As great as it is to have online co-op in a game, nothing beats good ol fashioned couch co-op. There's something visceral about the experience, the ability to turn to your buddy and high five them when you beat a boss, it just brings an additional high. So while online co-op may have ushered in a cooperative revolution, it's local co-op play that drove it there.
Gamasutra sat down with Insomniac Games' Studio Director Chad Dezern to chat about Ratchet and Clank: All 4 One - a game that features both online and local co-op play and, according to him, has taken a great inspiration from titles like Battletoads and TMNT.
It feels like for a while single screen co-op was off the table until Nintendo and Epic brought it back in larger ways. What is your take on local co-op?
The game started simply with us wanting to let people play as Ratchet and Clank together. But we’ve touched on that a little bit in previous games like Ratchet: Deadlocked, but we felt like there was always a lot more to do and we felt like there was a lot more that we could sink our teeth into; the co-op Ratchet & Clank game, it just made so much sense.
At the same time, I think a lot of us have fond childhood memories of Super Battletoads and in games from long ago, like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles where you were all playing together. But we wanted to capture some of that get-together-with-your-pals experience and play through the Ratchet universe.
As great as local co-op is for the social aspect, there has always been one drawback - the actual size of what is displayed to you. Whether your screen is smaller because it's split, or the camera is farther away from you character in order to see both players, local co-op is always at a visual disadvantage. You know this, developers know this. So how does All 4 One compensate?
One of the things we’ve learned over time is that we have a kind of ideal camera distance, and if we’re at that distance you really can track your character even when things get action packed and dense on screen.
But we’ve added a lot of devices where we have color-coded character signals that turn on when the camera gets a little bit far away. And it’s the classic player number over a character’s head; this has been a device that’s used in a lot of games to great effect.
The full interview with Chad can be read over at Gamasutra. Ratchet and Clank: All 4 One is out this Fall on the PlayStation 3.