Umbris is a planet in the Solana Galaxy featured in Ratchet & Clank, with a cameo in both the 2016 re-imagined game and movie. It is a hot, dry, muddy planet that is home to Qwark's headquarters. Captain Qwark covered his headquarters in barbed wire fences, rapid-fire machinegun turrets, and legions of killer robots, to defend it from outsiders. The headquarters also housed a Blargian snagglebeast. Ratchet and Clank were led to Umbris after Qwark initially invited them, claiming that if they proved themselves by overcoming the obstacles of his headquarters, he would join forces with them.
Ratchet & Clank
Qwark invited Ratchet and Clank to visit his headquarters on Umbris after they visited him in his trailer on Rilgar to ask for his help in "Locate Captain Qwark". Qwark had claimed to have been impressed by their adventures, and wished to join forces with them to stop Chairman Drek, if they proved themselves. However, once the two arrived, the challenges appeared more unnecessarily dangerous than advertised, and Qwark appeared aloof as to the danger. The two were then challenged to survive his gauntlet to reach him.
When they successfully navigated through every obstacle, Qwark offered them to step into the "ring of heroes", something Ratchet was suspicious of while Clank was eager. When Clank dragged Ratchet into the "ring of heroes", Qwark simply released the trap door below them, causing them to fall into a pit with a Blargian snagglebeast. At this point, Qwark revealed that he was Drek's highly paid spokesperson for his new planet and that he had lured Ratchet and Clank into a trap, and left Ratchet and Clank to die in the pit. The two instead managed to defeat the snagglebeast.
As they were stuck inside the pit, neither could reach their old courier ship, and were required to find a new ship. On their way out, they found an infobot containing coordinates to planet Batalia, and an urgent transmission from a commando defending the world from the blarg. Clank wished to help the commando, though Ratchet refused and vowed vengeance on Qwark, attempting to pilot Qwark's tour shuttle off the planet. However, Ratchet could not fly the shuttle without a robotic ignition system from Clank, and Clank agreed only to start the ship if Ratchet agreed to help the commando. Ratchet reluctantly obliged, and the two flew to Batalia.
In Qwark's version of events and the holo-film, Umbris is never visited, but appears as a plot point. Umbris had an unstable planet core, and destroying it with the Deplanetizer when the planets in its system would all align would cause the entire system to be destroyed. As a result, Dr. Nefarious convinced Drek to destroy Umbris during this time as his next target in order to have the planets destroyed under the Galactic Rangers' watch. However, the Rangers prevented this, causing the Deplanetizer to instead destroy New Quartu.
In the holo-film, Dr. Nefarious crashed on Umbris and was "repaired" by repair bots, which transformed him into his robotic form.
Post-Ratchet & Clank
Later, in Tools of Destruction, Ratchet remarked that his invention, "Stunderwear" (a pair of electro-shock undergarments), had been a huge seller on planet Umbris.
Qwark's headquarters was constructed on top of a large island, surrounded by a series of smaller ones and tall rock outcroppings, in the midst of a large body of muddy water. The headquarters itself is a massive structure that dominates the surrounding area. A collection of towers that dwarf every other structure surround the complex, with searchlights beaming through the dark skies, with almost equally tall walls connecting the towers and surrounding the central structure.
An obstacle course has been constructed on the southern islets, which takes the form of a swirling path across numerous smaller bridges, towers, and walls. Tall leafless and gnarled trees surround the landing pad and first set of islets, with the majority growing out of the mud. The landing pad is set on a larger yellow-rimmed platform on top of the southern-most rocks, with a pair of versa-targets leading to the start of the obstacle course below.
The course is quite linear, with the initial path leading across a bridge, rising and curving around a tower, before leading across another bridge. All the while, static and mobile enemy emplacements will attempt to bar anyone from passing by. A staircase and a third bridge leads past the second tower, ending in front of a trio of buttons and an apparent dead end. The buttons will open the wall, leading to a small enclosed area, where another trio of buttons opens yet another gate hidden in the wall. The path continues over a pair of rickety bridges, almost falling apart, whereafter it leads to a barbed wire course, while a machinegun turret sprays bullets from the far side.
Past the barbed wire fences and a set of versa-targets is the first halfway point, with a bigger bridge connecting from the main island to a wide tower. There is a small path around the tower, with buttons that when pressed, allow entry. Opposite the tower is a small maze, with tall walls covering the south and north ends. The other end of the maze is clear and has a clear view over a cliff. After three buttons are triggered, a gate opens, allowing entry into a small courtyard with a statue of Captain Qwark. A similar procedure will open a gate and allow access to a ladder. The ladder leads to the top of the tallest walls, revealing a collection of pools, filled with sharkigators.
The first pool is connected through an underwater pipe with the second. The top of the wall is otherwise cut off from the rest due to impressively thick metal bars. The third pool can be easily accessed after passing through the pipe and climbing out of the second, with the largest and final pool located after the third. Progressing further onto the wall is impossible due to another set of bars. Instead, the only way through is by swimming beneath a low hanging wall that is partially covering the fourth pool and entering the main structure's interior itself.
Qwark's headquarters' interior
A long partially flooded tunnel must be traversed using versa-targets to reach a tunnel, this time seemingly naturally formed, until a large circular room is reached. Said room is flooded as well, with a pillar in the center and buttons on the top, which if activated will open a door on the other side. Above the platform hangs a strange device, that appears to be some sort of massive claw, with 'fingers' extending outwards into the four cardinal directions, before curling inwards.
Another naturally-formed underground tunnel leads to the apparent end of the obstacle course, with a doorway opening up to a large cylindrical passageway, suspended in the midst of a massive red-tinted circular room with an open roof. A separate and inaccessible extension is seen to the left of the main path, which has a teleporter, and is only available upon returning here a second time. The main path itself ends in a circular platform, dubbed the 'Ring of Heroes' by Qwark, but is in fact a trapdoor that leads to the blargian snagglebeast's lair.
The lair is a large dome-shaped cavern, with many of the aforementioned gnarled roots dotting the area where the walls and partial ceiling meets. It is hidden deep underneath Qwark's headquarters, deep enough for the entire floor to be made out of lava, save for two plots of land that are connected by three bridges. These three bridges were destroyed in the ensuing boss fight with the snagglebeast, leaving only three floating remains from each. There is a door in the northwest end of the cave, leading to a small hangar with several parked ships.
Behind the scenes
Concept drawings for a production environment turned out to be fairly complicated. The general idea for the headquarters was to make it reminiscent of a World War II battlefield with bunkers, machine guns, and barbed wire. Concept art also contained lightning rods, but these were removed as they made the central structure appear too small.
The platform gameplay of Ratchet & Clank required the level geometry to fit precise design metrics. As a result, many of Insomniac's early levels were visualized by an artist and game designer working closely together. John Fiorito collaborated with Mark Cerny on many of the levels. Mark would present a series of very detailed game mechanics and enemy setup diagrams, and then John would arrange them into a coherent layout to fit a planet's theme, resulting in a lot of back and forth sketching before the level map was ready for production. In the finished map in the concept art, Mark's original pencil layout can be seen beneath John's ink drawing.
In early builds of the game, the planet was named "Destron", and Qwark's headquarters was instead named "Quark's base".
- Insomniac Games (2002). Ratchet & Clank [Game]. PlayStation 2. Sony Interactive Entertainment.
- Insomniac Games (2016). Ratchet & Clank [Game]. PlayStation 4. Sony Interactive Entertainment.
- Kevin Munroe (Director) (2016). Ratchet & Clank [Film]. Rainmaker Entertainment.
- Insomniac Games (August 21, 2012). Ratchet & Clank: 10 Years of Concept Art. IGN. Archived from the original on October 21, 2017.