gamescom 2014

Why Isn't Media Molecule Just Making Tearaway 2?

by Ben Reeves on Aug 15, 2014 at 10:05 AM

If you haven’t played Tearaway on the Vita, it’s a clever little platformer, and it looks like the new PS4 version – Tearaway Unfolded – will be well worth your time. If you have played the Vita version, Media Molecule has revamped the game to such an extreme degree that in many ways it looks and feels like a different game altogether.

Lead designer Rex Crowle compared the new game to movies like Evil Dead and El Mariachi where the filmmakers originally made a film on the cheap, but were able to return to the concept down the road and expand on it with Evil Dead 2 and Desperado

Which kind of begs the question: Why isn’t Media Molecule just making Tearaway 2 for PS4?

I thought it was such a good question that I asked lead designer Rex Crowle, and he responded, “We knew we couldn’t just make a port, because we couldn’t use some of the same mechanics with things like the Vita’s back touch, and as soon as we started thinking about gameplay and the controller, we realized that we needed some different mechanics to make sure we didn’t lose any of the magic that we had on Vita. But instead of starting completely from scratch, in terms of story and the journey of the game, we thought that we could treat Unfolded as more like the definitive edition where we could build on top of what we had already made, so we could get all of those ideas that we weren’t able to get in on Vita. We could really see our vision all the way though.”

When I asked them if they had experimented with including back touch functionality using the PS4’s touchpad, he said, “It didn’t make any sense that you would be touching the screen like you were on the Vita, because of course, you’re not touching the screen; you’re sitting away from your TV. Some of the guys thought we could have a really good comedy moment by having the fingers come down from the sky, but actually we did have an early prototype where in order to use the back touch feature like on Vita you had to turn the controller over and then touch on the PS4 touchpad. It was in interesting experiment, but completely impossible.”

When I asked him what percentage of the game was new he gave an amazing dodge by saying, “I think it’s very hard to say percentage, because all of the gameplay has had to change because of the new controls, so you could say number from 100 percent to, you know, a lower number. I think that anyone who played through the Vita version will still enjoying playing though again, because it will feel very different.”

Of course, none of this means that Media Molecule won't make Tearaway 2 if Unfolded sells well, so go buy the game when it releases on PS4 next year.