So one of my favorite game franchises of all time was the Ratchet & Clank Series. As a kid, I started with ‘Going Commando’ and worked my way through the series in a really weird order, but even so I loved every second of their adventures throughout the galaxy. These games were one of my first open world video game experiences, and I wanted to delve a little bit into the unknown facts behind Ratchet and Clank.
Ratchet and Clank wasn’t Insomniac’s first PS2 idea
After the Insomniac Games team left Spyro the Dragon behind, they were looking to develop a new IP for the Playstation 2. However, Ratchet and Clank wasn’t their first idea for the PS2. A project called “I:5/Girl with a Stick” was their first idea, an action/adventure RPG that took inspiration from both The Legend of Zelda and Tomb Raider. This idea was eventually canned due to lack of entertainment value stemming from the game. This prompted the team to come up with a new idea in just a few months. Insomniac decided to branch into the possibility of an alien galaxy with the premise centered around alien gadgets and weapons. This gave birth to the infamous Ratchet & Clank weapons.
|Concept Art for Clank in the development stages.
As the IP advanced in development, both Ratchet and Clank underwent serious character modifications. Ratchet was at first a reptilian looking creature that barely resembled Ratchet as he looks in the games today. The only distinguishable feature that the first and last versions of Ratchet shared were the over sized hands and the pilot gear that he wore. Ratchet was morphed into a more catlike creature as development went on, but almost didn’t have stripes on his ears due to the development team not liking the idea. However, due to Sony’s insistence, Ratchet ended up having stripes on his ears in the final design.
Clank was very different in his beginning stages as well. Clank was initially several robots that were designed to power up Ratchet’s gadgets and backpack. This idea was deemed too confusing for players and a visual mess, so the idea was scrapped and Clank became one swiss-army-knife-robot.
Clank also got his big round eyes from a former design in which he was a robotic lizard which probably accompanied Ratchet’s reptilian design.
As many gamers know, Ratchet & Clank is famous for its innuendos in its games. These innuendos can be specifically found in the titles of the games. Games such as Going Commando, Up Your Arsenal, Deadlocked, Size Matters, Quest for Booty, and Full Frontal Assault are all games that include obvious innuendos in the titles. In the PAL regions, however, some of these names were changed due to the innuendos not sitting well with those regions. The game titles Going Commando, Up Your Arsenal, and Deadlocked were all changed to Locked and Loaded, Ratchet & Clank 3, and Ratchet Gladiator respectively.
|The game titles for the Ratchet & Clank franchise
Ratchet & Clank All 4 One for the PS3 actually had the working titles “Multiple Organisms”, “Bros Before Foes”, and “Friends with Benefits” as well as “4-Play” during production as well.
Ratchet & Clank A Crack in Time was originally going to be named “Clockblockers”, but the name was unfortunately shot down by the development team.
Ratchet & Clank Into the Nexus went under the working title “Into the Nether-Regions” during development, but was unfortunately shot down again by the development team (pesky developers…they’re no fun!)
There are many allusions in the Ratchet & Clank universe, and many of them come from skill points that you earn throughout the game. Two of the skill points that you earn in the games reference other games in the series. In the first Ratchet & Clank game, the final skill point that you can collect is named “Going Commando”, which is foreshadowing to the then in development sequel to the title. Tools of Destruction has a skill point in the game that goes under the name “No, Up Your Arsenal”,
|Statue of Dan Johnson found in Into the Nexus
which is a reference to the third game in the series, Up Your Arsenal. Other names for skill points include “Gotta Catch ‘Em All” referencing Pokemon and “You Can Break A Snow Dan” referencing an Insomniac employee by the name of Dan Johnson. An inside joke with Insomniac is that they put a reference to Dan in every one of their games beginning with Spyro 2.
Allusions to Dan Johnson include:
-In the original Ratchet and Clank, Dan’s face can be found on the monitors in the landing are of the Blarg station. His face can also be found on every starfish on the beach on planet pokitaru.
-His face can be found on a snowman in Going Commando and Up Your Arsenal
-The Museum of Intergalactic History in Into the Nexus has a statue dedicated to his memory. It says that he mixed Techno music, raised cats, and discovered the often overlooked secret of enjoying life.
Jak & Daxter
As stated a few articles ago in my Crash Bandicoot Easter Egg article, Insomniac Games and Naughty Dog worked very closely with one another. Continuing with the tradition they formed with Crash Bandicoot and Spyro the Dragon, Jack & Daxter and Ratchet & Clank included several shout outs to each other.
|A picture of Jak & Daxter that can be found in Clank’s apartment
-Jak 2’s Haven City has a billboard of Ratchet & Clank from Going Commando.
-In Ratchet & Clank Going Commando, there is a picture of Jak & Daxter in Clank’s apartment as well as a billboard of Jak & Daxter in Allgon City.
-Allgon City has a mission that when completed, Clank mimics one of Daxter’s victory animations from the first Jak & Daxter, including the same music track.
-In Jak X Combat Racing, Ratchet is an unlockable character if a Ratchet & Clank Deadlocked save file is found on the PS2 Memory Card.
-Ratchet and Clank Deadlocked includes an unlockable Jak skin for Player 2 to use.
Some Easter Eggs that can be found (other than the Dan Johnson Easter Eggs) are as follows:
-When entering the hoverboard challenge, if the player repeatedly does flips around the spokesperson, her breasts slightly grow.
-The planet in our solar system, Neptune can be seen from many planets/stations where space is visible.
-The Insomniac Museum could be accessed on planet Boldan in Going Commando. Find the fountain and enter the teleporter, but it is only active between 3 and 4 AM. To solve this issue, you can set your PS2’s internal clock to 5 minutes before 3 AM to get there without having to worry.
-If the Game Pyramid in Clank’s apartment is zapped with the Dynamo, one could play Sheep Invaders.
|The inside of the Insomniac Museum in Going Commando
-On Planet Todano, repeatedly killing the Robot Tourists as they emerge from the tour shuttle results in a series of increasingly serious HelpDesk messages urging you to stop.
-At the main menu of Up Your Arsenal, if you press L1, L2, R1, and R2 together, you will get to play a Sly 2: Band of Thieves demo.
-If the player pauses the game and presses circle, square, circle, square, up, down, left, left in that order, it will replace your wrench with a “ninja sword”.
-In Deadlocked, when you’re driving any vehicle including the Hovership, tap the L3 button to sound a horn.
-In Deadlocked, if you morph a flying enemy, there is a 1 in 4 chance that they will become a pig with wings.
-In Deadlocked, Agent Zero from Spyro 2 appears on the scoreboard.
-There is a secret level in Size Matters and Secret Agent Clank, which is the High Impact Games Treehouse. A picture of the High Impact Games crew can be found inside.
-If you can get your guns all the way up to level 99 in Deadlocked, the guns would start shooting rainbow colored ammo.
Ratchet & Clank are definitely infamous for their comedic games and occasional fourth wall breaks, which is why Insomniac Games are one of the best studios in recent history.
Hope you guys liked this article! If you have any thoughts or if there are things that I missed please let me know!