Ratchet and Clank is one of my favorite game franchises of all time. I still remember the night I got my copy of the original, I must’ve played it for 6 hours straight. It’s safe to say I’m extremely excited for the remake coming to PS4 next year. A few days ago at Paris Games Week Sony showed off a new trailer for the game. From that trailer and some of the new gameplay demos there’s a lot to learn about this version. First off for those not in the know, this isn’t just the original with a new coat of paint. Insomniac is completely rebuilding the game from the ground up. As such, there will be a lot of changes. There’s some things we’ve been told will be different but also some interesting things we can learn from the new content released that the developers haven’t talked much about.
So here’s what we’re certain about. First of all this version is going to feature different weapons from the original. In fact, I have not yet seen a single weapon that appears in the original game. While many weapons possess similar design, they are mostly updated versions from some of the later installments in the series. Insomniac has favored the option of bringing back the fan favorite weapons like The Groovitron or Mr. Zurkon, basically loading the game with the weapons the community has enjoyed the most. We’ve also seen a new weapon, The Pixelizer, that damages enemies and turns them into 16 bit versions of themselves. It’s likely that Insomniac has added other brand new weapons as well.
As for gameplay, Insomniac has made sure to modernize the game. The original actually didn’t allow the player to strafe while shooting, a feature that has become of staple of the series since the second installment. The new version will also feature the ability to upgrade weapons, another staple of the series the original was mostly without. Overall it should be much more polished and precise than the 13 year old game off which it’s based.
Insomniac has also stated that its going to try and remain faithful to the original level design. At Paris Games Week they showed off a gameplay demo of the planet Pokitaru, a planet I love and have spent many hours exploring. From what we saw the design looks identical to the original except for the odd enemy here or there. Everything from getting off your ship to flying around looks just as I remember (albeit much more gorgeous). In contrast a gameplay demo released in June on the planet Gaspar shows many changes. The planet appears to be built entirely differently. While it has the same volcano aesthetic the design differs drastically. In the new version Gaspar features a series of grind rails that are nowhere to be found in the original. These seem to change the design of one of the level’s areas altogether. It also seems that objectives have differed. In the demo Ratchet and Clank are killing enemies and collecting brains for a scientist. This quest didn’t ever occur in the original. While some may not like change, all in all I think this is actually nice to see. If Insomniac felt that a certain level was designed poorly or not quite up to their standards they now have to opportunity to change it for the better. I had a difficult time even remembering the layout of Gaspar because it was such a forgettable planet. It seems Insomniac will keep the design of the areas that work and change those that need improvement. That bodes well for the finished product.
What has to be the most intriguing part of what we’ve seen so far is what is going to happen with the story. Before Paris Games Week, as far as we knew, the story was going to be the same as the original, which is the origin story. Basically this story follows Ratchet as he meets Clank and they set off on their first adventure, attempting to thwart the plans of Chairman Drek. The really interesting part about the trailer however, was that it presented the game as if Dr. Nefarious is the villain. Nefarious, who is easily the Ratchet and Clank series’ most popular villain, didn’t make his first appearance until the third installment in the series. That begs the question of what role he is going to play in this game. Not only him, but the trailer also makes reference to the galactic rangers, galaxy saving allies of Ratchet and Clank. Their first appearance was also in the third game. This makes me wonder what direction this game is going to go in. Luckily with the film coming out at the same time and sharing roughly the same story we may have some answers. It appears that a Dr. Nefarious origin type story may in fact exist alongside the main story. Based on the movie trailer and the game trailer we can see that Dr. Nefarious isn’t yet a robot, but actually sort sort of green alien species. This offers an interesting glimpse into the past of Ratchet and Clank‘s most notorious villain.
It remains to be seen though, how this will affect the game? Will their be more planets? Will there be a dramatic twist in the story Ratchet and Clank fans don’t see coming? Either way it’s definitely exciting seeing as we expected roughly a level for level remake. It seems Insomniac may have more in store for us and I for one can’t wait.