PlayStation 5 Launch Game Predictions: Ratchet & Clank 2
Updated: May 7, 2020
A video game console is only as good as its games. While we wait to hear more details about the PlayStation 5 in the coming months, this new series of articles will provide you with concrete, evidence-based predictions for launch titles we might be seeing this winter.
Yesterday we looked at Horizon Zero Dawn 2. Today, let's look at the probability of a new Ratchet & Clank game arriving at launch later this year...
Ratchet & Clank 2
2016 - Ratchet & Clank, a reimagining of the original 2002 Ratchet & Clank game for the PS2, releases on PS4.
2016 - A Ratchet & Clank animated feature film is released.
2016 - A reveal trailer at E3 2016 shows Insomniac Games, the studio behind the Ratchet franchise is working on an officially licensed Spider-Man game for the PS4.
2018 - Marvel's Spider-Man Releases on PS4 to critical and commercial acclaim.
2019 - The San Fernando Valley Business Journal reports that Insomniac is expanding their workspace by 11,437 square feet at the Media Studios complex. New job listings also appear suggesting the studio is growing.
2019 - New sales figures reveal that Marvel's Spider-Man has sold over 13 million units globally.
2020 - A new quarterly securities report from Sony reveals that the company paid $229 million USD to acquire Insomniac.
2020 - Rumours circulate online that a sequel to Marvel's Spider-Man is in the works at Insomniac that will feature Venom and Carnage as villains.
2020 - Long-serving PlayStation analyst and friend of Insomniac Games, Colin Moriarty, alludes to an unannounced Ratchet & Clank sequel that's currently in the works at Insomniac.
Ratchet & Clank is one of the crown jewel franchises of the PlayStation ecosystem. Not only is its development studio, Insomniac Games, one of the most beloved first-party Sony studios, but the franchise itself is one of the Japanese tech giant's longest-running exclusives. Admittedly, the popularity and perceived quality of each Ratchet & Clank installment dwindled throughout the series' original run, but the nostalgia at play with this franchise shouldn't be underestimated. Sony needs to make their long-term fans feel at home on their new machine this winter, and a nostalgia-serving franchise like Ratchet & Clank is a sure-fire way of doing that.
It's safe to say that 2016's Ratchet & Clank was a pleasant surprise for SIE. The game was made as a companion piece to support the release of the feature film, but the game was received far better, and likely made more profit. On a budget of $20 million USD, the film only made $13.39 million back at the box office. The game, however, received high review scores and sold around 3 million units according to VGChartz, revitalising the fan base after years of neglect. Undoubtedly, it wasn't the PlayStation 4's favourite, or most popular exclusive, but to say there isn't a huge market of PlayStation fans hungry for more Ratchet and Clank games would be an outright lie.
Insomniac has definitely seen some changes since 2016's Ratchet re-launch, however. The studio always fought in the fan-favorite arena, but it only gained mainstream gladiatorial status in 2018 with the release of Marvel's Spider-Man, which many argued was a perfect fit for the studio's talent. Sales figures in 2019 show that largely off the back of Marvel's official licensing, Insomniac's Spidey managed to sell over 13 million copies worldwide. In comparison, God of War, another 2018 PlayStation exclusive that was received with even higher critical acclaim, only sold 10 million units in the same amount of time. Large scale success for Insomniac's wall-crawler may mean that Ratchet & Clank has been kicked into touch in lieu of an immediate sequel. A rumour of Spider-Man 2 being in the works in Burbank would certainly suggest so.
On the other hand, we have to consider the growth of Insomniac's workforce, and their previous development cycles. The reveal trailer in 2016 for Marvel's Spider-Man made the game seem well into development despite the studio working on Ratchet and Clank for its release that same year. Insomniac does, in fact, have two studios - the aforementioned Burbank studio that expanded in 2019, and another studio in the Raleigh-Durham area in North Carolina. It's very possible for studios like this to separate and work on two projects at once like Arkane studios does, for example.
This would then make it more likely that one of the Insomniac teams has been working on an unannounced game in recent times. Given the list of Insomniac intellectual properties that now belong to Sony, a Ratchet and Clank game does seem the most likely. After the Sony acquisition, it can be more than expected that they were given a boost in motivation to get the long-running PlayStation franchise ready for a re-launch with the next console. To assume that Spider-Man 2 isn't on the way is foolish, but an immediate Spider-Man sequel being ready for launch is far less likely considering the type of game Marvel's Spider-Man is. You have to think that they'll be taking more than two years (a year and a half if you count the time since the release of Spider-Man's final DLC) to build a sequel.
What's happening behind the closed doors of Sony's first-party studios is extremely difficult to speculate. What is clear though, is that Sony paid an inordinate amount of money to keep Insomniac in the PlayStation family. Their relationship has been a long and successful one for both parties, and the decision to acquire the studio has to show you the high-value Sony places on its talent and IP alike.
Finally, Colin Moriarty, a well-connected figure in the PlayStation world, did allude to an unannounced Ratchet & Clank game recently. This doesn't set anything in stone, but it is safe to assume that Moriarty, who once wrote a detailed history of the studio, has many contacts there, and has been told off the record what projects are in the works.
If there are any franchises from this generation that could receive a sequel on the PlayStation 5 at launch, the evidence suggests Ratchet & Clank is among the most likely.
Image Credits: Insomniac Games, SIE.