“We’ve put a lot of effort into our haptics implementation, and the result is you get this very complex tapestry of haptics responses. It feels like audio in the sense that the world is filled out with a lot of small details that have these little haptics responses,” game director Mike Daly said in an interview with IGN.
Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart Preview Screenshots
“One thing we found was that if we use the full range of volumes available in haptics, and we basically constrained the duration enough, that already opened the door to having a lot more frequent responses that lived in the background, like the ambient sound on a level doesn’t distract you from the music or the dialogue,” he continued in response to my question about tuning the haptics to be immersive but not too distracting.
“We realized that we could dial things up, and we could also dial things back dynamically, which means when big things happen like weapons or explosions, it’s like listening to the sound of the game where things naturally go down to let you hear the dialogue come through. We have the same system applied to haptics, so that you’re always feeling the most important things, but it never gets muddy or confusing,” he continued.
And if it sounds like, well, sound has a lot in common with haptics rather than traditional rumble, you’re right. Both Daly and creative director Marcus Smith, spoke about how the team has had to adjust its thinking about haptics not just in what players will perceive, but how it’s developed.“Rumble used to be something that we had designers or production support do because it was much more scripting, but now it’s waveform editing. It’s an audio tool more than anything else,” Smith said.
Ingenuity, when it came to sound, wasn’t something that just applied to haptics, either. Due to the built-in ability to offer 3D audio in games, Insomniac sought to bring the worlds of Ratchet and Clank to life like never before.
“One of the nice things about it is that the sound designers more or less get to say whether a given thing needs to have 3D spectral audio, or traditional, depending on your sound output device. We did learn some lessons about what makes for good complimentary 3D spatial audio, where were the most effective places where we want players to pick up on a thing coming from a particular location,” Daly explained.
While we didn’t get to experience the haptics or proper 3D audio for ourselves, IGN did see more than 30 minutes of Rift Apart in a hands-off preview. And more on Rift Apart, be sure to hear more about how Rivet has always been core to the PS5 game’s pitch, and how the developers have applied what they learned from Spider-Man to make this ambitious new Ratchet and Clank.
Jonathon Dornbush is IGN’s Senior News Editor, host of Podcast Beyond!, and PlayStation lead. Talk to him on Twitter @jmdornbush.