If you're a Ratchet & Clank fan, it's hard not to know who T.J. Fixman is. For seven years he's been the writer at Insomniac Games (he left in 2013), having written all of the PS3 Ratchet & Clank titles as well as the upcoming movie and the PS4 re-imagening. As a person who proably knows more about series' secrets than the Plumber himself, he's constantly being questioned about Lombaxes, dimemsions and whatnot. Well, he decided to share what he's allowed to share and answer some questions of the fans from "The Ratchet & Clank Professionals" Facebook group! Seeing how many people still refuse to log onto the site (Facebook sceptics unite!) we're posting the whole interview here, on our site. Have a nice read ;)
Do you know what happened to Ratchet's mother?
T.J: Yes, I know what happened to her. And Kaden! But I never got a chance to tell those stories. So I have to keep it a secret in case Insomniac (or whoever) decides to tackle that plot.
Did you inform Insomniac of those ideas?
T.J: Brian Allgeier knows a lot of it because we developed it together, but that doesnt mean they have to stick to it. The franchise is theirs to do with as they see fit, and rightfully so.
Do you read fan-fictions and get inspiration from them?
T.J: That I can't do, sadly. Legal reasons. But I love that you wrote some! Some people look for similarities between their fan fiction and my writing. I have had people accuse me of taking their ideas - which I NEVER have. It's a bummer, but to protect myself I don't read fan fiction.
Why did you decide to leave Insomniac and move away from the series?
T.J: I was at Insomniac for just under a decade, and I am truly grateful that they gave me a shot at the franchise. But I had written around 8 Ratchet games, and I was starting to feel a bit antsy - not because I didn't love the universe (I still do), but because I wanted to do other things as well. At the same time I was writing features, and had just sold a few things around town to Disney, Universal, and New Line - and those projects needed further development. I looked at my schedule and saw that I only had so much time. So I decided it was time to move on. But even after I left, I still worked with Insomniac on the R&C PS4 title. I love R&C and will always do what I can to help. I just want to write other stuff as well.
Will Ratchet ever find the lombaxes?
T.J: Never say never. I have an outline in my head for Ratchet's return to the Lombaxes, but a new writer may have another idea. Who knows who will write it or which version will become canon!
Are there humans in the Ratchet & Clank universe?
T.J: In my mind, no. There are no humans in R&C. That is something Brian Hastings and I discussed in 2007. But again, someone else may come along and change that!
Some people tend to think that if Ratchet meets the lombaxes, it would be the end of the saga…
T.J: That's true. It's a carrot that Ratchet is always after, and if he gets it, that kind of changes who he is. Would he still be called Ratchet? Would he still have the same drive? So much of his identity would need to change that it may dilute who he is. That said, I do have a plan in my head for how to do all this in a way I think is really cool - but who knows if it'll be me who does it.
"Ratchet" is not his true name?
T.J: I know Ratchet's Lombax name, but I took it out of A Crack In Time because we want to call him Ratchet. It's part of who he is.
Tachyon does claim he knows his name in Tools Of Destruction…
T.J: Yup, that was when I planned on revealing it in ACIT. But we realized "Ratchet" is part of his identity. But, I DID know about Alister all throughout TOD. That's why I named the Court after him in Fastoon.
What happened to Angela?
T.J: Angela fled the galaxy with the help of Max Apogee around the time Tachyon came into power. I never got to write for her, but I love the character.
Have you any fun story to tell us?
T.J: So, here is one for you. In TOD, we ran out of time creating a scene and had to put Captain Qwark on a popsicle stick rather than animate him (you might remember the recruitment video). I was pretty upset about it, because I didn't think it was funny and it didn't make a lot of sense. So in ACIT, one of the animators had a bit of fun by adding an easter egg in the credits. If you move the sticks on your controller, two popsicle sticks of Ratchet and Clank will pop up. That was done as a nod to my reaction to the popsicle sticks in TOD. Grant Hollis did that one, and it was hilarious.
Other easter eggs to tell us about?
T.J: Hmmm… Aphelion's signature, 8379, is my birthday. His Help Desk number is Brian Hastings' son's birthday. Orvus is a combination of both my grandfathers… and was voiced by Charles Martinet, who voiced Mario!
T.J: Thank you for being so supportive and enthusiastic over the years. This may sound odd, but after a while we forget that our stuff goes out into the world and affects people – so it's great to hear that something I wrote made you laugh, or cry, or feel connected to the characters. It truly means the world to me to hear that it did. Your support helps me continue writing, and for that I am eternally grateful. Okay enough sappy stuff - time to get to work. Thanks all!