Honoring Craig Goodman – The Craiggerbear Story: Ratchet & Clank, and PlayStation Stars
We want to share with you a story about an Insomniac who contributed greatly to our company’s legacy and vision to have a lasting and positive impact on people’s lives. This is the story of Craig Goodman, a dear friend of our studio and a talented Technical Artist who passed away in 2019 due to medical complications related to brain cancer.
Craig was a fan of astronomy who attended the Jet Propulsion Laboratory open house each year to learn about robotic spacecraft and space exploration, an admiration he shared with his wife and kids. Like the vastness of space, Craig was an astronomical force of positivity who inspired us to be our best selves, no matter the odds. He was always open to a challenge and helping others work through theirs.
During his 15 years at Insomniac Games, Craig worked on several of our games including Ratchet & Clank (the very first one and many of its sequels), Song of the Deep, and Marvel’s Spider-Man to name a few. It goes without saying, but Craig’s contribution to our legacy cannot be overstated:
“Craig brought an unstoppable energy to everything he did. You could literally feel the excitement pouring off of him as he tackled challenges that most people felt were impossible to solve. He essentially created the role of the technical artist here at Insomniac given both his extraordinary artistic and technical skills.
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 unfailingly focused on what was good and helped others see it too. Moreover, he was incredibly selfless, always putting everyone else first even when he was in the last stages of battling cancer.
Craig truly embodied Insomniac’s vision: to have a lasting and positive influence on others’ lives.”
— Ted Price, President & Founder, Insomniac Games
“Craig had a huge heart and a deep love for his family. They endured some harrowing medical struggles with his daughter Isabeau. During a charity event, Craig shared his family’s experience in a moving and powerful speech to advocate for supplying children’s hospitals with more resources.
The last time I had lunch with Craig in 2013, he started to give me a pep talk because I was feeling a little directionless. I had to stop him and say, “Craig, you’re the one recovering from brain surgery, I should be giving YOU the pep talk!” Yet he was his usual upbeat self, and we had some good laughs together, even during this challenging time for him.
Craig was brilliant in so many ways. He would often see the bigger picture, whether it was taking on complex technical and artistic challenges, or having a deep appreciation for helping others and what it means to be alive.”
— Brian Allgeier, Director of User Research, Insomniac Games
“Craig was my friend and mentor. He provided so many wonderful opportunities for me to learn and grow and I genuinely would not be where I am without him. He was teaching me about building both games and a life until the very end. I think about him often because I never left a conversation with Craig without a smile and some new way of looking at the world or my current challenges.
I think that’s why Craig left such an impression on me. Ultimately, he had so many great qualities that I continue to strive for; he was selfless without reservation, he cared deeply for everyone both inside and outside of Insomniac, his curiosity was insatiable, he loved the adventure of new problems, refused to give up regardless of failure, and even through the most difficult times was a beacon of light.
He was a spirit and a friendship for which I’ll always be grateful. Ultimately, Craig viewed the world through a unique lens that can never be replicated – but we can try.”
— Yancy Young, Senior Art Manager, Insomniac Games
“Craig’s desk looked like a back room at the Smithsonian. He stacked it with scribbles, equations, artifacts, plants –a rotating collection of his interests. He’d gesture at a sketch, excited about a new visual or construction technique that I could rarely see. Then, inevitably, I’d walk in the next morning to see his vision fully realized onscreen. He created lush forests out of deconstructed mold growth; expansive cityscapes out of geometry derived from blades of grass; alien landscapes influenced by macro photography. He was an alchemist, combining seemingly unrelated elements to make something rare and magical.
You’d think that oversized talent would’ve made him unbearable, but you’d be wrong. He was also kind. He made an extra effort to help new people feel welcome. And he was honest in the best way, always looking to share an observation that would help one of his colleagues find their way around a problem.
The last time I talked to Craig, he gave me a giant penny, roughly the size of a coaster. I carry it around in my jacket pocket to remind me to be like Craig.“
— Chad Dezern, Head of Creative, Insomniac Games
As many of our keen-eyed trophy hunters and game completionist may have noticed, we hid several “Craiggerbears” across different planets in Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart. If you ever wondered about those bears, they’re an homage to Craig and his family. Collecting them earns you the “Unbearably Awesome” trophy and unlocks a new message in the Collectibles menu:
“Mysterious plush bears that seem to show up on every world. They are said to carry the optimism, kindness, and creativity of a fallen hero missed by his comrades.”
While in hospice, Craig and his wife Julianna found a hospital doll bear and added stitches on its head and sewed a heart on its chest – creating the Craiggerbear. In passing, Craig left the bear to his children as an icon of the boundless love he had for them and his wife.
We’re excited to also share that our friends at PlayStation are honoring Craig with six collectible Craiggerbears that are available on PlayStation Stars until May 31st. In Craig’s honor, Sony Interactive Entertainment will also donate to the Starlight Foundation, a nonprofit that aims to help children receive essential medical treatment and is the organization of choice by the Goodman family.
We appreciate you taking the time to read the story of eternal Insomniac Craig Goodman. We are honored and grateful to have worked alongside him for many years, and humbled to share his impact meaningfully through the Craiggerbear.