Yesterday’s showcase of Sony games for the upcoming PlayStation 5 contained many pleasant surprises, but none quite like the revelation that Insomniac Games is working on not one, but two titles for the system.
The first, Spider-Man: Miles Morales, understandably overwhelmed a conversation that was already talking loudly about first party titles like Horizon II: Forbidden West and the remake of Demon’s Souls. But their second announcement, Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, is both a pleasant surprise and one that feels wholly earned.
If you never played a Ratchet game before—well, change that. The 2016 PS4 game is on sale for $10 right now at the PlayStation Store. You should definitely play it; it’s one of the best games in the series and a great remake. Ratchet as a franchise has endured and maintained a fairly solid streak of quality, even with PSP and Vita spinoffs. This isn’t a remake at the level of Final Fantasy 7 Remake, but a terrific update of a great first entry in a series that lasted longer than I think most fans would’ve imagined. It’s also the only one in the series on the PS4, since it was a remake of the original game and meant to tie in with the movie.
Despite being a critical success and the fastest title in the entire series, the movie attached to Ratchet 2016 was...well, a dud is perhaps the best descriptor. Insomniac never really said anything on the matter of future games, but let’s face it, once you heard they were working on a Spider-Man game, everyone saw where the tide was turning. Freezing the series with a 2016 remake of a 2002 game seemed unfair, but at least one could give credit to Insomniac for getting as far as the PS4. Compared to Sucker Punch and Naughty Dog, who both respectively dumped PS2 mascots Sly Cooper and Jak & Daxter once the PS3 hit stores, Insomniac’s continued release of Ratchet games was rather admirable, even now. Like any long running franchise though, there are some misses, but the series maintained a solid streak of quality even as it slowly faded from being in the PlayStation A-squad.
What really hurt the franchise was that it became semi annual multiple times, and at a certain point, you have to wonder if it’s healthy for the franchise or the people working on it. The PS3’s Future trilogy gave the series an emotional maturity that was otherwise lacking in the PS2 era, allowing the cast to feel like characters in a visually impressive movie with personal arcs rather than relying on stock types to carry their personalities. But with the many spinoffs that came after Future, there was a sense that the duo was really lacking any kind of purpose. One imagines that were it not for the movie, Ratchet 2016 may have just never happened at all.
All of this is to say the existence of Rift Apart is exciting, thanks largely to the fact that players and the studio have been able to afford some tangible distance. Longtime fans now get to have real nostalgia for what they’ve missed, while newcomers hopefully get to experience a series they may have only heard of through fond recollections, on a platform that should let the series full potential shine through. Watching the two leads stumble through dimensional rifts and get into chaos looks like a lot of fun, as does the new cat friend that Clank crosses paths with at the end of the footage.
Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart will almost certainly be good, but what needs to be answered is how audiences will respond is when it releases. Now that they’re bought by Sony, Insomniac has theoretically more money to throw around, but the publisher sometimes plays favorites, as evidenced by how little marketing there appeared to be for last year’s Days Gone compared to other first party games. Insomniac has built up a lot of goodwill over the decades, though, so here’s hoping Sony remembers that and properly supports the game about the cat boy with the talking backpack and a lot of guns.
Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart will release on the PS5 at a later date.
Justin is a Kansas City, Missouri, freelance writer and is on Twitter often, @GigawattConduit. He also is an avid lover of M&M McFlurries from McDonald’s, and accepts that he has an addiction to them.