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LittleBigPlanet developer on dealing with publishers


When gaming journalists violently collided in the hallways of San Francisco's Moscone center, a common topic of conversation, besides their universally poor navigational skills, was the PlayStation 3's physics-driven platformer, LittleBigPlanet. The game quickly became somewhat of a critical darling after its unveiling, prompting us to attend a presentation by Media Molecule, the company behind it and Rag Doll Kung Fu. A GDC session held on Wednesday was presented by Mark Healey and Alex Evans who both spoke very candidly about their company's origins and their approach to dealing with publishers (the "bad guy" as far as many developers at GDC are concerned).

"We're jumping into the abyss with rockets strapped on our back," said Evans in reference to Media Molecule's enthusiastic approach to game development. Part of this attitude reflects in their relationship with publishers, who Healy insisted are best dealt with by being as upfront and communicative as possible. "Everybody has good ideas," added Evans, but the trick is communicating these ideas. Giving the publisher as much information as you can is key in gaining publisher backing, with visual and playable examples being particularly effective -- Evans called it "the power of prototyping."

A video of a LittleBigPlanet prototype was shown during the session, depicting a brightly colored and two-dimensional character waving his arms about, grabbing onto objects and striding up stairs in a decidedly awkward manner. Despite its early state, the physics technology and the control method immediately shone through, a fact which ultimately played a large role in Sony's eagerness to pluck the game up. It seems a similar approach would be just as effective on gamers -- forget the feature bullet-points and dry press releases. Just show us why your game is fun!

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