Ratchet, Clank, Qwark, and Dr. Nefarious are forming an unholy alliance for the benefit of PlayStation fans everywhere. Plot details are scarce as to why these guys would team up, but the latest entry in the Ratchet & Clank franchise is turning in a very different direction. Up to four players can join up throughout the entire game. Players can drop in and out at any time, and any combination of online and offline players can team up.

All 4 One plays like a hybrid of Gauntlet, LEGO Star Wars, and, of course, Ratchet & Clank. Unlike past Ratchet games, all the characters have the same basic skill sets. Each has a grappling hook, standard blaster, and a brand new weapon sure to be a hit with fans.
Ratchet is known for its amazing arsenal, and the first new weapon on display at the game’s debut is a souped up vacuum that can suck up objects and shoot them off in an arc. You can launch objects like explosive mines at enemies with the vacuum, or suck up a foe and launch him back at one of his friends. You can also use this on your so-called friends to launch them off the edge of the nearest cliff. If you feel like working together, you can also shoot friends up to normally inaccessible high ledges.
Insomniac encourages this mix of working together and stabbing each other in the back. Players will have to fight for rare items, but also work together to get past certain enemies and obstacles. As long as at least one character is alive, everyone can be resurrected. Otherwise, it’s back to the checkpoint, so take it easy on the team kills.

In an early demo, we saw all four characters in action. After shooting a few enemies, they all attach their electrified grappling lines to a flying robot and form a long four-man string. Everyone swings back and forth to create enough momentum to detach and jump to the next ledge. When they get to a locked door, one player shoots a creature called a Voltergeist into a slot on the wall and another player electrifies a switch panel. Before long, the door creaks wide open.
Up ahead, several sentry turrets scan the area with blue lights and a force field protects them from frontal shots. The only solution is to launch a friend behind the turret to shoot at its weak spot. Next, a large robot commander sends them into a massive incinerator. They all must balance on a moving platform or they’ll fall to a flaming death. After hopping to safety, they take a ride on a mild-mannered elevator that suddenly breaks apart and sends the team plummeting down the shaft. Several fans power on intermittently, and the team must work together to follow where the wind blows or everyone dies.

The final section of the demo puts the team against a large robotic miniboss. He sweeps a red laser across the area, forcing everyone to hop over it like a jump rope. Ratchet vacuums Clank and shoots him up to a switch. With the correct timing, Clank slams down on the switch and disables the boss’s shield. The team destroys him with a wave of blaster fire and explosive mines, and a huge payload of bolts shoots out to all the players. What things you can buy with this currency is still a mystery, but we can’t wait to find out more over the next year.