Media Molecule on How LittleBigPlanet Could’ve Benefited from Early Access
LittleBigPlanet Developer Reflects on How the Game Could've Benefited from Early Access
“I don’t think you can generalize across games,” said Media Molecule co-founder Alex Evans. “I think LittleBigPlanet was probably a bit less lop-sided so maybe it didn’t need it, but then in retrospect I think it would have been interesting to try it. Certainly, getting Dreams out to an audience has been really helpful for us. I didn’t think I wanted it at the time of LittleBigPlanet, but I probably would now.” Evans continues by saying that people usually assume that a game is a coherent idea from the start, which isn’t the case. He also highlighted that some idea make it to the finish line while others get left behind.
“I think LittleBigPlanet would have really benefited from it,” said technical director David Smith. “We often said it was Play, Create, Share, but it was really Play, Create, — the Share side was the weakest. That needed more testing in a real environment with lots of people using it. So yeah, in hindsight it would have been really great to go down that route.”
“You could make an argument that LittleBigPlanet was like early access… LittleBigPlanet 2 was the more finished product,” said co-founder Mark Healy. Then, Healy goes onto mention how creations in private betas for LittleBigPlanet and Dreams weren’t impressive and that Media Molecule had no idea what LittleBigPlanet would become. Someone made a cardboard Death Star that shot confetti and that’s when he realized what the peak of what LittleBig Planet could be.
First announced in 2013, Dreams went into early access back in April. This makes it the first game from developer Media Molecule to go into early access. Additionally, the idea to put the game in early access came from Sony Interactive Entertainment, the publisher of the game. “In some respects Dreams is kind of lop-sided,” said studio director Siobhan Reddy. “Lot’s of gameplay needed an audience to really test it out, to give us feedback…We needed to iterate the ‘Dreamiverse’ with a live audience.”
For Media Molecule, the main benefit of having Dreams in early access is to see what the community is creating as the developer is iterating on ideas and making significant changes. Evans emphasized how difficult it can be to test out the creation tools with just internal betas and user tests to go off of. In some respects it just helped us to birth it,” Reddy said. “It was an idea that came out of the fact that we were ready to get something out.”