The Platinum Architect – Mark Cerny On His Fascination With PlayStation Trophies

Mark Cerny has worn many hats in his profession. From designer and programmer to director and producer, he’s helped deliver dozens of video video games to life and has been an instrumental participant in guiding growth groups in direction of success. He’s now carrying the hat of an architect, tasked with the monumental endeavor of Sony’s subsequent technology of gaming. Cerny was the lead designer of PlayStation 4 and is the chief architect of PlayStation 5, however at the moment he doesn’t need to speak in regards to the {hardware}’s nuts and bolts or pace and energy; he simply needs to speak about how nice video games are and the way he’s hooked on the pursuit of Platinum Trophies.

Cerny, 56, has picked up 33 Platinum Trophies on PlayStation 4. A number of of those Platinums are gimmies which might be robotically unlocked by ending a sport, however most took appreciable time, effort, and talent. He’s at present pursuing Platinum quantity 34 within the brutally troublesome Cuphead. Cerny believes his completionist method stems from the same drive he had within the Eighties when he was attempting to get excessive scores in arcade video games.

Earning over 30 Platinum Trophies is spectacular, nevertheless it’s in no way a document or wherever close to it. There are gamers with greater than 1,200 of them. Regardless, it’s nice to see a creator dive deep into video games to discover the whole lot they’ve to supply. The creation of PlayStation 5 got here from somebody who is aware of video games inside and outside, not simply in the best way to make them, however what makes them enjoyable to play to the purpose of getting the almighty Platinum. “In some ways, I feel like I’m learning what the developer values most in the game that they created,” Cerny instructed me in a video name from his residence workplace, which is peppered with eye-opening sport memorabilia, together with a Marvel’s Spider-Man poster signed by varied Insomniac Games builders.

I talked to Cerny in regards to the drive to get Platinum Trophies, his love of arcades, and a few of his favourite Trophies to chase.

Game Informer: Take me again to your early days of gaming. You instructed me you performed plenty of Defender.

Mark Cerny: I used to be an enormous arcade participant, beginning with Space Invaders. I lower my tooth on that and Asteroids and a few extra video games. I by no means actually bought into Centipede, however I used to be loopy in love with Missile Command and Defender. Pretty a lot my spare time in late highschool and faculty was within the arcades enjoying these video games. Part of [the allure] was the controls. It wasn’t just like the Atari 2600, the place you had one button. You had a dial for Missile Command, Defender had its seven buttons and joystick, and Robotron had two joysticks. I liked that.

They have been actually laborious video games. When we take a look at Cuphead at the moment, we are saying, “Oh my god, I played that first run-and-gun level and must have died 50 times.” That’s solely replicating the everyday arcade problem again within the Eighties. With arcade video games, you needed to kill the participant in three minutes as a design rule. We bought take a look at knowledge on a sport that was four-and-a-half minutes, and clearly, that sport was by no means going to succeed as a result of it wasn’t killing the participant quick sufficient.

Arcade gaming was such a distinct mindset than it’s at the moment. We have been attempting to be the perfect on a machine in each venue we went to. We weren’t attempting to complete a narrative or see the credit roll.

Right. It additionally had a foul affect on me as a designer. I shifted out of constructing arcade video games in 1986, and what I used to be doing with issues like Shooting Gallery for the Sega Master System was attempting to characterize the arcade expertise at residence. We didn’t should kill you in three minutes at residence, however this continued right through the primary Crash Bandicoot. I spotted in direction of the top of that mission that it was simply too laborious. I spent the final six months [of development] attempting to get the degrees to the purpose that they might be completed by most individuals. We nonetheless stored lives for some purpose. We stored lives for therefore lengthy.

Talk to me about your historical past with Trophies. When did you develop a want to go for the Platinum?

On PlayStation 3, I didn’t get any Trophies. I did most of my enjoying then previous to launch on my dev equipment, so I don’t have a lot of a visual historical past on PlayStation 3. When I bought PlayStation 4 and was on social networks, I assumed it will be enjoyable to reveal the whole lot I used to be doing to gamers.

For me, the best way it began was Resogun, which is principally Defender. That’s the place I began entering into the Trophies. I used to be like, “I might be able to get the Platinum.” I used to be within the high 10 on the worldwide leaderboards for among the classes. I bought confidence from that.

The different factor, the number-two man on [PlayStation] {hardware} is a man at Naughty Dog, and we bought into a contest. He had eight Platinum Trophies, and I had six. I’m nonetheless shedding seven years later, however I’m nonetheless pleased with the place I’m at with 33 Platinums. He’s at 40 one thing. We nonetheless give one another crap about it. He bought a Platinum in Job Simulator. Now how laborious is that? [laughs] In his protection, he wasn’t even going for it – it simply popped up – so he says.

Resogun was your first Platinum? That’s a hell of a option to begin.

That’s the primary one I bought. To briefly undergo my checklist, I began with Resogun, then did Infamous: Second Son, which is fascinating as a result of it’s important to play good vs. evil, after which evil vs. good. Soundshapes, let me inform you, I’ve no rhythm. Those ranges appeared inconceivable, after which two hours later, I did it. I realized a lot about David Bowie enjoying that sport as a result of they should have had a complete Bowie album on there. I did Transistor. I used to be so pleased with the Platinum for Wolfenstein: The New Order. I needed to end it on the Über problem, and I had a bug the place the ammo stopped spawning. That was laborious. I appeared up the share of folks that bought that Platinum; it was 3.2 p.c. That’s fairly good for a Trophy.

The subsequent Wolfenstein is even tougher; it’s important to end that on the Mein Leben problem with none saves or any loss of life. At first, it appeared like nobody on the earth may do it, after which a month goes by, however somebody did it. Certainly, it’s past my capabilities.

Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor is an effective one; it has good challenges like driving these beasts. Until Dawn can be a enjoyable Trophy as a result of it’s important to see the entire totally different permutations within the story, Talos Principle had mind-bending puzzles and a gorgeous story.

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What about Knack 1 and a pair of? These are two video games you helped create.

These are price mentioning. I play my very own video games to get the Platinum as a result of I need to know what the expertise is like. For Knack, it was not very pleasant getting the Platinum. It pops out randomly. The time dedication isn’t unhealthy, however the random nature of issues makes it simply brutal. We mounted that for Knack II.

I see you bought the Platinum in Rocket League. Impressive.

This is the one Platinum Trophy I’ve ever gone after that has a multiplayer part. The MP folks are simply too good! I can keep in mind being on the Resistance: Fall of Man design staff on PS3 and enjoying the sport for a whole bunch of hours – I may end the marketing campaign on the toughest problem – and the weekend it got here out, I went online and thought I’d showcase my abilities. Instead, I ended up getting dominated by gamers who have been enjoying the sport for the very first time. So, if the Platinum Trophy wants online, I skip it.

As a Platinum-Trophy hunter, once you get a brand new sport, do you take a look at the Trophy checklist first and perhaps a information to determine the best way to optimize your playthrough?

First factor, I’m so busy that I’m normally enjoying video games two years behind. This yr I lastly performed God of War. I actually loved it. By the time I get to a brand new sport, it’s a identified factor. I do take a peek on the information to see if there’s one thing completely annoying I ought to be doing alongside the best way, so I don’t should play the sport twice. That’s in regards to the extent of the information expertise. In a few of these video games, there’s an enormous good thing about understanding issues it’s important to do.


You are in an elite crew as one of many folks to get the Platinum Trophy in Invisible, Inc. Only .1 p.c of gamers have gotten it. How many gamers is that?

I don’t assume we show something decrease than .1 p.c. It must be lower than 100 folks. It took me months to get that, and a part of that’s I don’t have a lot time in a day to play. Maybe half-hour. And then there are the weekends.

Do you discover banging your head in opposition to a problem is pleasant? Knowing that it’s potential, however not lots of people have carried out it?

I suppose I need to tackle the most important potential problem. It is a flashback to the arcades. I need to play it on common, laborious, after which beat it on the toughest. In the arcades, we’d construct abilities on these video games for six months to a yr.

Is there a sport that was too laborious, and also you simply needed to transfer on from getting the Platinum?

I began some video games saying, “I’m going to do it,” after which realized there was simply plenty of facet content material that you just needed to do. In a few of these instances,
I received’t even end the sport.

I’m doing Cuphead proper now, and I don’t know if I’ll ever end it as a result of it could be too laborious for me.

Where are you at in it?

I’ve overwhelmed it, however now I’ve to do it on the knowledgeable problem. Because I don’t know if I’ll be capable to do it or not, I’m beginning on the hardest bosses – those folks say they gave up on. If I can get via the hardest 5, then I’ll know I can do the whole lot else. I’ve taken down one of many high 5. I simply completed it this previous weekend.

Any Platinums you’d suggest to folks? Or that you just liked?

Gravity Rush Remastered. People actually misunderstand what Gravity Rush is. I want extra folks would play it. It’s actually fantastic. Horizon Zero Dawn works properly with the ­storyline. Going after the Platinum and getting everybody on the earth as an ally makes the sport extra enjoyable. Astro Bot in VR is all about twitch reflexes. There are three puzzles which might be difficult. Ghost of Tsushima. I preferred it a lot that I even did issues that aren’t obligatory, like getting the entire outfits.

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