Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is an interdimensional story that introduces counterparts to each of the almost 19-year-old characters. Rivet, The Phantom, Captain Quantum, and more all exist as alternate versions of characters we’ve known for years. Rift Apart shows us something new about the existing Ratchet & Clank cast by using these new characters to mirror the old ones.
Rivet and her companion are prime examples of this new approach to storytelling. For all their similarities to Ratchet and Clank, the most interesting aspect of their personality lies in their differences. And by looking into their nature, we also learn more about the heroes we have known for almost two decades.
[Ed. note: This post includes some major spoilers for Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart.]
Ratchet and Clank have been the main characters of the franchise from the start. Players controlled the two title characters for the entire main series and only stepped in to control other characters in multiplayer modes and spinoffs. in the Rift Apart, Rivet is a new Lombax that not only marks the first non-Ratchet or Clank-playable character in the mainline series, but also the most significant female character in the entire franchise.
And just like Ratchet and Clank, it’s mostly a package deal. Wherever we’ve had Ratchet & Clank, we’ll have Rivet & Kit in the future.
Rift Apart revolves around Clank’s new restoration project, the Dimensionator – a new, armed version of a gadget from Ratchet & Clank: Tools of Destruction. Clank gives Ratchet the Dimensionator so that the Lombax can meet the long-lost members of his species. But of course things go terribly wrong. Serial villain Dr. Nefarious steals the Dimensionator and uses it to kidnap himself and the heroes into a dimension where Nefarious always wins.
Jumping between the cracks separates Ratchet and Clank, with Clank breaking in the fall. Rivet, a Lombax from this other dimension, finds Clank and takes him to their secret base in the hopes of extracting information from him. Meanwhile, Ratchet tries to hunt down this mysterious Lombax and find Clank.
Quite fast, Rift Apart makes it clear that Rivet is Ratchet’s dimensional counterpart – as in, she is the version of Ratchet in her dimension. But unlike Ratchet, Rivet mostly works alone. That is, until she mates with Clank.
Ratchet also meets another small, intelligent and charming robot. This new bot reluctantly helps Ratchet despite worrying about getting too close to a new friend. Eventually she accepts Ratchet’s invitation to become temporary partners and accepts the name Kit.
When Ratchet and Kit as well as Rivet and Clank finally meet, the two Lombax heroes swap robot buddies and the new duos are complete. But Rivet and Kit’s initial friendship is rocky, to say the least. Because of their very different life experiences, Rivet and Kit have more luggage than Ratchet and Clank.
Luggage in different dimensions
Ratchet and Rivet are both Lombaxes and both heroes – both are hugely successful fighters with a powerful arsenal – but their lives are very different.
Ratchet grew up as an orphan on the planet Veldin. Rivet, also apparently an orphan, has found a family with the Midwestern Morts on the planet Sargasso.
When we first met Ratchet in 2002, he was an ass. But after so many years of living and adventuring with Clank, he has become a loving, hopeful character. He is selfless and in Rift Apart, he goes out of his way to befriend Kit. He’s still the same old Ratchet, but we’ve seen how he’s changed for the better because of his circumstances: meeting Clank, becoming a hero, and a host of other events in the series’ history. That is growth.
We don’t have that kind of story at Rivet. But when we first see her, she puts herself in danger to help an alien. She is a key member of the resistance in her dimension. From our only point of reference, she seems a lot friendlier before meeting Kit than Ratchet was before meeting Clank. It’s part of Rivet’s life experience; She eventually met the Morts while Ratchet had no one until Clank.
But as history progresses, we learn that rivets hangers go deeper than ratchets ever. Ratchet was a selfish idiot, but Rivet is more complex. She has trust issues and an understandably deep-seated anger about her circumstances. Ratchet didn’t develop these feelings because he and Clank have been preventing incompetent villains from controlling the universe for nearly two decades. Rivets Dimension isn’t quite as lucky as its villain is far more competent. And therein lies the root of Rivet’s distrust: a lifetime under a robot regime.
The similarities between Clank and Kit aren’t quite as strong. Both started out as warbots. But because Clank was broken and because Ratchet met early in his life, he was never forced to hurt anyone. He has been confident in his pursuit of justice since birth. But Emperor Nefarious used Kit as a violent tool, which made her feel like a danger to others. Both robots are hyper-intelligent and serious, but one never got the baggage that the other has.
Ratchet and rivet, clank and kit; each pair is a mirror of the other. But every mirror has its own unique cracks that make it what it is. If positions had been swapped and Ratchet had a makeshift family to rely on but also fallen under an empire, would he react the same as Rivet if Kit revealed himself to be Warbot? Would Clank be a frightened mess, unable to trust himself, had he been forced to act as a warbot? Rift Apart suggests the answer is yes.
Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart examines this very delicate thread of “What Makes Me Me?” It examines how baggage and circumstances can shape a person beyond their nature. Kit and Rivet’s lives have been tougher than Ratchet and Clank’s, and their damage almost destroys a chance for real friendship. But their ability to put their own fears and suspicions aside because they are both more interested in saving their dimension tells us just as much about the true nature of Ratchet and Clank as they do Rivet and Kit.
Failure to stop invincible evil – something Rivet and Kit are more familiar with than Ratchet and Clank – doesn’t stop someone from being a hero. What these characters have in common, despite the differences in their worlds, is the urge to stand up and fight back, no matter how difficult the task may be or how many times they have fallen.