In the announcement trailer, Ratchet and Clank are seen running through rifts that take them through several planets, including ones bearing resemblance to Sargasso, Torren IV, Ardolis, as well as a city named Megalopolis. The Goons-4-Less and a giant hologram of Dr. Nefarious are also seen, as well as a female lombax. The dimensional portals have a purple-ish hue, resembling the Netherverse.
The gameplay of Rift Apart allows the player to play both as Ratchet and an as-yet unnamed female lombax. It retains elements of previous Ratchet & Clank games, involving gunplay, collection of bolts, upgradable weapons, and gadgets. Scripted segments also involve Ratchet rushing through new planets. Though most of Ratchet's moveset is identical to that of the previous Ratchet & Clank (2016 game), he has a new move in which he can dash while strafing, allowing him to rapidly move to the side or backwards. He does this with a new glove gadget called the Rift Tether. This also allows Ratchet to rapidly travel forwards in space by using pre-existing yellow rifts, which enlarge when the reticle is focused on them.
Ratchet has four new weapons: the Burst Pistol, the Shatterbomb, The Enforcer, and the Topiary Sprinkler. The Shatterbomb is an explosive weapon similar to the Fusion Grenade. The Enforcer is a double-barrel shotgun resembling the Shock Cannon, which uses the DualSense controller's adaptive triggers to give tension; if the player holds their finger down half-way they can fire one trigger, or two if they pull it all the way.. The Topiary Sprinkler resembles the Miniturret Glove, but instead shoots bolts of ice and sprouts plants around itself.
The story begins when Dr. Nefarious accidentally damages the fabric of space and time, after attempting to use the Dimensionator against Ratchet and Clank. In the reveal trailer, Ratchet and Clank land on a planet resembling Sargasso through a dimensional rift, upon which Clank notes that "it appears the dimensions are collapsing on one another". No sooner than they land, robots of unknown origin attack them, forcing them to flee using rifts. Through this, the rifts open up to several planets, including one resembling Torren IV where they ride on the back of a dragon-like creature. After landing on a planet resembling Ardolis where they encounter space pirates, Clank is separated from Ratchet by another rift taking him to a planet taken over by Dr. Nefarious, where the same robots can be seen in larger numbers. He questions where Ratchet is, upon which a female lombax with white fur, and a bionic arm wielding a hammer, drops down next to him, asking "Who?".
In the gameplay trailer they are seen fighting groups of Thugs-4-Less soldiers while traveling through an omni-hub station, as multiple rifts repeatedly open and close, changing the terrain and dropping in unexpected creatures from other planets. At the end Clank bemoans that Nefarious has chosen to return after years of slumber to try to take over the universe again, while the thugs try and prevent them from reaching "the boss". The trailer ends when they are about to run into a giant mech using a design similar to Nefarious' Gadgetron Insta-Mech.
The PlayStation 5's increased horsepower allowed more enemies, effects, and objects to be loaded per world, as Insomniac intended for each planet to feel real and alive than was possible on previous generations. The Solid State Drive of the PlayStation 5 also allowed gameplay in which players could be projected to other worlds at near-instantaneous speed, creating the first Ratchet & Clank with no load screens between planets. The PlayStation 5 also allowed for 3D spatial audio, creating greater immersion.
- August 27, 2020. Gamescom: Opening Night Live 2020 (Live, Thursday August 27 - 8 PM CEST / 2 PM ET / 11 AM PT). thegameawards. YouTube.
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- Marcus Smith (June 20, 2020). Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart - Insomniac Insights | PS5. PlayStation. YouTube.