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This Classic Movie Inspired Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart

"Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart" puts several twists on the series' typical formula, including the addition of a new character from an alternate dimension. In the new game, Ratchet and Clank accidentally get separated in a world-hopping incident and end up in an alternate dimension where Ratchet doesn't exist. Instead, Rivet has taken his place. Marcus Smith, creative director for "Rift Apart," has cited the 1946 Christmas classic "It's a Wonderful Life" as the unlikely inspiration for the plot.

In an interview with Variety, Smith shared some of the development process behind the new game, as well as how the Jimmy Stewart classic fits into the equation. "It's a Wonderful Life" involves an angel who shows a miserable businessman what life would be like if he hadn't existed. Taking cues from that, the "Rift Apart" team brainstormed what the characters' lives would be like in a alternate yet familiar world, where different choices and outcomes created a new reality.

Smith framed the question like so: "What would a different dimension of Ratchet and Clank be like? And in particular, what would Ratchet's life be like if he didn't have a Clank?"

The team went through a couple ideas. One that involved two Ratchets was apparently scrapped because it seemed too much like a "a cheap soap opera where somebody's got an eye patch and you know that one's evil." Another involved Ratchets that were polar opposites of each other, but it also came off as too gimmicky. The team eventually settled on the idea of Rivet, who was just an entirely separate character altogether.

Where does Rivet fit into this?

However, "Rift Apart" doesn't have a premise as grim as "It's a Wonderful Life." After all, the movie involves with a man contemplating his own death and reflecting on how unhappy he is with his life. According to lead writer Lauren Mee and lead animator Lindsay Thompson, Rivet doesn't embody that kind of defeatism at all. The two revealed more about the female Lombrax who plays Ratchet's counterpart in a media preview event.

"Despite her tough exterior and perceived coolness, she's never cynical, dark or cruel. Sure, she might not know the best way to act in a social situation, but she sure as hell isn't shy," Thompson describes her. "Basically, she's a scrappy little punk."

Rivet has lived a lonelier and more hectic life without her own Clank, but not to the extent where she was miserable or defeated. She may be a bit more "vulnerable" than Ratchet, but she's still a strong character in her own right.

"Rift Apart" will be released as a PlayStation 5 exclusive on June 11, 2021.