I’ve been very excited about the upcoming Ratchet and Clank game since it was first showcased. The way those rifts pull in over you really looks like next-gen technology, and the worlds they suck you into look stunning.
The new trailer is no different, and has me doubly pumped, and that’s partially because it’s cleared up one of my biggest apprehensions about Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart.
You see, in those early trailers we got a small look at a new female Lombax – otherwise known as the same species as the titular Ratchet.
I really like the design of a Lombax, they’re cute and fluffy but still look capable and smart. Seeing a new one is very cool, but I was worried. Mostly because they had been holding off on telling us her name.
That doesn’t necessarily mean anything bad but my brain couldn’t stop racing with options. If it was something similar to Ratchet like Ratchelle it could have had some alternate universe implications. This could mean she was just a carbon copy but also she seems baffled by the Ratchet name in the first clip, so that would have been frustrating for other reasons.
Today the new trailer came out. It looks amazing. The graphics are just goergous and the gameplay looks as fun and next gen as ever. Also, we finally have that name, and oh boy what a relief. Rivet. It’s great. Close enough to Ratchet to feel thematic without feeling too similar. Got the theme running but feels distinct. Gender neutral vibe to it making it sound a bit punk.
But there’s other reasons for being a bit wary. Female characters are not always treated well, especially in videogames. If they’d lumped her with a name too simple like a regular ‘girls’ name sometimes that’s a good sign things aren’t going to go well. It’s not a hard and fast rule, but it can be an indication that this character’s main quality is ‘girl’ which is so damned tired.
The other red flag is this new Lombax just looks a bit too typical. It's an incredibly common trope to make a female character lighter in colour, more pastel, toned down. Cartoons and movies do it all the time, even newer franchises like How to Train Your Dragon is a prime example.
In a way, it’s exactly what they’ve done here. She’s a light grey with pastel blue stripes and I hate to say it but I really dig it. They often light her in pink and purple hues too so she straight up looks pink at times which is a bummer DAMNED if it doesn’t look cool. I hate it for the trope but when it’s pulled off this well I don’t know what to say.
But also incredibly importantly, she looks bomb to play. That big hammer swing feels like it's going to be very satisfying to bonk enemies with.
Folks who've never stepped into a Ratchet and Clank game should check their PlayStations. Sony were giving away the 2016 variant for a while there, and it's free in the PlayStation Plus collection.
Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart is going to be the focus of Sony's next State of Play Conference, so if you want to find out more tune in on Friday, April 30 at 7am AEST.