There’s a touching story behind the stuffed animal that appears in nine locations in the latest installment of the franchise, Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart.
Craiggerbear was seen on several planets in the PlayStation 5 exclusive (it’s a rarity nowadays for Sony to leave a PS5 game on its console). Still, until now, we didn’t know why Insomniac Games had included them. The studio has broken that silence, giving us the backstory in a blog post. It’s all a tribute to Craig Goodman, a technical artist who passed away in 2019 due to medical complications (sadly, he was beaten by cancer).
He worked at the studio for fifteen years (and was present for the first Ratchet & Clank) on everything from Song of the Deep to Marvel’s Spider-Man. Craig and his wife Julianna found a hospital doll bear during treatment. They added stitches and sewed a heart to his chest. It became Craiggerbear, which Craig left to his children as a reminder of how much he loved them and his wife.
Insomniac Games first commemorated their former employee by featuring more Craiggerbears in Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart. Still, a few years later, they returned to the ‘surgical bear,’ with six of them appearing in Sony’s PlayStation Stars loyalty program until May 31, in digital form (and Sony used to defend their hand and foot: they’re not NFTs, but knowing the company, that’s going to happen…). Sony Interactive Entertainment will also donate to the Starlight Foundation. The non-profit foundation helps minors with their essential treatment, and the Goodman family chose them.
“Craig brought an unstoppable energy to everything he did. You could feel the excitement pouring off of him as he tackled challenges that most people felt were impossible to solve. Given his extraordinary artistic and technical skills, he essentially created the role of the technical artist here at Insomniac. Yet what I remember the most was how he spread joy daily with his infectious smile and unflaggingly positive attitude. The world could be crashing down, but Craig consistently focused on what was good and helped others see it. Moreover, he was incredibly selfless, always putting everyone else first, even in the last stages of battling cancer. Craig truly embodied Insomniac’s vision: to have a lasting and positive influence on other’s lives,” recalled Ted Price, founder and president of Insomniac Games.
It is an honor to see how studios often remember their departed colleagues.