Inside the Developers Studio: Brian Allgeier

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Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction

1. What game do you have at E3 this year?

2. Describe it in five words or less.
A Spectacularific Galactic Sci-Fi Adventure!

3.When is it being released?
[Channeling best “movie guy” voice] … Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction will be available worldwide and exclusively on PlayStation 3 this fall.

4. Tell us more about your game. What’s the story?
Ratchet and Clank are joyriding in their favorite city, Metropolis, when an imperial armada suddenly attacks. They discover that the invasion was orchestrated by one Emperor Tachyon who has a deep hatred towards Ratchet. Confronted by a past that he never knew he had, Ratchet and his buddy Clank set out on an adventure to get some answers and defeat the Emperor. We’ve never explored Ratchet’s history in past games and decided to begin the “Future” series by delving into the mystery of his existence. Clank also has his own major discovery when he learns that he has supernatural abilities – turns out he’s a robot with a mystical side! All of this takes place during their journey through a fascinating new galaxy where they encounter exotic alien worlds and creatures.

5. What did you do on this game that you couldn’t do on another platform?
As you can imagine, we get asked this question frequently because of the massive buzz about the console wars. Obviously, each console has its own unique strengths that would require us to approach our game development process a little differently. But Insomniac has developed exclusively for Sony and PlayStation consoles for more than 10 years now. We’ve done so because we have great relationships with the people there and because we believe in the hardware’s capabilities. To be honest, we don’t concern ourselves with what or how we could develop on other consoles since we’re happy working with Sony.

6. Do you have any “firsts” in this game that have never been done before?
Outside of breakdancing mutant alien centipedes, hip-hop bouncing Morph-O-Ray penguins and pelvic-thrusting mech bounty hunters controlled by fish heads, not so much. Seriously though, what Ratchet & Clank Future: ToD does offer is a tightly integrated, massive, epic, varied, and humorous adventure that should hopefully feel like a true evolution of the Ratchet & Clank franchise.

7. What do you think is the coolest aspect of this game?
That’s a tough question! I’m torn between the humor, the visual spectacle and the gameplay variety. The visual spectacle is the one thing that I think people will notice immediately. We’ve been able to create some very detailed and beautiful worlds that Ratchet and Clank visit and I think players will have a real sense of wonder when they explore them. The vibrant colors, expansive views, expressive characters, and massive explosions enhance every aspect of the game and create a rather engaging experience.

8. Describe one of the boss fights in the game?
One of our intense boss battles features a giant construction mech controlled by furry Kerchu aliens. The mech chases Ratchet along a transportation rail and smashes out pieces of it with its giant wrecking ball arms. Ratchet must jump the gaps and dodge missiles while racing down a twisty rail. All of this is viewed from multiple camera angles. Ratchet travels upside down and must fight the giant mech while hanging high above the arena floor using his gravity boots. The mech swings his heavy wrecking balls to pulverize the upper level of the arena, forcing Ratchet to drop down and fight the boss on the ground. While he’s on the lower level, the boss will unleash his wrecking ball attack, fire streams of rockets, and dump Kerchu creatures that can roll around in shielded exoskeletons. It’s fun to see all of the furry Kerchu creatures moving around while they operate this massive machine. You can strategically choose if you want to be on the upper section of the arena where the boss has fewer attacks, or on the lower section where the boss has more attacks and there’s more room to maneuver. Having an intense boss battle that takes place across a large section of the level and offers this degree of strategy is something that we’ve never done before in the Ratchet & Clank franchise.

9. If you could sit one person in front of your game for an hour, who would it be?
Nikola Tesla. I think he’d get a kick out of what we’ve done with electricity.

10. What game do you most want an hour to sit in front of yourself (besides your own)?
Little Big Planet – And I’m not saying that because it’s a PS3 game! From what I’ve seen, it looks like a heck of a lot of fun to build co-op levels and run through them with your friends. I want to build a Gauntlet of Doom with flamethrowers, monkeys and spinning blades!

11. How many E3’s does E3 2007 mark for you?
That would be…um…12. Man I’m getting old. Yep…sonny, I remember back in day when videogames were made up of just a few sprites and some decent color cycling…

12. Describe the pre-2007 E3 experience in five words or less.
Manic Rubber Sasquatch Love Thingy!

13. Most over used phrase or expression during E3 season.
“NEXT-GEN!” – And sadly, I use it all the time. I’m looking forward to when things become “Now-Gen” and I can drop the expression!

14. You are asked to make suggestions for an E3 survival kit- what three items HAVE to be included?
Past E3’s: Ear plugs, booth babe blinders and a tazor

15. What advice would you have for someone who has never experienced E3?
Don’t feel ashamed to cry. You can work through it. Time heals and eventually the pain will go away.

16. Describe what you anticipate from 2007’s newly formatted E3 in five words or less.
Sensible Pliable Sasquach Fun Thingy?

17. What’s your favorite part about developing games for a living?
My favorite part is when pieces of the game come together and create something more amazing than what was imagined. There are a lot of talented people at Insomniac and seeing the results of their combined forces is incredible. For example, our lead character artist came up with an enemy character that is a robotic suit controlled by an alien fish-like creature in a bubble. That was pretty funny in and of itself. The animators then took that insane character design and made some hilarious hip thrusting animations for when he dances to the Groovitron (a combat device that make enemies dance). Watching him dance made us all crack up. Finally, one of our programmers made the fish pop out of the suits when the enemy is killed and flop around. And of course, those fish also dance. Witnessing a scene of dancing robotic troopers and flopping fish under a disco ball against a beautiful city backdrop is an unforgettable moment. It’s great when that kind of chemistry comes together and magic happens.

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