The Ratchet & Clank You’ve Never Seen: 10 Years of Concept Art

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The Ratchet & Clank You’ve Never Seen: 10 Years of Concept Art

The Ratchet & Clank franchise turns 10 this year, and to celebrate their anniversary we will release the Ratchet & Clank Collection on PS3. Ever since the first Ratchet & Clank game launched, fans have written us wanting to see concept art. While concepts are just one of many pieces we use to put our games together, they are a fun way to show the history of the Ratchet & Clank universe. So I searched around the studio and pulled together a collection of images that go all the way back to 2002 when Insomniac started working on a new game…

In The Beginning

…well actually it was 2000. We were wrapping up Spyro: Year of the Dragon and looking ahead to the PlayStation 2. After spending a year developing a new game code-named “I5” and later known as “Girl with a Stick,” we canceled the project and decided to shift gears. (To find out more about Girl with a Stick and its ultimate demise, check out the Full Moon Show podcast #49). That left us with only a few months to present a new idea and we started working on a game set in an alien galaxy that featured lots of crazy gadgets. At this point, our entire studio (40 of us) focused on bringing this idea to life. We started to develop our tech, game mechanics, animation, story, design, sound… everything! On the concept art front, Insomniac character artist Dave Guertin created these early sketches of our heroes:

Ratchet & Clank Concept Art
Ratchet & Clank Concept Art
Left: Our first image of Ratchet. The idea was to create a spunky alien with a crazy gadget gauntlet and some bionic commando traversal abilities. While he barely resembles the final character, Ratchet 1.0 already has many of his characteristics in place – oversized hands and weapons, a gadget glove, three-toed feet, and pilot headgear. Eventually his reptilian body gave way to a more relatable cat form.
Dave’s first designs for Clank were also very different. In this sketch, Clank appears to be a mechanical lizard. Only his eyes and articulated legs carried through to the final design.

At the same time, our environment team was exploring a variety of directions for Ratchet’s universe. In these early sketches it’s easy to see that we were still moving away from Spyro’s fantasy worlds and into Ratchet & Clank’s sci-fi style. “Asteroid Observatory” by artist Chad Dezern (now our North Carolina studio director) shows many of the hallmarks of a Ratchet & Clank level – hoses, antennae, and clustered building composition. This image later became inspiration for Nebula G34 – Blarg Tactical Research Station, or as we called it during production, level 6:

Ratchet & Clank Concept Art

Ratchet & Clank Concept Art

This unfinished sketch (by me) displays further stylistic exploration that would eventually become part of our style. Exotic alien vegetation, craters, and retro-futuristic structures with rounded aerodynamic forms. Eventually this concept evolved into planet Novalis – Tobruk Crater, the first full campaign level in Ratchet & Clank:

Ratchet & Clank Concept Art

And that’s just the beginning! For the full story of how the Ratchet & Clank characters and universe took shape, including even more vintage concept art, be sure to visit the Insomniac blog. To experience the evolution of Ratchet & Clank artwork over the years first-hand, check out the Ratchet & Clank Collection when it launches on August 28!

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  • Ratchet and Clank looked so different back then. “Girl with a Stick” lol, hey John is there a Ratchet and Clank Full Frontal Assault psvita demo planned? i’m dying to play the game on my vita. and i would love to see Insomniac release a new IP on the vita as well but i think James said that you guys dont develop vita games, :(

  • Will the Ratchet and Clank collection be available as a PSN download next week? I’m trying to go all digital with my games collection and would love to have a DD of it.

  • Well since I don’t have all the games, I think getting the collectors edition will be a sweet deal! It is fascinating since to the the ideals that help spawn Epic Characters!

  • Also, will the Sly Demo come bundled if you buy the PSN version?

  • Ratchet and Clank was the reason why i got a PS3 in 2007 and always the reason i pick up a new Sony system, love this franchise so much that i own every single game released to date!
    Thank you guys for producing such fun and amazing series and please never stop with Ratchet and Clank, bring more Ratchet and Clank games.

  • Ten years of R&C and every time I play a new R&C title, it’s just as fun as the first time. R&C is the one franchise that always feels new and is always fun no matter how many iterations of it I play. No matter how many games are in my backlog, when I get a new R&C it gets played before all else. Can’t wait for my R&C Collection pre-order to arrive and will be buying R&C:Full Frontal Assault on day 1.

    Thanks Insomniac for ten years of fun and keep those Ratchet & Clank titles coming!

  • Gah dang! Someone needs to reread and fix up the wording mistakes in this article! However, it is still pretty interesting nonetheless, haha

  • Just one week left! Ratchet and Clank has always been my favorite videogame franchise. Can’t wait to try the UYA multiplayer for the first time! I never got to play it way back when we were using dial up :p

  • The only Ratchet game i’ve played was All 4 one which came free to us PS Plus members. i really like it. I’m thinking of getting the Ratchet and Clank collection next tuesday on psn if its around $19.99 (hopefully with a discount for Plus members). :)

  • @10, do yourself a favor, get Tools Of Destruction/ Crack in Time. They are awsome in their own right. Very high replayability also. Classics

  • Nice trailer, I can’t wait for The Ratchet & Clank collection to come out (and of course play the Sly Copper thieves in time demo).

  • Quite looking forward to playing these. Usually I never replay a game that I’ve completely finished, but R&C is one of the few series where I’ll make an exception.

  • You need to be able to buy these as art prints. As you should be able to with all released concept art.

  • WHOOP WHOOP. Already have the Sly Cooper and Jak & Daxter ones… just need this to complete the PS2 Icon Collection.

    Also, did I just read that right? Ratchet & Clank 10th Anniversary Avatar and exclusive early access to Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time demo!? JUST SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY!!!!!!!!!!

  • Haha I remember hearing Insomniac talk about “Girl with a Stick”

    And awesome concept art by the way!

  • will there be online cuz i love being a snowman

  • THANK YOU for releasing the R&C trilogy on PS3, I thoroughly enjoyed them on PS2 and having fun replaying them all again now in 3D/HD. They were some of the best games of the PS2 gen, hell even trumps most of what we’re getting THIS gen too! Keep up the good work and feel free to keep experimenting, All 4 One and Full Frontal Assault are definitely appreciated expansions of the R&C universe, but of course another “normal” R&C will always be welcomed too!

  • I just hope that we can get that little “extra” that was announced in the JP version’s trailer.
    PSN only, of course. Maybe $15? $20?

  • awesome concept art :D


    what was the extra for the JPN version???

  • Really cool. R&C got me back into video games. We have every R&C title including Going Mobile. Really looking forward to my pre-order Collection next week and FFA later on. Pllease don’t stop!!!! Even in the next gen keep the stories going. I feel like R&C is part of Sony almost like Metroid to Nintendo.

  • I remember waaay back when, I got the PS2 Double Pack (2 Controllers, 2 Games, a PS2 [Fat] and a 4 mb Memory Card) pack for something, either for my birthday or Christmas, it came with the first Ratchet and Clank. Owned all of them from R&C to ACIT. What I really find disappointing is the low price tag on these. $30 is not much to hand over for a 3 game disc. Most games now are $60 on release (usu. more for Pre-Order bonuses) and those are just one game. This for $30 is a tad insulting to how epic these games were and still are. If Insomniac really wanted to milk this they could have charged upwards of $70 and people would have still payed for it. (Provided they threw in an incentive like the mini-figs you can buy on the Insomniac Website). It just seems odd to pay $30 for 3 entire storylines, plots, and so on, but $60 for a single game, which will inevitably have DLC which will cost.

    Yes, it is nice that they only charged $30, but I have this weird honor thing that makes me feel they should have charged more for something that was pretty important in the PS2s history. Charging $30 makes it seem like it was an afterthought and did not matter much.

    (Yes, I am complaining because I feel I paid too little :P)

  • How About a Single blu-ray disc with Full Frontal Assault and Quest for Booty…. $19.99-24.99?

    AWWW YEA PLS make it happen. I like my games physicals.

    BTW insomniac…. PLS go back to Resistance…. go make it what made the first one the game that made me buy a ps3. Nathan Hale and its storyline was so awesome and so much to be done with him… and the ending in R3 was so weak and they left us no where with it…. PLS Give us R4 with the ending that franchise deserve.

    Even in one of the intels u find in R2 i guess, they talk about regeneration and stuff…. how about Hale’s cells mixed together with the chimerian virus brought him back to life (given that Malikov had Hale’s body in one of those thanks with water and stuff) to give humanity their world back in a campaign back to back with Joseph Cappelli (Co-op Campaign with a second partner that matters in the story! Not like John….) Also to finish the story u can put the creatures or life specimens that forced the chimeras get out of this planet long ago that left a big hole unexplained… u can put cappelli and Hale in a quest to find the origins of this creatures and get them to help humanity one last time along with their efforts?

  • @PrinceofXIII
    Ratchet Deadlocked.
    It will be released on the JP PSN. (Digital-only)

  • i really hope full frontal assault isn’t the last ratchet game we’ll see.

  • Haha, Lizard Clank looks so pro.

  • Is there a conceptual art book coming out? Consider one bought if so.

  • @11 thanks :)

  • Well Iam Happy that I bought the first Ratchet&Clank game 10 years ago.Funny thing Is,I was 10 years old at that time good times good times.I just want to say thank you to Insomniac and Sony for making this game it will go down in my book of “The Greatest Games Of All Time” and looking forward in the near future to go to the Insomniac building in Burbank California one year!!

  • I hope they release deadlocked in the USA then all console Ratchet and Clank games will be on the PS3.

  • Can’t wait for this to come out! I’ve been dying to try out UYA’s multiplayer. Online got a taste of it back in the PS2 days :p

  • I love R And C and cant wait for ist to come out !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • i mean it

  • I’ll be honest… those were fascinating concept sketches, indeed. I didn’t even know about these design sketches. You worked out quite the details towards the then-forthcoming 21st century. Pity that Ratchet: Deadlocked wasn’t part of the collection, though, since it does take place where R&C: UYA left off. I do have one suggestion, though. After the R&C Collection is released, I would like to see you guys rework Ratchet: Deadlocked from the ground up as a PSN digital release! The Sly 4 demo does look fascinating, though. I’ll be looking forward to it. Here’s to 10 years of R&C’s continuation of saving the universe from evil and beyond!

  • My God I played these games so much. I would flip if the HD Collection came to Vita! It’s what I like playing on the most, has a better screen than anything else in my house :P and I want this thing to be as many of my favorite games in a pocket-sized library as I can get.

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