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Mark Cerny explains designing Knack for international appeal

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The titular character of Knack was developed as more of an effect than a mascot so audiences worldwide would identify with him, according to Mark Cerny, the game's director and lead architect of the PlayStation 4.

Speaking in a recent interview shared on the PlayStation Blog, Cerny explained why Knack, in development with Sony's Japan Studio, doesn't feel especially Japanese or western.

"It's intentional," Cerny said. "The original concept was 'let's make an international title.' The problem is that if you have a mascot, that mascot is going to be immediately identifiable as a Japanese mascot, or a U.S. mascot, or whatever. Our way to get around that was to make the character an effect, so the first question was ‘what sort of effect should he be?'

"We came up with the idea that he would pick up things in the environment and get bigger, and a year or so later Knack was born," he said.

Cerny added that while Knack appears to be aimed at a younger crowd, the designers are hoping to appeal to older gamers' nostalgia.

"We are definitely speaking to the nostalgia that people feel for the play experiences of the past," he explained. "If you play this game on the hard difficulty setting it will definitely challenge you. And the control scheme is on the simpler side but you'll need really think about how best to use it.

"So, yes, I think many people will go to the store and get, say, Watch Dogs or Killzone or the like for themselves and they'll get Knack for another member of the family, but I also think a lot of core gamers will end up getting Knack for that old school — with a twist — feel."

Check out Polygon's E3 preview of Knack here.