Oh great, it’s one of those bad news/worse news times. Today Naughty Dog and Sony revealed that yet again, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End has shifted from its intended March 18th release date to April 26th. It’s a bit of a surprising move, given how sure of themselves Naughty Dog were that Nathan Drake’s last outing would stay in March, but that’s fine, this stuff happens. If they want to make the game as great as possible, I’m totally all about that. It’s not a big deal that a game gets delayed, because if it means that it won’t end up incredibly glitchy, that’s a small price to pay. That’s the bad news.
The worse news is that Sony’s other big PlayStation franchise, the Ratchet and Clank reboot, will be completely demolished by Uncharted 4. The new Ratchet is the game based on the April 29th movie, which is based on the original game. (Try saying that five times fast.) This series has, admittedly, been up and down since it came to the PS3 with Tools of Destruction in 2007, and this was hopefully going to be the comeback it’s needed. Not that it’s in mass decline the same way that a franchise like Sonic has been, but let’s be real here, it ain’t a top tier series anymore. More like B+, at best.
Now look, cards on the table: I’m a massive Insomniac fan. I’ve played every Ratchet and Clank game, from the original to those PSP spinoffs to the PS3 side stories and have been looking forward to this one since they first announced it was coming to PS4. After all, if it could go through five games on the PS3, it had to be coming to PS4. For those who’ve played the games and grown up along with the series, this Ratchet is practically a godsend. So to see that its release date is now more or less occupying the same airspace as Uncharted 4 is admittedly disheartening.
April will no longer be the month of “hey, Ratchet and Clank are back”, it’ll be “hey, Nathan Drake’s final adventure is upon us, oh and I guess that game about the cat dude and his talking backpack is coming too”. While not entirely the same situation, we saw this last month with Fallout 4 and Tomb Raider. Even though Ratchet and Uncharted are both Sony properties, Uncharted is the king series for the publisher. While there’s sure to be some overlap, there’s no denying that these are two different audiences we’re talking about here. Ratchet is geared for kids or fans of cartoony action shooters, while Uncharted has its sights set solely on the core adult gamer demographic and anyone who loved either the PS4 collection or the multiplayer beta from a few weeks ago.
It’s possible that Ratchet will still do fine up against Drake and friends. The movie is sure to help occupy everyone’s minds for a while regardless of its good or not, and the kids who see the film will hopefully want to play the game as well. But for the moment, I’m not entirely sure this is the smartest move on Sony’s part. Granted, Sony hasn’t always made smart moves in the past (see: PlayStation All-Stars), but putting out Ratchet and Clank relatively unopposed in April would’ve been the best thing to happen to it. But with Uncharted 4 now sharing the same month, it’s sure to get overshadowed by hype about Nathan Drake’s last adventure, both from fans and press and Sony itself.
Do you think Uncharted 4 hurts Ratchet and Clank’s chances of success? Let us know in the comments below.