Insomniac launches social gaming division Click

Aiming to create social games deeper and more game-like than clicking a cow, Resistance and Ratchet & Clank creator Insomniac Games has launched a new social games division. Insomniac Click will develop games for web and mobile platforms.

Chief creative officer Brian Hastings laid out Insomniac Click's five-part 'Contract With the Audience' in a blog post. Click vows to first create games "that are fun to play independent of any social framework" then work on integrate social features. "We want to create worlds to explore, challenges to master and a continuing story to discover," he wrote, in games that are "easy to learn, hard to master." Social interaction is promised to be meaningful and mutually enjoyable, beyond simply nagging friends for gifts.

Hastings criticised the current rash of social games, focusing on--though not naming--Zynga's monstrous and horribly successful FarmVille and the many pretenders to its throne. "Many social games out there are more activities than games--that is, a set of tools but no problem," he said. "For instance, you plant crops and then harvest them to make more money so you can plant more crops. Your tools are: pick a crop, plant it somewhere, harvest a ripened crop. But what problem are you solving? There really isn't one. You can't succeed and you can't fail and that's part of the fun. But at the same time, without having a problem to solve, it's less of an actual game than Tic-Tac-Toe."

"We'll have more to announce and show off in the coming months," Hastings said. Insomniac Click is currently hiring programmers and artists.