Like its source material, Steven Spielberg’s dystopian virtual reality adventure Ready Player One is steeped in references to pop culture from the past century, from King Kong to Donkey Kong. We already know that the film based on Ernest Cline’s 2011 book includes cameos drawn from source material like Back to the Future, Halo, Hello Kitty, The Iron Giant, Overwatch and Gundam, but is Knack — PlayStation’s Knack — in the movie?
There have been published reports that Knack, star of PlayStation 4 launch game Knack and last year’s Knack 2, will appear in the chaotic battle scenes of Ready Player One. He’s apparently joined by characters from other PlayStation properties like Kratos from God of War, Nathan Drake from Uncharted and LittleBigPlanet’s Sackboy, according to pre-release reports.
But the movie’s wiki, hosted by Fandom, is currently on lockdown because of vandalism. Fans and trolls have battled via the wiki about Ready Player One’s list of references from movies, video games, comic books, TV shows and pop music, attempting to catalog (or goof on) the film’s foundation of cameos and Easter eggs.
There are plenty of confirmed video game references in the movie, including Spartans from Halo, Tracer from Overwatch, Duke Nukem, Chun-li from Street Fighter and the Battletoads. Microsoft-owned properties like Minecraft and Gears of War have a presence in the film, based on an account from one Polygon staffer who saw the film early. There are even Battleborn characters.
But is Knack in it?
According to a March 19 report from Comicbook.com’s gaming section, the source of many secondhand reports about Knack’s appearance in the movie, Knack and other PlayStation characters make cameos in the film. I contacted the author of that post to ask about the source of that information, and was told a colleague of the author had seen an early screening. A Reddit post — which was published the same day as Comicbook.com’s report and has since been edited — was also cited.
The same day that Comicbook.com’s post went live, there was also a thread on gaming forum Resetera celebrating Knack’s supposed cameo in Ready Player One. The post cited the Ready Player One wiki on Fandom, which at one point apparently listed the following video game cameo: “Knack: Ice Knack assists Parzival in the final battle.” That reference no longer appears on the Fandom wiki. (At one point, a cameo from Sans from Undertale was also listed, but that too has been wiped.)
The Wikipedia entry for Ready Player One lists a Knack cameo under cultural references. It cites Comicbook.com.
The Ready Player One Fandom wiki does not appear reliable. As previously mentioned, it’s been locked for vandalism, and still contains supposed pop culture references that seem unlikely to be genuine, such as:
Always Sunny in Philadelphia: The movie ends with Halliday’s egg being held by Frank Reynolds, who offers “would you like an egg in this trying time?”
That moment does not occur in Ready Player One, according to multiple people I spoke to who have seen the film (though that would be a delightful, tension-breaking goof for It’s Always Sunny fans). Those same people also said they did not spot Knack in the movie. They explained that many of the movie’s crowd and battle scenes are so dense that picking out one character amid the chaos was difficult.
“Honestly, I was looking so intensely for Knack that it almost ruined the movie for me,” Polygon executive editor Chris Plante reported back to me.
“Knack I didn’t spot,” Polygon video guides editor Russ Frushtick said. “50 percent sure I saw Kratos but I can’t be sure. Didn’t see Sackboy or Nathan Drake. The last scene is so chaotic that unless there’s like a focused shot of them we’ll have to wait for stills.”
I reached out to Sony Interactive Entertainment representatives about Knack appearing in Ready Player One. One said they didn’t know if Knack was in the movie and the other didn’t respond. A rep for Warner Bros. Pictures also did not respond to questions about Knack. I tweeted to Mark Cerny, the architect of the PlayStation 4 and the writer and director of Knack, to see if he knew. I am awaiting a response.
My gut tells me that Knack is not in the movie, that reports and rumors about his appearance in Ready Player One are a result of people who like poking fun at Knack and are simply recycling Knack memes. Or perhaps, like Knack 2, people on the internet are simply trying to will a Knack cameo into existence — if not in Ready Player One, than perhaps in the eventual movie adaptation of Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One follow-up, Armada.
Ready Player One opens in theaters today, March 29. If you do spot Knack in the film, please let me know, either in the comments, via email or on Twitter.