Ratchet and Clank are leading the charge on PS5.
Insomniac’s classic PlayStation duo are back again for a brand-new adventure. The reviews are pouring in, and it looks fair to say Rift Apart is a critical success.
These two characters have helped define PlayStation’s identity since their initial outing in 2002. Here they are, 19 years and three console generations later, still going strong. Many of the voices behind these characters have stuck with them for decades. So let’s recognise and celebrate the outstanding Ratchet and Clank’s voice actors who bring one of PlayStation’s longest-running franchises to life.
Ratchet | James Arnold Taylor
R&C’s primary protagonist, Ratchet, is a Lombax from the planet Veldin in the Solana Galaxy. The last of his kind, he lived alone for many years. He honed his skills as a masterful mechanic until adventure came calling – Or crashing – to his doorstep in the form of a tiny robot, Clank.
Thrust into the role of a hero; the two developed an unbreakable bond. Learning to work together, they defeated the Villain, Chairman Drek, and saved the galaxy for the first time. Since then, their friendship has grown through their shared adventures, and they have protected the universe through 16 games.
As a species, the Lombaxes look like bipedal, anthropomorphic felines (basically – walking, talking cats). Specifically, Ratchet’s appearance seems to be reminiscent of a lion. Although Ratchet’s design has changed over the years, with his head becoming smaller to show his age and maturity – at his core, he is the same old Lombax.
Rift Apart sees Ratchet and Clank “ripped apart” and separated between dimensions by their archnemesis, Dr Nefarious. Ratchet must fight to find his friend and defeat Nefarious and stop him from conquering every reality.
Since Ratchet and Clank: Going Commando, James Arnold Taylor has been the sole voice actor for the character. His long-term dedication to Ratchet has resulted in the character’s voice intrinsically entwining with James Arnold Taylor. Fortunately, R&C fans can rest easy because he is back in the saddle for Rift Apart for another adventure.
Clank | David Kaye
Clank (official designation XJ0461) is Ratchet’s signature companion, best friend, and hero in his own right. He also originates from the Solana Galaxy; however, Orvus crafted him, his father and leader of the Great Clock, which controls time.
Almost immediately after his creation, Clank crash-landed on Veldin and met Ratchet. The two didn’t get along initially, as Clank’s call to be a hero was strong. Although, by the end of their first outing, the two were inseparable.
Clank serves as the voice of reason, as he is knowledgeable and sensible, which contrasts with the brashness of Ratchet’s behaviour. Due to Clank’s miniature stature, he spends most of his time on the Lombax’s back. That doesn’t mean he is useless; from here, he can augment Ratchet’s abilities significantly. His capacity to transform himself into a helicopter form is one of the most recognisable ways that the two can combine their abilities in combat and traversal.
In Rift Apart, Clank is transported to an alternate dimension, where Nefarious is the Emperor. Fortunately, he encounters a new Lombax, Rivet, native to this universe, who will fill in for Ratchet until the two are reunited.
David Kaye has portrayed Clank for the entirety of the Ratchet and Clank saga. The character’s voice is a staple of his personality; charming, endearing, a little geeky. It is hard to imagine anyone else filling the role of this PlayStation icon.
David Kaye’s performance is consistently praised, a standout in the series since the first game released in 2002. Indeed, David Kaye is one of the most vital Ratchet and Clank voice actors and central to the duo’s beloved status among fans.
Rivet | Jennifer Hale
The new Lombax on the block, Rivet, is the star of the show in Rift Apart. We don’t know much about this character, other than the fact she is a female Lombax from a timeline in which Dr Nefarious wins and becomes Emperor. Rivet seems to offer resistance in this world, although her bionic prosthetic arm shows it may not be going too well.
Rivet has many features that resemble Ratchet, as members of the same species. However, Rivet’s white fur colouring and her bushier tail differ significantly from him. These may be individual aspects, or Lombaxes may look different based on their gender.
The legendary Jennifer Hale joins the cast of Ratchet and Clank voice actors. Jennifer Hale’s range of characters is immense and firmly situates her as one of the best in the business. While we haven’t seen too much from Rivet, with a professional like Jennifer Hale at the helm, it is safe to say she will doubtlessly be wonderful to listen to.
Captain Qwark | Jim Ward
Hero, Villain, Showman; where do we begin with Captain Qwark? While his feats in his career have made him a superstar, it is fair to say that sometimes you don’t want to meet your heroes. While the galaxy treats Qwark as a celebrity and defender against evil, most of this identity is a fabrication. His tendency to exaggerate his accomplishments adds embellishment to his background, reframing most of his work as fictitious.
Qwark’s role in the series has varied game-to-game. In the preceding adventure, he served as the games's game's narrator. His original role placed him as Ratchet and Clank’s antagonist. He wasn’t explicitly evil, but he was a selfish narcissist with the sole intention to further his fame. His role eventually morphed into a friend to the leading duo and a true hero – rather than a fake one. He has a long history with Dr Nefarious, whose schemes are consistently foiled by Qwark despite his incompetence.
Jim Ward has voiced Qwark in each of his appearances. He is a long-term Ratchet and Clank voice actor, whose performance in the role of Qwark is a fan-favourite. Jim Ward has always provided Captain Qwark with a general goofiness, with his obsession with appearing heroic and fame being central to this silly character. However, this is not to say that he is only comedic relief. Qwark’s struggle to overcome his nature and become a real hero is a poignant transition he wholly earns across the series. Jim Ward makes the character relatable and multifaceted, even with his silly demeanour intact.
It is unknown if Qwark will appear in Rift Apart due to Jim Ward being unavailable. Health complications from Alzheimer’s and COVID-19 forced Ward to retire for the newest game. His absence is a shame, as Ward’s interpretation of Captain Qwark will be missed.
Dr Nefarious | Armin Shimerman
The primary antagonist of the Ratchet and Clank saga, Dr Nefarious, is most aptly described as evil. But, this is less of a threatening villain and more of a “destroy-all-the-squishies” sort of evil. He has made numerous appearances in the franchise, usually as the main adversary.
Generally, Nefarious is deranged, egomaniacal and utterly insane. Insomniac designed his relentless, over-the-top madness to caricature the mad scientist stereotype from old radio shows and Sci-fi films, which bleeds into his psychotic babbling and ridiculous masterplans. He hates organic life and aims for a pure utopia where only machines exist.
No matter what he does, Dr Nefarious never seems to win. Well, until now. Rift Apart sees Nefarious use the Dimensionator to transport himself to a universe where he always wins. In this world, he is Emperor Nefarious, a ruthless dictator with an iron fist.
As is a running theme among the Ratchet and Clank voice actors, the man behind Dr Nefarious has always voiced the character. Armin Shimerman provides Nefarious with his intense screams and explosive attitude. Shimerman has a long career in voice acting and on-screen performances alike.
His most notable live-action role is Quark (no relation) in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, a Ferengi bar owner onboard the space station. Conversely, he also has had a prolific voice acting career in video games media. Besides Nefarious, he performed as Andrew Ryan in Bioshock, another role hailed as iconic in gaming culture.
And that wraps up another exploration of iconic gaming voice casts. The Ratchet and Clank voice actors are one of gaming’s constants – we can always count on them being on each PlayStation console. Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart looks impressive, so don’t miss out; there is no better reason to get a PS5! What are your thoughts on these classic gaming voices? Please message us your thoughts on Twitter!