Exclusive interview with Media Molecule, including comment from Siobhan Reddy, Anton Kirczenow and Mark Stephenson. Unpublished, interview was undertaken for GamesMaster Magazine – obtained 8 April, 2009:
Critically acclaimed and BAFTA nominated, could you have asked for any more from LBP?
Siobhan: You just never really know what’s going to happen until a game is out and so for us it’s been an incredibly cool experience, the highlight of which has definitely been watching the community grow and seeing so many levels and creations being shared as that’s what we really hoped would happen but was the most experimental of our ambitions. Awards are nice too, especially Bafta’s as everyone’s mum has heard of them!
Do you feel the online users are squeezing every last drop out of the community? Is there anything you’d like to see more of – or, even – less of?
Siobhan: The community are doing stuff with the tools that we didn’t even know could be done. We don’t want to direct them particularly, the community should just keep doing its thing J We highlight our picks each week on our blog www.mediamolecule.com
How has the feedback been in relation to the PlayStation Eye? Is it a tool with a lot of potential for creative games like this?
Siobhan: People use it in their levels and it gives them a way to personalise their creations.
Can a company survive on Downloadable content? Is there a stringent plan in place when it comes to future LBP DLC?
Siobhan: Working on multiple DLC threads has been a big change to the way we have traditionally worked at Mm but it’s been a good experience so far. We added in new functionality with the MGS pack and so whilst it was hard work as it came straight after the blu-ray release it was re-energising to see the community take the new feature and run with it. It was especially cool to see levels that we knew be iterated to include new elements. When you get great feedback like that it gives you the energy and inspiration to keep doing it. It’s a new area for us and so we are trying out some cool ideas and new collaborations this year.
What was your reaction when you heard the game had to be recalled over the music controversy? Did you think you’d have to start again from scratch?
Siobhan: It was a dark day, but we got over it and moved on!
Are there parts or in-jokes in the game that have completely zipped over the publics head that you wish had been made more of?
Anton Kirczenow: Nope, they notice absolutely everything. Francis’ daughter’s birthday tagged onto costume textures, the meaning of the morse code in the pod music, how you make multicolored laser shows.
They are fanatical and obessesive and spot stuff we didn’t know was in there.
Is there anything at all you’re disappointed with? What didn’t make the final cut that you’d have loved to have seen on a personal level?
Anton Kirczenow: Well there were always things we wanted to add but didn’t have time, and happily we’re sneaking them into DLC or even just making a level using the idea and publishing it the normal way.
Mark Stephenson: I love Pirate stuff so I was sad that the Seaside theme didn’t make it. Maybe it’ll appear again…
How well are the public utilizing the construction tools in your opinion? Has the game been as accessible as you had hoped?
Anton Kirczenow: Amazingly amazingly well. We are constantly surprised by how much time and energy people pour into a creation and often have to have a good think to work out how they did it.
Even kids below the 7+ age rating on the box seem to get on well and have a lot of fun making things, including my daughter.
Mark Stephenson: Creators have exceeded my expectations in every way. I am really stunned by what I see online and it makes me happy that LBP is providing a creative outlet for musicians, artists, story tellers, roller coaster designers, monster makers, etc.
Have any levels in particular made you sit up and go ‘Wow, this is what it’s all about!’ If so, are you worried about keeping your job?
Anton Kirczenow: Stacks actually. But we get to make up the tools everyone plays with so I don’t really feel like it’s a competition between us and the users. Also we get organized and gang up.
What I would like to see is more user team efforts in making levels – most seem to be solo at the moment, but there are some very impressive exceptions.
Mark Stephenson: A lot of levels have made us fear for our jobs! 😀
It seems so much emotion was poured into this project, was it all worth it in the end? Can you sit back and relax now?
Anton Kirczenow: Well it’s not so much relax as watch and think what to do next and how to help and grow the community.
Mark Stephenson: There was a slight moment of relaxation but since we are all creative ocd types here, we just can’t sit still. Creativity is what keeps us all going.
WHAT NEXT FOR MEDIA MOLECULE?
LittleBigPlanet 2? Or something completely different?
Siobhan: I am not sure if you know but we name our releases after cheeses. Cornish yarg is due out very soon and so we are busy working on releasing our next cheese – Leerdammer which will happen later this year. There is a LOAD of exciting stuff going on in here and the best way to keep in touch is to check out our blog as it’s updated regularly with what’s happening!
Have you had any thoughts of how to integrate the massive community from LBP into a sequel?
Siobhan: Of course! But that would be telling! Our community are already doing a great job of making LittleBigPlanet a fantastic place to be.
SackBoy’s been very well received by the public (winning our ‘Hero of the Year’ in the GamesMaster Awards), might he possibly turn up in other games? Tekken for instance?
Siobhan: Good question! We hope sackboy and sackgirl get a few outings!
LittleBigPlanet is such a huge game, is there anything at all in-game that we’ve missed, secret wise?
Siobhan: Well, we are going to be making a bunch of movies to share on our website which will give people some more in depth instructions for how to use Pop-it or to build particular types of creations. As for secrets, well … they’re secret!