Lit­tleBigPlanet’s spir­i­tual suc­ces­sor is go­ing to turn you into a game de­signer

Games Master - - Contents - Ben Tyrer

Lit­tle Big Planet’s creators re­turn with the tools to cre­ate any game you can… well, dream of.

“Dreams ex­pands on lit­tlebigplanet – dif­fer­ent gen­res can eas­ily be cre­ated”

Call­ing Me­dia Mol­e­cule’s lat­est a game seems disin­gen­u­ous. Build­ing on the ‘Play, Cre­ate, Share’ theme of Lit­tleBigPlanet, this truly as­ton­ish­ing fol­low-up al­lows you to con­jure up pretty much any­thing and ev­ery­thing you can think of. It even has an in-en­gine mu­sic cre­ator. And in case you think that’s just big talk, Me­dia Mol­e­cule built the en­tire story mode with the game’s own tools. “There’s ab­so­lutely no cheat­ing, we haven’t used ex­ter­nal soft­ware to pro­duce as­sets and im­port it in. We’ve made ev­ery­thing from an atomic level us­ing a DualShock 4 and a PlayS­ta­tion 4” says cre­ative di­rec­tor Mark Healey about ‘Art’s Dream’, the de­vel­oper-cre­ated story that will ease play­ers into this huge uni­verse.

The demo we’re in­vited to check out is split be­tween three in­ter­con­nect­ing strands, each one of­fer­ing some­thing a lit­tle dif­fer­ent. There’s the warm glow of the sci-fi thread, where a small ro­bot called De­bug seeks to rid his world of a virus, which sees him jumping around the en­vi­ron­ment onto pres­sure pads. Along­side it is a more tra­di­tional-look­ing plat­former where you con­trol Fran­cis and Foxy as they at­tempt to save their chubby-faced fly­ing dragon Lancewing.

Art gallery

What piques our in­ter­est the most, though, is a sec­tion which is more of a point-and-click ad­ven­ture. Here, we see a well-suited man (the tit­u­lar Art, to be pre­cise) as he at­tempts to board a train. A rude con­duc­tor re­fuses to let him on with­out a ticket, and you need to solve some light puz­zles to nab one. It’s the ear­li­est sign of how Dreams ex­pands on Lit­tleBigPlanet, where

dif­fer­ent gen­res can eas­ily be cre­ated with the tools at ev­ery­one’s dis­posal.

Yes, cre­ation is at the heart of this, and the tools Me­dia Mol­e­cule shows off are sim­ple enough to grasp, yet eye-widen­ing in scope. Let’s say you want some­thing com­pletely orig­i­nal? Well, the in-game art tools al­low you to cre­ate en­vi­ron­ments, char­ac­ters, and so on us­ing tools such as paint brushes, or sculpt­ing with the DualShock 4 or Move con­trollers. Once you have a few things for your Dream, you can place these as­sets into the level de­signer and build your world from there.

How­ever, if you’re more of a remixer, then you can go into the ‘Dream­verse’ and down­load as­sets other users make. You can add and re­use what­ever you find in this won­der­ful li­brary. We see a small, rocky is­land be­come a much big­ger one as Healey grabs it, quickly copies, and then pastes it to cre­ate a much larger area and seam­lessly pro­vide a back­drop. Then he takes a plat­form and shows us how easy it is to cre­ate an­i­ma­tions for Dreams. All you do is start record­ing on the an­i­ma­tion time­line, move what­ever it is in the way you want it to and stop record­ing. Voila, we now have a float­ing plat­form and a tan­gi­ble sense of how to cre­ate a game in Dreams.

This is just the start of what the game can of­fer. We also get to see how you can cre­ate your own sound­track us­ing in-game in­stru­ments or record your own di­a­logue with the PlayS­ta­tion Cam­era’s mic. The po­ten­tial of what is on of­fer is stag­ger­ing.

Mind over mat­ter

Find­ing lev­els is a dod­dle thanks to the in-game search en­gine’s abil­ity to auto-play player-cre­ated con­tent – and, in a sign of just how broad Dreams re­ally is, there’s also a role for peo­ple who want to cu­rate their favourite con­tent. You’ll have the op­tion to make playlists of your favourite lev­els or as­sets and de­velop your brand as a tastemaker, with other play­ers, creators, and cu­ra­tors able to give their thumbs up to your lists.

Sim­ply put, there’s noth­ing like Dreams at the mo­ment. The pos­si­bil­i­ties of what you can make seem end­less, and there’s plenty to sat­isfy those who don’t quite feel up to cre­at­ing their own mas­ter­piece just yet. With this big­gest glimpse yet into Me­dia Mol­e­cule’s mind, we’re al­ready draw­ing up plans for what we’ll be mag­ick­ing up later this year.

Fran­cis, Foxy, and Lancewing are giv­ing us a se­ri­ous Nev­erend­ing Story-meets-Build-A-Bear vibe. For­mat PS4 Pub­lisher Sony De­vel­oper Me­dia Mol­e­cule ETA Au­tumn

There’ll be a beta launched be­fore the of­fi­cial re­lease, al­though Me­dia Mol­e­cule is keep­ing quiet on when it’ll launch. The Me­dia Mol­e­cule-cre­ated story lev­els give off a much darker vibe than Lit­tleBigPlanet. Al­though tiny, virus-bat­tling ro­bot De­bug looks adorable, this robo-cat-thing is the stuff of night­mares.

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