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BETA | INTERVIEW // SIOBHAN REDDY


Media Molecule’s big ideas


Boasting two hit new IPs since its formation, Craig Chapple speaks to the developer’s studio director Siobhan Reddy about the creative process behind LittleBigPlanet and Tearaway


Siobhan Reddy (main) describes the development of new IP such as Tearaway (right) as a ‘rambling process’


MEDIA MOLECULE IS undoubtedly one of Sony’s most talented fi rst-party studios, a creative hotbed that has sparked some its most critically acclaimed games in LittleBigPlanet for PS3 and Tearaway for Vita. Both titles feature a vibrant colour palette,


off er a playful nature and present unique experiences tuned to their respective hardware. Its games are also proof that not all console releases need to be shooters to be system sellers, a mantra much like Nintendo’s. The studio, which just won the Develop Award for New IP for its work on Tearaway, is never content to sit on success either. After twice tackling LittleBigPlanet, it has handed the IP over to Sony XDev and other talented studios, with LBP3 currently being developed by UK outfi t Sumo Digital, the studio behind the Sonic & All Stars Racing series. It subsequently moved on to Tearaway for Vita and is currently at work on a new IP for PS4.


LITTLEBIGIDEAS Speaking with Develop, Media Molecule studio director Siobhan Reddy describes developing a new IP as a “rambling process”, where ideas are brought together like they are in a game jam, using a clear starting point to revolve around.


She adds this is a completely diff erent creative process to that of a sequel, and for obvious reasons, takes longer. For example,


40 | AUGUST 2014


if Media Molecule was to make Tearaway 2 now, she says, the challenges involved would be markedly diff erent from the fi rst entry. “In the fi rst one we had to fi gure out things like, what is the world constructed out of?” says Reddy. “We always had the idea of paper, but getting to the purity of the paper we had, everything being constructed and how it moved did take us a little bit of time.”


You have to keep check on yourselves that you’re not going off on one. But sometimes that’s required.


Siobhan Reddy, Media Molecule


“So yes, we have the construct of the world, the fantasy of the world. But when you are beginning from scratch, there isn’t a set process that you can go through. You have to keep check on yourselves that you’re not basically just going off on one. But sometimes going off on one is what’s required. “So that’s why it’s really important to work with people that you trust and that you have that kind of creative relationship with, which means you can jump off together and know that you’ll fi nd the wings.”


It’s a creative


process that was used for both Tearaway and LittleBigPlanet before it. Reddy says the concept for the original LBP was the meeting point of a set of ideas each of the co-founders Mark Healey, Alex Evans, David Smith and Kareem Ettouney had for the title. And after working together to merge those ideas, the team was eventually able to craft a seamless experience together.


“David worked on a physics engine and had a gameplay prototype that was a physical platformer, which really ends up being like the play side of what LittleBigPlanet was,” explains Reddy.


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