Develop 2013: Mark Cerny wants Knack to be the ‘on-ramp’ for console gaming

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Mark Cerny used his Develop In Brighton 2013 keynote to outline how PS4 launch title Knack is intended to recapture some of the success Crash Bandicoot once had.

After recalling his career to date, Cerny went onto outline how indies could inspire the ‘renaissance of gaming’ before fleshing out the philosophy behind Knack, the action title he is directing at Sony’s Japan studio.

Cerny spoke of how as game projects have become bigger and more complex, his role in development has become ever smaller. To ensure that he truly understood what developing for PS4 was like, he decided to become a director on a smaller project.

Knack was borne out of a desire to tap into the nostalgia of bygone PlayStation games like Crash and Spyro, said Cerny, which were accessible to most players but genuinely challenging for more committed players.

He also noted how game controls had become more complex over the years, describing the gulf in experience between playing Fruit Ninja on iPad and playing a triple-A console game. Knack, therefore, was conceived as “A game that could act as an ‘on-ramp’ to the world of console gaming,” which could also be played on hard mode and still represent a challenge for more experienced players.

To understand how younger players experience console games, Cerny and his team built a PS4 pad twice the size in order to allow them to use the pad as an eight year-old might; they realised that the shoulder buttons were out of reach for children, and that influenced the game’s controls.

You can read what Cerny said about the indie-inspired ‘renaissance of gaming’ through the link.