the small amount of people of what was Insomniac finish the game on a limited budget. Even with the limited amount of technology available (Levels had to be mapped out on Microsoft Excel, as 3D mapping software was unavailable to them at the time.), it proved to be a learning experience to the team. After releasing Disruptor into the market, they sign a three-game contract with Universal. This was the beginning of Insomniac's Spyro franchise.
In 1997, Insomniac began working on their next game. Using a revolutionary 3D engine developed by Alex Hastings, it laid the groundwork for what would later be the Spyro series. Using the newly created technology, Insomniac was able to create large, open-ended 3D worlds to explore, something never done before for the Playstation. This is when Spyro the Dragon was begun. The aim of Spyro was to create a game suitable for kids, but entertaining fsor older audiences as well. In 1998, Spyro was released to the gaming market, instantly becoming a huge success, selling well over 5 million copies. For the next two years, Insomniac worked on two more Spyro games, adding such things as minigames and a new mix of sci-fi for the series. After finishing their game contract, Insomniac sold the license to Universal and began working with Sony to develop for the Playstation 2.
Ratchet & Clank
With the help of Naughty Dog, creators of the Jak & Daxter series, Insomniac was able to get a head start on creating an engine for the Playstation 2. Ideas for their debut game on the console were sketchy, one of the prototypes, codenamed "Girl With A Stick" (Which was later the codename for the Resistance 2 Closed Beta.) was darker, tribal-themed action RPG that featured a female protagonist with a multi-functional staff used for magic and combat abilities. The idea wasn't received well around the office and was later dropped in favor of a new idea: a furry character who flies from planet to planet with various weapons and devices at his disposal, this was the premise behind Insomniac's next game: Ratchet & Clank. After almost a year and a half of production, the game was released. Ratchet & Clank was well-received locally and abroad, it was the first American game to be bundled with the Playstation 2 in Japan, allowing it to reach the top 100 best-selling games, making it the first American game to do so. This was an early sign of the series' future success in Japan. For the next three years, Insomniac continued on Ratchet's path to greatness with Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando, Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal, and Ratchet: Deadlocked. After the development of Going Commando, several of Insomniac's employees left the company to create High Impact Games, which would later develop Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters and Secret Agent Clank for the Playstation 2 and the Playstation Portable gaming systems. After the release of Ratchet: Deadlocked, Insomniac was offered to begin development on a launch title for Sony's Playstation 3, this gave them the chance to take the company in a new, darker direction.
After several months of silence, Insomniac displayed a demo for their newest project, Resistance: Fall Of Man, an alien shooter set in 1950's England. Using the PS3's advanced hardware capabilities, the demo became the subject of much attention later on. After a year-long period of development, Insomniac released their first ever Mature-rated video game. Once again, the game received a large amount of praise for it's stunning gameplay and unique premise. Two years later, the sequel, Resistance 2 was released, taking the fight to America and building on what made the first title great. During the development of Resistance 2, Insomniac announced the Nocturnal Initiative, a development wiki aimed at the sharing of game development technologies, even lending some of their own technology to the project. 2008 also brought the announcement of a new sister studio for Insomniac in North Carolina to work on new intellectual properties. Led by creative director Chad Dezern, the studio opened in January 2009 and is working on a yet unannounced project. Insomniac Games is currently working on Resistance 3, due for release sometime in 2011.
Ratchet & Clank Future
Between the first and second Resistance games, Insomniac worked on Ratchet's first venture into the Playstation 3 with Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools Of Destruction, utilizing the Playstation's cell processor technology to push the console's graphics capabilities to the limit. After it's release, a short epilogue game was announced for the Playstation Network, Ratchet & Clank: Quest For Booty was later made available for download the same year. After the release of Resistance 2, Insomniac started work on the conclusion to the trilogy, Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack In Time. The game was promised to add a larger variety of gameplay and it would tie up any loose ends left from previous installments in the series. After being released received with good opinion from both the fanbase and reviewers. It is not known whether the series will be continued although rumors suggest a new installment in 2012.