Knack is one of the launch titles of Sony’s PlayStation 4 console, and has met with lukewarm reviews to say the least. With a 2/5 from Giant Bomb, 3/5 from Escapist, and 5.9/10 from IGN. Since this is a launch title, it is one of our first few chances to see how next-gen games will behave on the new consoles. In a recent interview from ComputerandVideogames.com PlayStation executive Shuhei Yoshida had this to say:
“The game wasn’t designed [to meet specific] review scores – I was hoping Knack could score in the mid 70s and last I checked it’s around 59-60, so I’m hoping it goes up. The game uses only three buttons to play, so it’s not the type of game reviewers would score high for the launch of a next-gen system.
The game was targeted as what we call a second purchase; you know, people may purchase PS4 for Call of Duty or Assassin’s Creed or Killzone, but if they also buy Knack, this is a game that you can play with your family or your significant other.”
This is an awful thing to say, especially as a first-party developed game. To say to the public, “Yeah, we didn’t try or work as hard as we should have on this game, and don’t care.” When titles are projects of passion, even when flawed, the consumer, or in this case, reviewers, can see or feel the difference. If multiplayer is tacked on, it feels tacked on, but if it was a feature that a lot of effort was put into, the effort made is obvious, even if it falls flat. Game developers should be allowed to take a swing and potentially miss, but this is the equivalent of bunting the ball.
Yoshida even mentioned, “The game was targeted as a second purchase..” this should raise red flags for everybody. They planned for Knack to fail before it even had a chance, which is a shame. The art style is attractive, the sci-fi setting is interesting, and possibilities high. It seems to me that instead of innovating, or taking advantage of their strengths, they did the minimum amount of work required of them and thats a misfortune. As one of the few games for the system, and one of the even fewer family friendly ones, Sony failed to put their best foot forward here, and this black mark on their next-gen library may sting them in the long run.