Nice Guys Finish First!

January 21, 2005

Anyone with an MBA will tell you that there’s only enough room at the top for one. Competition is meant to separate the winners from the losers, and if you want to be a winner, you need to grab as much of the market as you can, at the exclusion of any other competitors.

Well what do they know?

Since separating from Universal Interactive Studios to form their own companies, Naughty Dog, Inc. and Insomniac Games have had a relationship that goes beyond friendly competition and straight into friendship. Though the two companies have been competing directly against each other since the days of the PS1, first with Crash Bandicoot and Spyro the Dragon, all the way to the PS2 with Jak & Daxter and Ratchet & Clank, Naughty Dog and Insomniac have remained the best of friends. Sharing technology, knowledge, and an occasional beer, these two companies at the top of their games prove that it’s not so lonely at the top when you bring a friend.

First, a little pre-history. How many Naughty Dogs/Insomniacs were originally at Universal Interactive Studios, and what motivated the exodus that created your respective companies?

(Ted Price, CEO, Insomniac Games) Al Hastings and I developed the demo for Insomniac’s first game Disruptor in the spring of 1994. We had been shopping the game around to various publishers for a while. We ended up signing a multi-title deal with Universal on the strength of that demo (which is kind of laughable – or lucky – looking back on it). We were on the Universal lot until Spyro 2. The reason we moved out was that a more A