Media Molecule and Sony invited us to Berlin to chat about dreams, play the building blocks and conduct interviews. Among other things, we were able to talk to Mark Healey, Creative Director at Media Molecule. Have fun with our interview!
Source: Toll Relations
Mark Healey: With pleasure! One of the first games we worked on after the creation of Media Molecule was Little Big Planet. Its philosophy is very similar to that of Dreams (buy now for € 39.99), the only difference was that it was of course much more rudimentary. Therefore I see Dreams as a spiritual successor. The idea for both titles was to give players tools that they could use to let off steam and show the professionals how to do it right. In many respects, Media Molecule feels like a company that is specifically designed for such projects. So basically Dreams was just a natural advance. If we had disclosed our ambitions to Sony, who knows if we would have done it at all! But Sony was probably more aware of our ambitions than we were.
PC Games: How does the original concept for Dreams differ from the final product in stores?
Healey: To be honest, we achieved exactly what we initially planned – that's really rare! I've been working in the industry for quite a while and usually you get, if at all, maybe 10% of the initial goal. An enormously important factor for the positive development was that Sony gave us the necessary development time. If we do that, we will do it right! At the moment I couldn't even think of many things that I would do very differently. Of course we want VR, VR content and online multiplayer in the future. We are currently working on this. We are always in close contact with the community in order to develop Dreams as best we can.
PC Games: Compared to Little Big Planet times, the exchange and connection with the community has certainly changed a lot. In addition, Dreams is very special. What changes do you notice when you exchange ideas with the community?
Healey: Yes, right! The concept of social media has conquered the world since Little Big Planet. I hardly know anyone who really looks at the news. You can get information on Facebook or Twitter – an absolute disaster if you ask me.
PC Games: Yes, that's right. This makes everyone very strong in their own little bubble.
Healey: Let's not start with that (laughs). The exchange with the players is so much stronger than before and we even have some of them here today. They help us to sell and market the product. This is really fantastic!
Source: Media Molecule / Sony Interactive Entertainment
Jams that take place regularly!
Healey: Gladly, in Dreams we have the community jams. Every few weeks we set a new topic or motto. For example, we say, "Hey, this week's breakfast!" Some then build a game, others a sculpture or a picture. Each community member has one vote to vote for the best dreamer. This gives players an impetus and the exchange between Dreams users is really great. They support each other and inspire each other through their work.
PC Games: The general opinion about Dreams is: This is a video game. If you had to explain what dreams are to someone who has nothing to do with games, how would you do that? Would it still be the medium of video game for you?
Healey: No, I would call it a "social network of awesomeness" (laughs). I like to use the YouTube comparison. People watch videos with no idea about filmmaking or the like. In Dreams you can just as easily play, look at various creations and be amazed. You can just consume and do not necessarily have to create something yourself.
PC Games: With so many possibilities to create different content: you can record and create what comes to mind. How do you control the flood of content and prevent that there are sexual or racist creations that have no place on Dreams?
Healey: Of course we have a large team of moderators who work 24 hours to prevent such content. So the process is very similar to YouTube. Although illegal content can be created, such creations are removed from our platform very quickly. But what is really incredible is the community. She is just totally lovable and supports herself. We hope we can keep this spirit alive as Dreams continues to grow. However, it is currently fantastic and we are very happy about it.
Source: PC Games
PC Games: An example: Let's say I have a little daughter who is interested in game development and the industry itself. Do you think Dreams can serve as a starting point for such a development career?
Healey: Absolutely, we already have inquiries from universities that Dreams would like to use. It's actually similar to Little Big Planet back then. In some cases, teachers use the game in class, some even to teach physics! Education is a very interesting area to explore. There's a pretty funny dream that someone created: it teaches different types of architecture. Different pillars and the like teach the player to differentiate between different construction methods. Then the whole thing turns into a video game in which you have to connect the right objects with the construction methods.
PC Games: I was able to play Dreams for a while before the interview. And, to be honest, I can't stop thinking about the wildest ideas and creations. Doesn't your head burst at some point?
Healey: Yes, absolutely! Browsing through the community's portfolio alone can lead to this. That is what fascinates me most about dreams. Of course there are many players who implement classic game ideas or reproduce existing works. Others, on the other hand, create really strange and fascinating dreams that would probably never see the light of day without dreams. Maybe one of these strange ideas will one day change into the next big blockbuster.
PC Games: It is exciting to think about the future of dreams. Because of its uniqueness, the game could be a big "game changer" for the industry.
Healey: Maybe. That would be great! When I started working in the video game industry in the 80s, it wasn't a classic career. I studied at an art academy and when I talked about playing games, others laughed. Ironically, to the best of my knowledge, I'm the only person on this course who does something today that is really related to art. What I want to say is that many people don't get the opportunity to pursue such a career. Either because of special situations in life or because they don't have such a career in mind at all. Basically, you now have a console at home and can do a lot with it. Today there are opportunities to let off steam creatively at a high level. Who knows, maybe the next big Steven Spielberg or Shigeru Miyamoto is a Dreams player.
Enclosed you will find our review video on the fresh creative cracker from Sony.
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