For Media Molecule, meanwhile, the near-term future is a little less collaborative, but no less exploratory. Tearaway ‘s big obvious mission as a game is to act as a showcase for Sony’s Vita portable system, using its various inputs – touch screen, rear touch pad, motion sensors and so on – in new and innovative ways. Philosophically, however, Smith hopes the game will achieve something that few others have been able to do.
“So many games, you have this kind of sadness where after it ends, you kind of realize there was nothing to it. It was just bits floating around inside a computer,” he says. “But I can suspend disbelief a little longer if there’s some sort of physical reminder of it. If the character I was playing as could somehow get outside of the game, that could be kind of cute.”
The game will allow players to print out their creations as sorts of trophies, to be put on a desk or bookshelf to remind them of the fun they had while playing. If it works, it’ll be one of the few games to take something out of the virtual world and bring it into the real one.
Media Molecule is also working on a top-secret project that Smith isn’t allowed to talk about – I’m guessing it’s another LittleBigPlanet game, this time for the upcoming PlayStation 4. Back at the console’s reveal in February, studio employees showed off a technology demo using the seemingly forgotten PlayStation Move motion controller, which they used in conjunction with the new machine’s horsepower to create a virtual sculpture.
I imagined that such an experience could be pretty fantastic if combined with the sort of three-dimensional printers that are quickly becoming mainstream.
Smith’s eyes light up with agreement when I suggest it: “Yeaaahh!” is all he says.