2 posts down. Just over 2 weeks to go. Now we build.
We previously covered how the team at Insomniac hoped to craft and design this brand new world of Ratchet & Clank. And from craft and design, we move on to how they’re building it.
Senior Animator Lindsay Thompson returns from our Crafting breakout, along with Art Director Grant Hollis and Audio Lead Daniel Birczynski. Hollis takes the lead with Heroes Return, or how Ratchet and Clank got their groove back. We start with Clank, because let’s be honest it’s Ratchet AND Clank, not Ratchet FEATURING Clank! The team wanted Clank to keep “their iconic form“. You know the one; Our little boxy, backpack pal whose genius leaks out in fun, new, destructive weapons. And thanks, yes you guessed it, to the power of the PlayStation 5, the glorious beast it is, Clank is looking better than ever. They could utilise this power to create better looking materials and lighting, meaning our little shiny boi will shine even brighter in Rift Apart!
As for Ratchet, the rework was ever so slight. Their intent when building this new/old Lombax, was to keep his “go-getter attitude” while showing off his improved skills. And I feel that’s reflected in things like the new Phantom Dash being paired with the returning Hoverboots we spoke about in Design.
“Everything we make, we ask ourselves “where is the charm?” How is this charming?”
Charming segues to the Heroes Parade, where Ratchet and Clank are celebrated after the events of Into The Nexus. The team use this parade to show off how they’ve built these environments to represent our characters, whether it’s through visual flair or the return of popular supporting cast members or creatures. It’s also about the weapons, and how these look and upgrade. The team understands the series is famed for its insane arsenal, which is why Hollis says:
“What’s better than 2 barrels? Four. Which is what the Enforcer Exectuor is.”
Daniel Birczynski steps in and asks “what is the sound of the new Ratchet & Clank?“. Noting that they’ve worked with the franchise since the PlayStation 2, it has been an exciting journey for them with each iteration of the console. This continues with the PlayStation 5, as they find new ways to enhance the sound for our Lombaxian warrior; “Small differences make a big impact“.
Commenting on how the Tempest Engine helps build 3D audio for the game, they say you can hear ships above and below you in certain sequences, and how this helps dictate the direction enemies are approaching. Yes, your favourite platformer will soon have you listening like it’s an online frag match in your favourite shooter.
“With 3D audio you get a better feel of space.”
We move on to another round of questions from attending media. When asked about how Ratchet has evolved, Hollis and Thompson both jump in. They love that it feels like the series is finally reaching that animation-like feel, comparable to how a production from Pixar or Studio LAIKA would look. With Rift Apart, they feel confident this is the closest it’s ever got, and Birczynski agrees, adding that the audio built for the game reflects this. They say it “provides a deeper, detailed and richer audio experience” that you’d get from these productions.
As I said, my own challenge was to get questions in with every breakout, and so we go again! I said that I loved the teams excitement for the technology and game they’re building, and wondered if there was anything in particular that they’re most proud of with Rift Apart. The resounding answer was:
Hollis then added they’re excited for people to play the game and see a “PARTICULAR” moment toward the end of it, while Birczynski is proud of how hard they pushed themselves to match the level of work the other teams brought to the table. They continued that they’re proud of the emotional impact the music built for Rift Apart has on it; Acknowledging how it helps build on the game and story itself.
Then Zurkon Jr. ‘accidentally’ bites the Dimensionator, closing our rift.
There’s a deep sense of pride and excitement from the team as we barrel towards release. Like we opened with, it’s just over 2 weeks to go until we’re all rifted, so the air of anticipation has never been heavier for this upcoming exclusive. And I hope next weeks final piece helps push us all over this thrilling line, for the release of Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart.