Last year, we approached Insomniac with some questions concerning their new project, Ratchet and Clank: All 4 One . This was before Resistance 3 was officially announced and in due time, we'll try to get the studio to answer our questions regarding the hotly anticipated shooter.
But we promised to give you this interview – especially because we took reader questions and presented them to Insomniac – and here it is. As clarified before, they asked that we wait to run this interview, simply because they didn't want it overshadowed by Call of Duty: Black Ops and the rest of the holiday hype. That's perfectly understandable but now, we have the green light to go with this. Chad Dezern, Studio Director at Insomniac North Caroline, was nice enough to respond to our/your questions:
PSXE: Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One is sort of a departure for the series in its four-player team style. Will the next Ratchet installment be something different, too, or will it return to its standard roots?
Dezern: "Heeeyyy, is this one of those trick questions I've heard about? We're completely focused on Ratchet and Clank: All 4 One right now, and it's a long ways away! We haven't announced what we're doing next (but when we do, you'll be among the first to know)."
PSXE: Will the game boast local offline co-op as well as online co-op play? If not, would you consider adding it in the future?
Dezern: "Oh yeah! Offline coop from day 1. We're making a game that makes it easy to get together and play. Your friends can be next to you on the couch, halfway across the world, or any combination of the two.
We love offline coop. There's just something great about playing through the game with friends–it's so much easier to smack them when they're right next to you (though we would never do that when playing in the office, that would be unprofessional. Instead we throw each other off a cliff in-game.)"
PSXE: Can you talk a bit about the gameplay mechanics? We have questions from fans like, "how will we buy weapons and how will bolts be collected?" and "how will the camera work?"
Dezern: "Sure thing.
First, I'll talk about bolts. The system isn't a big departure from the economy of previous Ratchet titles; you collect bolts and use them to buy weapons (and other things). Everyone purchases their own weapons during breaks in the action, and those weapons live in the player profile so they're portable between game sessions. We'll reveal more about this system in the coming months.
Now for the camera. The camera in All 4 One keeps all players on the same screen regardless of player count or online/offline mode. It gets as close as possible when players are next to each other and moves out when players move apart. That way every player gets the entire big screen, and everyone is focused on the action. We've had a lot of fun working with this new camera type, it opens up endless possibilities for improved visuals and big events."
PSXE: Multiplayer is big these days, as you guys have obviously noticed. Are there other games or studios you've used as inspiration or influences in the making of All 4 One?
Dezern: "Absolutely. We love multiplayer games; we play everything from the classics (Bomberman, Poy Poy, Powerstone) to newer titles (TF2, RE5, LBP, Left 4 Dead) and others too numerous to mention.
At the same time, we see a huge opportunity for innovation. There is tremendous untapped potential in cooperative play, and we learn new things every day from our prototypes and playtests. It's an exciting time to make a co-op game."
PSXE: Will the game play like LittleBigPlanet, in that one player can go through the whole game himself, but needs friends to access certain parts?
Dezern: "All of the content is accessible with any number of players. That was part of our design manifesto from the beginning–we want to make a game that's fun with any number of players.
PSXE: Have you guys thought about making an animated movie, TV show, or comic book series based on Ratchet & Clank?
Dezern: "Yes, in fact the comic series is out now. We love the Ratchet & Clank universe because the possibilities are limitless. The comics (written by Insomniac TJ Fixman, with cover art from Insomniacs Dave Guertin and Greg Baldwin) explore new parts of the universe and bridge the gap between games."
PSXE: Although it's not related to All 4 One, everyone keeps asking about your mystery multiplatform title, and whether or not you're planning a new IP exclusive to the PS3. If you can't comment on either just yet, we understand.
Dezern: "I know, I'd be curious too! But you're right, we can't talk about any of that just yet. But hey! Resistance 3 and Ratchet and Clank: All 4 One are a lot to talk about, right?"
PSXE: Finally, do you know when we can expect All 4 One? And will it be available strictly as a Blu-Ray release or also as a downloadable release on the PSN?
Dezern: "Now that's an easy one. Ratchet and Clank: All 4 One will be out in Fall 2011 as a Blu-Ray title. It's a big, juicy, co-op Ratchet and Clank game with a sprawling story and explosive weapons.
All of us here are very excited about the game we're making. We can't wait to get it into your hands to play!"
We can't wait, either. We're big fans of the R&C franchise, and we know a lot of our readers are, too, so All 4 One really can't come soon enough. As you can see, several of your questions have been answered and we thank Chad for his time. Between the available media and this interview, how can you not be psyched for this game?
Stay tuned for more coverage on everything Insomniac, and that includes All 4 One , Resistance 3 , and more.