For the remake of Ratchet & Clank for the PS4 the goal was to bring the elements that worked from the PS1 Ratchet & Clank over to the PS4 and update them to ensure an optimal next gen experience, such as the controls which were originally designed for the PS1 controller. This also meant combat and enemies would need to be updated as well since they were designed with the PS1 controls in mind as well. We also had to incorporate new gameplay elements as well as new narrative from the Ratchet & Clank movie into the remake experience.
Gaspar: First level of the game
I was responsible for the whole segment. Myself and another designer co-designed the Galactic Ranger Arena.
The first level of the game introduces the narrative and must teach the player the basic movement and combat controls. It understandably went through many iterations to ensure it was a great experience for not just new players to the franchise but long time fans as well.
To assist with the idea of creating a positive experience we employed a dynamic tutorial system that would only show the player what to do if they had not performed the required actions by the time they reached a specific trigger volume in the level. So players familiar with the franchise or who could grock the controls early wouldn’t be inundated with help messages.
I started designing the level using the original Gaspar level from the original Ratchet & Clank. From here I redesigned the level to incorporate the new narrative elements and training.
Fun Fact: The garage used in the game is based off the garage asset used in the movie. We were sent various movie models and I was able to import the movie model garage into our game engine and modify it for use during the whiteboxing phase. Environment Artists eventually optimized the final asset.
Gaspar: first return visit
I was responsible for the whole segment. This level was important as it saw the first interaction of Ratchet and Clank together. The player also gets their first ranged weapon as well as being trained on the Hookshot traversal mechanic. The level is designed so that it trains the player in all three of these new mechanics with setups that get progressively more challenging.
For the blaster tutorial I utilized a similar setup that I designed for Ratchet & Clank: Into The Nexus where the player needs to aim at and destroy two targets to open the way out.
Fun Fact: The original design the level's starting location was further away from where the final location is now. After seeing some early footage of the movie I noticed Ratchet would watch Clank’s spaceship enter from the right and crash land off in the distance to the left of where he was resting on the crane. So I changed the start of the level, where Ratchet rescues Clank, to better reflect this narrative detail. Now should the player look back towards the garage they would see the crane where Ratchet had been resting during the level's cutscene.
Deplanetizer: part 1
I was responsible for designing and laying out the entire segment.
The Deplanetizer was a challenging level. The player has to play through / experience the level in two different directions at different times in the game. The first playthrough sees the player start at the back of the ship and they must fight they way towards the front of the ship in a pure combat experience, which is the section this video show cases.
Deplanetizer: part 2
I was responsible for the start of the level up to the boss fight. The boss fight was the responsibility of another designer.
The second time the player experiences the Deplanetizer they start at the front of the ship. The first half of the level they are introduced to and trained on the Hologuise gadget which makes that part of the level slower and requires timed executions. The last half of the level is all out combat.
The Hologuise mechanic’s functionality, Ratchet disguising himself as a different character to sneak past enemies, was the same as in the original Ratchet & Clank. The big difference here was that now the player would disguise themselves as Capt. Qwark to gain access to restricted areas through out the ship. The player is introduced and trained on the mechanic and then experiences setups of gradually increasing difficulty of enemy setups and traversal mechanics.
Myself and the writer wrote a variety of lines for Qwark to pick from when the player activates the Hologuise gadget to add flavor and personality to the experience.
The last half of the Deplanetize level was pure combat and leads the player up to the final battle of the game.
Fun Fact: The ship hanger you see in the game is based on the actual model used in the movie. To increase narrative impact for that watched the movie I imported the Deplanetizer hanger model from the movie to use during the whitebox phase to influence level flow and layout.