February 2013 and Sony are holding their PlayStation Meeting and announcing the PlayStation 4. The first game to be shown for the system isn't a FPS, it isn't a racer, and it's not even an established franchise. It's Knack. A brand new IP from SCE Japan Studios. Cartoony, eccentric, and yet very much charming the game is perhaps most interesting because Sony's Japanese development studio often develops different games - Patapon, LocoRoco, Siren, Tokyo Jungle and Echochrome to name just a few. This game looks a little more traditional, or perhaps even Western, but that's not a bad thing as it could help generate a larger audience. So what's Knack all about then? Well let's start with the story...
Knack can grow to massive sizes.
Mankind must turn to an unlikely hero named Knack to protect them from a dangerous new threat with Goblins, led by Gundahar, seeking to destroy us. The Doctor (a not-so-mad scientist) studied ancient relics from a long lost civilization for many years, and finally found a way to bind them together and give them consciousness. The result is Knack, a creature with mysterious powers – for one, he can incorporate more relics into his body as he finds them, which allows him to transform from a three-foot tall creature into a gigantic wrecking machine.
No release date yet for Knack, but we expect it at or very close to the PS4 launch.
So Knack is an action platforming game and as Mark Cerny, the games director, has described the gameplay in Knack as "a little bit like Crash Bandicoot and Katamari Damacy, with a touch of God of War". That sounds like a pretty good combination to us and while Mark Cerny may not have the "status" of someone like Kojima, Miyamoto or Jaffe his contribution to the PlayStation brand is exception with a significant contribution to franchises including Crash Bandicoot, Spyro, Ratchet & Clank, Resistance and many more. This guy knows his stuff, but perhaps his biggest advantage is that he is also the PlayStation 4's lead architect!
One thing that was promoted heavily by Sony is that you will be able to play Knack (and potentially most PS4 games) on the Playstation Vita via remote play. Much like the Nintendo Wii U (albeit without that massive Gamepad), you will be able to walk away from your PS4 and continue playing the game away from the lounge room. Very impressive stuff. Mark Cerny has also confirmed this is a story driven experience with a completion time of around 10 hours, however he has confirmed that the developers "have included a lot of features that make it interesting to play again."
Knack is certainly a unique looking character.
As you can see from the surrounding screenshots (and the video below), Knack isn't aiming for photo-realism, but it is a very slick looking game with a style not dissimilar to what you'd expect from a Pixar film. The ability for Knack to grow during the game as you power him up. We really can't wait to see the destruction he can pull off when he approaches full size (around 30 feet in height).
There's so much to learn about Knack but it's a game which Sony obviously have much love for as the first title shown off for the Playstation 4 at its February unveiling. In an era when the quality of a game is often determined by the "best visuals" it's great to see Sony take such a bold step to prove that it's not always about the graphics (that's not saying this game is a slouch in that department). This family friendly game is set for release at the PS4 launch - November 15 in America and 2 weeks later on November 29 in Europe and Australia.
Below is the debut trailer for Knack which is the first PS4 game ever shown!