Available on PS4 for a few months, Dreams is a video game … for creating video games. Decryption with Christophe Villedieu, his game designer.
Released in February, Dreams is not quite a video game like any other. It is similar to software allowing everyone to create their own game, their own universe, their own character or even their own animated film using creation tools. Behind this atypical title, we find an English developer who has already proven himself in terms of creative games: it is Media Molecule, known in particular for Little Big Planet, its flagship franchise based on platformer mechanics and a famous burlap character: Sackboy. Property of Sony, its games are exclusive to the consoles of the brand, PlayStation in mind.
Since July 22, Dreams has taken a new step which allows, via a free update, to play it in VR, that is to say with a virtual reality headset. For Media Molecule and Christophe Villedieu, its game designer, “this allows the player to” enter “into the screen, to truly immerse yourself in a scene imagined by an artist, whether poetic, minimalist or terrifying. For the creator, it allows him to offer new experiences, such as playing with ladder. If you are an ant, for example, the player will end up next to leaves that are the size of a tree. If he is a giant, a town will appear very small, as in the “god games” (editor’s note: games in which the player embodies a god). It’s quite a neat feeling. “
“AT THE BEGINNING, WE SEEN A LOT OF MARIO OR SONIC!”
The developers of Media Molecule like to say that anything is possible in their game. The best have fun recreating famous universes, like those of Star Wars, Tomb Raider or Metal Gear Solid. The complexity of these works depends on the number of hours necessary for its creator. “There are a lot of different creation levels, so it’s impossible to estimate the number of hours to create a game. A player can use what the others have created: a setting here, a staircase, a house, a music there, he can make his character move there and be very happy with the result. Technically, if we take another’s level, quickly remix it and change the colors, we have it for an hour” explains Christophe Villedieu. And then, there are those who will want to create their own objects, their own universe … “It goes from very simple to very very complicated, it depends how far you want to go.” Especially since the player must also manage the musical part, choose the instruments, the notes, record his score and model it on his levels … And there, it takes hours and hours of creation.
For those whose inspiration is at half mast, Dreams allows you to play other people’s games or use them to “remix” them in their own way. “It’s like when you learn to draw: first, you copy the others and little by little, you come to create your own character. That’s why at the beginning, we saw a lot of Mario or Sonic. It’s when you understand the basics that you can do something more personal. ” In order not to drown in the many possibilities of creation, the game is also full of tutorials.
“THE GAME CREATED VOCATIONS DURING CONTAINMENT”
At a time when we consume more and more, where sales are multiplying especially in online stores, where the lifespan of video games is often shorter and the challenge less met than in the era of consoles 8-bit, Dreams and his studio are taking a rather risky bet by asking players to take the time to build their own video game. “It’s true that you can tell yourself that there are enough games out there, so why create one yourself? My answer is this: because Dreams is the essence of people. It is aimed at players who want to tell something and share it. And sometimes it gives extraordinary things “ answers Christophe Villedieu.
The studio has organized an interactive exhibition in Paris on the occasion of the game’s release, which the most impatient players have been able to test in early access during the previous 10 months. The creations are shareable – that’s the goal – and the community is very active: in game or on the internet, there are creations, like those of “Slurm MacKenzie” or “Gauffreman”, which are worth a look. Other creations are not really video games, nor really animated films, but rough prototypes or “delusions” of creators. And “This is also what is pleasant with Dreams, is that it does not fit into any box” underlines the game designer. “We get lost a bit like when we surf the internet.”
But can the pupil surpass the teacher? “There are already artists who surpass ours“ answers the Game Designer. “There are those who get poached after they have made their portfolio, which they share on their website or social media. In fact, I think that the game created vocations during confinement. Thes people discover themselves with Dreams. It’s nice to see that the game unleashes the creativity of people who weren’t in the business at all. “ With a sparkling eye, Christophe Villedieu knows what he is talking about: then a simple player, he was spotted himself by Media Molecule a few years ago by creating levels on LittleBigPlanet…