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BS: To me, that seems to be a bit of a conceptual leap, in terms of how people are trying to run stuff. Maybe I've got it all wrong.
MR: No, that's what's so special about this game. We're enabling people not just to move the furniture around in the levels we give them. You've seen in-game level editors, and that's essentially what they do. They let you move blocks and stuff they already created around, and in the most sophisticated one, maybe it lets you make terrain and things like that. We're divorcing ourselves from that kind of ridiculousness.
This is the full power of the Unreal Editor. The same editor we used to create the games is now available to you. You want to import your objects you made in 3D Studio Max or Maya? Bring them in! You want to code an UnrealScript? Code an UnrealScript! All those things you can do. If they fit on our map, you can stick them on the PlayStation 3 and they'll run!
BS: How does exactly that go through you?
MR: It doesn't go through us.
CN: Does Sony not care?
MR: It's user-created content! It's fantastic! I can't understand why people are so nervous about what Sony... no, Sony's wonderful. When they embrace user-created content, that's what it means to be an open system. That's why we're on PlayStation 3 first -- because they are embracing user-created content. It's not just moving the deck chairs around the boat. They are embracing real art.
CN: They have technical requirements for people who make packaged games. Someone could make a giant map that says "F*ck Sony. Microsoft rules!" or something like that, or even something that's just offensive to other players.
MR: If you're going to allow user-created
content, you're going to allow user-created content.
CN: It's not going to be...
I bet they're going to police LittleBigPlanet and other stuff.
MR: Well, LittleBigPlanet is
more of an example of rearranging chairs on the deck, right?
CN: It's pretty robust.
MR: This is the real thing. You can't import your own models in LittleBigPlanet. You can't write script code in LittleBigPlanet.
BS: I think it's kind of like baking the stuff so that it's proper for release. Is there going to be any kind of...
MR: We have nothing to do with that process. Users do that themselves. It's user-created content. This is amazing! It's a little tough to get your head around. We don't know how deep people will take it, or how players will embrace it. They could do lots of things or littler things. We're going to encourage it, because we're going to create a mod contest. We're basically going to throw money at people to take a chance at it.
CN: You're saying that Sony understands and they're really into it. This isn't going to be happening down the road on the 360 version, will it? Or can it?
MR: We'd like to. That's one of the challenges in figuring out how to bring this game to the 360. Right now, Xbox Live is a closed system, so when we finish the PC and the PS3 one and maybe take a little break for Thanksgiving and Christmas, we will sit down with Microsoft and have a dialogue with them and say, "Here is what we want to do. How can we do it?" They may or may not embrace it. We don't know. That's why we've made the game for the PlayStation 3 first, because we knew exactly what the boundaries were going to be.
BS: I feel in a way like the PlayStation 3 -- in terms of downloads -- is kind of like the Wild West. Since they haven't set up a specific structure, it's "every man for himself," in a way.
MR: That's what user-created content is. I'm always shocked when I talk to media, and it's like, do you want to censor people? I know it sounds incredulous to say that, but that's kind of what I hear you say.
CN: I never came from a PC gaming background, so that sounds totally weird.
MR: "Why aren't they putting chains on people?!" Why do you want that?
BS: It's not like that with YouTube.
MR: When YouTube finds questionable
content, they take it down. We'll have a mechanism do that too.
CN: Well, if it's an open system, how can you take it down?
MR: We have a way to blacklist mods that do bad things.
BS: It's not that we want chains, it's just that it's so...
CN: I mean, look at
all the different console systems. They've always been like that.
BS: Sony is very conservative with
what they will release on their console in a package.
MR: Again, I think it's really clear. If you want to make a DVD and play it on your PlayStation 3, you can. If you want to make a DVD of whatever it is -- whatever questionable, crazy, ridiculous movie you want to make -- you can burn it on a DVD-R and go play it on your PlayStation 3. If you want to record music on an MP3 CD or a memory card or play it off your computer, you can do that now on PlayStation 3, right? If you theoretically had a Blu-ray burner, you could do the same thing with Blu-ray. If you want to have your movies or photos on the PlayStation 3, you can do that. It's your content! There's really no difference.
CN: But it's point-to-point.
MR: It's not point-to-point. They're
going to let you show movies to other people in Home, for example.
CN: Yeah, but your house is locked or open as you choose.
MR: That's not that much vastly different.
CN: I don't disagree...
MR: I have to make the choice to go and download the mod.