Tuesday, 17 September 2013

This Is the Experienced Team Behind PS4’s Knack

Today, Sony let us into Sony Computer Entertainment’s Japanese headquarters, the corporate home of Sony’s PlayStation arm, and the home of one of Sony’s first-party studios, Japan Studio (sometimes called Studio Japan).

Japan Studio has a long history of creating PlayStation titles from scratch (like Ape Escape and Puppeteer), as well as supporting a litany of exclusive PlayStation titles from other developers (like Rogue Galaxy with Level-5). And it was during a behind-closed-doors presentation for the upcoming PlayStation 4-exclusive title Knack that Japan Studio’s experienced executive team behind the game was revealed.

What’s interesting about the six people leading the charge on Knack is how diverse their backgrounds in the industry are. The game has been in development since early 2010, and has required quite a bit of talent to get it off the ground. Naturally, Creative Director and Project Lead Mark Cerny has the most notable background – he helped bring games ranging from Crash Bandicoot and Spyro the Dragon to Ratchet & Clank and Jak & Daxter to market for Sony (not to mention being the Lead Architect of PS4) – but the team surrounding him is also quite intriguing.

Tsuyoshi Murakami, for instance, has been in the industry for some time. He worked on the cult classic game Shenmue (as well as RPGs Ys: The Oath of Felghana and Atelier Ayesha: The Alchemist of Dusk), and started working with Japan Studio on the PS3-exclusive The Eye of Judgment. He’s Knack’s Technical Director and Lead Programmer, and noted during the presentation that Knack’s engine was built from scratch to show off the PlayStation 4’s architecture.

Knack’s Lead Character Artist, Takehito Tsuchiya, worked for a long time at Namco Bandai before heading over to Japan Studio. He was a character designer on multiple Tekken games, including Tekken Tag Tournament, Tekken 4, and Tekken 5.

Koji Hasegawa, Knack’s Lead Concept Artist, most famously worked as the Lead Background Artist on the cult-hit PS2-exclusive Shadow of the Colossus. Before working on that, he helped on the late-gen PSone JRPG The Legend of Dragoon, and following Colossus, he also worked on The Eye of Judgment.

Knack’s Director, Takamitsu Iijima, has deep roots in the gaming industry. He long ago worked on the PSone JRPG Wild Arms with Media Create, and subsequently came to Japan Studio as an artist working on the Ape Escape series. He started on the original Ape Escape and continued on the series through Ape Escape: On the Loose.

Yoshiaki Yamaguchi is perhaps the least experienced member of the development team’s top tier, but as Art Director, his pedigree is huge: he previously worked on the super-stylish Japan Studio Vita-exclusive Gravity Rush (known as Gravity Daze in Japan) before hopping over to Knack.

We’ll have tidbits from an interview with Mark Cerny shortly. In the meantime, check out our older hands-on impressions of Knack from E3 and Gamescom.

Colin Moriarty is IGN’s Senior Editor. You can follow him on Twitter and IGN and learn just how sad the life of a New York Islanders and New York Jets fan can be.

Source : ign[dot]com

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