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Ratchet Week: Eurotrip Diary Part 1

Hey folks,

My name is James Stevenson, and I’m the Senior Community Manager at Insomniac Games. Over the last couple of weeks, TJ Fixman, Insomniac’s senior writer, and I have been travelling across Europe to promote Ratchet & Clank: A Crack in Time. Over 12 days we flew across the pond, and visited 7 countries for demos. It was a whirlwind tour. The SCEE blog asked me to keep a diary along the way, which you’ll find below with some of our photos from the trip!

Monday, October 12th, 2009 – I actually went into work this morning. Our flight isn’t until 5, so I figured I should try and get some last minute work done. Grabbed lunch, and then picked-up TJ and called a cab to take us down to LAX. The site below would become something we’d see far too much over the next 12 days – in which we’d have 9 visits to various airports.

Ratchet Week 01

Monday, October 12th, 5:30pm – Settled into our Premium Economy seats on Virgin. TJ got the middle seat, I’m happy to be on the aisle. Takeoff. Dinner is served in the air. Couple glasses of red wine and some Advil PM get me into just the right mood for a red-eye international flight: Sleep. See you in the morning.

Tuesday, October 13th, 11:00 am – We landed in London. We have to transfer over to Terminal 5 for our British Airways flight down to Paris. TJ begins cracking Harry Potter jokes. I think he’s too excited about this London thing. I’m bringing a devkit PS3 (thankfully in the actually form factor of a PS3 now instead of the old massive boxes), so I look like a hunchback carrying around 50 pounds of bags through the terminal transfer station. We grab a quick bite to eat and then board our flight.

Ratchet Week 02

Tuesday, October 13th, 7pm – The Paris office of Sony Computer Entertainment is a reasonable walk away from the Arc de Triomph, and our hotel was even closer. This is TJ’s first trip to Europe, so he’s pretty excited to go check it out. We take a walk around it before heading back to meet up with Rene and Greg from SCE France.

Ratchet Week 03

(left to right: Greg, Rene, and James)

Tuesday, October 13th, 10pm – After a few drinks at the hotel bar, we headed out to a very traditional mom-and-pop bistro in Paris to sample some of the famous cuisine. Bone marrow, escargot, pate and of course, the wonderful baguettes. Greg then took us for a late night tour of the city’s hot-spot local bars and sights before we settled in for our first night of sleep in Europe.

Wednesday, October 14th, 8am – TJ and I woke up early and we took a morning stroll around Paris. We eventually stopped in a café for some espresso and croissants. We then went back to the hotel to grab out bags and meet up with Natalie from the London office, who would be accompanying us in Paris and Lisbon.

Ratchet Week 04

Wednesday, October, 14th -A day of interviews awaited us, with interviews every half hour. The morning started with me frantically trying to figure out why a setting change wouldn’t work on our devkit, preventing me from being able to demo the game. TJ took this photo in the midst of my struggle against the devkit, which I eventually won. Not really sure how I fixed it, but sometimes, when things work, you just don’t question it.

The day of interviews went well for the most part, with TJ and I playing games where we had to insert words into interviews (for instance, TJ gave me “carrot” which I used while describing rewards as “dangling a carrot for the player”). I think at this point Natalie realized how irreverent we are, and starting goading us. We wrapped up the interviews around 4 and headed to the airport to fly to Lisbon.

Checking in is where another minor disaster happened. I noticed my bags were checked not only to Lisbon, but through to Madrid (the next day’s flight). I asked the ticket agent about this, but he assured me my bags would show up in Lisbon tonight. Satisfied for the moment, we hopped on the flight and arrived in Lisbon, and ended up being the last ones at baggage claim when the belt stopped. After talking to baggage folks in Lisbon, they asked why we had checked our bags to Madrid. Argh!

An hour later, we had our bags and were on our way to the hotel near the Expo 98 site. I had been to Lisbon before, and it’s an awesome town, it was unfortunate we didn’t have enough time to get to hang out there more!

Ratchet Week 05

(James and TJ with the Sony Lisbon Team)

Thursday, October 15th – It was a quick morning in Lisbon. We gave a brief presentation and then spent a couple hours doing interviews with all of the press who came by. Ratchet and Clank are really popular in Portugal, so it was awesome to get a chance to meet all of our journalist friends there, especially the folks at Eurogamer.pt – whose articles we always seem to end up seeing in the states.

The Lisbon team took us for a great lunch with some traditional Portuguese sausages, and then we were all off to the airport. Natalie was heading back to London, and TJ and I were going to spend the full weekend in Madrid. We landed in the late evening, but I managed to rally and go out for dinner with Araceli from the London office. We had a traditional Spanish meal, Jamon, Omelettes and Croquetas. Half the fun of a different country each day is having the food!

Ratchet Week 06

Friday, October 16th – The Madrid office has a really awesome showcase room – it’s basically a play area. TJ did a bunch of interviews with all of the big national TV and radio stations in Spain. PlayStation is HUGE there, and they treat it like they do big movies and television shows. It was pretty awesome – and of course, they brought in more croquetas – which is the fastest way to my heart.

Afterwards – we walked to a wonderful mid-afternoon lunch. It was almost enough to put you into a food coma. The Spanish office then hooked TJ and I up with tickets to the next night’s Real Madrid match – incredibly exciting for us to get to see a real Futbol match in person. We were pretty exhausted, and in a food coma, so we took a nap before hitting the city for some late tapas and drinks.

Ratchet Week 07

Saturday, October 17th – One of our days off, TJ and I made the most of it. We probably walked a good 15 km around Madrid, heading from our hotel down into the centre of the city, Sol, and then exploring from there. We visited various plazas, shopping areas, the Palace and Cathedral. It was a pretty incredible day to explore the streets, and enjoy the culture of Madrid. We really wore ourselves out, but saw a ton of the city – which was nice after the rush through Paris and Lisbon.

Ratchet Week 08

That evening, we headed to the stadium for the Real Madrid match. It was incredible to experience a match in person. European Football is becoming more and more popular in the United States, but even then, due to its scheduling, it is challenging for us to watch many of the games. It was a real thrill to see it in person – and hear the fog horns and crowd singing.

Sunday, October 18th, 2009 – After sleeping in and a good breakfast, we headed off to the airport to catch a flight to Warsaw, Poland. I had never been to Poland before, so I was really excited to get there – especially since we had Monday off to explore the city.

Ratchet Week 09

We arrived in the evening, and by the time we had gotten to the hotel we were both completely famished and ready to go sample to local delicacies. We headed to a nearby restaurant that specialized in Polish dishes, and after sampling the Apple Juice, I ended up with dumplings and Pig’s Knuckle. Even if it was a little bit on the touristy side, we still had a good time.

Look for part 2 of the diary tomorrow!

22 Comments
3 Author replies

Awesome. Looking forward to part 2! =P

Just wanted to say, I got my copy of R&C:ACiT yesterday and I’m really enjoying the game. It’s a great experience and I love what you guys have done with this one; the space exploration is really cool, pirate radio ftw! The gameplay is more refined than ever and it plays like a dream..

It’s an absolute must buy for any fan of the series, and it’s definitely worth checking out even if you haven’t played a R&C game before (should be a crime).

Thanks to all the guys at Insomniac for creating another great game. =D

James Stevenson 05 November, 2009 @ 18:09
1.1

Thanks a ton for the kind words! Glad you’re loving the game!

Have you been to The Netherlands?

James Stevenson 05 November, 2009 @ 18:10
2.1

I haven’t actually, but it’s on my agenda for my personal holiday next summer. Looking forward to it.

@enormhi: They where in the netherlands. They give away free copies from Ratchet & Clank: A Crack In Time today. Some pictures can you find here:

http://ps3hype.nl/nieuws/4598-fotos-tijdreizigers-vroegtijdig-geland-in-groningen

Would be nice if you add it to the blog. For English visitors, the website has a english flag, click on it, and you will find the english translation from the page ;)

Ow to long url: Here you got it: http://tinyurl.com/yly3x5l

That was a pretty great read. I’ve been to Madrid in the past and took an a Real Madrid vs Barcelona game in the past and the city itself is fantastic. I would love to go back some day.

Looking forward to reading part 2!

took you 12 days to fly across the pond?
shoulda got a faster plane :)

Got R&C:ACiT in the post today YIPPY ! :P

Great diary, looking forward to part 2. :)

9

You should try polish begos or krupnik (the pronunciation is like croopnick :P )!!
That’s nice that some VIP from Insomniacs were here :)
Did you learn some polish words or was too hard for You? :P

Miło że wpadliśćie :)

James Stevenson 05 November, 2009 @ 18:13
9.1

I tried to learn some – it was really tough though – I speak enough French/Spanish/Portuguese to get by, but had very little Polish. I tried learning some, but then I was on to Finnish a day later.

10

damn! need EDIT option!!!
*bigos
*wpadliście

Got my copy today, such a different game from all the uncharted and modern warfare glitz. And different in a good way :)

im getting the collectors edition on saturday!!

if you come to england again come to my school,,, plz.

You have been to Ireland. Right. Right?
;)

I just got the game today. Have been playing ever since. Awesome

I can’t wait for playing this Ratchet and Clank : A crack in time. Probably I will get it on Saturday. By the way, great diary. I’m looking forward to the 2nd part.

Santiago Bernabéu forever!! xDDD

Regards.

I have the special edition! ITS VERT AWESOME!
do you come to holland?

Finished ACiT yesterday – thoroughly enjoyable and well worth a purchase.

Is there a tracklisting for pirate radio? The songs on there are great but there doesn’t seem to be an OST released, would like to get my hands on that music

OMG Sony Spain sucks. You should have come to see a FC Barcelona match instead. Then you would have actually seen real soccer.

Anyways, nice post :P

19

Dude, you totally have the same shoes as me :D Haha, you have no idea how much of a kick I got out of that.

Onto more interesting topics, I can’t wait until my Ratchet and Clank CE arrives, just in time for the end of exams :)

Bought both R&C: ToD and R&C: AoB on day of release(well actually ToD was pre-ordered for months :D ), but somehow the demo’s of R&C: aCiT felt forced, I’ve played them because I thought I would enjoy them but somehow I didn’t, especially not compared to the previous games.

And therefore I won’t buy it(at least, not till its price point drops), even though I look forward to the conclusion of Clanck’s mystery.

But honestly Insomniac, you still make great games, Resistance 2 for example is an epic experience! And I really think you should continue making games at 60fps, ever since I’ve played a 60fps game I don’t want anything else anymore, well maybe stable 30 fps + MotionFlow which looks kind of the same… Still I hope you can prove me why I should be buying a Crack in Time :D

Anyway, fun blog to read! Hope you’ve enjoyed your stay!

AoB = QfB ofcourse, my bad!

your story stinks. talk about things that make sense. dont pretend that you are rich and famous because clearley you are not.

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