Ratchet & Clank is Awesome! Here’s How It Inspired My Writing…

Ratchet and Clank (2002) desktop wallpaper
Source: Imgur

If you’ve never heard of it (how could you not have?), Ratchet & Clank is a video game series that began all the way back in 2002. Since then, it has released 14 video game titles – 8 main entries, 3 side entries, 1 remake and 2 non-cannon entries. In addition to this, there’s also been a 6-issue comic book series and a movie. 

The very first video game console I ever owned (not played) was a PS2, a gift for my birthday back in 2004. I was also gifted Ratchet and Clank 1 and 2 and immediately fell in love. I’d always had an interest in space-type stuff but I’d say Ratchet and Clank was the first sci-fi series that made me fall in love with the genre. Everything including the characters, art style, gameplay and world building came together to create a compelling gaming experience and told a story I immediately became enthralled with.

When I first got the games, I could never get past the seventh level of Ratchet and Clank 1 and the third level of Ratchet and Clank 2. But I didn’t care. I was young and couldn’t even fathom how far I was actually getting through. As I grew older, I started to push further. With help from my stepdad, I eventually saw both games completed. Playing these two games for years and slowly pushing through made each step feel like a real achievement. They were also the games my stepdad and I bonded over.

It wasn’t until 2012 that I got a PS3 and was able to play beyond the original trilogy. While I always hold a soft nostalgia spot for the first two games, I love all the games in the series (except the two non-cannon ones). In fact, the fifth official entry in the series, Tools of Destruction, is in my Top 3. To this day I regularly replay them – alone and with friends.

But let’s take things back to the 2000’s. I was in primary school. We had a creative writing book and regularly wrote stories. The stories I wrote back then now serve as the raw material for Highton Heroes. I talk more about this in my Kids Writing For Kids blog. As with all writing, I took inspiration from life and the media I was consuming at the time, one of those bits of media being Ratchet and Clank (1 & 2). Going back through my primary school stories, it’s rather apparent where Ratchet and Clank influenced my storytelling. Some ways that are clear, others that are less so.

I’ve taken some time to reflect on the different ways Ratchet and Clank influenced my writing. I did this by using the vague memories I have from writing back then and what I can connect between my old writings and the Ratchet and Clank series. So, without further delay, let’s dive in and examine how Ratchet and Clank inspired Highton Heroes.

The World & Art Design

As I mentioned, this was probably one of the first sci-fi series I got into as a kid. As such, it really constructed a lot of my views of what a sci-fi world was. The art design of Ratchet and Clank, especially number 2, was always front and centre in my brain when I wrote my stories back in primary school, shaping how I imagined all the little bits of technology the stories involved.

Now that I’m writing Highton Heroes all these years later, I need to be conscious about my visual inspirations to avoid completely ‘ripping off’ the early Ratchet and Clank games.

Shot from Metropolis, Kerwan in the original Ratchet and Clank video game released in 2002
Source: Ratchet and Clank (2002) (Gameplay Recording)

It’s not just the world and technology that bled inspiration into Highton Heroes. It was characters as well. Not so much the characters themselves, but their designs. This will become especially apparent in Highton Heroes Season 3. While I’ve only written Highton Heroes Season 1, I have done some preliminary planning for subsequent seasons. It’s very apparent much of Ratchet and Clank’s inspiration hits in Season 3 when *SPOILER ALERT* the series takes off into space.

Ratchet and Clank is so sci-fi that there are almost zero human like character designs, the closest probably being Captain Qwark. When Highton Heroes takes off into space, we come to meet an array of alien type characters. Back in school, Ratchet and Clank gave me the visual aid to imagine what some of these aliens would look like.

I don’t want to delve too much into these characters and the plot of Season 3. I haven’t done enough planning and I think it would be wise to avoid getting too far ahead of ourselves.

The Thief (Angela Cross) from Ratchet and Clank 2 (2003)
Source: Ratchet and Clank 2 (Gameplay Recording)
Boss Fights

I know, I know. We’re talking about a TV series. Not a video game. So how do boss fights factor in? Even in action shows and movies, there are still “Boss Fights” in a sense. The hero will more often than not face a physical fight against the villain. Highton Heroes is no different.

In each season I’m always trying to think of interesting ways for the heroes and villains to battle it out. Back when I was a kid writing my stories, I took inspiration from fights in video games. Especially (you guessed it) Ratchet and Clank. Highton Heroes is set in the future, and when you combine a futuristic Earth with space, there’s gonna be some crazy ships, mechs and other vehicles. Ratchet and Clank has all sorts of boss fights that fit these criteria.

Naturally, when writing my fights as a kid, I imagined my whacky vehicles in the image of Ratchet and Clank vehicles. I thought about the ways you have to approach the battles in Ratchet and Clank which in turn helped guide my thinking of how a battle might play out. Today, as I translate my raw materials, I look at the tech from Ratchet and Clank as I consider how my childhood self-wrote his fight scenes. This helps me maintain what entertained my younger self while also ensuring I think about the fight scenes in every aspect I did back then.

The Thug Leader Boos FIght from Ratchet and Clank 2 (2003)
Source: Ratchet and Clank 2 (Gameplay Recording)
The Plot Twist

Most of the media I consumed when I was young was pretty straight forward. There was usually a clear-cut good guy and bad guy. The good guy would fight and eventually defeat the bad guy. WARNING! I’m heading into spoiler territory for Ratchet and Clank 1 & 2 here…

Ratchet and Clank 1 follows this basic structure. Ratchet and Clank 2 does not. Ratchet and Clank 2 was the first game I played that broke the mould (remember I was young). Part way through the villain becomes our ally and our ally becomes the villain. This was crazy for my young mind to process. That young mind reimagined Ratchet and Clank 2 without the twist (I still have the notes somewhere). Eventually, however, I came to love the twist. So much so that I incorporated a big plot twist into one of my seasons of Highton Heroes.

I didn’t just stop at one big twist though. I wanted to keep throwing the story on its head. I put more and more twists in to shake up the narrative. It’s like when you discover a new song and keep listening to it over and over. I just kept using ‘the plot twist’.

What I read today is pretty chaotic. I’m not sure if I’ll keep all the twists. Many of them make for an interesting plot, but there is such a thing as overkill. Today I’m much more adept at understanding the plot twist and the importance of properly setting one up. In fact, you’ll find me quite a critic of unnecessary plot twists *cough* Iron Man 3 *cough*.

Ongoing Series Inspiration

Ratchet and Clank isn’t just a series that shaped my writing when I was young. Since writing those stories, I’ve gone on to play well past the original Ratchet and Clank trilogy. Even though the series has evolved and changed over time, it’s vibe and style are something I continue to thoroughly enjoy and feel inspired by.

New entries in the series have come to have a more epic, Pixar-like vibe to them. They tell a more complex narrative in a comical and explosive way. Ratchet and Clank’s modern-day vibe, while different, retains the things I enjoyed about the series when I was young while also being more cinematic in style – something I would love to translate into the Highton Heroes series.

Ratchet and Clank continues to be a series I keep coming back to as I write Highton Heroes. It helps get me in the best headspace and mood for writing, but also keeps inspiring the story and world I wish to paint for Highton Heroes. In essence, I see Highton Heroes overall vibe a cross between Ratchet and Clank and Star Wars: The Clone Wars. I’ll have to elaborate on that second one in a later blog.

A shot from the opening cinematic for Ratchet and Clank Tools of Destruction (2007)
Source: Ratchet and Clank Tools of Destruction (Gameplay Recording)

What would Highton Heroes be without Ratchet and Clank? I can’t say for sure that it would have never happened. I believe I wrote some of my earlier stories without necessarily thinking about the series directly (again hard to tell what was actually going through my head back then). That said, I don’t think it would be what it is today without it. I don’t think I would be the person I am today without it.

Ratchet and Clank is a series that has not only shaped my writing mindset but also me as a person. It’s been something that fills me with joy, even when I’m down. It’s been a series that has brought me closer to my stepdad and friends (Ratchet and Clank all-nighters are some of my fondest memories). And, as mentioned, it started me on the journey to finding my favourite genre – Science Fiction.

This has been a long one so thanks for reading my spiel about Ratchet and Clank including the multitude of ways it has affected me and how it inspired both my writing and Highton Heroes. I hope you found something you can relate to, as I often do when others talk about series I like in video essays.

I hope to delve more into this inspiration when I hit Highton Heroes Season 3. But til then, if you have any questions, let me know below in the comments or on my socials. I’m always up for a chat about Ratchet and Clank!

Til next time,


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