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The game's creators Marcus Smith and Drew Murray pitched the game to numerous companies, but all of these pitches broke down over Insomniac's condition that they own the IP for Sunset Overdrive. They ended up pitching the game directly to Microsoft several times, who were more open to Insomniac owning the IP, and they ended up publishing the game as an Xbox One exclusive. The "main pitch" that presented the core ideas of the game to several executives however was noted for being unconventional, with Murray arriving wearing his "lucky shoes", riddled with holes, which he had not changed in two weeks:

Murray: "We're presenting, and I have these wet socks up in Seattle. I swear, there must have been six or seven levels of [Microsoft executive] hierarchy at this thing."

Smith: "It's the guy we know, and his boss, and his boss, and his boss... But it started off with us cluing into the speaker system in the conference room and playing the sample from the beginning of MC5's 'Kick Out the Jams', where it's like, "kick out the jams, mother fucker,' not knowing that one of the executives there hates swearing. And then it ended with Drew on top of a chair, mimicking how the game was going to play, and the last minute heroics. It was epic, and I'm shocked they didn't walk away from the table at that point. But for some reason, here we are."
Contributed by MehDeletingLater
If the player attempts to swim out of bounds the initially invisible boundary preventing this will then be visible when the player gets close to the point where giant lettering on it can be seen saying "INVISIBLE WALL" and below that "SECURITY PROVIDED BY FIZZCO".
Contributed by PirateGoofy
The "Insomniac Games" poster in the opening credits references other games made by the developer under humorous names:

• Rivetor FMV (Disruptor)
• Flyro the Wagon (Spyro the Dragon)
• Flyro 2: Flipto's Gauge (Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage)
• Flyro 3: Gear of the Wagon (Spyro 3: Year of the Dragon)
• Catchet + Frank (Ratchet & Clank)
• Catchet + Frank: Going Again (Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando)
• Catchet + Frank: Round Up Your Decimal (Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Aresnal)
• Dreadlocks (Deadlocked)
• Persistence: Stall of Man (Resistance: Fall of Man)
• Catchet + Frank Moocher: Rules of Seduction (Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction)
• Catchet + Frank Moocher: Blessed With Booty (Ratchet & Clank Future: Quest For Booty)
• Persistence 2 (Resistance 2)
• Catchet + Frank Moocher: Snack'N Time (Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time)
• Persistance 3 (Resistance 3)
• Catchet + Frank: 4-Play (Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One)
• Chowdernauts (Outernauts)
• Overstrike (Fuse)
• Catchet + Frank: Into the Texas (Ratchet & Clank: Into the Nexus)
Contributed by DrakeVagabond
Many of the respawn animations are references to other media, these include:
Portal
• Dracula
• Mission Impossible
• Bill and Ted-esque Phone Booth
• The Ring
• Terminator
Star Trek
• Risky Business
Contributed by DrakeVagabond
At the top of a ship docked at the south-east part of the city, there is a telescope. Looking through the telescope will cause the player to say "Okay, I'm here. Do I synchronize now, or what? Oh, wrong game." This is a reference to the Assassin's Creed series.
Contributed by DrakeVagabond
In the mission "Crimson Eyes in the North", the last target is a Ice Banana stand. After destroying it, the player remarks that there's always money in the banana stand, referencing a running gag from the show Arrested Development.
Contributed by DrakeVagabond
The side mission "Breaking Booze" is filled with references to the TV show "Breaking Bad".
Contributed by DrakeVagabond
According to Marcus Smith, the game returns to Insomniac's "roots" and draws influence from SEGA games like Crazy Taxi and Jet Set Radio.
Contributed by DrakeVagabond