Courtney Gears is an antagonist in Up Your Arsenal, with cameo appearances in Deadlocked, and mentions in later entries. Renowned for her looks rather than her musical ability, she is a robot pop star sensation, selling a large amount of merchandise across the Solana Galaxy. She also gave out grand prizes on the holovision show Annihilation Nation.
Unbeknownst to the galaxy, she became a close ally of Dr. Nefarious, assisting in his cause to turn all organic lifeforms into robots. She recorded a pop song, "Robots of the Galaxy", as propaganda for his cause. She also used her hideout in Obani Draco to test the Biobliterator, a device that could transform organic lifeforms into robots. Her popularity declined due to her association with Nefarious. Following her defeat by Ratchet, she was repaired by Gleeman Vox, leading to her comeback.
Before Up Your Arsenal
Courtney Gears was a highly successful pop star in the Solana Galaxy, her popularity deriving from her status as a sex symbol rather than any musical talent. She recorded music videos in her hideout on Obani Draco, the third Obani moon. Captain Qwark, another of the galaxy's biggest celebrities, was her fan, having a poster of her in prison and fantasizing about her while incapacitated in Nefarious' lair. Dallas Wanamaker, anchor at Vox News, was also a fan, claiming he would dance to her songs at 3 AM in pink frilly underpants while his mother yelled from upstairs to turn it down.
Qwark claimed to at one point have been involved in an intimate relationship with Courtney Gears, though it is unclear if this was true or simply an attempt to taunt Dr. Nefarious.
In addition to her music career, Gears gave prizes on the holovision show Annihilation Nation. She also secretly worked with Dr. Nefarious. Though most were unsuspecting of her due to a sweet and innocent public persona, there were prior allegations, damaging her career. At some point, Gears recorded a pop song, "Robots of the Galaxy", which was actually propaganda for Dr. Nefarious, as it called for the extermination of all organic life and proclaimed robots must be "free". The music video was edited in a high-security computer on Daxx, where the Biobliterator had been created.
Up Your Arsenal
Ratchet and Clank first met Courtney Gears during the mission "Win the Tyhrra-Guise". After winning the Annihilation Nation challenge "Grand Prize Bout", Gears presented them with the Tyhrra-Guise for their victory.
One day before Ratchet and Clank's arrival on Daxx, the Biobliterator was sent to Gears' hideout on Obani Draco for testing. When Ratchet and Clank arrived on Daxx, in "Explore the Docks", they found the security computer where her music video was edited. Ratchet was eager to watch the video, and was surprised that Gears was working with Nefarious. The two then agreed to win another prize at the Annihilation Nation for a chance to learn more. Meanwhile, they also found the high-security computer with plans for the Biobliterator in "Infiltrate the Weapons Facility". They tracked it to the Obani moons, unaware that it was heading to her hideout on Obani Draco.
In "Meet with Courtney Gears", Ratchet and Clank competed in two Annihilation Nation challenges for the third Qwark vid-comic, Shadow of the Robot, given to them by Courtney Gears. When they tried to talk to her, Gears was utterly uninterested in Ratchet, but told Clank she would be very happy to appear in his holovision show, Secret Agent Clank. Clank agreed on the condition that she promise to provide information about Dr. Nefarious, a deal Gears agreed to. Ratchet and Clank also traveled to Obani Gemini and Obani Pollux with Skidd McMarx, but were unable to break the omega-class disintegration field around it, and left Skidd to break the lock after receiving a distress call from the Galactic Rangers.
In "Film a Secret Agent Clank Episode", Gears starred as the baroness in an episode named "Maxmillian Strikes Back", in which Clank rescued her from the monster Terror of Talos after battling it as Giant Clank. After filming the episode, Gears incapacitated Clank before delivering him to Nefarious, where he offered Clank a place at his side. When Clank refused, the two instead kept him prisoner, and sent Klunk to take Clank's place and spy on Ratchet.
Meanwhile, Gears returned to the Obani moons in a space limo, and met Skidd McMarx. Unaware that she was with Nefarious, McMarx asked her to autograph his t-shirt, before she kidnapped him. Gears took him to the Biobliterator testing laboratory on her hideout on Obani Draco, and transformed him into a robot.
In "Find Skidd", Ratchet and Klunk traveled to Obani Draco in search of him, only to find that Gears had transformed him into a robot. Gears then teleported Ratchet into the arena where she films her music videos for a battle, promising that he would enjoy being a robot and the transformation would not be too painful. Ratchet defeated her there, leaving her damaged.
Due to the allegations about her conspiring with Nefarious, Courtney Gears' record label dropped her in favor of Skidd McMarx's spoken word poetry. Despite this and the contents being propaganda for Nefarious, the song "Robots of the Galaxy" caught on, and her merchandise was still popular among young girls and teenage robots.
Gleeman Vox, owner of a media empire based in the Shadow Sector, recovered her damaged body. Despite her reaching a low in her career, Vox personally oversaw the careful reconstruction and rehabilitation of her damaged body by his own team of specialist robotic surgeons. In return for funding her recovery, Vox required she sign over to him all past and future rights to her music, her image, her name, her likeness, and her personal collection of Secret Agent Clank memorabilia. Vox News, in a segment of Galactic Glamour, spun this as a favorable deal, also spinning the battle against her by claiming she had just been "minding her own business" in the "privacy" of her Biobliterator testing facility.
Gears then went to the Kronos School for the Inept doing market research for her latest album, titled Oops, I Got Vaporized By A Level 7 Shock Blaster!, where she met a math teacher, Dull Bookworm. The two entered a relationship, brought together by their equal love of cafeteria food. However, it faded after a month due to Bookworm's slow and boring life. Bookworm then traveled to the nearest personal enhancement center, where a live nuclear explosive was surgically implanted in his chest, rebirthing him as Reactor. Gears then made her cinematic debut starring alongside Reactor, one of the Exterminators at DreadZone, in the movie Reactor: Rise of the Sociopathic Bloodlust.
Gears first appeared in Deadlocked when Al, a member of Team Darkstar, danced to the "Robots of the Galaxy" music video. Spitting his coffee in surprise, he hurriedly turned it off when Ratchet entered to talk to him.
Gears was later discussed in a news segment by Vox News, in which they reported she made a full recovery following a "near-death experience" when she was attacked by "two psychotic fans", showing a falsified image of Ratchet and Clank. Later, she appeared in a DreadZone promotional video documenting her relationship with Dull "Reactor" Bookworm, in which she had first rejected him until he brought fame and fortune being an exterminator.
Courtney Gears' subsequent appearances include posters in Size Matters and Secret Agent Clank, her "Robots of the Galaxy" music video played aboard the IRIS supercomputer in Tools of Destruction, and a poster in the Friends with Benefits comic book. She was mentioned in Quest for Booty and A Crack in Time, in which Cassiopeia mentioned that she was still one of Nefarious' subordinates, implying she stayed aligned with him when he resurfaced in the Polaris Galaxy.
Courtney Gears is a feminine robot with a slender hotbot body type of a silver metal alloy. She has brown metallic hair held by a red band, and glowing yellow eyes. Her outfit consists of a long-sleeved crop top and black mini-shorts underneath a red mini-skirt, with red wedge boots for her feet.
Her fame is attributed to her looks rather than to her acting or singing ability, as corroborated and stated by the frequent mentions of her attractive appearance by other characters, including Ratchet, the Annihilation Nation announcer, the director, and Qwark.
Courtney Gears is a manipulative character, hoodwinking others into believing she is on their side, often by feigning innocence or attraction. Due to this and her duplicitous tendencies, her motives are often unclear. Though she did believe Ratchet (and presumably other organics) would enjoy being a robot, she also stated in her lyrics she can't stand organics and called for their extermination.
Gears is very conceited and aloof. The room in which her music videos are filmed is full of pictures of her, and she shows disdain towards those she sees as beneath her, including Ratchet and McMarx. During her battle against Ratchet, Gears called Ratchet a "nappy little rat" who would make a nice fur coat, and likened the entire battle to a dance-off while taunting him. She expressed frustration at him for messing up her hair or nails, rather than for necessarily causing harm. After losing to him, she bemoaned her fans would be lost without her. When vying for the favor of someone, Gears acts cuter and more flirtatious, calling Clank a "hunk of titanium alloy", and referring to Nefarious as "snooky wookums". However, she appears to behave this way only towards robots.
Gears is surrounded by a posse of backup dancers, including her best dancer named Melissa, who hang out with her in her hideout and appear in her music videos. While Qwark claimed to have had an intimate relationship with her to taunt Nefarious, and she was implied to crush on Nefarious during Up Your Arsenal, the only confirmed relationship she had was with Reactor. Though the relationship began genuine, it faded after merely a week; her return motivated only by money, but lasting until his death.
Courtney Gears is a deceptively tough and powerful fighter, who often fights alongside her backup dancers which have similar abilities. She is agile, able to teleport short distances mid-combat, and can perform spinning kicks. She can fire energy blasts, throw spinning energy discs at foes, and fire electric shockwaves. Outside of combat, she has a powerful static shock from her eyes that could incapacitate Clank.
Though she is a very successful pop star, Gears' acting and singing talent are disparaged by several characters, including Ratchet on two occasions, and even including the Annihilation Nation announcer who refers to her as "in-talented".
Behind the scenes
Courtney Gears' name is a parody of real-life pop star Britney Spears. She references Britney's song "Oops!... I Did It Again", both in a line during the boss battle in Up Your Arsenal, and in the News Update segment made available on the Insomniac Games website promoting the game, with the album title Oops, I Got Vaporized By A Level 7 Shock Blaster!.
Courtney Gears was originally voiced by Melissa Disney in Up Your Arsenal. The backup dancer Melissa, whom she refers to as her best dancer, is likely a reference to the voice actor's name. In Deadlocked, she was voiced by Nika Futterman. Futterman went on to voice Juanita Alvaro, Vernon, and Vendra Prog, and other characters in the series. TJ Fixman, writer of Into the Nexus (in which Vendra Prog is the main villain), compared the two prior to release in a tweet, hinting that Vendra was much more evil.
The lyrics for Courtney Gears' song, "Robots of the Galaxy", were written by Up Your Arsenal writer Brad Santos. An early version of the song, recorded by Paul Mudra to teach Melissa Disney the lyrics, has a few minor differences in the lyrics, with different ad libs and slightly different timing. The boss battle against Courtney Gears was designed by Colin Munson, and programmed by Jerrod Putman. Munson's original design for the boss fight was as a rhythm game, in which the player had to match what Gears was singing. This could not be achieved, as there was no time to write another song for the battle, though the developers were nonetheless happy with the design.
Courtney Gears' "Robots of the Galaxy" music video is in English in all localizations of the game, with the exception of Japan, for which it is translated. In the Japanese version of Tools of Destruction, the Groovitron has a different playlist, and one of the possible tracks is a remix of the chorus of Courtney Gears' "Robots of the Galaxy" song, sang in English.
- Up Your Arsenal script § "Explore the Docks (gameplay)"
- Up Your Arsenal script § "Meet with Courtney Gears (gameplay)"
- Up Your Arsenal guide, p. 108
- Ratchet & Clank (2016 game), poster in intro cutscene
- Up Your Arsenal script § "Redecorating the Torture Chamber"
- Insomniac Games official website 2005
- Up Your Arsenal script § "Find Nefarious"
- Up Your Arsenal script § "Courtney Gears Music Video"
- Up Your Arsenal script § "Infiltrate the Weapons Facility (gameplay)"
- Up Your Arsenal script § "Explore the Second Moon"
- Up Your Arsenal script § "Escape the Tyhrranoid Ambush (gameplay)"
- Up Your Arsenal script § "Beat Courtney Gears (gameplay)"
- Deadlocked, Al dancing to the video in a cutscene
- Deadlocked script § "Ace Toys Suck"
- Deadlocked guide, p. 8
- Deadlocked script § "Shellshock and the Twins"
- Up Your Arsenal script § "Win the Tyhrra-Guise"
- Up Your Arsenal script § "Film a Secret Agent Clank Episode"
- Fixman 2013
- uselesspodcasts 2012, 11:00
- uselesspodcasts 2012, 4:20
- Video games
- Insomniac Games (2004). Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal. PlayStation 2. Sony Interactive Entertainment.
- Insomniac Games (2005). Ratchet: Deadlocked. PlayStation 2. Sony Interactive Entertainment.
- Insomniac Games (2007). Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction. PlayStation 3. Sony Interactive Entertainment.
- Insomniac Games (2009). Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time. PlayStation 3. Sony Interactive Entertainment.
- Insomniac Games (2016). Ratchet & Clank. PlayStation 4. Sony Interactive Entertainment.
- Greg Off (November 2004). Ratchet & Clank Up Your Arsenal Official Strategy Guide. BradyGames. ISBN 0744005000.
- Greg Off (November 2005). Ratchet Deadlocked Prima Official Game Guide. Prima Games. ISBN 0761552049.
- Insomniac Games (October 24, 2005). Entertainment News - News Update. Insomniac Games. Archived from the original on November 8, 2019.
- TJ Fixman (July 10, 2013). If you thought Courtney Gears was evil, wait until you meet Vendra Prog. #IntoTheNexus. Twitter. TJ Fixman.
- Mike Stout, Tony Garcia (June 11, 2012). Ratchet and Clank 3 - Developer Commentary - Ep 15. uselesspodcasts. YouTube.
- Mike Stout, Tony Garcia (August 27, 2012). Ratchet and Clank 3 - Developer Commentary - Episode 25. uselesspodcasts. YouTube.