Mark Cerny’s rise to rockstar status within the PlayStation community has been pretty prompt. While the developer has always been something of a quiet giant – working on franchises such as Ratchet & Clank, Killzone, and God of War – the likeable legend has cemented his place in the history books by playing a pivotal role in the production of the PlayStation 4. However, the executive hasn’t always had such exciting jobs.
In an interview with Official PlayStation Magazine, the luminary explained that he laid out much of Crash Bandicoot 2 – including all of the apples. “In the PS3 generation, I [worked] on Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, Ratchet & Clank: Tools of Destruction, God of War 3, Killzone 3, and the first two Resistance games,” he reflected. “But as a part-time consultant on those games, it was very hard to come in externally and do something significant for each.”
He continued: “Whereas on Crash Bandicoot 2, I essentially laid out the entire game – if you picked up an apple, I put that apple there, pretty much. I did that as a part-timer. In the modern era, you have very talented full-time designers – several of them. [So] I ended up doing things like usability testing, or script doctoring, or trying to optimise the shader code.”
Despite working for SEGA and Atari in his earlier years, Cerny is very much a PlayStation man, having contributed to the brand’s success in one way or another since its inception. Asked for his favourite memory during that period, the developer responded that it was the release of Crash Bandicoot and PaRappa the Rapper on the PSone. “While they weren’t official mascots, they were being used internationally to express the fun of [the console],” he said. “That was a very special time.”
And it’s something that the Marble Madness creator hopes to recapture on the PS4. “A lot of what I think about on the hardware side [when it comes to] the games is how to bring some of that feeling back to PlayStation – without moving away from the core titles that people love, such as Assassin’s Creed.” You know what would be the best way to evoke some of that magic? Bring both of those franchises back from the dead.