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Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One Q&A — Co-Op Chaos

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Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One Q&A — Co-Op Chaos

For Gameplay Programmer Mike McManus, the secret to co-op success is CAKE. “It took a long, painful prototyping process to find things that worked, so we came up with a catchy acronym: CAKE.”

Co-op
Active for all players
Kinetic
Easy to understand

“We found that if we can design something that satisfies CAKE, it has a really good chance of being fun before we put any work into it,” McManus told us in a recent demonstration of Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One. “CAKE is key.” All 4 One sees the titular pair and fan-favorite nincompoop Captain Qwark teaming with series baddy Dr. Nefarious in a quest to escape the Creature Collector — an interstellar zoo packed with the galaxy’s most dangerous beasts.

Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One: Thundersmack

Bros Before Foes

Story-driven four-player co-op campaigns have a decidedly mixed track record. But armed with philosophies such as CAKE and cooperative-friendly weapons, Insomniac Games is taking great pains to ensure that All 4 One is much more than a single-player game with extra players haphazardly tossed into the mix. For starters, All 4 One supports every possible combination of offline and online players. “If you want to play with two people on the couch in Los Angeles, one person in London, and one person in Tokyo, you can,” McManus elaborated. “If you want to play by yourself, we’ll have A.I. characters to play with you.”

What’s more, All 4 One’s arsenal encourages all four players to coordinate their firepower to produce ever-more spectacular effects. Take the Darkstar Fission Rifle, which emits an energy beam that attaches to other Darkstar-wielding players. If all four players use the Darkstar, you’ll carve through enemy legions like a neon shuriken just by moving. “They’re almost like electrical clotheslines,” McManus said with no small amount of satisfaction. The Thundersmack, meanwhile, summons a lightning-spewing storm cloud that grows in power as your teammates contribute with more Thundersmacks. Power it up enough and the storm cloud will vomit tornadoes and torrents of lightning.

Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One - Terawatt decoyRatchet & Clank: All 4 One - Terawatt

Four’s Company

That’s not to say that All 4 One will stifle players who’d rather stick to their favorite weapon: The Arc Lasher is one example, as it stuns its victim and multiplies the damage of your teammates’ attacks. “It’s all about figuring out the best weapon to use,” McManus stressed. “You’ll need to approach every battle in a unique way.” McManus is excited to see how players react to the game’s epic action set pieces, such as a series of battles set atop a monstrous mechanized Guardian. “In almost every level we have really big, cinematic co-op experiences…it’s about sitting on the couch or playing online with your friends and experiencing these humongous battles together.“

All 4 One encourages players to work together with an array of co-op-friendly gadgets. The Vac-U tool can suck in a teammate and propel him over a chasm or behind enemy lines; The tether enables the team to link up in a daisy-chain to swing over perilous jumps. Though you’ll need to stick together to succeed, players will compete for kills in order to score more Bolts — the lifeblood of weapon upgrades.

Ratchet and Clank: All 4 One [Gamescon 2010]

Read on for more highlights of our chat with McManus, and watch the video above to see Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One in action. Leave your questions in the comments!

On character-specific special abilities
“Each character has a distinctive skill that helps out the whole team, and it gets more useful as you level it up. Ratchet’s Doppelbanger creates a lookalike that distracts nearby enemies and frees you up to revive a team mate; when you level it up it also fires at enemies. Clank has a bomb that slows down enemies, and Qwark has a reflective shield that protects the team from projectiles.”

On catching up to Pixar’s visuals
“We’re getting close, but I don’t think we’re quite there. It would presume that the CG in the Pixar films stops getting better. And if you’ve seen their recent movies, they’re looking better than ever. We’re closing the gap a little bit. We’re so happy with how All 4 One looks — it looks even better in 3D.”

On failed co-op experiments
“We had gameplay mechanics where one player would do something and the other three were waiting for them to do it. It was just intensely boring. Waiting around is not a lot of fun.”

On Dr. Nefarious joining the forces of good
“Dr. Nefarious is deliciously evil in this game, he’s as selfish as ever. But he realizes that the only way for him to get out of this situation is to help out Ratchet, Clank and Qwark — as much as he can’t stand them.”

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78 Comments

  • Honestly, Im looking forward to this. It looks fun, and it requires you to actually work with your partner… unlike other games…… *cough*

  • in before lame portal jokes

  • I want this game more than R3.

  • Looks like I will finally be playing a Ratchet & Clank game.;)

  • shiiiiiiii

  • Ahem, SOLD!!! 8)

  • I like the idea of this co-op game, I just hope it’s fun to play.

  • IG I love all your games cant wait for this and R3

  • Are the co-op characters game specific like Castle Crashers where everybody’s character has the same name or is it like LBP where all account holders can use their own account characters? We have 4 people in my house each with their own account, several of whom would play together or solo and 1 who will only play multiplayer.

  • anything on the ps store yet on when its going to come online

  • they’ll post it when its back up

  • ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    Exactly what #8 said
    Lookin forward to this too!!!

  • Good God, twenty some-odd 1st party studios and not an RPG in sight! Seriously, enough with the platformers, shooters and AAA shooters already. Heck, I don’t even think this is 1st party is it? Should’ve bought Insomniac while you had the chance. Might want to grab Sucker Punch and Quantic before they start shilling multi-plat crap.

  • When is cod map pack 2 able at psn. Store

  • AND THAT’S THE BOTTOM LINE, CAUSE MIKE McMANUS SAID SO!!!

  • If my avatar choice didn’t give it away… I am very excited about this game.

  • I’ve played all rachet and clanks and this one will top it with the co-op!

  • Multiple PSN Account sign in localy? Also with the ability for everyone playing localy too get the trophies too? I hope so, this game looks fun.

  • Also I wouldn’t exactly go along with CAKE method, something tells me it’s a lie.

  • I Love R&C. Finally can play co-op like we did in deadlock.

  • ACIT was one of my TOP 5 games of 2009(even got platinum), such a great game really. Funny, beautiful, solid story, nice twists, and of course Nefarious was hilarious ! I played every Insomniac R&C game so far, except that multilayer take on R&C. The reason why I didn’t play it is because I see R&C as single player game, not MP or COOP. This game looks to me like some Wii wanna be experiment. Like that old Mario remake where 4 people play together (ok I don’t know the name since I don’t care about Mario) .
    I’ll wait for reviews but for first time in many years can’t say that I am excited for R&C game. How crazy is that, when you consider previous game as GOTY material?!

    • I think you’ll want to wait until you see more before you really decide. You can play this campaign in single player as well. We’ll have more information on that soon. This is definitely not a toned down knockoff.

  • @15

    Dude you are WAY off topic. Go somewhere else to talk about that you moron.

  • why are they showing all these games? just open up the store, i mean you been telling us all week about the welcome back program but still 4:38 may 19 2011 still no store.

  • @15 the PSN Store will be up On Tuesday May 24

  • @24 That’s what the blog does, all that PSN stuff was just the result of the cricis. Just be glad PSN is back up, the store won’t be much longer.

  • @25

    I wont believe it til it happens.

  • dosent look to bad

  • @24 MUNCHEE718 This is a blog about video games, this was never meant to be a informative place for your PSN or PSN store problems, it was always about games, have you ever come here before the PSN outage? I think not, plus that is off topic.

    Other then that this game looks sick, huge fan of R&C, i want another one like Crack in Time, which was a beast, but i want multiplayer and a much more expanded single player not that it wasn’t but still, can’t get tired of that game. I’m still gonna get this game, co-op must be fun.

  • I love R & C will this be playable at E3

  • co-op should be a blast in this game

  • OMG I love ratchet and clank i just love it

  • Finally the The wife, kid, and I can finally all three play a game together and not have to wait turns. Can’t wait!!!!

  • this looks nice for the kids,i might play with them.

  • Mmm… cake… when can I have some? :D

  • quero ps store no brasil por favor sony traga para noss brasileiros por favo atenda meu pedido e de varios outros usuarios brasileiros obrigado

  • I have been a fan of ratchet & clank since the very first game when i met that crazy lombax. I just hope this isn’t a cheap downfall like many other games that continuously spurt out sequels like… dynasty warriors… The Ratchet games started to go downwards during the ps2 era during deadlocked and such. I honestly can’t remember the ratchet and clank games that well besides 1 & 2 even though i played and beat every game including the PsP titles. They were able to pick it back up with the series with the launch of the ps3 titles and I hope they are able to keep doing it and this just doesn’t feel like a cheap party game like heroes on the move.

    • Definitely not a party-style game. This is a full production complete with a story and lots of Ratchet & Clank hallmarks that we know you love!

  • Sony better not let this game slip under the radar, probably SERIOUSLY CONSIDER A PS3 BUNDLE with it. You may have a big hit on your hands and not realize it, and I honestly believe this game has huge potential and it would be disappointing if Sony doesn’t go to the full extent of their capabilities supporting this game financially (to make it as great as it should be) and then backing it up with the marketing budget a AAA title deserves, and I’m not talking about only a funny Kevin B. commercial, I mean full-scale marketing and as I already said a bundle (with an extra Dualshock) would be ideal.

  • Looking forward to this game!

  • when E3 comes on i am watching it over & over

  • I look foward to this game 2

  • i love myslelf

  • Is this a sequel to A Crack in Time?

  • this looks interesting

  • I’m much of an R&C fan but I love Resistance! Hope this does well though. This holiday season for gaming is going to be a nightmare on my wallet, but a dream come true for my gamer side!

  • Forgot to type not in the middle of I’m and much. My bad!

  • Definitely can’t wait for this one.

  • I’m not sure about this. Being a long time R&C fan, I’m hoping this doesn’t turn into another Deadlocked. Plus, given the fact that this is from the “other” Insomniac studio, it will be interesting to see what their first foray as a separate studio turns out.

  • nice look game went it to

  • i’m definitely getting this

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