Media Molecule Talks About Crafting The World Of Tearaway

by Tim Turi on Mar 28, 2013 at 06:57 PM

Media Molecule’s Little Big Planet series struck a chord with gamers thanks to it arts-and-crafts visuals. The developer’s upcoming Vita title, Tearaway, finds its artsy inspiration from papercraft. Today at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, lead designer Rex Crowle talked about what it’s like creating a game based solely on paper.

“I don’t like digital things,” Crowle says. “I like when you can see the hand of someone else in it.”

Crowle says he loved playing in the mud as a child, and still loves unleashing his inner child by playing with more tactile mediums. “Things that leave a mark not just on what you’re playing with, but on you,” he says.

“When we were handed a Vita, it seemed like the very opposite of that,” says Crowle. “It’s very clean. It’s very shiny. It’s not like a bucket of mud.” 

Media Molecule chose paper as the basis for Tearaway because the company is interested in “Creating a more playful intersection between the game world and the real world,” according to Crowle.

Rex Crowle's colorfully cluttered desk at Media Molecule

He also explains how couching the entire game world in paper is a limitation that breeds good ideas. “By having paper run through the entire decision process, it’s really helped us focus on the core,” says Crowle. Media Molecule has worked hard to recreate a visually pleasing recreation of paper, from the way it creases, bends when characters walk over it, or tears apart. Tearaway also gets players involved in the real world by allowing them to create papercraft works from the game.

“Crafting with paper is a way that we can make sure all players get involved with this world,” says Crowle. “You’re rewarded with plans to print out and make. Like physical trophies.” 

Players will be able to print off papercraft so they can print them off and recreate them in real life. Crowle gave the example of a colorful little paper elk that he has sitting on his desk.

Tearaway is set for release on the PlayStation Vita later this year.