Over the years, the video game industry has constantly shifted. We've gone from arcade cabinets in public locations, to home computers, to handheld systems, to even phones with full-blown gaming experiences. Control over the creation of these games has moved from large corporations to smaller independent developers and even average people. Modding has become more popular, and level editors are fairly commonplace in games with online features. Super Mario Maker, Far Cry Arcade, and Little Big Planet are just a few examples of titles that include ways for players to create their own experiences.
As it turns out, the creators of LittleBigPlanet, Media Molecule, haven't been sitting around idly since the last entry in their popular franchise. They've been working on a project of epic proportions called Dreams. Media Molecule's LittleBigPlanet level creator was an easy to use system that allowed players to create their own experiences with assets from the base game. Dreams takes this concept and flips it on its head. The base game will only include about five hours worth of gameplay. The community created levels are going to be the focus.
In LittleBigPlanet you could create your own levels with varying difficulties using any characters, decorations, or platforms you wanted. Your friends and other players could enjoy them whenever you were finished. In Dreams, you can create any video game experience you've ever dreamed of, including your own characters, music, and play style. You can even make interactive music videos, if you so choose. PlayStation VR support is on the way, which would allow you to create and play in virtual reality.
Whenever a player's Dreams creations become a reality, they can then share it with others. If you create a level that is especially personal, you can keep it to yourself. If another includes an inside joke between you and your group of friends, you can choose to only share it with them. Or you can make it available to any player. If you create a particularly awesome thing in Dreams and want to share it with someone who doesn't own the game, you can do that too. PlayStation's share options will allow you to capture video with audio or pictures whenever you want. These can then be shared across social media. You could even be a one-person Dreams recruiter, if you wanted!
Dreams' real magic is the fact that it will allow any average Joe or Jill to create. Not everyone can draw photo realistically or compose opera-quality music, but everyone should be able to create something in Dreams. If you're a great artist, then you can draw your own environments and characters. If you're not, you can use assets provided by Media Molecule or anything anyone else is created. Even animations are put in the palm of your hand. Rather than having to understand complex code or go to school for years, Dreams gives you physical and visual control of everything. To make a platform move back and forth, you'll simply have to place it in the starting point, hit record animation, and move it wherever you want it to stop. At that point, you should be able to loop it or make it a standalone animation.
Any assets crafted by another player will be cited in your work. Everyone will always know who made what. This should open up the community and social aspects of Dreams quite nicely. Someone who is a fan of a level you created can follow you to continue playing anything new that you make. The opposite is true as well. If you love an interactive music video someone else made, you can follow them to see more.
Dreams is setting itself up as a premiere game creation engine, one that will level the playing field between game designers who have been in the industry for decades and fans who have been sitting on the sidelines with a brain full of creativity. It should open up a whole new level to video games that has only really dipped its toes in the water. Level creation engines are great, but they've never been this inclusive or expansive. And modding is fantastic, but creators have to have general video game development, and program knowledge. Dreams could spark a whole new genre of video games that focus on giving power to the players. That possibility is very exciting.