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Ratchet & Clank was almost the story of a human girl with a staff

Just in time for the release of a modified and upgraded version of the original Ratchet & Clank for PlayStation 4, Ted Price has penned a postmortem for the original game, looking at what went right and wrong for the intial game in the franchise that has become a mainstay for developer Insomniac Games.

In a post on Gamasutra, Price talks about the company trying to decide in the spring on 2000 what to do with its fifth game, what would be its first non-Spyro game. He said the company wasn't sure it wanted to stay with the platform genre and started brainstorming ideas for a new direction for the company. "We wanted to try a game with a bit more realism and immersion than our previous efforts," he said. "This meant moving away from bright environments, cartoony characters, and platform mechanics."

What followed was work on a game they called codenamed I5. After much back and forth, they settled on a concept. "The main character was a human girl with a staff. She would fight with the staff as well as use it to activate magic with special katas -- martial arts moves performed using directional input. There was a strong Mayan influence to the overall look of the game, and the characters and environments we planned were more realistic than anything we had attempted since our first game, 1996's Disruptor."

Sony signed off on the project and then the work began. The bad news? Months into development, the team was not having fun with it, and it showed in the first iteration of the game that was shown to Sony. "At one point Connie Booth, our SCEA executive producer, suggested that we might want to rethink the direction we were taking," Price said. "While being very clear that Sony would support us with whatever we decided, she pointed out that not only would the PS2 adventure category be crowded upon our planned release date, she also believed that we were no longer playing to our team's strengths."

Price said the team later agreed, and by March 2001, the project was scrapped and the team began work on Ratchet & Clank, and the rest was history. 

Be sure to check out the full postmortem. It is definitely an interesting read.

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