Though she may not be in the title, Rivet not only shares a co-starring role with Ratchet and Clank in the upcoming PS5 adventure Rift Apart, but she’s also been at the heart of the marketing for the new game since its reveal.And though she went from “that mysterious lombax” in the original Rift Apart trailer to the now-Jennifer Hale voiced Rivet who captivated us in our recent hands-off Rift Apart preview, she’s always been a foundational part of the game.“When I pitched the game, it had a scene that was very similar to what we released in our [reveal] trailer, where Clank finds himself isolated and calls out to Ratchet and a female lombax steps up and is like, ‘Who?’ That was in the original pitch,” creative director Marcus Smith told IGN in an interview. “And there were some people who were a little worried that it’s a game called Ratchet and Clank, not Ratchet and Clank and Rivet. And I had to walk them through the idea that it is Ratchet and Clank. It’s just a different Ratchet. We’re playing with dimensionality. That allows us to bring in new players by experiencing new versions of different characters.”Of course, as the past looks at the game, our hands-off demo, and time with Smith indicated, Rivet is a fully realized, new hero with her own hopes and goals, who is simply serving the Ratchet role in her dimension. The two interacting and even merely existing in the same adventure allowed Insomniac to explore new character relationships, play off of expectations from pre-existing ones, and create a story that felt true to the franchise but still forged new ground.“The biggest challenge was how do we tell a story that can bring in new players, but also builds on the past history of the franchise that we’ve been building,” Smith explained, noting that they didn’t want to abandon the series and just continue on from the 2016 reboot. “We wanted to build off of what’s already there. So we were thinking of the It’s a Wonderful Life model. Is there a way that we can tell the story as it was through the eyes of new characters? So, alternate dimensions were something that came up pretty quickly because we’d already been doing dimensionality in previous entries. That was a compelling hook for us, which is, what happens if there’s a Ratchet who doesn’t have a Clank, what are all the differences in that world and how is the character different or the same.”Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart Preview ScreenshotsThat has, naturally, led to Rivet and her unique journey that players will learn more about in Rift Apart. Smith highlighted how the love for this character from members of the team, like lead writer Lauren Mee and senior animator Lindsay Thompson, and the emotional depth and nuanced with which she is portrayed as a result shines through in the final game.“I may be the grizzled old man on the team, and I deal with a lot of people who are much, much younger. And the energy that they bring is one of not wanting to hide behind some sort of guarded machismo but much more [open about their feelings and express something like], ‘Yeah, we’re insecure constantly.’ We’re exposing the human condition in these characters that ironically aren’t human at all.”Smith explained how that humanity and emotional depth on screen, both in Rivet’s story and throughout the rest of Rift Apart, is thanks to Insomniac’s collaborative approach during development.“The spirit of insomniac has always been that great ideas come from everywhere. And that’s not just some empty platitude. We create these things together, and collaborative problem solving is what we do best. And the benefit is you get the best possible,” he said. “Lindsay and Lauren, they love Rivet like their own child. And that is extraordinary. That’s the dream, right? That you can have people on the team who don’t care where the idea came from. We just love this character and we’re going to [bring her to life].”For more, be sure to read up on how 3D audio and the DualSense are used in Rift Apart, and how the developers learned from Spider-Man and applied those narrative and gameplay lessons to Rift Apart.
Jonathon Dornbush is IGN’s Senior News Editor, host of Podcast Beyond!, and PlayStation lead. Talk to him on Twitter @jmdornbush.