Developer: SCE Japan Studio
Release Date: NA: November 15th 2013, EU: November 29th 2013
Knack is an upcoming action Video Game that is coming exclusively to the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita.
The title will be published by Sony Computer Entertainment and is currently in development under “SCE Japan Studio” (of Ape Escape and Patapon fame) alongside Mark Cerny who has worked on such blockbuster titles as Ratchet and Clank and Uncharted.
Overseeing the production of Knack is Yusuke Watanabe from the creative division of Sony Computer Entertainment Japan Studio. Knack is also going to be running on the recently developed Unreal 4 Engine.
The game was officially announced at a Sony PlayStation meeting by Mark Cerny on February 20th 2013. Knack has been confirmed as a PlayStation 4 launch title. Knack is also going to playable on the PlayStation Vita via remote play.
The human race has found itself threatened with war from a species of creatures known only as Goblins. These Goblins are raising a resurgent army that is being guided and used by Gundahar their green skinned leader. During all of this, a human doctor that studies ancient relics from a long dead civilization has finally realized something incredible. He has finally found a way in which he can bind and fuse the relics together and give them their very own consciousness.
The final result of this process was Knack, a mysteriously powerful little creature. His powers allow him to fuse these relics to his body and use their powers which will allow him to transform into different forms, from a short ramshackle looking bipedal robot, to a towering machine of fierce power and destructive capability. It’s this ability to reconstruct his body in different forms that he can use to varying effect. The relics he can use are made of many different materials, be it metal, rock ice and so on.
Furthermore Knack can rebuild his body almost instantaneously to best suit the given situation and tackle various challenges. The example given is being able to discard rocks and metal, leaving Crystal in his body so that he can become functionally invisible to security systems and other types of security systems. It’s not long after this initial discovery that the doctor realizes that Knack may be an essential ally in the war against the Goblin army.Although, while trying to put humanities plans in motion for combating the Goblin army, it becomes apparent that there is an even greater danger posed by certain elements of the human community.
During the development of Knack, Sony Computer Entertainment Japan Studio was questioned by a member of the press. They were asked to describe their inspiration for the game. When prompted to answer they said that the game was to be an amalgamation of currently existing franchises.Crash Bandicoot, KatamariDamacy and God of War. The inspiration is coming from Crash Bandicoot, a platforming title that originated on the PlayStation 1 and was one of the forerunners in 3D platforming being done properly; this is most likely the inspiration for the games platforming segments.
After that is KatamariDamacy (clump soul) is a third person puzzle game that has the player control an ever growing ball of detritus. This is most likely the inspiration for absorbing and gathering minerals and resources to increase Knacks size and abilities. Third amongst the list of inspirations was God of War. God of War is infamous for its polished and visceral combat against large groups of enemies and creatures of great size, this may influence they mechanic revolving Knacks ability to grow to great heights.
Assistant Producer NicoloAccordino has been noted to have said that his team kept his team kept the controls “purposefully simple”. “As part of our design process, we ended up making a giant controller, 50 per cent larger than usual, so we could directly experience what it feels like to be a child playing a game,” said the slightly mad genius. “And we immediately understood that the shoulder buttons were simply out of reach of the typical eight-year-old, but all of the face buttons could be used quite readily.”
Gameplay for Knack is a combination of third person action / platforming mixed with some puzzle elements, this is most likely due to the influential games that served as inspiration share those elements. Size and scale are factors in the game, in a Demo build of the game it can be seen that “Crystal” Knack can pass through certain areas such as laser grids without taking any damage or tripping alarms. Turning into a large version of Knack is used for tackling strong opponents, like those that wield rocket or laser weaponry whereas the smaller Knack can enter into small vents and clefts in the rocks for example.
During the combat you will fight multiple enemies in a way similar to its God of War inspiration. Taking enemies head on in a larger form will give you three or four melee attacks to use, but Knack cannot defend himself in combat, so it’s advised to use the Dash ability to help dodge incoming enemy strikes. Mixing attacks and changing tactics will only get you so far, this is when you start using your assimilated elemental powers will come into play.
Knack can also explosively expel all of the relics and detritus that he has gathered along the way form a large tornado like special attack. Small details during the combat truly add to the experience, such as battle damage in the form of Relics being knocked or torn of Knack while he’s in the fray. But despite the complexities of the games internal mechanics, the controls never get to be too much, for example a simple tap of the triangle button will change Knacks size.
Knack is the main character in the game. He was created by The Professor after his research into Relics as a weapon against the evil resurgent Goblin Army. At his core is an ancient piece of technology from a long lost civilization, using this core he can gather different materials from the area around him and use them to alter his form and size. By doing this he can keep and maintain any materials he has gathered, like discarding everything except rock to become tough and heavy.
The Professor is the man behind Knacks creation; he created Knack by using ancient technologies. He did this in an effort to help humanity defeat the threat of a resurgent Goblin army that is being led by their ruler Gundahar.
Gundahar is the current leader of the now resurgent Goblin army, although is motives are mysterious; he does appear to be curious as to why Knack is not fighting for him.