Why Hasn’t Sony Announced Knack 3 Yet?

Knack 2 is a good video game. Please don’t leave me hanging just yet. While the original was a mediocre PS4 launch title with a rubbish framerate and inconsistent difficulty curve, the sequel from Japan Studio built upon everything that made it great and then some.

It still had an overbearingly wholesome tone and characters with dialogue so cringe that you wanted to skip all the cutscenes, but the platforming at its core was both imaginative and engaging. Movement felt great, combat was punchy, and the environments took advantage of Knack’s constantly shifting form to make it feel like we were really achieving something.

Shrinking down to a kitten-sized relic monster to sneak through tunnels and avoid enemies made us feel incredible, while growing to the scale of a Kaiju-esque goliath before crushing skyscrapers to pieces exuded a similar sense of incredible triumph. No longer did it feel like a tiresome gauntlet of stages masquerading as a tech demo for particle effects, it felt like a cohesive campaign with a beginning, middle, and end worth investing in.

You could certainly describe its platforming as archaic, but the way in which it harkens back to Crash Bandicoot and Spyro The Dragon is exactly what made it so appealing. Knack 2 emerged in the midst of a generation that saw Sony doubling down on narrative blockbusters with a focus on melancholic storytelling and serious characters who had no interest in ever taking their feet off the super duper serious pedal. Knack is just a deep-voiced relic monster.

It began to feel exhausting, so taking a step back and finding an old-school platformer vying for our attention was more than welcome. Whether we like it or not, Sony doesn’t make games like this anymore. Japan Studio was recently gutted, meaning that exclusives along the lines of Knack 2 or Gravity Rush will become increasingly less common. A huge loss if you ask me, and something that will become more noticeable as diminishing returns surface alongside the arrival or predictable sequels and remakes. The Last of Us is coming to PS5? Cool, but I’ve already played it on PS3 and PS4.

Knack 2 is such a triumph because nobody took its reveal seriously. Knack was so critically derided upon its launch that many turned the platformer into a meme. We’d ironically christen it as the greatest game ever made or believe that Mark Cerny only agreed to architect the PlayStation consoles if he was left alone in his lab to bring this game to life as a twisted bargaining chip. When the sequel was revealed, we all laughed and almost couldn’t believe what was happening. The Ron Perlman Godzilla creature was getting a second game, and it was written off before the reveal trailer had even finished.

Then along came the launch and Japan Studio had clearly learned from its mistakes. No longer burdened by the crunch deadline of a console launch window, it was able to look at what worked in the original while crafting a platformer that sought to try something new. Of course, it’s still rudimentary in its ambition and unremarkable when compared to something like Super Mario Odyssey, but it worked towards a certain level and more than surpassed it. If you haven’t played it, I’d recommend putting the memes aside and finding a copy on the cheap. For some heinous reason, it isn’t a part of the PlayStation Plus Collection on PS5, despite being a major exclusive and way better than Days Gone. Yep, fight me.

I’m also impatiently waiting for the reveal of Knack 3. I know it probably isn’t coming, especially with the exodus of Japan Studio and a lukewarm reaction to the second game, but part of me feels like Sony is in dire need of an exclusive that isn’t trying to change the world. Ghost of Tsushima, Horizon Forbidden West, Gran Turismo 7, and The Last of Us Part 2 are all marketed as experiences in their respective genres that will blow the doors off your fucking mind. There’s no middle ground, these games are incredible and if you disagree Sony will do everything in its commercialised power to convince you otherwise.

Blockbusters are gonna bust blocks after all, but part of me wishes smaller, more experimental titles occupied Sony’s exclusive line-up instead of ride or die games that cost millions of dollars and several years to make. Knack 2 did too, but it feels more understated, like it knew exactly the sort of adventure it was planning to provide from the outset. It didn’t need to surprise or rewrite the genre rulebook, it just needed to be fun and engaging. Japan Studio and the Mark Cerny mind collective achieved this goal, but we were too busy making the game into a meme to notice.

Give it a shot. It isn’t that bad. Please sign my internet petition to help kick-start the development of Knack 3. Or we can reboot Gex…

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