PSU Interview: Insomniac

  • Posted April 10th, 2007 by

PSU was given the unique and rare opportunity to interview Insomniac, creators of the highly successful Resistance: Fall of Man on PlayStation 3, and the brilliant Ratchet & Clank series on PS2. We spoke to the team about its plans for the future, including recently announced Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction, exclusively on PS3, and the rumours surrounding a Resistance sequel.

PSU: How long has Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction been in development?

Brian Allgeier, Creative Director/Design Director: We began pre-production several months ago after Ratchet: Deadlocked shipped. We formed a core team of 15 people that consisted of the project leads, some artists, programmers, designers, and a writer. Though the whole company contributed during the early brainstorming process, most Insomniacs were focused on Resistance: Fall of Man. The core team developed a lot of the prototypes and gameplay that gave us a plan for production. It was great working with a small team early on and developing Ratchet and Clank's back-stories, new gadgets, crazy weapon ideas, and new gameplay concepts. After Resistance: FOM shipped, we started production with the full team.

PSU: Will F:TOD be using the same game engine used in Resistance?

Mike Acton, Engine Director: The unique technology built here at Insomniac for Resistance: FOM certainly formed the base of what we're doing with Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction. However, we're making such significant enhancements that they absolutely cannot be considered the same engine.

Our tools team has worked tirelessly to provide our artists and designers with a brand-new set of tools that will let us build better and faster than we could have on our first-generation title.

Our technology team is one of the very few groups in the industry with experience in building fast, practical game engines for the PS3. Every day we're focused on taking lessons learned and re-applying them to our engine to create new features and improve upon existing ones.

We also have a much better understanding now of how to take advantage of the RSX and the Cell architecture. We're using that experience to give our players more of the signature Insomniac animations, characters and visual effects that they've come to expect.

No, you should not expect to see the Resistance: FOM engine in Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction. You should expect to see an even better one.

PSU: What is the basic storyline behind F:TOD? Will it tie into past titles and the PSP renditions?

Brian Allgeier: The Ratchet & Clank Future story opens with the shocking discovery that a villain from Ratchet's distant past has tracked him down and wants him dead. This revelation brings up many questions as to Ratchet origins and launches Ratchet and Clank into a mysterious adventure where they begin to learn about his past, the villain's current evil plans, and a glimpse of the future. The story takes place after the past R&C games. We're bringing back a few of the favorite characters like Captain Qwark, who is working undercover to give Ratchet and Clank clues that help guide them on their journey. We've coordinated with High Impact Games (the folks who did Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters) to ensure that there were no story conflicts with the PSP game.

PSU: Ratchet & Clank has always been known for its fun, wacky, and well-made weapons. What weapons will be making a return and what are some of the new ones we might find?

Brian Allgeier: We've come up with a whole new arsenal of weapons for Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction. Though there are some staple R&C weapons like the Pyro Blaster, a high powered flame thrower, all of the weapons have been started from scratch and tuned for the new enemies and combat. In addition to those weapons, we have some more outlandish types like the Tornado Launcher that sucks up enemies and whips them around - it's also controllable by the sixaxis motion sensor in the controller. There's ... (continued on next page)

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