Gleeman Vox is the main antagonist in Deadlocked. He was the founder and owner of the Vox Industries conglomerate of several business ventures within the lawless Shadow Sector. His most notable venture was the reality holovision show DreadZone, an illegal combat sport which kidnapped heroes and forced them to compete in a battle for their lives. Vox also had a pet, Slugha, who he kept as a companion.
Gleeman Vox produced multiple seasons of DreadZone in the Shadow Sector, successfully kidnapping and killing heroes while escaping the notice of any galactic authorities. He worked closely with Ace Hardlight, the champion of DreadZone, whom he unsuccessfully tried to market as a star. Eventually, Gleeman Vox had Ratchet, along with his teammates Clank and Al, captured and forced them to compete. As Ratchet beat all of the challenges in DreadZone and set records, Vox offered to make Ratchet the next star, though Ratchet refused. Vox was eventually killed when, after attempting to produce a grand final episode in which he and Ratchet would both die when DreadZone Station was destroyed, Ratchet was able to flee in time with Clank's help, leading Vox to die by his own metal hand.
Gleeman Vox made his fortune in several business ventures he founded in the Shadow Sector, under the Vox Industries conglomerate. These included Vox Airways,, Vox Pharmaceuticals, Vox Space Casino and Resort, Vox Magazine, Vox Laboratories, and many holovision programs under the Vox Network umbrella, including Vox News, Vox Sports, and Vox Entertainment. Vox had hands in holovision stations across four galaxies, movie rights, weapons manufacturing, fourteen slugha rescue operations and glue factories, and merchandising. With his own employees, Vox had very cruel methods to keep them in line, including feeding his weapon design team to a leviathan after they disagreed with a weapon proposal, and using the Fusion Rifle in board meetings if he was ever interrupted. Media outlets still tended to put a favorable spin on all coverage of himself and things within his own media empire.
According to reports, Vox had the idea for DreadZone after seeing heroes on the news, and a few phone calls following his thought "What if these interplanetary heroes that I hear so much about could be coerced into risking their lives, not for such tawdry concepts as freedom, justice, or universal survival, but for cold hard bolts and the entertainment of billions?" DreadZone would eventually become a hugely successful operation, gathering at least six trillion fans across four galaxies, all while still operating beneath the notice of much of the Solana Galaxy.[a]
Vox met Ace Hardlight sometime after Hardlight fell into depression following the destruction of his homeworld, offering to make Hardlight the captain of the Exterminators and star of DreadZone. Vox sold merchandising based on DreadZone, including a popular hair removal and body works system sold at The Everything Store, collectible trading cards, as well as an array of merchandise based on Ace Hardlight including a video game, lunch box, action figure, and movie rights (though the Ace Hardlight merchandise was not commercially successful). Vox also oversaw the reconstruction and rehabilitation of pop sensation Courtney Gears by his own team of robotic surgeons, guaranteeing her full recovery in exchange for signing over all past and future rights to her music, image, name and likeliness (as well as her collection on Secret Agent Clank memorabilia).
A week after Starshield was killed by Ace Hardlight on DreadZone, Vox ordered a false distress beacon to emanate from quadrant J0713, an area thought to be completely devoid of life, luring the Starship Phoenix to the quadrant and allowing him to capture Ratchet. Though Vox typically only captured the hero, he decided to give deadlock collars to Clank and Al and make use out of them instead, saving bolts by putting them in Team Darkstar and appointing Clank as Ratchet's mission engineer rather than assigning one of his own as was typical.
As the next DreadZone season progressed, Vox began to grow frustrated with the underperformance of Ace Hardlight's merchandise, calling Hardlight into his office and threatened that if Ace did not make himself more endearing to audiences, he would be replaced. Later, after Shellshock's defeat, Vox began to notice a potential replacement in the form of Ratchet. After initially being dismayed at the loss of six million bolts when Shellshock was defeated, he acknowledged he had underestimated Ratchet, and that Ratchet's popularity even eclipsed Hardlight from Hardlight's heroic youth. Nonetheless, Vox continued to attempt to sell Ace Hardlight merchandise to no avail, with the only successful merchandise product being fuzzy lombax ears that Vox had never approved of. The focus test he ordered as a result confirmed that found children greatly disliked Ace Hardlight, but were very enthused for Ratchet.
As Ratchet defeated Ace Hardlight in the Liberator Tournament, Vox invited Ratchet to his office. Vox explained that the Vox News slander of Ratchet had been an attempt to build up Ratchet's "bad boy image" and offered to make Ratchet the new captain of the Exterminators, enthusiastically speaking to the commercial potential of marketing Ratchet as a star. Ratchet rejected Vox's offer and scolded him, prompting Vox to warn Ratchet he had "signed his own death warrant". Rather than execute him there, Vox still wished to profit off of Ratchet, instead ordering he be returned to his Containment Suite and order that Ratchet be put through one final battlecourse, the Ghost Station (which had been mathematically proven to be unbeatable). Vox made a subsequent public address mourning Ace Hardlight's supposed death, but not before using the opportunity to sell merchandise and encourage viewers purchase it to express "grief and sympathy".
After Ratchet completed the battlecourse and destroyed the Ghost Station, Clank and Al hatched a plan to release all heroes from their containment fields in the DreadZone Station, reprogramming the Battledome station to take Ratchet down to the control level and destroy the central computer. Vox caught wind of this, and took advantage of the situation; he wired the Battledome with six gigatons of nitroglycerin, set a detonation timer, fled to a remote location, and sent cameras to film Ratchet for a high-stakes DreadZone episode.
Ratchet was successful in shutting down the containment fields and allowing escape shuttles to leave. Vox returned in a giant mech to face Ratchet, hoping the battle would make for a grand final episode. Ratchet defeated Vox, who then set the Battledome to be destroyed in sixty seconds. Vox took delight in the fact that, with the escape shuttles all gone, both he and Ratchet would die together on live holovision, for the greatest ratings Vox had ever had. However, Clank sent a final shuttle to pick up Ratchet, as Ratchet took Slugha and left Vox behind. Vox screamed in anger before the station was destroyed, effectively causing his own death.
Vox's robotic arm was seen floating around the remains of the station, as the only part of him that had remained intact.
Following his death, the Vox Network, which ran shows such as Lance and Janice, continued to operate. Vox Holo-Films also produced My Blaster Runs Hot. To fill the void left by the cancellation of DreadZone, one continuous loop of a Lance and Janice episode 10,972 titled "I Like You, But I Don't Like-You, Like-You" was aired. Furthermore, a statue of Gleeman Vox was added into the Hall of Villainy of the Intergalactic Museum of History in Meridian City on planet Igliak, as the result of his crimes. He was one of five top villains to appear in the Hall of Villainy, along with Chairman Drek, Emperor Tachyon, Dr. Nefarious and Stuart Zurgo.
Gleeman Vox was a humanoid with shark-like features. He had green-turquoise skin and a golden cybernetic left arm. He wore a red suit with orange and yellow highlights, and black and goal shoes. He also had a moustache just covering the top of his lips.
Gleeman Vox was cruel, sadistic, and driven solely by earning bolts and the highest possible ratings. Though he portrayed an affable and charismatic persona live on holovision when hyping viewers up for DreadZone, and had his media outlets spin him as a philanthropist, he took great delight in putting not just the DreadZone contestants, but also the fans, employees, and even regular civilians in danger for the sake of high stakes and the ratings they brought.[b] Vox was an abusive boss who generally took pleasure in harming or endangering those who worked for him, bragging that he could kill employees he did not like, using the Fusion Rifle on any who interrupted him, and feeding his own weapons design team to a leviathan after they disliked his proposal. Vox's aspirations were for top holivision ratings, multimillion-bolt merchandising deals, and to spread DreadZone battlecourses to every planet and galaxy, ultimately ruling known space. Vox also showed competence in his schemes, able to run his entire operation beneath the notice of most of the galaxy.[a]
Vox's aspirations stem not only from his own greed, but also an inability to see value in anything beyond money. This is evident from his very inspiration for DreadZone: after seeing heroes on holovision news, his reaction was an inability to understand their fame, followed by a plot to profit from them. Vox's pursuit of ratings above all else led to a willingness to cast himself as the villain in the final episode of DreadZone, it being the only time Vox News had ever painted Vox in a negative light, and was content dying knowing that his death would be the greatest ratings he'd had. Furthermore, as Clank tried to plead with Ratchet that he would not leave him behind, Vox showed disgust at the "sappy melodrama"; this and his frequent willingness to put those who work for him in danger suggest an disregard for the value of interpersonal relationships, as the only person he seems to show any care for is his pet Slugha. Ace Hardlight, who seems to have been the closest with Vox, still shared a mutual dislike for him, and in a memorial for Ace's supposed death, Vox barely mourned him and instead took the time to market more merchandise.
Vox used a giant mech in battle. The mech was a flying robot with a producer chair for Vox in place of its head, Vox being seated in front of several holovision screens just behind him. The mech had two forms, where the first was merely a flying producer's chair, while the second was a flying torso with arms. It was capable of firing lasers, electrified wings, laser drones, missiles, and spider-like exploding robots, as well as creating solid holograms of DreadZone enemies.
Behind the scenes
Early in development, his boss battle would emit copies of the Exterminators in combat while in the Giant Mech.
- Despite the popularity of DreadZone reaching six trillion fans, the show and the practice of kidnapping heroes was still only referred to by Sasha Phyronix and Captain Qwark as a rumor. After both Ace Hardlight and Starshield's disappearance, their whereabouts were still not well-known despite appearing on such a popular holovision show.
- On top of the danger contestants are already under when fighting in gladiatorial combat, three episodes of DreadZone greatly put fans and regular people at risk. The episode on Orxon had the objective be for the contestant to destroy a drill, causing its fuel and toxic vapors to release and endanger the lives of fans in attendance, forcing the contestant to then save the fans. Later, the episode on Stygia involved him deactivating the defense shield that protected the planet from meteor storms, meaning the population could be killed in hours if the contestant, Ratchet, was not successful. Finally, for the finale, Vox put everyone, including DreadZone fans, the captive heroes, and all Vox employees, in danger when he rigged the DreadZone Station to blow.
- Off 2005, p. 7
- Deadlocked script § "Tutorial (gameplay)"
- Deadlocked menu § "Napalm mod"
- Deadlocked menu § "Reactor Battle"
- Deadlocked script § "Showdown with Shellshock (gameplay)"
- Deadlocked menu § "Vox Laboratories"
- Deadlocked script § "Reactor: Introspective"
- Deadlocked menu § "Hunter Mine Launcher"
- Deadlocked menu § "Fusion Rifle"
- Deadlocked, game manual (NTSC), p. 12
- Deadlocked script § "News Break"
- Deadlocked script § "Not Captain Starshield!"
- Deadlocked script § "Death of a Salesman"
- Off 2005, p. 9
- Deadlocked script § "DreadZone: The Game!"
- Deadlocked script § "Vox has a Hissy"
- Insomniac Games official website 2005
- Deadlocked script § "Meet Vox"
- Deadlocked script § "Ratchet, eh?"
- Deadlocked script § "Under where?"
- Deadlocked script § "Ace Toys Suck"
- Deadlocked script § "Salutations"
- Deadlocked script § "Boo Ratchet"
- Deadlocked script § "DreadZone Station 6"
- Deadlocked script § "Defeat Gleeman Vox (gameplay)"
- Deadlocked script § "Death of a Salesman"
- Into the Nexus
- Deadlocked script § "Time to Blow $!% Up!"
- Deadlocked script § "Node Overload (gameplay)"
- Deadlocked script § "The Poor People of Stygia"
- Deadlocked script § "Sneaky Lombax"
- The Art of Ratchet & Clank, p. 130
- Insomniac Games (October 24, 2005). Entertainment News - News Update. Insomniac Games. Archived from the original on November 8, 2019.
- Insomniac Games (2005). Ratchet: Deadlocked. PlayStation 2. Sony Interactive Entertainment.
- Greg Off (November 2005). Ratchet Deadlocked Prima Official Game Guide. Prima Games. ISBN 0761552049.
- Sony Computer Entertainment (March 2018). The Art of Ratchet & Clank. Dark Horse Comics. ISBN 978-1506705729.