It’s only one week to go until Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is released.
The PlayStation 5 receives another Exclusive title, heralding the next coming of “NO GAMES LOL”. But that’s a whole other argument which ignores a tonne of different factors, because I don’t know? People just like to be included, I guess? So as we prepare for its release; And having already crafted, designed and built a new Ratchet & Clank, we look at how it’s Composed. I’ll be honest; I had to think of a way to describe this breakout. It was originally called the Interdimensional Score of Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, but that doesn’t fit the series. So I thought music composition, composer etc. etc. and here we are:
Composing a new Ratchet & Clank.
For this final breakout of the day, Creative Director Marcus Smith rejoins us, with Composer Mark Mothersbaugh. If you haven’t heard of him, you may have heard some of his work. He did the first 4 films from Wes Anderson. He frequently collaborates with Phil Lord and Chris Miller. And he might have provided the synth-heavy 80’s tone of a beloved Kiwi classic, Thor Ragnarok. Kia ora Taika!
Oh, and he was in the rock group DEVO.
We descend into a fireside tale, as Smith takes us through how Mothersbaugh ended up on Rift Apart. From Smith’s youth when they discovered DEVO, through to time spent with his daughter and catching him on Yo Gabba Gabba, it felt like Mothersbaugh had always been in his life in some way; Whether it was being a fan of his work, or reconnecting through his own family. With that in mind, we slide toward the present, to bring ourselves back inline with where we were heading.
When thinking about the music for Rift Apart, Smith headed to Sony Music for an assist. As they spoke about what it would sound like, touching on that kind of futuristic, synth sound with influences similar to what we’ve seen from Marvel (a theme prevailing throughout the breakouts), the Sony Music rep. simply said “Why not just get the composer for Thor Ragnarok?“. Which means Mothersbaugh has now been brought directly into his life again, thanks to the game.
From there, Mothersbaugh takes over and reflects on his own youth, DEVO and how music has always guided him. It’s why he found himself on Rift Apart, and with it imparts a small anecdote on video games in his life. One day he had seen his nephew playing a game, and sat down to watch. While he took in the sights of this medium, he noticed “there was all this potential to do amazing things” with it.
What this has ended up as for him, hands over to Rift Apart. It’s how the sounds for the planets you’ll explore will differ, but find ways to tie back into the sound of the story itself. Having created a lot of music for television and film, they found the structure of games can bring all of this together in one title. And these differences in sound that come with how environments or levels change, was an exciting task for Mothersbaugh to take on.
Of course it’s to note, the creation of this music was done during A FREAKING PANDEMIC. And just how do you get around this? Well you record A FREAKING ORCHESTRA REMOTELY. Smith noted that in their experience, they’ve only seen a handful of people who can enter a space and do what they need to do without that sort of guidance you’d get from the composer. Yes, Mothersbaugh may have been with them remotely; But the Orchestra performing without him reflects their talent, and how well Mothersbaugh could communicate what he needed from them remotely.
It’s question time again!
Yes, dear reader. I did it again. Another question for our panel, which makes it 4 from 4. I decided this time around to get a little cheeky with it. I kept it short and sweet, wriggling in anticipation as I prepared what needed to be asked;
“IS THERE A WEAPON CALLED THE WHIP IT?!”
Smith rebuts with a humble “ba-dum-tss“, as Mark advises that no, there is no weapon called the Whip It in Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart unfortunately. But he does have one on his wall in the office, which is to only be used in DIRE STRAITS (not a music pun).
We then find out the rift problem has been fixed, meaning our day is done. The excitement and pride Insomniac have for the franchise, and the fantastical fortuities that came of it is hard to ignore. They want us to play this game. And I feel like you get that feeling from the trailers and interviews we’ve seen in the lead up to release. Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is the team saying:
“You’ve been here since the PlayStation 2. Welcome to the PlayStation 5”.
And I honestly can’t wait to be welcomed.