- “ Clank, you speak nerd. ”
- ―Ratchet, asking Clank to talk to Al because Ratchet could not understand the technical talk of Al [UYA]
Al, often called Big Al or Cyber-Al, was the owner of a large roboshack on planet Kerwan's bustling Metropolis, and was the only roboshack owner to have been publicized by Qwark. He was the representation of the classic pudgy computer geek with interests in electronics and all things Qwark. He had two siblings—Bob and Edwina—who, like he, also owned a roboshack.
Ratchet & Clank
In Ratchet & Clank, Al was first seen in a commercial for Al's Roboshack featuring Qwark. In the commercial, Qwark made the doubtful claim that Al made gadgets for Qwark when the "hero" was knee-high to a sandmouse. Unnoticed to the duo, there was a Wanted poster of Ratchet and Clank on the side of the Roboshack. The poster was removed when the two entered the roboshack. When Ratchet and Clank asked Al about Qwark, Al informed them that he had not seen Qwark since the commercial. Al sold a Heli-Pack to the duo and installed it on Clank for 1,000 bolts.
In Going Commando, Al was only briefly mentioned in the opening cutscene, where Ratchet and Clank were being interviewed for the show Behind the Hero. Clank stated that they had had a wiener roast at Al's.
Up Your Arsenal
In Up Your Arsenal, Big Al was inducted in the Q-Force because of his mastery of electronics. Clank often had to "translate" Big Al's tech-talk for Ratchet. Al was first encountered on Marcadia, where the duo interrupted Al when he was trying to use the planet's laser defense system to play a Qwark vid-comic. Throughout the course of the game, he decoded two data chips containing plans for Nefarious's Bio-Bliterator. Al also accidentally declared his love to Helga over the intercom on the Starship Phoenix. He could constantly be heard over the intercom, looking for his lost Starmaster Scientific Calculator.
In Ratchet: Deadlocked, Al was abducted by DreadZone and became the technical engineer for Team Darkstar. Al made adjustments to Ratchet's armor, and gave Merc and Green to him. While Ratchet fought for DreadZone, Al and Clank secretly tried to remove their Deadlock Collars. However, Ace Hardlight discovered this plan and shot Al with his blaster. As a result of this, Al had his arm and part of his head replaced with robotic parts.
In this state, Al returned to DreadZone. He helped Clank modify the craft that took DreadZone gladiators to the stadium so that it instead flew to the control area. Later, he fled DreadZone Station in an escape craft with Ratchet and Clank. While aboard, he played messages of thanks aimed at Ratchet, including one from Qwark.
Some time after Deadlocked, Big Al went on to form the Ratchet Fan Club, with Vernon, Lucy, and Eugene (three kids rescued from Dreadzone) as his first members. Nicknamed "Big Tool" by his troop, Al gained popularity with the kids as he fought a malfunctioning vending machine, ate sandwiches with his shoes off, and fended off attacks from a rival group known as the Qwark Core Cadets. However, he was forced to step down from his position after getting into a fight over a set of Exterminator Trading Cards.
Tools of Destruction
A Crack in Time
Issue 5: Multiple Organisms
Al was seen in Ratchet & Clank: Issue 5: Multiple Organisms. He was on a screen, trying to help Qwark and Zephyr assemble a second Helios. Al was called in because the Terachnoids were busy trying to find the stolen planets. Al no longer had any robotic parts attached to him.
All 4 One
Into the Nexus
Other side stories and events
In Going Mobile, Ratchet and Clank spoke to Al in Communication Station. He promised to send the MCGuFIN using Bio Matter Converter Technology into the Secret Agent Clank vid-comic world for the duo to retrieve. However, there was a malfunction and a power surge split the MCGuFIN into six pieces, which were scattered across different Secret Agent Clank vid-comics. Al opened up infolinks and nodes to these vid-comics. After Ratchet and Clank collected all the parts and reassembled the MCGuFIN, he told them that they would have to use an infolink in Maximillian's office to activate it. To do this, he gave Ratchet the Circuit Jammer.
Big Al either wore a T-shirt with the Q-Force logo on it, or a T-shirt advertising Big Al's Roboshack. He wore blue or black pants and sometimes a belt with tools in it. He also wore a lab coat and round yellow-green glasses, with a telescope attached to one side.
Nicknames and aliases
The name "Big Tool" was given to Big Al for his role as leader of the Ratchet fan club.
Behind the scenes
- In the Ublik Passage, Space Pirates can be heard mentioning Big Al and his show after the attack on Metropolis. They say, "Due to that little Cragmite fella, I have been havin' to watch that Big Al's bot wars show every day in Metropolis."
- Big Al was the only character from the Q-Force (apart from Ratchet, Clank and Qwark) to appear or be heard in the Future series. Helga was mentioned a couple of times, but Skid was not seen or heard from again after Up Your Arsenal until Ratchet and clank (2016).
- Big Al sometimes finds feedback loops on things he is working on. In Up Your Arsenal, he was working on the laser defence facility on Marcadia, and Clank informed him about a feedback loop in the processor. He also found a loop in Ratchet's suit's speech function in Deadlocked.
- Al shows a liking for Helga, as he mentions how he likes Helga over the Starship Phoenix, while the intercom is accidentally on.
- Al's name when typed as "Al" looks exactly like the abbreviation "AI," meaning artificial intelligence. This may or may not be a mere coincidence.
- Big Al shares the same name as a Vocaloid by Power FX, although it is merely coincidental and Ratchet and Clank's Big Al was invented first.
- In Ratchet & Clank, there is a trick that can be performed in a hoverboard race called the "Big Al."
- Ratchet & Clank (first appearance)
- Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando (mentioned only)
- Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal
- Ratchet: Deadlocked
- Ratchet & Clank: Going Mobile
- Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction (mentioned only)
- Ratchet & Clank comic series
- Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One (mentioned only)
- Ratchet & Clank: Full Frontal Assault (mentioned only)
- Ratchet & Clank: Into the Nexus (mentioned only)
- Ratchet & Clank (PS4) (re-imagined Al)