Ratchet & Clank: Quest for Booty Q&A

We check in with Insomniac's Brian Allgeier for an update on the upcoming downloadable game starring the company's platforming duo.

Ratchet & Clank: Quest for Booty was one of the pleasant surprises at Sony's E3 press conference this year. The original game marks a first for both Insomniac and the dynamic duo. The new title is a downloadable game set shortly after the events of last year's Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction, although it doesn't require that game to run. While Quest for Booty isn't meant to be a true sequel to last year's platforming adventure, it offers what Insomniac is hoping is a satisfying chunk of platforming action to tide fans over. We caught up with creative director Brian Allgeier to get more info on the upcoming game.

GameSpot: Why bring Ratchet to the PSN? When did the idea for it come up?

Brian Allgeier: During the development of Tools of Destruction we discussed with the folks at Sony how the Ratchet & Clank franchise might "touch the PS3 network." We wrote up a few proposals and the "Quest for Booty" concept was picked. We really liked the idea of smaller games with high production values that can be played in one or two sittings and cost less than a full-scale game. Personally, I've purchased a bunch of games that I have never finished and some games that I would like to try but do not have the time. I often wish I could play the more condensed version of a game that is shorter for a cheaper price. We thought it would be fun to try out this type of format and that it would be a great way to introduce new players to the Ratchet & Clank universe while at the same time revealing more on what happened to his friend Clank.

Ratchet's on the hunt for his buddy Clank in this episodic sequel to Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction.

GS: How did you handle gameplay without Clank?

BA: Without Clank, Ratchet loses his ability to jump farther and glide. This gave us the opportunity to focus the design on tighter and more challenging platforming. For example, there are areas of the game where Ratchet has to walk along a narrow walkway. If Ratchet had Clank, the player could high-jump and glide past a large chunk of the challenge. Without Clank, the player is forced to skillfully tiptoe along the narrow path.

We also upgraded the wrench to give Ratchet more abilities to compensate for the lack of Clank. The wrench now can extend and latch on to distant objects with its new "Wrench Tether" ability. This allows Ratchet to move platforms, load catapults, and compress special spring pads. Another wrench capability is that Ratchet can pick up and throw small objects. For example, he can pick up glowing creatures called "Helio-grubs" that can be carried to light up dark caves. Picking up and throwing objects adds an additional puzzle element to our classic platforming challenges.

GS: How does this story fit in with the cliffhanger at the end of Tools of Destruction? Without spoiling anything, would you say it ties into the story that we're expecting in the sequel?

BA: Well without spoiling anything, all I can say is that players will learn more about what happened to Clank and there will be a very surprising reveal...

GS: Is this just using the same engine as Tools of Destruction, or has it been enhanced?

BA: This engine is very close to the one that we used for Tools of Destruction. While we upgraded parts of the gameplay engine and improved how the scenes worked, for the most part we've focused on getting more out of our existing engine. Now that we have a better understanding of what we can do, we're exploiting some cool features and integrating them into gameplay. For example, dynamic lights and dynamic shadows are used more frequently, and we're letting players manipulate them with the new wrench abilities.

GS: How much content was repurposed from TOD in terms of characters and the like? Obviously Ratchet and some key cast members, but how about locations and such?

BA: Pirates from TOD like Rusty Pete, Captain Slag, and the crew are back. We really enjoyed developing those characters for RCF: TOD and felt they had a lot of potential for their own story. We're introducing a new pirate captain named "Angstrom Darkwater." He has his own crew with a special twist that makes him feel much different from the other pirates. All the locations are new and are featured on a single planet called Merdegraw--a haven for space pirates.

GS: Did the fact that the game is downloadable affect how you approached development or design?

BA: One of the big benefits to working on a smaller game is that we get to spend more time on developing each part of the game. With the bigger games, it's harder to manage everything and keep track of what's going on. On Quest for Booty, I felt like we had more time to polish things up and create a richer experience.

GS: Does the game support trophies?

BA: Nope, we were wrapping up the game around the time the final spec hit and we weren't able to integrate them. All future Insomniac releases will have trophies though, including Resistance 2!

GS: How much gameplay is there to go through? How did you settle on how much content to include?

BA: Our primary goal was to make the game feel like an epic summer blockbuster movie. However, it's longer than most films in that the average player takes around three to four hours to finish it.

GS: Are there any unlockables?

BA: There are some secret weapon mods hidden throughout the levels that players can find to upgrade their weapons. We also have a couple of hidden Easter eggs in the game that I think fans will appreciate.

Ratchet will have plenty of uses for his trusty wrench in Quest for Booty.

GS: You've mentioned this is an experiment and that if the game is a success you'll consider doing more. Would you be open to episodic gaming or just stand-alone games like this?

BA: Currently, stand-alone games are more appealing to us. This game still took over six months to create with a small team! Making this small game was a fun experiment and if it takes off, there's always the possibility that we'll do more. Don't get me wrong, we're still interested in making massive games. Have you checked out Resistance 2 lately?

GS: When is the game coming out and how much will it cost?

BA: Quest for Booty will be available on the PSN store August 21, 2008 and will cost only $14.99.

GS: Thanks for your time.

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Discussion

73 comments
BunchNugget
BunchNugget

Amazing update interesting subject as for a game i HAVe gotta check it out also updates rock i guess i'm bored but hanging out gotta check out the new site features crew girl say high y o

Shmoe82
Shmoe82

This could be a great game. I hope its as good as Tools of Destruction.

SonicTheMonkey
SonicTheMonkey

No trophy support? >: ( Well fine, still looking forward to this downloadable game more than many of the disc games coming out this year.

gameie1994
gameie1994

@ marginalvalue Oh yes that is a good argument, one thing..... what the hell does that have to do with Rachet and Clank: Q4B? Take your nonsensical comments to the System War Forums Oh and yes i'll be picking this up if it comes out on Bluray in Australia ( I Just want it for the Hard Copy ;)....Do they sell PSN cards in Aus?

End-of-Heart
End-of-Heart

i'm an avid R&C fan, Tools was really underated to me, i thought it was fantastic, really enjoyable. Ryno 4 anyone? XD but yeah. i can't wait to see how they work with no clank in this. and how rachet has to overcome obstables with the lack of his best buddy. Also i always thought his Wrench was rather left out in previous titles i'm excited that it will be able to do so much more with it now.

uglynuncreative
uglynuncreative

I'm a R&C fan, I'll probably get this, but I'm not happy about it's length, I felt like TOC was too short in and of itself. More and more now I always hear about how people whine that they want shorter games because they don't have time to play a regular length game and I gotta say it's kind of bull-puckey. Why should their life decisions impact the overall quality of game that the rest of us purchase, so you got married and your wife's a pain, so you had kids and gotta take 'em to the game, so your boss is a douche and you're working Saturday again. All these things are easily fixed and/or avoided but they're your deicisons and now because of you and your whiney ass we're getting ever shorter premiere games, plus Ratchet and Clank 4 hours long? Look, man, you need to get a divorce and set your wife up with a friend who did you wrong once (cuz once she sucks his ass to the altar you can get rid of that alimoney bull-puckey), friggin drop the kids at a orphanage, and take your boss on a deep-sea fishing trip that only you return from - assuming you go out beyond territorial waters, all three of the above are perfectly legal AND morally just! Then you can play video games, unless.... the real problem is you don't have time to play video games because there's other stuff in your life that you value more, in which case, shut the **** up and stop whining, because I hate this 20 hour long BS.

marginalvalue
marginalvalue

whoever said that the 360 cant compete with the ps3 and is behind in sales is just oblivious to whats really going on. ps3 has sold only 14 mil units worldwide the 360 has sold over 20 mil. when you break it down 360 has more units sold in Europe and the US and only trails in Japan ... no suprise there Japanise will not buy a system thats from another country. what is a suprise is that the 360 has well over twice the units sold in the best consumer market for games. 360 is absolutley crushing the ps3 in sales in the US with well over twice the units sold which is why the 360 has such an insane attachment rate... us gamers buy more games and make gaming companies richer. even last week ps3 only sold only 41,027 units the 360 once again more than doubled that with 89,568 units sold. dont fool yourselves the 360 is winning with better graphics and memory hardware and processing that is in practice as good if not better than what the ps3 has with its cell processer... and that comes strait from the developers. practicly speaking the games on my 360 just look and play better and have far better online.... and yes i own msg4 for my ps3 lol.

BlackKnightOfH8
BlackKnightOfH8

I love the Ratchet & Clank series. An while i'm sure this will also be a great game... i'm more interested in hearing an annoucement for Ratchet Deadlocked 2 or Up Your Arsenal 2 complete with DR. NEFARIOUS.

shadowkiller11
shadowkiller11

i recently just brought RAC:TOD and its great i should of got it earlier. this game i will get though it seems abit too short while i get the idea shorter game, cheaper price i think 3 or 4 hours is too short. and i bet this will affect reviews of the game when it comes out even though devs admit it and said that its a cheaper price because of shorter game.

hsedai
hsedai

looks to be tremendously fun

titanviper2000
titanviper2000

Ratchet and Clank at an affordable price. Fifteen bucks for anything R&C is worth the money. In my estimation, one of, if not the best platforming franchises in all of video gaming history. I'm really looking forward to this title.

CherokeeXP
CherokeeXP

"large-as-life Damn, it's stuff like this that makes me regret not having a PS3. Or any next-gen system at all for that matter." Its a current-gen system. It was next-gen about 3yrs ago. Why do people still call it next-gen? It was released in 2006!!

zuec
zuec

can't wait for this!!

G-Legend
G-Legend

If Sony brought out those damn PSN cards I would be able to buy this...omfg....

miltiadous
miltiadous

I don't have access to the PSN...

gamerkiduri
gamerkiduri

i dont really like ratchet and clank. i like jak and dexter more.hope they make jak and dexter for ps3

Detrun
Detrun

What a sweet deal!

DANNNNNNYYYYYYY
DANNNNNNYYYYYYY

OMG I SO CANT WAIT FOR THIS GAME, ITS GUNNA BE AWESOME!!!!!!

jmdude
jmdude

A great game for a great price

large-as-life
large-as-life

Damn, it's stuff like this that makes me regret not having a PS3. Or any next-gen system at all for that matter.

Scianix-Black
Scianix-Black

Sweet. Ok Naughty Dog, you can announce a new Jak and Daxter game now :D

Azuki
Azuki

I am so glad insomniac are doing this, waiting over a year for the next full ratchet game is killing me. Yay for episodic content. I wonder if our weapons will carry over from tools of destruction, I don't really feel like leveling them all up again, must have beaten tod 6 times by now.

trenno2529
trenno2529

fellas, if u don't like these games, why bother commenting on this article? r&c is awesome, and hugely successful. go away.

PSdual_wielder
PSdual_wielder

Got about 20 days to find tools of destruction, probably rent it, and beat it.

istylee
istylee

Woo can't wait to get this when it's out.

rsb27
rsb27

People, why do you dis R&C? It is a cool and fun game.

blancobo
blancobo

Guys: shame on you for wasting your feedback on an ignorant kid. The fact is that "Quest for Booty" - I mean that name! - It can not get any better than that!, is a great opportunity to entertain us with Ratchet and Clank until next year. We had Resistance, then R&C ToD, now Resistance 2... it can not get any better. I met the Insomniac games back in the day of the PS2... (R&C) That is one solid platform!. Now Resistance, it is basically what another great platform can become. The fact of the matter is that Quest for Booty is a cheap, Hi-Def short game. Hopefully we will know how many hours of gameplay are within the game ! Important in order to understand the price point (more than words can say). I am convinced this game is going to be great! the developers are committed to the system, the fan base and KNOW how to wrok with the software... hopefully more can be squeezed from the Cell this time around. THose ARE the main issues. These ARE some of our concerns and most importantly, what we aspire to squeeze out of the product. Honestly... at 33, I have to juggle my time between work, family, rest, work, and family, and some gameplay. I NEED my games to be awesome! This is a sure thing for QfB I feel can be forecasted. I just want the true fans to stay loyal to the subject! Let us ignore these little minds that just want to "mix it up" and laugh about it while mommy feeds them Honey Nut Cheerios! nofsaid!

IIHitandRunII
IIHitandRunII

Can't wait, but i wish it was less than 15$ will still buy it though. Was pretty surprised when i saw the release date.. pretty cool

Fresh10112
Fresh10112

I don't kno what the hell you guys hatin' on R&C for. If you don't like it thats cool, but why you posting s*** about it and reading the article if you don't like it?

NND1
NND1

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

Pirple
Pirple

I cant wait to get the new Ratchet:Quest for booty,and Resistance 2!!!

Drake007_1
Drake007_1

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

Raghall
Raghall

Wow Vasot. You have discovered a new level of Suck. And you have revealed to us all that you Epicly Fail at life in Two ways. One: You Dised on the PS3, big mistake.(Especially sence ,According to my information, the PS3 is currently doing beter than the X360 Dispite its One year lead) Two: You dised on the R&C series, and thats a VERY big mistake. So I suggest you just wallk away before your pride gets mortally injured

mustug
mustug

This looks cool, but too bad I don't have a PS3.

Ratchetbuddy101
Ratchetbuddy101

@Vasot, If Sony is wasting their time with "childish games", and why is Microsoft making Lips, You're in the Movies, Viva Pinata 2, and BajooKazooie?

footfoe2
footfoe2

I'll get it but i'm tired of ratchet and clank, it was never a good platformer to begin with. I want some Jak and DAXter!! Naugty dog pwns Insomiac

thanos723
thanos723

i can't wait to get this. i fell in love with ratchet and clank when i got tools of destruction

RiversKid
RiversKid

vasot have you even played Ratchet and Clank if you have you'd know its not childish

tubarao1
tubarao1

vasot R and C childish? what about banjo kazooie? hahahahah

GARRYTH
GARRYTH

vasot im 31 and i have beat tod now i will be getting this. it not childish at all if you actually played you understand.

vincentw56
vincentw56

@Vasot I'm an adult and love to play this sh*t. Don't be such a Xbox 360 fanboi. I have the 360, PS3, and Wii. I play all three because I like playing games. I don't need to play only mature games because I am not a 12 year-old jerk. Any way, I am almost through Tools of Destruction so I will be getting this when it come out also.

Vasot
Vasot

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]