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Metamorphosing Beast Center-stage In Sony Game

"It wouldn't be American. It wouldn't be Japanese. But the problem we ran into is that it is very, very hard to make a character like that," he said in a telephone interview. "The result was a very amorphous character, sort of a moving blob."

Cerny, the creator of "Crash Bandicoot," was involved in the hardware development of the PlayStation 4 as its "lead architect" to ensure that what he calls the "supercharged" console would be easier to use for game developers.

Still, coming up with the right Knack was a struggle.

Drawing after drawing, creatures with lots of parts stuck to their bodies looked too creepy to be the star of the trademark game for the PlayStation 4.

Knack comes in four sizes: small, which has 60 parts; medium, composed of 300 parts; large with 1,200 parts and extra-large. The small cute Knack sucks up the pieces to grow bigger.

The biggest Knack has 5,000 parts, all wobbling in the air to define its fierce robotic shape, and so big it can easily lift a car on its back or knock out evil goblins with a swoop. Because of all the moving parts, Knack's arm seems to stretch when he takes a punch.

The point of the game is to collect parts for Knack from treasure chests, making him grow bigger and bigger. At the same time, the parts are also changing, transforming the creature. Sometimes the relics are rubies. At other times, they are icicles, meaning Knack might melt in the sun. Most of the time, they look like wood chips or cube-shaped scraps.

When Knack runs into serious trouble, the parts collapse in a dramatic pseudo-death, scattering everywhere. It's "Game Over."

Takehito Tsuchiya, artist for Sony Computer Entertainment, who had to sketch all the thousands of parts, including designs that were turned down, calls the birth of Knack so painful it's practically "a miracle."

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