Ico, Patapon, Loco Roco, Ape Escape… Knack
Last week, Sony Interactive Entertainment president Jim Ryan confirmed that more of their first-party exclusives would be coming to PC. In the past couple of days, Sony have confirmed that they are restructuring Sony Japan Studio, with many developers leaving while others are absorbed into other teams.
So, maybe Sony don’t realise that Japan Studio’s games are the ones that should be most urgently ported to PC?
When I think of the iconic Sony games, it’s not Horizon: Zero Dawn (which came to PC last year) or Days Gone (which is coming this spring). Those are third-person action adventures of the sort I can already play on PC. It’s not even the better games of that genre that I think of, the Gods Of War, Lasts Of Us, or Bloodbornes.
No, I think of the sing-song revelry of Loco Roco and Patapon. I think of Pomeranian survival sim Tokyo Jungle and DualShock pioneer Ape Escape. I think, of course, of prestigous (somewhat overrated) classics like Ico, Shadow Of The Colossus, and The Last Obstinate Bird Dog.
Many of these games were co-developed with other teams, either internal as in the case of Team Ico, or external companies like Pyramid on Patapon. A lot of the specific developers responsible for those games have also already left Sony Japan Studio, as in the case of Gravity Rush developers Team Gravity. Maybe the name Japan Studio therefore doesn’t mean much anymore – and maybe it never did.
But the games mean a lot. They’re strange, ambitious, often wildly upbeat, videogame-ass videogames. There’s not too many of those, and those few that do get made tend to happen on PC, now. Indie platformer Pikuniku, for example, seems so clearly inspired by some of Japan Studio’s games. To my mind, this makes Japan Studio’s work worth making more widely available, and makes the PC their perfect home.
Porting them to PC doesn’t seem like it’s a pipe dream, either. A lot of these games – Colossus, Patapon, Parappa The Rapper, Loco Roco – have already received Remasters in the past few years, including some that brought previously PSP-exclusive games to the PlayStation 4. Perhaps there is already a plan in place to do exactly what I’m suggesting.
But if we reach the end of 2021 and Sony have announced that the game coming after Days Gone is Sad Dad Reboot or Dog Murder: A Cautionary Tale, then it will feel to me like a missed opportunity.
TL;DR: Release Knack on PC you cowards.