How Tearaway's emphasis on imperfection made the game more personal
Tearaway, the PS Vita game that launched late last year, was the second new intellectual property from LittleBigPlanet studio Media Molecule, and was ranked very highly by critics and players alike.
Rex Crowle, lead creator on Media Molecule's Tearaway, says that by highlighting the imperfections of papercraft, he and his team were able to make a more personal game that resonated with players.
He tells the Develop Conference today that from an early stage in Tearaway's development, the team became very focused on the idea of building a game in which you could see its inner workings. While most games try to cover the cracks and look as slick as possible, Media Molecule wanted Tearaway to be exposed.
"You could see how we built everything," he notes. "It made it more approachable. Seeing everyday objects in different materials [such as paper] is interesting... It looks more personal, since you can see all the imperfections."
The idea came in part from the act of nearly closing a pop-up book -- when you go to close a pop-up book, you see all the paper fold together, and you see exactly how it all expands, its inner workings.
"It's more magical because it's realistic," he says. This focus is where the idea of "literally tearing a hole in the fourth wall" by putting your fingers into the world through the back touchpad came from.
"We made a handheld game that actually featured your hands," Crowle laughed. He also believes that the instant customization options that the game featured -- such as being able to design a crown and put it on a squirrel -- really helped to build appeal for the game.
"They don't take you out of the game, and they aren't particularly skillful, but they all add up," he notes. "Everyone feels like they made the squirrel - it's theirs now."