When Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart was revealed during last year’s PS5 showcase, it was the first game that really sold me on what next-gen would be about. We’d been told lots about improved load times and better graphics, but it was hard to imagine that the upcoming consoles would represent any giant leap, especially when Ghost Of Tsushima and The Last Of Us Part 2 already looked incredible. All that tech flimflam about ‘more triangles’ didn’t really do it for me either.
I have no doubt that by the time we’re getting ready for the PS6 and the Xbox Series X Two XXOO Double Dutch One to come out, a lot of games will have showcased what a PS5 can do more than Ratchet & Clank. Still, the way the duo leapt through wormholes and found themselves transported from one lush setting to another in the blink of an eye will always be my first real glimpse of what we once called ‘next-gen’.
Hell, even if the actual game is naff, the reveal alone will give me some fond memories of it.
After the showcase was over, I was waiting for the Ratchet & Clank chatter to start, for people to piece together – as I just had – how these faster load times and better triangles would translate into new combat options and better exploration. Turns out, nobody was interested. Instead, everyone wanted to talk about the girl Lombax at the end of the trailer.
Look, I get it. Everyone on the internet is a degenerate of some kind or another, and the world’s a big enough place for the Lombax lovers to gather together. Even not being interested in her in that way though, she is a compelling character, with her metallic arm, piercing blue eyes, light fur, and delicate little hair quiff. The most interesting thing about her to me though is that she has a tail.
It has been canonically confirmed in the Ratchet & Clank series that cisgender female Lombaxes do not have tails. This Lombax – I’m going to call her Rose for reasons I’ll explain soon – does. Therefore, either that’s about to be retconned, or she’s transgender.
Obviously, you’d think the odds favour retcon. This is a very minor piece of lore, and while some developers have been hamstrung by lore – like Mass Effect 3 being forced to kill off Thane because of a codex entry – most of the time you can handwave any issue away. Previously, I’d been happy to simply headcanon this new character as trans and move on with my life. After seeing the box art though, I think there’s a little bit more to it.
In the recently revealed art, Ratchet & Rose have equal box space, posed in almost identical ways with their backs to each other, and just a rift keeping them apart. After seeing that, I think Ratchet might actually be Rose. Clearly the game is about rifts and multiverses and the like, so it’s not too big a stretch to think Rift Apart might go all Into the Spider-Verse on us. Rose has lost her arm and she doesn’t seem phased by anything in the brief glimpses we’ve seen of her so far. With Ratchet & Clank falling head first into the unknown, it makes sense to bring in a character who’s been there and done it to help ground the story and explain their situation a little bit more.
As for why I’m calling her ‘Rose’, an Insomniac blog post which included the cover reveal told fans to “hang in there, you’ll be feeling rosy soon,” in reference to her name. ‘Rosy’ is obviously a hint, and it seems pretty clear then that she’ll be called Rose. If that’s the case, she’ll share her name with Nyla Rose, the first transgender wrestler at a major American franchise. This most likely means absolutely nothing, but it’ll be a nice link if this theory is correct.
Lombaxes are extremely rare creatures, almost extinct in fact. Rose being an alternate universe version of Ratchet is far more likely than her just stumbling into the story out of nowhere. With the box art giving her such prominence and the trailer ending on her reveal, it seems like Rose is set for a major role in the game. But does being an alternative universe verison of a male character really make her transgender, or more of a genderflip on our established male Ratchet? How does the tail factor in? Does any of this even matter? I’m not quite sure, but it’ll be interesting to find out.
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Stacey Henley is an editor for TheGamer, and can often be found wandering new lands, exploring vast terrains, or journeying to the edge of the Earth, but only in video games. In real life, she normally stays home. Find her on Twitter @FiveTacey
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