Sony has found itself in a unique situation, one that has rarely happened before (with other companies, though) and will likely never happen again. Following its acquisition of Marvel's Spider-Man developer Insomniac Games, the Sunset Overdrive IP was in limbo for a few short weeks as the IP was sorted. Now, it's been confirmed to belong to the PS4 brand owner, meaning Sony now owns an Xbox exclusive game.
Just because it owns it, however, doesn't mean that the company plans to do anything with it. Sony has left any game-making decisions at Insomniac Games to Insomniac Games, a not altogether bad deal for the mostly independent developer. According to president of SIE Worldwide Studios Shuhei Yoshida, "Insomniac is a powerful developer, so I can only say that I am looking forward to future titles." It may be surprising that Sony doesn't have plans for Sunset Overdrive, but the real question is: Should it even make Sunset Overdrive 2?
There are a ton of facts at play when it comes to considering Sunset Overdrive 2, not least of all the awkward situation it would create. Theoretically, Sony could remake the original for the PlayStation family of consoles, but considering how old it is, how its fan base would be entirely Microsoft, and how much work would be involved, this doesn't seem likely. This would likely result in a one-of-a-kind scenario where the first game in a franchise was an Xbox One exclusive, and the second was exclusive to a PlayStation console. It's easy to see how this could be incredibly confusing, as many may want to replay the original, but that would impossible for those who don't own both consoles.
There's also the consideration of what Insomniac Games wants to do. What was made clear about the Sony Insomniac Deal is that the developer's agency, autonomous process, and independence would also mostly stay in tact. SIE chairman Shawn Layden said that no one intends to go in and tell Insomniac how to make a game, instead opting to let the developer do what it does best (make great games) but provide it with more resources to do so with.
Insomniac Games has expressed interest in the past, as recent as 2018 actually. CEO Ted Price has voiced support for Sunset Overdrive 2, suggesting that it isn't outruled on the studio's part, but there's certainly bigger fish to currently fry. Spider-Man launched to universal acclaim, even recently receiving a GOTY edition, and was no doubt a PS4 console seller for many Xbox diehards. Because of this, it makes the most sense to have the majority of Insomniac Games working on Marvel's Spider-Man 2 instead of Sunset Overdrive 2.
If it came down to a choice between the two Insomniac Games franchises, Spider-Man 2 would win hands-down. That's not saying Sunset Overdrive is a bad game; it isn't by any means. It's currently sitting at a 7.8 user score and 8.1 critic score on Metacritic, and a post-apocalyptic world dominated by energy drinks was an appropriately unique spin for 2014. But the simple truth is living up to Marvel's Spider-Man would be harder than most franchises.
Now, assuming that Sunset Overdrive 2 was made, it would likely receive a worthwhile amount of attention, but then the distance between releases is something to consider. If the game was somehow miraculously released next year (and it wouldn't be), then that's 6 years between entries. For releases like Borderlands 3 and the long-awaited Elder Scrolls 6, this is nothing because its name alone can carry hype, but for a relatively small franchise, it's everything. It could prove disastrous to the launch of Sunset Overdrive 2 and be a counter-intuitive death knell.
Combining the time — which would realistically fall closer to the 10-year mark — with the fact that it would not only be jumping brands, but generations, is something that will likely weigh heavily on any decision for Sunset Overdrive 2. With next-gen consoles releasing Holiday 2020 and around then, Sunset Overdrive 2 would most likely end up on the PS5 halfway through its lifespan. Case in point: One of the very first Xbox One titles would be remade and released on the PS5 a few years after it initially launches.
That very statement sounds about as awkward as the situation would be, thereby suggesting that Sunset Overdrive 2 is just a dream. Now, it may very well be a nice dream, but the reality of the situation is so complex that it's better to let sleeping dogs lie. Xbox already has a growing array of first-party developers, meaning that the contest between Xbox and Playstation exclusivity next gen may not be as cut and dry as the current console generation, and Sunset Overdrive 2 wouldn't change that in any way.
Sunset Overdrive is available now as a Sony-owned Xbox One exclusive.