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Many gamers may have already written off Knack as the PlayStation 4 launch title they plan to tell their parents they really want, but at this week's next-gen hands on event game director (and PS4 system architect) Mark Cerny says everyone will be appropriately challenged.
"On easy it's straightforward enough that someone can play it as their first console game ever," Cerny said. "Core gamers are the initial audience for PlayStation 4, but I just wanted to be sure there was something for the rest of the family."
Despite this, experienced gamers will discover that Knack echoes Crash Bandicoot and Spyro the Dragon with genuinely challenging blends of platforming and combat. Cerny has spoken previously about looking to bring back PS1 diversity for PS4 development. Still, Japan Studio has built an almost brutal challenge on Normal and Hard difficulties.
"I know it looked cute, but [Crash Bandicoot] was a brutally difficult game," Cerny said. "Even on normal difficulty setting [Knack] is designed to be pretty challenging. Playtests show that there's roughly 20-30 deaths over the course of one level for typical core gamers."
The level Cerny was showing featured tanks that could fire high-damage missiles at Knack in addition to environmental hazards and golins that swing swords and can strike Knack with decent range.
In what seemed to be a fairly small gameplay sequence, Cerny himself offered that he frequently dies 5 times or more when playing on normal. With so many enemies, environmental hazards, and Knack's would-be small profile gamers should be warned. It might look like its for kids, but prepare to die.
Look out for our full hands-on preview of Knack soon.