The fourth game in the Ratchet & Clank series, released as Ratchet: Gladiator in Europe.Ratchet is kidnapped (and slandered) by Gleeman Vox, a sinister TV executive who wants Ratchet to be a contestant on his The Running Man-esque gladiatorial combat show "Dread-Zone". Dread-Zone greatly reduces the platforming sections of the series, turning many of them more into health-reducing hazards rather than perilous one chance challenges, instead focusing on straight combat, with bigger and badder weapons and enemies.A HD version of the game was released on the PSN in 2013; it was free as an apology to those who waited for the Vita version of Ratchet & Clank: Full Frontal Assault to be released. It was released in May in North America, and Europe and Australia finally got the game after four months, in September.
All There in the Manual: Insomniac's official site had in-universe newsletters by Dallas and Juanita and a short comic story about Captain Starshield that revealed many details and throwaway gags on the game. The strategy guide also has some of this and it notably fleshes out the backstories of Ace Hardlight and Shellshock.
Bottomless Pit: Lampshaded in an early cutscene, where the announcer refers to one as "The Pit of Endless Falling and Eventual Dying". Strangely absent for most of the game though, as it focused more on combat than platforming.
There's also this line by one of your robot teamates later:
Another one: the 'Leaderboard' that shows contestant rankings, and their status as 'active' or 'deceased', is updated throughout the game. By the end, Kid Nova and Hydrogirl are the only two, besides Ratchet, that are still listed as alive. Both of them get voiced dialogue in the final cutscene, thanking you for shutting down Dreadzone and freeing them. The only other survivor listed is Agent Zero, but perhaps he is not seen as he is a Shout-Outto an earlier Insomniac project.
What happens to Al in this game... his very first line in the first game is that he is not a robot guy, but he is now (well, partly).
Cute and Psycho: Juanita can get quite... unhinged sometimes. The way she practically Squees at seeing contestants about to die horribly is actually kind of creepy.
Darker and Edgier: Deadlocked is considered to be the darkest installment of the R&C series yet by many fans. Considering that the premise is "Ratchet and his friends are kidnapped, have explosive collars put on their necks, and have to fight for their lives in a televised gladiatorial tournament", and that the art-direction literally became darker and edgier in things like menus and level design, it's a fair point. It's still Ratchet and Clank, though, so the extra dosage grimdark is Played for Laughs just as much as everything else.
Even Ratchet's death animation is Darker and Edgier in this game: in the first three, he was comically spinning on one foot before falling on his back when he ran out of health, but in Deadlocked he falls to his knees and then on his chest, which looks far more dramatic.
Demonization: The show attempts to do this to Ratchet, even dubbing over dialog from kids that are clearly cheering for him.
Demoted to Extra: Some feel this happened to Clank, who was turned to an NPC in accordance with the change of gameplay style for this game. The reverse is true for Al, as this game features his biggest role yet.
The Dragon: Ace Hardlight, though it's clear early on that the two do not like each other, as Ace is only catering to his employer, and Vox is only trying to maintain their villain/dragon relationship because he feels Ace is the most marketable exterminator in the 'Zone. He's all for replacing Ace, and this becomes more apparent as Ratchet grows in popularity.
Additionally, and unrelatedly, the name of one of the Combat Bot skins unlocked in challenge mode.
Villain with Good Publicity: Ace Hardlight, the star "hero" on the DreadZone reality show, who is one of the game's primary villains — but in an aversion of this trope, he lacks the publicity that the show's producers desperately want, with most of the audience cheering for Ratchet instead.