Of all the video game series to get the big film treatment, I would never think that Ratchet & Clank could be one of them. I started with this series back in 2002 on the PS2 when I was given the original game as a gift. I didn’t know what to think of Ratchet & Clank when I first looked at the cover. It looked like something from an older time, as if Insomniac was calling back to the previous generation and trying to make a platforming game reminiscent of Banjo-Kazooie. I loved Banjo-Kazooie, but it felt like the buddy-platformer was dead. I have never been more wrong…
Jak and Daxter got all the press, which I generally attribute to it coming out one year earlier. The first Jak was a great game that helped to revive to the then stagnant platforming genre just a little. Eventually Naughty Dog would transform Jak into something of a GTA-clone (with a ‘roided-up Jak) and they would ultimately lose me. In 2002 Ratchet & Clank became the 2nd of the Sony-Owned buddy platformers and found a way to out-perform Jak and Daxter at every junction and sequel.
Insomniac just released the ninth game in the R&C series (main line) on April 12, 2016. This game serves as a companion piece to the Ratchet & Clank feature film that releases on April 29th, 2016. I think it’s great that Ratchet and Clank are finally making their way back into mainstream popularity. Though this big push may be too little, too late, I’m happy this duo is getting their moment in the spotlight. The world need heroes like Ratchet and Clank right now and I hope this is just the beginning.
Ratchet & Clank Is a Series That Knows How to Have Fun
This is easily one of my favorite video game trailers of all time….
Video games are often like B-movies. They tell strange and wacky stories, with strange and exquisite acting (thanks Hollywood Babble-On), and often find themselves trying to be too serious. While we live in an era where games are once again about having fun, Ratchet & Clank have been the modern drum major for comedy in gaming. They’re like the Pxar of video games, plenty of jokes for the kids (that we ALL can laugh at) and a healthy smattering of jokes that go over their head. Insomniac has named R&C sequels like: Going Commando, Up Your Arsenal, and The Quest for Booty (Pirate themed…obviously). Gamers can benefit for more a more tongue-in-cheek atmosphere in an evergrowing sea of grey, military shooters. While the industry has begun to lighten up a little (thanks to indie developers), we’re still in a strange and murky climate. Ratchet & Clank have brought some brightness and much needed charm back to video games. Take a second and check out some of these weapons! I hope the developers that grew up playing R&C games don’t forget this duo!
Platformers are the Heart of Gaming
While there are tons of different video game genres these days. I feel like the classic and most recognizable is the Platformer. It takes us back to series like Mario and Sonic, it’s the source of many players’ first game. Even if we live within an environment that heavily emphasizes realism, technological advancement, and expansion, the platformer’s simple and relatable nature make it the heart of all gaming. When I sit down to play games for a few minutes, its almost always a platformer that takes my time. Everyone can think back to playing Super Mario games when they first started gaming, as Mario is the king of all platformers. In Mario’s court, though, are titles like Ratchet and Clank that represent the progression of the genre. Platformers need to stick around as I fear if we lose them to the FPS or even RPG, gaming will ultimately lose its soul. Ratchet and Clank is a perfect example of how a platformer can absorb other types of gaming and still not stray from its path. Few games play like R&C and that’s what makes it such an innovative and fun platformer. Ratchet & Clank need to band together with Mario and Shovel Knight and let everyone know that platforming games are HERE TO STAY!
Maybe We’ll Finally get GOOD Video Game Movies
Ratchet & Clank have a full-length, feature animated movie releasing on April 29, 2016. I can’t believe it! Of all the series to be released over the last 20 years, I would never think that Ratchet & Clank would have a movie in the theaters. Alas! They do! I’m excited to see this team finally grace the silver screen and I have hopes that the movie will embrace some of the wonderful comedy that is nestled within the games. I also hope that it’s GOOD, because we’ve been plagued with terrible video game movies since their inception. Ratchet & Clank could represent a step in a better direction. Video game movies, while not entirely necessary are an inevitability and as a gamer I want to see good representations of my favorite characters in film. If Ratchet & Clank is a good movie and performs well, we can hope that it will push companies to make good video game movies. Or it will maybe convince Disney to make a Wreck-It-Ralph II…which is the ultimate end goal.
Video games are taken as a serious medium for entertainment, but good films can further legitimize the genre as a great vehicle for good storytelling. I completely understand that R&C can be a steaming pile of garbage (the trailers fall a bit flat), but I still want it to succeed!
It’s a Great Series
When all is said and done, Ratchet & Clank is one of the best ongoing series in video games. As many franchises get weaker with age, Ratchet & Clank’s newest adventure is among the best. It shows how Insomniac is dedicated to giving us the series that we love, while still not forgetting to innovate. More gaming companies need to follow this model. Gaming has too openly embraced the over-annualization of popular (read: profitable) series, which has allowed many series to become stale and repetitive. While R&C games all feel the same, they always represent innovations on the model. Insomniac takes their time with these games and while there are some slip-ups (Deadlocked, All-For-One, and Full-Frontal Assault), I applaud Insomniac for their adherence to creativity and originality. I hope that they stick around and that their movie does well. We need more series like Ratchet & Clank to help inject some much needed joy into the grey, lifeless landscape of modern gaming.