LittleBigPlanet Q&A – with Kareem Ettouney
Gaming websiteventurebeat have managed to grab Kareem Ettouney,art director of LittleBigPlanet and co-founder of Media Molecule, for a little chat regarding Sony’s great hope, LittleBigPlanet.
He talks about the competition, as well as the current shift in game design from narrative to user-generated playgrounds. Below is some of the questions asked – with answers obviously.
VB: What do you think of the results of what these students were able to do in 24 hours?
KE:When Sony organized this collaboration with Parsons we were thrilled because it meant that the game for the first time would be in the hands of an amazing type of people with great talent and skills. When we came (to New York), we had high expectations, but we were blown away. Not only did they come up with their own unique level ideas — we had told them they didn’t have to make a gameplay level, but each and every team created a playable level. They designed it from sketching on the walls to building and collaborating on the project to realize their ideas. Not only were we impressed with the cohesion of the results, but with the innovative use of the tools. We were hoping that some of this would come eventually, but not in the first 24 hours.
VB: How do you see Spore and LittleBigPlanet changing the way games are made moving forward?
KE:A lot of people ask the question, “What happens to game developers with the explosion of user-generated content?” And the answer is, “We evolve.” Now you have Rock Band allowing gamers to become famous through YouTube. That doesn’t change the need for having good music schools and good music producers. I believe the game development community will learn and evolve and respond and react to the phenomenon of user-generated content. Allowing gamers to express themselves will only enrich the experience.
VB: Do you see what’s happening this fall with empowering gamers as a shift in the games industry?
KE:I think all of the game industry has done an incredible job of using the technology they have available. But for the last 10 to 15 years everything was graphics-driven. You heard about how many polygons were on the screen at once or how a car can crash and take damage with realistic physics. After this period, we’ve entered into a period that is about expression. It’s about expression and content and not about the capabilities of the consoles. We are moving into a territory that’s much more fertile.
VB: Game “mods” have been used for years to get gamers jobs in the industry. Now that LittleBigPlanet is offering console gamers, and in essence a more mainstream audience these tools, do you see that happening?
KE:I think this game can definitely help people get jobs in the industry. Imagine a guy going into a job with five levels of LittleBigPlanet and you get to play his creation. But not only that, imagine what that guy has already done within that world in terms of building up an audience. People know his levels and know his name. They want to see his new creation. Future game creators will enter a job interview already known. We hope LittleBigPlanet plays a part in getting new game developers jobs and also making them stars.
Expect a LittleBigPlanet BETA review up soon, so stay tuned to Console Monster!