Nanotech is a recurring technology serving as a gameplay element in the Ratchet & Clank series. It is a technology that consists of tiny nanomites (nanobots) that live within organic life forms, robots, and other technology such as weapons and armor, to perform repairs and healing, or other functions such as weapon upgrades. Nanomites are also absorbed from defeated enemies: the more powerful the enemy, the more nanomites are absorbed.
Nanotech is primarily used as health, and serves as a means by which a character's life is gauged, and having the character's nanotech depleted causes them to fall unconscious or die. A player character's maximum nanotech can often be upgraded through various means. One way is through defeating enemies; when enough are defeated to fill a nanotech level meter or experience bar, the maximum nanotech is increased (and current nanotech is restored to maximum) as nanomites are absorbed into armor from defeated enemies to improve the maximum nanotech. In other cases, collected items can improve maximum nanotech.
Aside from serving as health, nanotech also allows weapons to upgrade. Nanomites absorbed from defeated enemies are used within weapons to upgrade; this is indicated by a weapon's level meter which, when filled, improves the weapon a level until it reaches its maximum.
Ratchet & Clank (2002)
In the original Ratchet & Clank, nanotech exists solely to replenish Ratchet and Clank's health. Ratchet can initially carry a maximum of four nanotech, and each hit takes away one nanotech. At the Kogor Refinery on planet Orxon, Ratchet found a nanotech dispenser in "Explore as Ratchet", from which he could purchase supplements developed by the blarg that, when drank, would expand his maximum nanotech. These supplements were Premium Nanotech for 4,000 bolts, bought in the mission "Buy the Premium Nanotech", which expanded his maximum nanotech to five, and the Ultra Nanotech for 30,000, which expanded it to eight, purchased in the mission "Buy the Ultra Nanotech". Clank's maximum nanotech, however, remains at four.
Nanotech is replenished by breaking nanotech crates, which restore a single nanotech.
Upgrading to Premium Nanotech unlocks the bronze trophy Hit Me More!, while upgrading to Ultra Nanotech unlocks the silver trophy Nano This! in the high-definition re-release of Ratchet & Clank, also available in Ratchet & Clank Collection.
In Going Commando, Ratchet is suited with commando armor from Megacorp that allows him to absorb nanomites from defeated enemies. This allows Ratchet to increase his maximum nanotech beyond the initial four up to 70. Each time the maximum capacity expands, it fully replenishes and causes a flash of electricity that damages (and in many cases destroys) all enemies on screen.
Ratchet's nanotech can expand 10 times more up to 80 with hidden nanotech boosts. 10 of these can be located throughout the game: one on Endako, one in the Feltzin System, one on Notak, one on Tabora, one on Dobbo, one on Joba, one on Todano, one on Boldan and one on Snivelak. These are necessary for obtaining the skill point Nano to the max!.
As in the previous game, Clank has four nanotech that cannot be increased. Nanotech is also restored from blue nanotech crates, though Ratchet can find larger purple ultra nanotech crates which restore four nanotech. In challenge mode, the amount of nanotech restored from both quadruples; standard nanotech crates restore four while ultra nanotech crates restore sixteen.
Nanomites are also absorbed by weapons, allowing a weapon to pick up nanomites by defeating enemies with it. After a weapon's upgrade bar is full, it upgrades to a new, more powerful weapon. This applies to all weapons developed by Megacorp with the exception of the Zodiac and the Clank Zapper. A second upgrade can be purchased at Megacorp vendors, upgrading the weapons to Mega versions which can be upgraded with nanomites a third time to reach maximum capability.
Up Your Arsenal
Up Your Arsenal features a similar nanotech system to the previous entry, with nanomites having a more opaque appearance. The main differences are that the maximum nanotech is changed to 100 (expandable to 200 in challenge mode, while Clank's remains at 4 throughout), and that the flash of electricity that previously occurred every time Ratchet's maximum nanotech capacity increased instead occurs every 10 times it increases.
Nanotech is restored from blue nanotech crates, which now restores 20% of Ratchet's nanotech or one unit of Clank's nanotech. An item called the nano-pak can also be acquired from Zeldrin, which stores unneeded nanotech obtained from the world and releases it to the user when their nanotech is low.
Nanomites are absorbed to upgrade weapons once again, but can now upgrade four times from level 1 through to 5, in which the first four upgrades incrementally improve the weapon while level 5 drastically transforms it. In challenge mode, once a weapon reaches level five, the Mega version can be purchased to upgrade it three more times, to Giga, Ultra and finally Omega at V8. This applies to all Gadgetron and Megacorp weapons with the exception of the RY3NO which can only be upgraded to level 5.
In multiplayer, players have non-upgradable nanotech which can be restored with nanotech crates or by standing on nanotech pads in Siege mode.
Deadlocked uses nanotech of a unique grey-orange color, and with nanomites referred to as "nanodrones". Nanotech is used for health in a similar fashion to Up Your Arsenal. Ratchet's maximum nanotech can be increased up to a maximum of 999. However, upgrading his Nanotech does not make him able to take more damage, as damage now takes away a percentage of his Nanotech and not a fixed amount.
Vox Industries weapons can be upgraded incrementally as far as level 10, though purchasing the Mega version in challenge mode allows them to be upgraded up to level 99. Additionally, equipping alpha mods such as the XP mod allows weapons to gain up to 500% extra XP (nanodrones absorbed) towards upgrading weapons and health, depending on how many mods are equipped.
In cooperative mode, both players share their weaponry, and therefore share nanotech used to upgrade these weapons. Experience to upgrade nanotech health is also shared. If either player runs out of nanotech, they will respawn after six seconds provided their companion is still alive; if both die, both are sent to the checkpoint.
In Going Mobile, Ratchet has 20 nanotech with health laid out in the style of Going Commando, but cannot be upgraded. Weapons can be upgraded to V3.
In Size Matters, Ratchet's nanotech could reach a maximum of 50, and up to 75 in challenge mode. His weapons had four levels from V1-4, and a Titan upgrade to upgrade them to V8.
In multiplayer, blue nanotech crates restore at least a quarter of the player's nanotech, while yellow nanotech boxes upgrade weapons, and orange nanotech boxes grant weapon mods.
Secret Agent Clank
Secret Agent Clank gives Clank, Ratchet and Qwark a nanotech level, where Clank and Ratchet can upgrade their levels by defeating enemies. Ratchet has a maximum of 90. The weapons upgrade in an identical fashion to Size Matters, though Clank's weapon upgrades are known as Proto upgrades rather than Titan upgrades.
Tools of Destruction
In Tools of Destruction, Ratchet has a maximum nanotech of 999, upgraded in progressively larger increments as his maximum nanotech level increases. Each time his nanotech level bar fills completely, a flash releases that destroy nearby enemies before upgrading.
Nanotech stored in crates act and appear different than in prior games. When a nanotech crate is broken, the nanotech breaks into smaller Nanotech orbs. Ratchet or Clank can collect as many or as few of these orbs as he needs, meaning that if he is near maximum health most of the Nanotech doesn't get wasted. Ratchet can also fully restore his Nanotech by accessing a GrummelNet vendor.
Weapons can be upgraded to level 5, and in challenge mode, an Omega version can be purchased to allow them to upgrade five more times to Level X (10).
Quest for Booty
In Quest for Booty, Ratchet's maximum nanotech capacity is 20 units. Upgrading Ratchet's nanotech also releases a flash of energy that destroys nearby enemies and refills health.
Weapons, as in Tools of Destruction, can be upgraded up to level 5, though there are no Omega upgrades as there are no vendors or challenge mode.
A Crack in Time
In A Crack in Time, Ratchet again has upgradable nanotech. Ratchet gains experience points (representing absorbed nanomites) by defeating enemies or collecting Zoni, and filling a bar improves Ratchet's nanotech up to a maximum of 199.
As with Tools of Destruction, weapons can be upgraded up to level 5, and in challenge mode, an Omega version can be purchased to allow them to upgrade five more times to Level X (10).
All 4 One
In All 4 One, Ratchet, Clank, Qwark and Nefarious all have nanotech as their health, though they do not absorb nanomites and it is not upgradable. Ratchet's maximum nanotech level is four. Nanotech can be found in nanotech crates, and when a teammate is low on nanotech, another player can use extra nanotech that has been stored to heal them.
Unlike previous games, weapons cannot be upgraded using nanotech as nanomites are not absorbed.
Into the Nexus
Ratchet's weapons can be upgraded twice up to V3. Obtaining the Omega version in challenge mode allows it to be upgraded further to V6.
Ratchet & Clank (2016)
In the 2016 re-imagined Ratchet & Clank, Ratchet has upgradable nanotech, and can upgrade it to a maximum capacity of 100 in a normal playthrough, and up to 200 in challenge mode. Clank's nanotech has a maximum capacity of 10. Nanotech is dropped from nanotech crates. When piloting ships, the ship's nanotech has a maximum capacity of 50, and nanotech to repair the ship is dropped from green blarg saucers. Similarly, when controlling the cannon in Fort Krontos, Batalia, it has a maximum nanotech capacity of 100, dropped from destroyed green blarg saucers.
Nanotech is seemingly used to upgrade Ratchet's weapons. Weapons can be upgraded up to a maximum of V5. Omega weapons in challenge mode further upgrade to V10.