Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart was first unveiled at last year's PlayStation showcase and will see the iconic duo reunited return for an interdimensional adventure this summer.
Fans have been waiting for a new Ratchet & Clank game ever since the pretty-decent PS4 reboot in 2016. In the upcoming title, intergalactic adventurers, Ratchet and Clank, will jump from dimension to dimension to fight against the forces of recurring villain Dr. Nefarious, employing plenty of bizarre weaponry along the way.
From a technical standpoint, the game is set to showcase the PS5's capabilities, from its super snappy SSD, to the DualSense controller's various bells and whistles. Speaking to GamesRadar+ last year, creative direct Marcus Smith said he was "blown away" by the near-instantaneous load times, and the utilisation of the controller's haptic feedback. The trailers may not give prospective players a sense of some of these features, but it sounds like Insomniac has used every tool at its disposal to create a truly next-gen experience.
Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart release date
Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is set to launch on June 11, 2021 — exactly one year after it was revealed. It missed out on the promised PS5 launch window release, but we're barreling towards the summer at a rate of knots, so it won't be long before it's in our hands.
Insomniac has confirmed that the PlayStation exclusive title won't be launching on PS4; it's a next-gen only title for the PS5. This makes sense, given that the game is set to take advantage of the many PS5 features that don't exist on the PS4, including the DualSense controller which isn't compatible with the older hardware.
That might not be ideal for fans who haven't made the jump to next-gen just yet, but if you've splashed out on a new console, you'll want that investment to pay off. Releasing a PS5-only title means that the gameplay won't be hampered by the PS4's tech, so Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart should get you excited for that fact alone.
Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart trailer
The announcement trailer for Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart debuted on June 11, 2020. It showed off the rifts, and a handful of worlds that the duo pop in and out of on the journey to get back to their ship. It also introduced us to a brand new playable character — a mysterious female Lombax.
A second, extended gameplay retailer dropped a couple of months later, showcasing some of the weapons and mechanics from the game. Clocking in at over seven minutes, it's a pretty lengthy first look at what the title has to offer.
Ratchet is toting a burst pistol, shatter bomb, topiary sprinkler, and a heavy weapon dubbed 'the enforcer'. They take up four of eight available slots on his weapon wheel. It also shows off how the rifts came to be — and it's all down to a Ratchet goof during a standoff with Dr. Nefarious.
Outside of these two trailers, we've not seen a lot else, but with the release date fast-approaching we're sure to be in for more Ratchet & Clank goodness in the next couple of months, to hype up fans.
Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart gameplay and setting
Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart follows on from the 2013 title, Ratchet & Clank: Into the Nexus. Smith stresses that the game isn't related to the reboot, saying it's an "extension" of Into the Nexus, but is its own "standalone adventure". He adds:
"So, it's one that even if you've never played a Ratchet and Clank game, you can get into it and you'll understand it and you'll enjoy it. For hardcore fans, we have a lot of nods... you are going to see a lot of returning characters and planets, and see them all through a whole new light of 'multiple-dimensionality'."
The pair will be jumping across dimensions, traversing swamps, cities, and pirate ships. The dimension-hopping setup does two very clever things. First, it demonstrates just how quickly the PS5 can load entire levels. One of the key claims about the PS5 is that its custom SSD allows data to process much, much more quickly than on the PS4, and it seems that Rift Apart will take full advantage of that. In a gameplay demo after the trailer, we saw Ratchet and Clank fly through dimensional ports and wind up in huge levels almost instantaneously, which would have been difficult to accomplish on Sony’s current-gen hardware.
The gameplay trailer did a fairly good job of fleshing out what to expect from the game, but Smith fleshes out the experience further, saying:
"What you don't get to see, of course, is that you can also feel this [rift] coming [with the DualSense] – like, the energy of a portal is sort of its own unique sensation. You get a sense of the distance of it, because the haptics add so much sort of texture to that experience.
"And the same goes for 3D spatial audio. Basically, you know, all the other new channels of feedback we have, reinforce this notion that you are passing through this portal."
The layered haptics offer "a new channel of feedback over everything" that ties into the core gameplay mechanics. Describing the experience that awaits fan in June, Smith says:
"For example, for traversal, now you get this extra layer of feedback when you attach to a grind rail or switch, or if there's a huge car incoming. You get that extra layer of feedback when you swing on a swing shot. You can sort of feel his acceleration, and the wind blowing past.
"It just gives you an enhanced sense of velocity that you don't fully realise just from the visuals and the audio. So it enhances traversal, and it greatly enhances weapons. It enhances the UI – just all parts of it feel a little bit better than they ever have before, just thanks to this new, ever-present thing."
Of course, one of the biggest questions surrounding Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is the female Lombax. Her name and background have yet to be revealed, but knowing that she'll be a playable character, and seeing Clank get separated from Ratchet, speculation is rife that she's a version of the titular protagonist from another dimension who will team up with Clank in parts of the game.
How the split will work gameplay-wise, we don't know — but this is all speculative, so don't invest in that theory too much just yet!
Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart editions
Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is releasing in two variants: The standard edition (available at retail, and as a digital purchase), and a Deluxe Edition which is available in a digital format only.
The standard edition comes in at $69.99 / £69.99 / AU$124.95 and as you'd expect, just features the game. The Deluxe Edition will set you back $79.99 / £79.99 / AU$139.95 and includes the following:
- Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart
- Five Armor Sets
- Photo Mode Sticker Pack
- 20 Raritanium (in-game upgrade materials)
- Digital Soundtrack
- Digital Art Book
Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart outlook
As it stands, Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is on track for its June 11 launch. While we've had limited trailers drop for the game, what we have seen fills us with confidence that the PS5 exclusive is going to be a hit with fans and newcomers alike.
We're especially excited to see the title take advantage of the PS5's capabilities, as well as the DualSense features. With Smith gushing over the haptic feedback, SSD speed, and 3D spatial audio, it's clear that a lot of hard work has gone into harnessing the power of the hardware.
We'll be getting to grips with it ourselves in just a couple of short months, so stay tuned for more news on Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart.