Ratchet and Clank Future: A Crack in Time Panel Recap

Insomniac takes fan service to new levels in its panel from the last day of Comic-Con 2009.

Who Was There: The panel consisted of equal parts Insomniac staffers and voice talent. From the development team there was creative director Brian Allgeier, project director Bryan Bernal, and writer T.J. Fixman. Representing the game's voice actors were James Arnold Taylor (Ratchet), Armin Shimerman (Nefarious), and Joey D'Auria (General Azimuth). Moderating the panel was GameSpot editor-in-chief Ricardo Torres.

What They Talked About: The panel was geared toward giving Ratchet fans a better idea of what to expect out of A Crack in Time--not only with the panel discussion, but also by showing the very same bonus videos that will appear on the game's Blu-Ray disc. Insomniac started by talking story. A Crack in Time is all about wrapping up the cliffhangers that the last couple of games presented. Beyond that, the new game will explore the origins of Ratchet and Clank a lot more than previous games. There's a particular focus on exploring Clank's character, with a goal of explaining "why he is who he is."

After a bit of talk about the story, the panel jumped into the first of a series of videos. This was one of the unlockable bonus videos from A Crack in Time, a behind-the-scenes feature showing the design process of the new enemies called Agorian Warriors--a tribe of big, hulking brutes. The video revealed concept art and original renders, moved onto the design process with various Agorian prototypes, and then showed the modeling and animation process. One of the highlights of the video was character animator Ben Van Dyken's desk, which had to have been covered with about a dozen empty coffee cups. His energy level definitely reflected that level of caffeine intake, especially in the enthusiastic way he made horrifying faces in a mirror in order to get a better idea of how to animate the Agorians' ugly mugs.

Then the voice actors talked about the voice acting process, starting with a focus on what sort of growth the actors have undergone. Armin Shimerman joked that his character has managed to become even more comically angry over time, even saying later that he had to tell his agent he can't schedule other voice work on the day after he's done a Dr. Nefarious recording session. James Arnold Taylor said that of all the voices he does (offering his Obi-Wan Kenobi voice from The Clone Wars as an example) Ratchet is the closest to his own natural voice, so he's been able to settle into a nice comfort zone as he's spent more time with this character. T.J. Fixman noted a blog news story he read recently about the entire Ratchet and Clank cast returning for A Crack in Time and how proud he felt that this had become a newsworthy cast--something you don't often see in games.

After the voice acting discussion, the developers got into the nuts and bolts of gameplay. For the new time-manipulation mechanic, they looked toward Braid and other time-bending indie games as inspiration. They then did a lot of research and testing before settling on the current time pad idea, where Clank stands on a pad on the ground to allow him to record instances of himself running around. They thought this pad system was the best combination of action and puzzle-solving.

Then they moved onto the subject of weapons. One of the new weapons is the winner of the community contest that asked fans to design their own weapons. The winner, whose name is Jackson, was actually sitting in the front row, and Insomniac made sure to point him out and ask for some applause. Jackson designed the Spiral of Death, which shoots a spiral at enemies that Ratchet can continue to control by running around, causing destruction from afar. This weapon was likened to a deadly yo-yo. They also talked about the new modifiable constructo pistol and bomb glove. Both these weapons can be customized in the way they look and fire by collecting modifier parts spread throughout the game. For example, the pistol can fire shots that either ricochet and bounce or stick and explode on contact, while the bomb glove can fire explosives that achieve wide, tall, or traditional round explosions.

Best Audience Question: One guest asked about what sort of bonus content they're aiming to put in the game, considering there's so much space to work with on a Blu-Ray disc. Bryan Bernal responded by letting him know that the Insomniac Museum will once again return in A Crack in Time. You'll be able to access it by either achieving 100 percent completion or simply preordering the game.

Worst Audience Question: The audience was on top of its game, failing to ask a single embarrassing question. So in the absence of a bad question, we'll throw in a funny anecdote just to fill this space. As the panel was winding down, fans were told there was only time for two more questions. The kid at the microphone--who couldn't have been older than 8 or 9--responded instantly by stating, "Well, I have three questions."

The Takeaway: Insomniac definitely seems to be a studio that appreciates its fan base. Among the community weapon design contest, showing a bunch of exclusive bonus features, a brand-new trailer, and revealing plenty of new details (yes, rhino weapons will be back. Yes, there will be lots of qwark) that fans want to know, it's clear this is a studio that values the people who play its games. Oh, and the game looks pretty great too.

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38 comments
jjwrigh28
jjwrigh28

I hope that in this ratchet and clank game you are able to download armour,gadgets and weapons from previous ratchet and clank games. That would be so cool.

giggidy8008
giggidy8008

aww yeah, this game will rock. the bomb glove is coming back and so is the insomniac museum. i have a feeling this is gonna be a good game.

Hairygrim
Hairygrim

BOMB GLOVE!!! Classic FTW. And there hasn't been an Insomniac museum since #3, so it should be interesting to see what's in it (I loved the museums, spent hours playing around in them).

MuShuuzzz
MuShuuzzz

I hope there are more rc games after this though. but @andy_lyall, what was wrong with jak x? or was it just cause a new jak game had finally come out but *gasp* it wasnt the actiony platformer game we all know and love. I guess that was kind of dissapointing back to ratchet and clank, they should have used more of the user created weapons. I looked through them and there were some really cool ones. and to Insomniac please please please have more guns and more leveling and upgrades for those guns like when you could upgrade your weapons like 4 times all the way to ultra in going commando. please

andy_lyall
andy_lyall

@MuShuuzzz You are correct sir. A new Jak game (as long as there is no racing involved) would be great. I still prefer Ratchet and Clank though. Future is supposed to close off the storyline though so this could be the last we see of our friendly neighbourhood Lombax.

scepterone
scepterone

The Rachet and Clank games, are the only reason I got a ps3! I loved all the ps2 games. I did not have a ps2 until two months ago. Before my ps3, I had the original xbox, I was not too pleased with the system, so this generation, I choose a ps3 as my console. I cannot believe the quality of games that are on the console! I have already pre-ordered Uncharted 2: Among Thieves and Rachet and Clank: A Crack In Time. Sony is going to make me go broke! Great Job Sony!!

MuShuuzzz
MuShuuzzz

They should use the weapon customization from deadlocked and have as many weapons as going commando. then this ratchet and clank would fulfill my hopes and dreams. now all we need is a new jak and daxter for the ps3.......... and does no one even remember what RYNO stands for? geez

Cenceless_777
Cenceless_777

@ratchetcooper1 They're not going to revive Jak and Daxter on the PS3 get your news straight. Jak and Daxter The Lost Frontier will be released on PSP and PS2 not the Playstation 3. On topic Insomniac are awesome they make great games yearly they're one of my two favorite developers the other being Naughty Dog

ratchetcooper1
ratchetcooper1

Yes! Btw, they are gonna revive the Jak and Daxter series on PS3 its gonna be called The Lost Frontier. Too bad that they don't have as many installments as the R & C series does. They really messed up with Jak X. I'm pre-ordering it. For the Insomniac Museum. But its not a problem to me, pre-ordering is actually better for me.

shani_boy101
shani_boy101

Ratchet and Clank rules! i'm yet to get any of the PS3 ones but this will great i bet. shame its rivals Jak and Daxter weren't revived for the PS3. i really need another Jak game.

chappy_man
chappy_man

i know it might be pushing it but i would love a co-op mode i miss the good old Deadlocked times.

Ghost120x
Ghost120x

This will be the best one yet.

davidoats2
davidoats2

I think that I'll love this game once I buy it that is.

TheAcejoel99
TheAcejoel99

Insomniac does it again!!!! I love the ratchet and clank games!!! Now for some resistance 3 news!!!!

Bluegreen17
Bluegreen17

OMG I am so excited! I need this game! I can't even form an intelligent sentence because I'm so excited! :D

rimidi
rimidi

This will definitely be a preorder for me because I want that Insomniac Museum and I know that I will never be able to get 100%. Crap, its Gamestop. I hate Gamestop. But still I guess they'll be getting my money.

NuKkU
NuKkU

cannot wait for this game still gotta get ToD and QfB thru

VenomRitual
VenomRitual

@nixxl15 yeah up your arsenal was fun but nefarious on the last stage is ridiculously hard. and yes I better see a Jak 4 coming soon.

Devil_Vergil
Devil_Vergil

More Ratchet and Clank is never a bad thing. . . .

Jak_Napier
Jak_Napier

a great gift idea for the upcoming holiday season.

PSdual_wielder
PSdual_wielder

I'm definitely getting this game in the holiday season.

shii666
shii666

by god... I can't wait! Quest for Booty just didn't cut it, this better be the best Ratchet and Clank game yet!

Vojkan80001
Vojkan80001

now we only need Jak to come to PS3 and ill be happy

XpichoX
XpichoX

i love Ratchet and Clank!!!! =]

nixxl15
nixxl15

Ratchet & Clank & Jak & Daxter rule maaan! btw @VenomRitual, I'm playing Up Your Arsenal :D. I just won the thyrra disguise. The game rules! :D

VenomRitual
VenomRitual

i played up your arsenal and for those that think this is too kiddie for them, think again. the game is hard. i couldn't even beat nefarious on the last level even with all my weapons maxed out

GuywithNoName
GuywithNoName

Ratchet and Clank owns can't wait for the new one.

exavierx
exavierx

will this one have more game modes? cause i loved multiplayer in the previous ones R&C 3 and R&C Gladiator

Mj-Healy
Mj-Healy

So many games in Q4.... but I love me some Ratchet & Clank.

MonkeyAxe
MonkeyAxe

Cool, Ratchet and Clank is always good anyday. ;)

Sechu
Sechu

I am looking forward to the new episode of Ratchet and Clank, too.

red-drybones
red-drybones

Go Ratchet!!& Clank I'm defenatly keeping the first four games for the Ps2 for as long as I can

ziki88
ziki88

ratchet and clank ftw

Bioshockraptor
Bioshockraptor

This is my number one most anticipated game of all time, I'm so excited for it. Thanks GameSpot. :D