[RG Exclusive]...[RG Exclusive] Interview with Evan WiseRatchet and Clank...Ratchet and Clank Blu-ray + Official Guide First Look!New Ratchet and Clank...New Ratchet and Clank Merchandise and More!Ratchet and Clank...Ratchet and Clank Postmortem[RG Exclusive]...[RG Exclusive] Interview with Michael Bross
Hello, and welcome to Ratchet Galaxy, the #1 French fansite about the Ratchet & Clank universe.
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So, what is Ratchet Galaxy ?
A few months ago, we interviewed Michael Bross, latest Ratchet & Clank games' composer. Today is Evan Wise turn, the young and talented R&C movie composer, who was kind enough to answer our questions about his career and work.
1- Where did your will to become a film composer take its roots ? When did you
realize it was the one and only path you wanted to take ?
While I was studying music at my university I was focusing on piano and
conducting studies. I have a love for film and film music so when I started getting
more into score study I decided to take the path to composition which lead me to
pursing a career as a film composer.
I knew it was the only path for me because I understood how important music
was to a film or television show. I wanted to create musical characters that would
enhance the overall production.
2- How were you approached to compose the Ratchet & Clank movie's
I was an in-house composer for a publisher who secured the contract to hire the
composer for the film. I have a background in orchestration and scoring
animation so I was able to successfully demo on the film. Once the producers
heard my demo they approved me as the composer of the film. I then scored a
test scene which is the Canyon Run on the soundtrack, and after that process
everyone became comfortable and excited with the direction I was going to take
the music in.
3- What did you enjoy the most about this universe and its characters ?
My favorite aspect of the universe and characters is the balance of comedy with
sci-fi action. I can’t think of too many examples where the action and comedy are
balanced as well as they are in the Ratchet and Clank universe. As a composer
this is exciting because you have to find a way to implement comedic music
during scenes of action and drama.
4- What were your main inspirations (movies, music, composers, etc) when
defining the film's musical identity ?
My main inspiration and direction for the score was from the original demos I
wrote. I wrote two 5 minute suites of music that would define the film’s musical
identity. Within those suites I developed Ratchet’s Main Tittle and Clank’s theme.
I wrote those suites of music before I had any footage from the film, therefore I
would watch hours of gameplay from youtube to get a feel for the action and tone
of the universe.
That being said, there’s a call of stylistic similarities to other scores in the music. I
tried my best not to copy the tonality and orchestration of other famous scores in
the sci-fi or comedy genre, but to make it my own sound while also not trying to
reinvent the wheel.
5- Is there a film genre you most appreciate working on ?
I love working in animation. There are very few people on earth that have scored
an animated feature and it’s probably the most difficult genre of film to score. The
music has to be specifically timed while it captures the action and tone changes
within seconds of each other. The music in animation is in a constant state of
transition and makes for an intriguing listening experience. Having said that, it
also makes for a more complicated writing process, but I have never been more
creatively fulfilled than when I was working on the Ratchet and Clank Movie
6- If you had an opportunity to compose for a videogame or any other medium,
would you grab it, or keep composing for movies ? In both cases, why ?
I would gladly write for a video game or any other medium. I am interested mostly
in developing my own style of orchestral music and want to be sought after for
that specific sound.
I’m not interested in being hired to imitate someone or write
music that is more sound design oriented. I’m in the process right now of writing
absolute music for the concert stage and will hopefully be able to share more
about that soon.
7- What are the most valuable lessons you learnt while working on the R&C
I learned so many lessons during this process but the most valuable lesson I
learned was how important it is to have a direction with the film’s music in order
for a film’s soundtrack to sound cohesive. I was very lucky to have the support of
the director and producers in accepting my vision for the film’s music and not just
asking me to knock off the temp music or copy another composers style.
This was a luxury that a lot of composers don’t have and I’m happy my first film gave
me the opportunity to make a personal musical statement.
8- Do you have any regrets in particular, regarding this project ?
I don’t have any regrets in particular. Everything I could control I am 100% happy
and thrilled with. I do wish I had had some more information about the final
production of the music going in. I was under the impression that a full orchestral
recording was going to take place and that was why I was so eager to make the
personal and financial sacrifices I did to commit to this project.
But I’m glad the majority of the fans seem to be very happy with the film.
9- On the other side, what makes you proud about it ?
I’m blown away by how the film looks for the budget it was made on. I believe
that’s a testament to the artist involved and the dedication a lot of people had to
see this film get made. I’m also very pleased with the level of writing and
orchestration which I was able to achieve. I’m so glad I had the opportunity to
push myself to write with such nuanced details and at other times with
tremendous musical ornaments to bring out the characters and tone of the film.
No, we didn’t get to record the score with a full orchestra and I know that impacts
the music sonically, but I’ve had to understand that was completely out of my
control and therefore I have to be proud of the work I did. I’m very proud of the
soundtrack and I’m thankful Milan Records wanted to release it not only on a
digital format but produce a CD as well.
10- Would you have some words for the Ratchet Galaxy community ?
I want to thank everyone for seeing the film. If you have a chance please
checkout the soundtrack available on itunes or CD at amazon.com You can also
stream the soundtrack on several different platforms. You can find me online at
www.evanwise.com or twitter.
I will have information on some new projects soon.
We would like to thank Evan Wise, once again, for his time and his commitment.
Please feel free to leave him some words in the comments below.
The Ratchet and Clank Blu-Ray Movie was just released last month, coming forth to a not-so-positive review. In truth, it's hard to blame them: the movie may look visually pleasing, but there's only 2 bonus features, and no deleted scenes! The bonus features are interviews of Kevin Munroe, James Arnold Taylor, and Bella Thorne talking abut the movie, the game, and the message it sends to kids.
Meanwhile, Japan gets the ultimate Ratchet and Clank experience: a bundle of the movie, ps4 game, and a comic book all in one! Pre-ordering the Bouncer also includes a custom Japanese PS4 theme for Ratchet and Clank fans. All that's missing now is the classic black eyebrows.
In terms of actual deleted scenes, Kevin Munroe posted one on his instagram. Ratchet continues to mourn after being rejected by the Galactic Rangers. When asked about the deleted scenes ever being shown to the public, Kevin Munroe answered: "Yeah...not sure if we'll ever get to see see them. Probably just a producer's call at this point." Only one can hope as there are over 5 deleted scenes in total, not counting any we don't know about yet.
Interestingly enough, Rainmaker's main concept artist, Tony Washington, posted concept art of the entire Ratchet and Clank Act scenes in the movie. Most of these are paintings, renders, and even unused concept designs of certain characters. Drek and Grimroth looked quite different in the beginning.
Lastly, the Ratchet and Clank Official Guide Book was released last week! The book is an info-surplus of all things Ratchet and Clank. It also gives you the complete translation for the Solonian Language. Insomniac Forum's Kbabz has given an In-Depth Review of the Guide Book, but not all 112 pages.
There isn't too much in terms of new info, but it does show the full-body view of Ratchet's protosuit, and Chairman Drek. Grimroth found a baby lombax crashed landed by his garage, and named him "Ratchet" for his gift of fixing machines. Grim's twin brother "Felton Razz" prides himself as a "professional chillaxer," who left the Polaris Galaxy for a fishing trip to Pokitaru, and never came back. Brax Lectrus was a professional wrestler in the "Grapplemania," before becoming a Galactic Ranger, and Cora built a dreadzone fusion rifle one day while eating breakfast! All that and more as the Ratchet and Clank Guide Book gives you a complete tour of the Solana Galaxy.
That concludes any and all news on the Ratchet and Clank Movie/Ps4 game. Who knows where Insomniac Games will take our duo next? There have been rumors that something Ratchet and Clank related would be announced at PAX this year, however, it is unlikely, considering that Insomniac has their hands full with a Marvel Spiderman game. Until then, stay tuned to Ratchet Galaxy.
With Ratchet and Clank's theater run in the USA complete, the Bluray and Dvd will now be available next month on August 23rd! There doesn't appear to be any additional scenes, even though the movie has shown some content not in the film, such as Qwark's watercooler scene. There are only two bonus features: RaC: A Hero's Journey, and RaC: Leveling Up. Both of which are behind the scenes talks with the directors.
In addition to the Blu-ray, there will also be an Official Guide Book for the Ps4 game. Several pages have been revealed, including the index, which showcases over 100 pages of info on heroes, villains, planets, vehicles, and even a translatable Solanian Language!
Can't get enough concept art for the game? Just head over to Artstation.com, and take a look at all of the amazing work Insomniac Games has done for the game! There's also a cool animation breakdown sequence featuring Ratchet's walk cycle, and a blocking-to-spline pass of a scene from the movie.
There has also been some interesting concept art from the movie. Artist Tony Washington did some concept art and paintings for certain images inside the film. One of the characters, named Stig, was supposed to be a 5th ranger in the movie. Voiced by Alessandro Juliani and donning bright-curly hair, he would have been a love interest for Elaris. However, he was taken out of the film due to being unnecessary. Lastly, Ratchet and Clank go out in a 4th of July bang, proving once and for all...
Last month, Ratchet and Clank kicked some asteroid with a feature film, and a Ps4 re-imagining game. While fans enjoyed the film, it fared poorly around critics and non-fans. That didn't stop the Ps4 game from becoming the best selling Ratchet and Clank game of all time--ranking #1 for the 3rd week in a row! Now Shaun McCabe, who's been with the series since Going Commando, breaks his silence on how Insomniac Games brought this gem to life.
Originally, the game's release window was 2015, which gave Insomniac only 10 months of development time. They needed to start creating the worlds from the movie: Veldin, Aleero, and Quartu. Then they could move around and add other levels, like Nebula G4, and Gaspar. Shaun still says that there were 2 new levels, but unless you count the Deplanetizor, all other worlds are returning.
Creating a movie-tie-in game became much easier when told by Captain Qwark. They were free to improvise the story as they went along. TJ Fixman and Brian Allegier worked hard to make the story fit in with the movie, but tell a different version of the events, all while making sense. Animators worked hard on in-game cutscenes, but the real enemy in play was...TIME. If you're wondering why the cutscenes looked rushed, it was because of the time constraints. They even cut some story content out of the game to enhance the flow of the plot.
Insomniac tried to use as many Ps2 assets as they could for original development. But they soon found out that they couldn't grab anything out of the Ps2 games. Instead, they went to Idol Minds for the HD trilogy on the Ps3. This helped simplify the work of building everything from the ground up. Insomniac didn't think they would be able to use movie assets in game, but were pleasantly surprised with how smooth they ran in the game engine. A few tweaks was all they needed to get them functioning perfectly. However, some Ps2 characters were re-designed to give off a more modern look.
When word of the movie's 2016 delay came out, Insomniac Games found themselves having more breathing room in development. However, it was not without challenges. Sparing all the technical jargon aside, they were able to add new features, and polish the existing features as well.
With the movie's release, came lot's of concept art. From backgrounds like Kerwan and the Deplanetizor, to character sketches like Victor Von Ion and Dr. Nefarious, it's all able to be viewed on my Ratchet and Clank Tumblr. There are even some character model concepts of certain robots, if you dare to venture that far...
So what's next for Ratchet and Clank? Shaun McCabe said he's not quite sure. They are still cleaning their hands from this entry and delving into VR games. A movie sequel is out of the picture, but with the overwelming success of this PS4 game, it seems a sequel is more than likely. But what would it be about? We will let the fans decide. Vote now on this weeks poll to see what fans are truly craving for in the future. Reach for the stars Insomniac, reach for the stars...
For any upcoming news on Ratchet and Clank, stay tuned to Ratchet Galaxy.
Ratchet & Clank fans know him well, consciously or not. He is the talented composer behind the latest Oddworld games, and has been working on Insomniac Games' most popular franchise since 2010. In 2012, he even adressed us some nice words for our 5th anniversary.
I am obviously talking of Michael Bross ! From R&C: All 4 One to R&C PS4, passing by Full Frontal Assault and Into The Nexus, Michael has reinvented the series' musical identity by brilliantly mixing electronic sounds and orchestral instrumentations, while providing each episode its own themes and unique atmosphere.
Currently crumbling under hours and hours of hard labor, he is about to complete his work on Insomniac's next big project : Edge Of Nowhere ; despite his busy schedule, Michael generously accepted to answer our questions.
1 - Ratchet & Clank PS4 is your fourth contribution to the series. How do you keep your music fresh while remaining faithful to the saga's identity ?
The story is always unique and that is the main driver in developing new ideas and approaches for the music. Also, I’m constantly listening to new music from other artists and searching for fresh ideas that are inspiring. Those types of ideas will seep into my work, either consciously or subconsciously.
When it comes to consistency across the series, luckily, I’ve been involved long enough where I’ve developed an intrinsic sense of the Ratchet & Clank “sound”.
2 - This new adventure re-tells the origin story of the duo with a new approach, both different and nostalgic. How does that translate into the music ? What was your main philosophy about it ?
Of course, I wanted to capture that recognizable Ratchet & Clank "sound" that is so essential to the franchise, but while this game is based off the original, there are a lot of new, fresh elements in this game. It really is it’s own game, and so there are new music ideas introduced, too.
Still, any time I work on a new Ratchet & Clank title, I do go back and listen to some of the music from the original games and find concepts that could be absorbed into new work being created.
3 - As for Into The Nexus, you recorded the music with a real orchestra. Was it a choice you felt necessary or a logical continuation made possible by Sony ?
The team at Insomniac recognized that using live orchestra as part of the soundtrack for Into The Nexus brought some extra magic to the experience, and so I think it was an easy decision for them to do the same thing for this game. This game’s music is epic in nature and an important part of that palette is the orchestra, so it just made sense to use live orchestra to make it special.
4 - What does a symphonic orchestra allow you to do, that synthetic music can not accomplish ?
As composers, we can now do amazing things with sample-based (what you called “synthetic”) creations these days. I have one sample library alone that contains over 1 million samples of various expressions and articulations of a string section that I can use to create a music track.
Still, something special is created when using a live orchestra. There’s some kind of magic and lightning that can’t always be captured with sample-based work. It has something to do with bringing all of those talented musicians together in one room. It’s a wonderful energy.
5 - For a saga such as Ratchet & Clank, how do you find the right balance between character/story-oriented and player-oriented composition ?
To me, it’s all about emotion and energy level and so my approach is more based around that than story vs. player composition. However, there is an important consideration for the player-oriented music. Each player’s time spent in an area will be unique, so I think about how music can be effective to accommodate this.
Really, it’s about creating compositions that can potentially loop for a long time and not get boring to the ears. There are certain compositional tricks that I use for that.
6 - Have you ever considered writing very specific and individual themes for both Ratchet and Clank, that would resonate across the different games you worked on ?
Some of that happens already though there are variations from game to game. If you look at Qwark and also Clank especially, you will hear some consistency in thematic elements there.
7 - In the same order of idea, don't you think the saga would deserve its own recurring main theme such as Halo or Uncharted ? Or is it better in your opinion to treat each game on its own ?
That’s been discussed between the Insomniac team and I more than once. In the end, it’s decided that we continue the tradition of creating a new theme for each game. I know that many game franchises use a consistent theme across all their games, but we decided to follow a different path.
8 - What aspect did you enjoy the most about working on Ratchet & Clank PS4 ? Any anecdotes ?
I and my team worked hard on this soundtrack. On occasion, I’d visit Insomniac’s studio to meet with the development team and look and play the game. But mostly I work remotely and do not get the chance to see the game’s daily development. Instead, Insomniac provided video captures where needed so I could understand context. So, I didn’t really get to see the whole game in one piece until the very end of development.
What really blew me away when I finally did was how well it came together. I was very pleased with how the music supported the action. Also, the sound design and the visual elements are the strongest I’ve seen in the franchise so far. I believe the fans will be happy with the results, but they can decide that for themselves once they play the game.
9 - Having now been working in the videogame industry for many years as a composer, how do you perceive its evolution ? Are videogame composers given more attention and recognition than before ?
Much has changed. There is really more power in the hands of game creators now than there ever has been. It used to be cost prohibitive to make a game. A game developer needed a lot of money and resources, but these days it’s cheaper to develop games due to the proliferation of inexpensive but powerful tools like the Unity and Unreal game engines. We’re seeing a lot of creative and interesting trends in indie game development. It’s really an exciting time to be working in games now.
Yes, certainly, as more people play games, composers are getting more recognition.
This also has a lot to do with how social media has developed.
10 - Would you have some words for Ratchet & Clank fans eagerly looking forward to play the game and listen to your newest work ?
I’m truly grateful to be able to be involved on the project and to share it with you.
My hope is that you will enjoy the experience!
We hope you enjoyed this interview and invite you, if you wish so, to let some impressions and words to Michael below, in the comments section.
>> Michael Bross official website
Few people truly realize the soul, patience and perseverance needed in such a creative profession, and that is why, as much for his kindness, his generosity and his devoted work, we would like to highly thank him !