- “ Well, she's not the hottest pop star in the Galaxy because of her singing. ”
- ―Ratchet, discussing her with Clank [UYA]
Courtney Gears is an antagonist in Up Your Arsenal, with cameo appearances in Deadlocked and is mentioned in later entries. She is a robotic pop star sensation renowned for her looks rather than her musical ability, and became a close ally of Dr. Nefarious, producing propaganda for him and helping him transform organic beings into robots.
Up Your Arsenal
Courtney Gears began as a galactic pop icon, who gave prizes in the Annihilation Nation tournaments. Ratchet and Clank met her after completing their first Annihilation Nation challenge, though they did not interact with her. Later, the two came across her music video, which was edited on planet Daxx, for "Robots of the Galaxy", which they identified as clear propaganda for Nefarious' cause due to its lyrical content calling for the extermination of organic life. Ratchet expressed surprise at first, but the two agreed to complete another Annihilation Nation tournament to question her about Nefarious' whereabouts.
Upon completing another tournament, the two approached Courtney Gears, who feigned attraction to Clank's Secret Agent Clank persona, and offered to disclose more information provided he offer her a part in the Secret Agent Clank holovision series, to which they agreed. After filming an episode with her playing the Baronness, the damsel in distress kidnapped by Maxmillian, she knocked Clank out and kidnapped him, taking him to be Nefarious' prisoner.
Later, she kidnapped Q-Force member Skid McMarx on Obani Gemini, and took him to her Biobliterator Testing Laboratory located on her base on Obani Draco. She successfully transforms Skid into a robot, though Ratchet confronts and defeats her there.
She does not appear after this, though she makes a cameo in the final Vid-Comic in which Qwark fantasizes about flirting with her.
Between Up Your Arsenal and Deadlocked
- “ Ms. Gears' career hit an apparent low point last year after spurious allegations that she was conspiring with Nefarious to destroy all organic life in the galaxy. Then, shortly afterwards, she was brutally assaulted while minding her own business in the privacy of her Biobliterator Testing Laboratory. The two fans who so cowardly attacked her are still at large. ”
- ―Juanita Alvaro
The scandal of her connection to Nefarious's plan brought her to a career low, where her record label dropped her in favour of Skid McMarx's spoken word poetry. However, the damaged Courtney Gears was saved by Gleeman Vox, owner of a media empire based in the Shadow Sector, and in return for funding her recovery, Vox requested she "sign over all past and future rights to her music, her image, her name, her likeness, and her personal collection of Secret Agent Clank memorabilia" to him.
Courtney Gears was later revealed to have made a full recovery by reports on Vox News during Galactic Glamour segments, who covered up her downfall by claiming that reports of her involvement with Nefarious were merely "allegations", and that she had been "brutally assaulted" in a deranged attack by two members of the Courtney Gears fan club, in the privacy of her Biobliterator Testing Facility where she was "just minding her own business". Vox News also stated that these two fans were Ratchet and Clank, in another attempt to slander them.
Gears frequented the Kronos School for the Inept in order to complete market research for her next album, where she met Dull "Reactor" Bookworm, whose love of cafeteria food brought them together in spite of her not liking him much. The two starred together in a film known as Reactor: Rise of the Sociopathic Bloodlust, though she grew bored of Dull's slow life and dumped him after a month. These events led him to implant a nuclear explosive to his chest, join the DreadZone circuit as "Reactor", earning fame, fortune, and riches that won Courtney over once again due to his new celebrity status.
Gears recorded her new albums, Don't Hurt Me Like That and Oops, I Got Vaporized By A Level 7 Shock Blaster, though she was later involved in another scandal wherein she was known to have had a sexually explicit "tag team" video leaked onto the HoloNet, which Qwark claimed to have seen.
Posters of Courtney Gears were seen in Size Matters and Secret Agent Clank, her "Robots of the Galaxy" music video was displayed aboard the IRIS supercomputer in Tools of Destruction, and a poster was seen in Ratchet & Clank: Issue 2: Friends with Benefits from the comic series. She was mentioned in Quest for Booty and A Crack in Time, in which Cassiopeia mentioned at one point that she was still one of Nefarious's subordinates, implying she stayed aligned with him when he resurfaced in the Polaris Galaxy.
Courtney Gears is a humanoid, feminine robot, with silver-colored metallic skin and a slender body. She has brown metallic hair held by a red band, and has glowing yellow eyes. She wears a long-sleeved crop top, and black mini-shorts underneath a red mini-skirt, with red wedges for her feet.
It has been stated that her fame can be credited to her looks rather than to acting or singing ability, which can be corroborated by the frequent mentions of her attractive appearance by other characters.
Courtney Gears is a very manipulative character who is able to hoodwink characters to believe she is on their side, often by appearing innocent or feigning attraction. Due to her ability to mislead characters and tendency to switch sides, it is often unclear what her motives are.
Gears seems to show contempt and frustration for organic life forms, or for those she sees as beneath her. However, when attempting to win the favor of someone, she instead acts cuter in her speech, even referring to Nefarious as "snooky wookums".
While Qwark claimed to have been involved with an intimate relationship with her to taunt Nefarious, and she was implied to crush on Nefarious during Up Your Arsenal, the only confirmed relationship she had was with Reactor up until his death, motivated by money.
Courtney Gears is a deceptively tough and powerful fighter, who often fights alongside her backup dancer robots which have similar abilities. She is an agile fighter, able to teleport short distances, and perform spinning kicks. Additionally, she can fire energy blasts, throw spinning discs of energy at foes, and fire electric shockwaves. Outside of combat, she is capable of using a powerful static shock from her eyes that can incapacitate robots.
Though she is a very successful pop star, Gears' acting and singing talent are snubbed by several characters, who imply her success is in spite of them rather than because of them.
Behind the scenes
Courtney Gears was originally voiced by Melissa Disney in Up Your Arsenal. However, in Ratchet: Deadlocked she was voiced Nika Futterman, who is also voiced Juanita Alvaro, Vernon, and Vendra Prog, and other characters in the series.
Courtney Gears' "Robots of the Galaxy" music video is English in all localizations of the game, with the exception of Japanese, in which it is translated.
Courtney Gears' name and character is a parody of Britney Spears. When hitting Ratchet, she will often say "Oops, I did it again", referencing the Britney Spears song of the same name. A Vox News report in the News Update feature also mentions she recorded an album named Oops, I Got Vaporized By A Level 7 Shock Blaster, another reference to the song.
Courtney Gears was popular among developer Insomniac Games staff members, and during the uselesspodcasts developer commentary podcast by former Insomniac staff members, Courtney Gears was spoken highly of, stating she was one of their favorite additions to the game. As such, she made many subsequent canon and non-canon cameos. Outside of canon, the HIG Treehouse in Size Matters and Secret Agent Clank feature autographed pictures of her. She was also featured in PlayStation Home and the Ratchet & Clank Manga: Volume 1.
In the Japanese version of Tools of Destruction, the Groovitron is given a different playlist. One of the possible tracks is a remix of the chorus of Courtney Gears' "Robots of the Galaxy" song, sang in English by the producer of the Japanese version, Roppyaku Tsurumi.