The original Knack, released alongside the PlayStation 4 in November 2013 was far from a slam-dunk hit. Due to the fact that it was one of just a handful of games at the time of the system's launch it was moderately successful, selling a little over a million copies, but it was far from loved by critics. A vaguely Pixar-looking, family-friendly platforming beat 'em-up about a creature made up of hundreds of tiny blocks (called Relics) it failed to spark a passionate response from players and only mustered a Metacritic score of 54.
Where it really stood out as a launch title though was the fact that it was one of the few games at the time that catered for younger players. Other than Skylanders Swap Force and Lego: Marvel Super Heroes, the majority of high-profile PS4 titles were either sports games or M-rated shooters like Call of Duty: Ghosts or Battlefield 4. Despite Knack's predilection for squishing goblins and stomping on things, it was a rare kid-friendly game that also offered co-op play.
At the PlayStation Experience in December 2016 Sony surprised everyone by announcing a sequel was in development at Sony's Japan Studio, and that it would again be overseen by PlayStation 4 lead architect Mark Cerny, a game design veteran responsible for Marble Madness in 1984, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 on Sega Genesis in 1992, he later worked on Crash Bandicoot at Naughty Dog and Ratchet & Clank at Insomniac. Cerny also served as a design consultant on the first Uncharted, on God of War 3 and on Killzone 3.
We spent an hour playing Knack 2 with Cerny at Sony's headquarters in Foster City, CA.