Imagination Connoisseur, Zac Wiseman, thinks the just-released DREAMS “game” may be a “game changer” when it comes to letting creators tell their own stories.
Greetings to everyone at the post geek singularity.
Before I begin this letter I would like to say to you Rob: “Hi, how’s it going?”
I’ve been following you through either your time at Collider or John’s show and now ROBSERVATIONS. In fact, I’ve been watching since your debut on COLLIDER HEROES, so it’s been a long time, though I’ve never contributed being only a passive viewer. That was until the last couple days, when a topic came to my attention that has been utterly consuming my mind because of its potential ramifications and I wanted to share it with you and the community.
So, what am I talking about?
Well I’m talking about a video game. Though the term video game is used in a loose sense. Sony Computer Entertainment has released a new game title called DREAMS developed by the Sony owned studio Media Molecule.
A little background about this studio may be important to provide further context into the utterly bizarre, yet revolutionary idea at the core of this “game” so to speak. Media Molecule was made famous and acquired by Sony after the release of series called LITTLE BIG PLANET roughly a decade ago, which many of your viewers may remember. That game was made famous for its innovative implementation of an elaborate level stage builder that any member of the community could upload and share their works with the community at large.
The game received high praise and attention for this unique feature and the goodwill towards them lead to their acquisition at Sony. Now looking forward to their next title the team expressed a single overwhelming frustrating from their previous game to this one. Sure, it was cool to make levels, but it was always still the same game just different looking levels. What if we could make a game that would allow you to make ANY game you could ever want, that no two creations would be at all the same game.
So, this brings me back to the now just released DREAMS and the question of what it is. This has been asked by the industry at large while we patiently waited the more than 7 years since its original announcement.
Well the game is out, and I’m sorry to say the answer still isn’t exactly clear, but the industry is starting to suspect that one thing it could be, is revolutionary. You see, I mentioned before that the term “game” only applied to this title in the loosest of sense. I suspect for no other reason then there is no term that exist to properly describe it.
DREAMS is, in the most technical sense, a consumer-friendly, mass-market, all-in-one game development kit. It contains all the industry tools that are utilized by developers simplified and presented in a clearer way for use by anyone without the need for training.
There is no need for knowledge of coding of any kind and even more impressively the only input it uses is the Sony PlayStation controller or move controller. Keyboard is not even an option as the title isn’t released on PC. Now you might think that with this simplicity the results possible through this system would be somewhat limited, but this has proven not the case. The games the community of people have been developing range from tech demo builds to full blown remakes of previously released games, to complete original productions.
One search on YouTube of a DREAMS compilation reveals seemingly endless possibilities. Shooters, platformers, horror games, racing games. All with different art styles, animations, and controls. The tools can also be used as a 3d modeling software to create works of art which can be shared with the community at large.
But even more impressively, cinematics and animations are also possible. There would theoretically be nothing stopping someone from creating their own animated movie using only this tool. Even a music creator is included so you can create your own sound effects and soundtracks. Again, most impressively all of this is done through no computer input, only a console controller is used.
But if that wasn’t revolutionary enough, the game also uses its own internal, social media hub. This spotlight hub works in many similar ways to YouTube. With trending pages, creator pages, playlist support, recommendations. The infrastructure expected of a streaming service has been implemented to share creations across the world. It also allows anyone to share any individual asset they have created with the entire world and make it free use for others implementation or improvement.
Being presented with the scope of this technology and most importantly its mainstream accessibility has created questions from the industry at large, whether through simple curiosity to thoughts that the technology could become a disruption to the games industry at large. If anyone can make a game with the help of anyone else they may choose then what does this mean for the stability of established studio structure.
When talking about this technology, Media Molecule aren’t really sure where they think the technology will go, believing that it is sort of out of their hands and that its future will evolve to fit the needs and wants of the changing community. Though the creative director did express his ultimate goal of allowing creators to publish finished titles for purchase like an indie market.
Even this, however, doesn’t attest to the full range of possibilities this could bring. For Media Molecule, they believe they may be looking at the birth of an entirely new platform that could change the way we experience content. Like when YouTube first gave power to creators to self-publish their own videos and gave birth to what is now nearly 15 years later a global power platform.
Perhaps the best way to describe this technology is that it’s the natural technological evolution of that idea – that creators should have power to create – only now, instead of video you can share, creators have the power to share any piece of content or art or media you want of any kind for global consumption.
So I ask you Rob, the “Keeper of All Things Imagination”: Are we looking at what may be the most powerful imagination tool the public has ever seen?
Discuss away everyone.
– Zac Wiseman