Just a few days ago, completely without warning, a 23-minute Ratchet & Clank short aired on Crave, a streaming service in Canada. Created by the same company who made the 2016 movie, Mainframe Studios, it follows Ratchet and Clank as they stop Dr. Nefarious’ newest scheme, which involves a gun called a Portalizer that can open, you know, portals into any dimension. For those unable to watch the animated short in the traditional fashion, you may or may not be able to find it on YouTube….
I watched the short myself just the other day, and while it was entertaining enough, I was disappointed by the fact that it takes place in the same continuity as the movie, not the games. (So no, it has no relation to the upcoming Rift Apart game.) The biggest sin would be the fact that we have Zed (if you don’t remember who that is, I’m not even going to bother explaining…that’s how unimportant he is) working as Nefarious’ assistant instead of his snarky butler, Lawrence. On the plus side, Ratchet and Clank’s personalities are a bit closer to their depictions in the original games, meaning Ratchet is…kind of a jerk again. But it’s better than his portrayal in the movie, where he was way too much of a goody-goody.
The short does have some decent humor, though it’s also very noticeable that the tone, once again, is more in line with the movie and more recent games, which means the edgier humor from the earlier games is still absent, replaced instead with humor aimed more at younger kids. Sure, there are still funny moments, but it’s clear I’m not the intended age group.
While I may sound like I’m nitpicking, I also want to point out that the characters’ personalities still feel a bit…off. Sure, we’re used to Ratchet’s crabbier moods from the first game and even Tools of Destruction, but both he and Clank seemed strangely fixated on the wrong priorities. Ratchet is willing to risk their lives by jumping into an unknown dimension just for some tasty pizza, while Clank wishes to return to Nefarious’ space station for…one of his ten pizza coupons. I also didn’t know Qwark could get even dumber. The only character who was portrayed well was Nefarious, who (for a long-time fan such as myself) was a treat. The animation also looked very nice, as well…except I can’t help but feel there was something strange about the way Ratchet’s mouth moved. That wasn’t just me, right?
While I see nothing confirming that this was intended to be a pilot for a Ratchet & Clank TV show, I wouldn’t be surprised if this was the original intention of the short…if it wasn’t for the fact that the movie performed quite poorly. I also heard people saying the short was created two years ago, but again, I can’t find any sources. It would make sense that it was created a while ago in the hopes that the movie would be successful, then when that didn’t happen, the short was forgotten until recently, and Mainframe Studios simply wanted the short to finally see the light of day, even if they didn’t think it would lead anywhere. But again, this is speculation, and I have no sources to confirm this.
All in all, it wasn’t a bad short, even if I did have a few complaints (I’m just a critical person, what can I say?). If it turned into a full Ratchet & Clank TV show, I can’t say that I’d be desperate to watch it, but I could see people enjoying it if this is your thing. And of course, I’d like to hear if anyone else here has seen it. And if so, what did you think?
Image from Flickr User: Regina sanova