Al, also referred to as Big Al or Cyber-Al, is a support character in Ratchet & Clank, its 2016 re-imagined game, Up Your Arsenal, Deadlocked, Going Mobile, and the comic series, with mentions in other titles. He is a robotics engineer and computer hacker, notable for providing upgrades to Clank. He owns a large RoboShack in Kerwan's bustling city Metropolis, has served as an engineer for the Q-Force, was a member of Team Darkstar, and is an ally of Ratchet and Clank. He is also a member of the Captain Qwark fan club and a collector of Qwark vid-comics. Al has one brother named Bob, who also owns a RoboShack on Pokitaru.
Ratchet & Clank
Al was first seen in a commercial for his RoboShack featuring Qwark, which Ratchet and Clank viewed from an infobot acquired from Agnogg Buckwash on Novalis. In the ad, Qwark claimed that Al had been making gadgets for him since he was "knee-high to a sand mouse". After seeing the commercial, Ratchet and Clank both visited Al's shack in Metropolis to inquire about Qwark's whereabouts.
During "Visit Al's Roboshack", the two approached Al, who informed them that he had not seen Qwark since they shot the commercial. However, after recognizing Clank's motherboard, he offered his assistance by providing him with a Heli-Pack upgrade for 1,000 bolts.
In Qwark's retelling of events, Al appeared on both Kerwan and Pokitaru, but without his siblings Bob and Edwina. Al was a collector of holocards, who kept in touch with Ratchet and Clank regarding their collections. On Kerwan, the duo visited him to receive an upgrade for Clank, after being recommended by Cora Veralux. Al doubtfully claimed he had a "will we, won't we" romance with her and granted the Heli-Pack for free once they arrived at his roboshack, on account of their friendship with Cora.
Later, Al appeared in the Pokitaru Tiki Lounge and Karaoke Bar for a comic book convention, about to speak on a panel about everything wrong with comic book-based holo-films, featuring great bloggers including himself, Stuart Zurgo, and Obsidie Vand Schmoot. Felton Razz requested his help, and Al granted Ratchet and Clank an upgrade for their class-g Star Jumper's weaponry, allowing them to destroy the blarg's hydroharvesters. Upon destroying them, Al provided Clank with a new Thruster-Pack, for which he had downloaded the holo-plans for the night before, granting them access to the Jowai Resort Pumping Stations.
Up Your Arsenal
Al was sent to the Capital City, Marcadia by President Phyronix to fix the planet's laser defense system, which had been damaged by a tyhrranoid invasion. However, he used the defense network to play a Qwark vid-comic, Booty is in the Eye of the Beholder, by bypassing the server and reprogramming the graphics sub-processor. After Clank identified a feedback loop in his signal processor, Al fixed the feedback loop, repairing the defense shields, and loaned them the vid-comic.
The vid-comic helped Captain Qwark regain his memory. Qwark then formed a team, the Q-Force, on which Al was inducted into for his mastery of electronics. Al provided logistical support to the team throughout the war against Dr. Nefarious. He also had a crush on fellow team member Helga von Streissenburgen. When Nefarious beamed a message onto the Starship Phoenix, Al traced it back to Daxx, considering Nefarious' six-pass alpha-key encryption to be amateurish. Al also entered Clank in the Robowars cage match toasterweight division, for which Clank would be required to swap out his arms for a blowtorch.
Al later gave Ratchet the fourth Qwark vid-comic, Deja Q All Over Again, which made Ratchet realize that Nefarious would attack Metropolis as the next target. Al also worked on reversing the transformation of fellow team member Skidd McMarx to a robot by the Biobliterator, after finding that an imprint of Skidd's psyche was still found within the robotic Skidd.
When Ratchet obtained the master plan left by Qwark at the crash site, Zeldrin, he gave it back to Al to decode it. Al considered its omega-class asymmetric encryption to be a worthy challenge and gave them the fifth Qwark vid-comic, The Shaming of the Q, found in Qwark's quarters. Al's efforts to decode the disk led to Nefarious attacking the Starship Phoenix directly, though Al still decoded it and learned of Nefarious' plans with the Biobliterator. He learned first that the Biobliterator was recharging on Koros with plans to attack Veldin next, and after fully decoding the plans, learned that a second had been built in secret on Mylon.
After Ratchet, Clank, and Qwark defeated Nefarious, Al attended the premiere for the Secret Agent Clank movie, sitting with Bob and Edwina.
Al was contacted by Ratchet and Clank through the Communication Station and was told of their biomatter conversion into a Secret Agent Clank vid-comic. Al stated that reversing it would be easy and that they had to run their digital corporeal data through a Macro Corporeal Geo Fragmentation Ion Negator (or MCGuFIN), reversing the biodigitization process, and allowing them to return to the analog world. Al was reluctant to help them out at first, as he had planned to play his 'Amoeboids and Anterchambers' game, but resolved to help them out with the MCGuFIN he was using as a doorstop.
Upon collecting the first part of the device they found out Al ran into an error in the transmission, as a power surge caused it to be split into six pieces, and spread throughout the vid-comic issue. He also opened several infolinks to more nodes, allowing them to further explore the network.
After collecting all pieces and returning to the Communication Station they spoke with Al again, who said that to activate it they had to access a special infolink in a secure area. The codes to which were kept in a safe at another location, specifically Maximillian's office at the Maktar Casino. A robot bouncer blocked their way, however, but Al confided in them that they could be bribed and that the only way to get enough cash was to enter the Battle Arena's pay-off vault, which was protected by a barrier. He had a solution, however, and granted Ratchet the Circuit Jammer, allowing him to enter the vault.
Al was abducted, alongside Ratchet and Clank, by DreadZone and became the technical engineer for Team Darkstar. He made adjustments to Ratchet's armor and gave him two combat bots, Merc and Green, whom he continued to provide upgrades for. While Ratchet fought for DreadZone, Al and Clank secretly tried to remove their Deadlock Collars, though Ace Hardlight discovered this plan and shot Al with his blaster. As a result of this, Al had his arm and part of his head replaced with robotic parts, becoming "Cyber-Al."
In this state, Al returned to DreadZone. He helped Clank modify the craft that took DreadZone gladiators to the stadium so that it instead flew to the control area. Later, he fled DreadZone Station in an escape craft with Ratchet and Clank. While aboard, he played messages of thanks aimed at Ratchet, including one from Qwark.
Big Al went on to form the Ratchet Fan Club, with Vernon, Lucy and Eugene, three children rescued from DreadZone, as his first members. Nicknamed "Big Tool" by his troop, Al gained popularity with the kids as he fought a malfunctioning vending machine, ate sandwiches with his shoes off, and fended off attacks from a rival group known as the Qwark Core Cadets. However, he was forced to step down from his position after getting into a fight over a set of Exterminator Trading Cards.
In Going Mobile, Ratchet and Clank spoke to Al in Communication Station. He promised to send the MCGuFIN using Bio Matter Converter Technology into the Secret Agent Clank vid-comic world for the duo to retrieve. However, there was a malfunction and a power surge split the MCGuFIN into six pieces, which were scattered across different Secret Agent Clank vid-comics. Al opened up infolinks and nodes to these vid-comics. After Ratchet and Clank collected all the parts and reassembled the MCGuFIN, he told them that they would have to use an infolink in Maximillian's office to activate it. To do this, he gave Ratchet the Circuit Jammer.
Al's RoboShack was also reopened during the time of A Crack in Time, expanded to sell video games. A commercial for Big Al's Roboshack and Gaming Superstore could sometimes be heard on the radio.
Al was seen in Issue 5: Multiple Organisms, trying to help Qwark and Zephyr assemble a second Helios. Al's help was called for because the terachnoids were busy trying to find the stolen planets, though he no longer had any robotic parts attached to him from Deadlocked. He was mentioned in Issue 6: Bros Before Foes, but did not appear.
Al is a chubby, yellow-ish alien with pointy ears and short, red hair. He either wears a T-shirt featuring the Q-Force logo, or a T-shirt advertising his roboshack. He typically either wears blue or black pants and sometimes a belt featuring his tools. He also wears a lab coat and round yellow-green glasses, with a telescope attached to one side.
He is a friendly and helpful character who is characterized as a stereotypical computer geek, by both his voice and speech. He will often talk out loud while deciphering computer codes and make frequent use of technical terms to show off and is very proud of his intellect. It is also implied that he is not too self-aware. Al is a skilled hacker and robotics engineer, learning many of his skills from his brother Bob.
Al is a collector of vid-comics and a member of a fan club, adding to his stereotypical geeky personality. He is known to be a fan of and to dance to Courtney Gears' music, a fact he likes to hide from others. He also accidentally mentioned having a crush on Helga von Streissenburgen during dialogue aboard the Starship Phoenix while the intercom is on.
Behind the scenes
Al was the very first non-player character added into the original Ratchet & Clank.
A wanted poster of Ratchet and Clank was featured on the side of Al's RoboShack during the commercial cutscene, though it did not feature in gameplay.
Al accidentally mentioned a crush on Helga during Up Your Arsenal while the intercom was still on, but unused dialogue suggests that this was supposed to be expanded in an actual plot point, depicting him owning up about his feelings and the two flirting shortly after.
Al also featured in PlayStation Home.
- Ratchet & Clank (2002 game) script § "infobot - Ad for Al's Roboshack"
- Going Commando script § "Behind the Hero, Part I"
- Up Your Arsenal script § "Repair the Laser Defense Shield (gameplay)"
- Up Your Arsenal script § "Phoenix 3"
- Up Your Arsenal script § "Other"
- Up Your Arsenal script § "Phoenix 5"
- Up Your Arsenal script § "Take Datadisk to Big Al (gameplay)"
- Up Your Arsenal script § "Get to the bridge (gameplay)"
- Up Your Arsenal script § "Access big gun control panel (gameplay)"
- Going Mobile script § "Communication Station (second visit)"
- Going Mobile script § "First four MCGuFIN pieces"
- Going Mobile script § "Communication Station (third visit)"
- Tools of Destruction: Mentioned after asking IRIS what happened to Kerwan following the attack, and by Space Pirates in Ublik Passage.
- Ratchet & Clank (2002 game) script § "Whadda we got here?"
- Ratchet & Clank (2002 game) Goodies § "Sketchbook"
- Up Your Arsenal, unused dialogue