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Insomniac says Outernauts is a franchise - not just a Facebook one-off

Insomniac Games dove into the world of social games this week with Outernauts. Lead designer Rowan Belden-Clifford tells Gamasutra how the studio plans to attract new fans.
Best known for its Ratchet & Clank and Resistance franchises, the Burbank, California-based Insomniac Games recently announced its new foray into the world of social games -- a move that isn't entirely surprising, given that the company formed a new social games division called Click just over a year ago. With Outernauts, the developer hopes to attracts a whole new audience to its work -- specifically, the Facebook audience. Players become members of United Earth's elite Outernaut force, heading out into the galaxy to take down pirates and evil corporations who are attempting to control all living things. "We are launching into a new platform, and wanted a new IP that would work well for both our longtime fans at Insomniac and new players on Facebook," Rowan Belden-Clifford, Outernauts lead designer, explains to Gamasutra. "The style of Outernauts has taken heavy direction from Dave Guertin, Greg Baldwin, and Brian Hastings, who all helped define and create the look, feel, and sense of humor found in Ratchet & Clank," he continues. Don't expect to see Ratchet & Clank or Resistance on Facebook any time soon -- Belden-Clifford notes that the developer couldn't have made use of its past IP even if it wanted to, as it doesn't own the rights to any of them. But as part of creating this new IP, Belden-Clifford tells us that the company is "very invested" in Outernauts, and plans to constantly expand on the game's universe and make the experience ever-lasting for players. "Insomniac builds franchises, so don't expect Outernauts to be going away anytime soon," he adds. A number of AAA developers who have recently jumped into bed with social games have also simultaneously tried their hand at mobile games. While Belden-Clifford says this is a "tempting" direction for Outernauts, he states that a mobile version for the franchise is a bit of a pipe dream. "This is our first foray into the wild new world of Facebook game development," he explains, "so we're completely focused on making this game the best it can be on the platform we've chosen." As for Insomniac's AAA console game development, the company has absolutely no intention of leaving the space it is currently most familiar with. While it won't be developing any more titles in the popular Resistance franchise, it does still have at least one console title, Overstrike, still on the go. "Of course, we're excited to see where Facebook, mobile and tablet games go in the future and are now well-positioned with games like Outernauts to help contribute to that collective direction," says Belden-Clifford.

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