Mark Cerny assisted on the development of games like Crash Bandacoot, Spyro, Ratchet and Clank, and Jak & Daxter. Sony’s PS4 launch title Knack seems in safe hands.
Since Cerny is the lead system architect for the PS4, so he got to see what all of Sony’s other developers were working on. He felt like there were a lot of games being made for core gaming audiences, and wanted to make sure there was something for the rest of the family. Knack was born under the concept of a mix between Pixar films and a unique character driven game.
Knack is an odd character, he collects relics that are scattered around the environment and uses it to build up his body. Cerny says that these relics are as common as seashells in the world of Knack and nearly useless to most of the world, but for Knack, they are the means by which he powers up and gains new powers.
Knack is all about collecting more relics on other objects to power up his body, but relics aren’t really the only objects he’ll be able to use. We watch Knack battle through one level where he started out about three feet high, but by the end of the level he was a few stories tall and picking up tanks.
We watched a scene in which Knack learns that he can collect ice as well as relics. Ice functions as a powerup, because in Knack's ice form he can perform ice attacks and freeze enemies, but if he walks into the sun he'll quickly melt and lose his powers. Another powerup is wood, which can be collected to make Knack very big very quickly, but if Knack gets set on fire he’ll lose all his wood relatively fast.
Knack will also collect sun energy throughout his travels, and he can use this energy to perform room clearing super moves such as an explosion that causes all the relics in his body fly apart and damage the enemies around him. We also saw Knack turn into a giant relic tornado and sweep through a level tearing apart his foes.
Knack also features a casual co-op mode. A second player can take the controls of a creature named robo-Knack. As robo-Knack, players can still fight enemies, collect relics, and grow in size, but robo-Knack is kind of like Tails from the Sonic games in that the game’s progress is directed by Knack himself. Robo-knack can’t die, and can even donate relics to Knack, so this might be a good mode for young gamers or people who find the core game too challenging.
I wasn’t really sold on Knack after E3, and I still think the main character’s design is a little odd, but the game looks like a solid platformer, and I’m sure it will fill a certain niche when it comes out at the PlayStation 4’s launch, November 15.
Learn more about Knack with our hands-on impressions from E3.