Sony’s Worldwide Studios president, Shuhei Yoshida recently spoke with Edge about the tactics used for the Playstation 4 reveal. One interesting thing to note, is that Sony decided to show Knack as the very first PS4 title as a strategic move.
Firstly though, Sony also had a debt to repay. Mark Cerny who is heading the development of Knack is also the PS4’s lead system architect. Not only was there a strategy to showing Knack first, but it was also a very nice show of gratitude to Cerny for his work on the console as Yoshida confirmed in the interview.
“Yeah, I am very proud that that happened. Some people questioned: ‘the first game to show on PS4 – is it Knack?!’ [laughs]” – Shuhei Yoshida
One thing which occurred to me almost instantly during the Playstation 4 reveal was that Knack appears to be a nod back to the games of old which haven’t seen as much love in the current generation, such as platformers. I began to suspect that perhaps Sony were trying to send out a message that the library will provide a lot of diversity rather than just run-of-the-mill shooters. Yoshida confirmed these suspicions:
“It was pretty intentional, Mark’s idea was like ‘what about [a] Crash Bandicoot for PS4?’ when he suggested the concept of Knack. We were like yeah we hate to see all the PS4 games being FPS or action-adventure or very photorealistic, you know big-budget blockbuster games. And you know people like these games but these are not the only kinds of games that people can have fun with.” – Shuhei Yoshida
This is something that should hopefully resonate pretty strongly with both gaming community and developers themselves, provided the publishers they are working with allow them the creative freedom to take advantage of the opportunity. We will of course see many of the more typically popular genres catered to via games such as Killzone: Shadow Fall, DriveClub and Infamous: Second Son anyway.
But a promise of diversity is something that a lot of gamers had been hoping for to ease their worries of increased development costs leading to more and more similarities as time progresses. Of course we will only be able to tell further down the line how much the approach pays off, but it’s good to know that the less popular genres will not be pushed aside for the new systems.