There’s a lot going on with Media Molecule’s creation suite – here’s the most important stuff.
One of the bigger PS4 exclusives releasing this year is Media Molecule’s Dreams. In development for a long time with an initial reveal at PlayStation Meeting 2013, Dreams has evolved into a massive creation suite with tons of possibilities. What should you expect when it releases on February 14th? Here are 15 things you should know before picking up Dreams.
Yes, there is a story mode called “Art’s Dreams” and it consists of three stories, each fitting into a different genre. These range from sci-fi to puzzle platforming, all created with the in-game toolkit, and should help familiarize players with the kinds of experiences they can make. The overarching narrative remains to be discovered but Media Molecule co-founder Alex Evans said that story mode will be “long enough” in an interview with Game Informer from 2018.
The main appeal of Dreams is having the power to create anything. You can create music and paintings; entire games spread across different genres, from first person shooters and platformers to collectible card games; and even short films. Perhaps the only thing you can’t create is a massively multiplayer online title but the sheer range of possibilities is still incredible.
Projects Created So Far
Here are a few examples of Dreams-created projects: P.T., Dead Space, Death Stranding, Final Fantasy 7 Remake, Ghost of Tsushima, Super Mario Bros. and, most recently, a PS One “demake” of Cyberpunk 2077. Granted, these are parts of full-fledged games and don’t have the same graphical fidelity. But such things being made by ordinary players is truly incredible, that too with just the early access version.
In 2018 when speaking to Game Informer, Media Molecule’s Alex Evans initially said it wouldn’t be possible to monetize one’s games in Dreams. Down the line, the company has said it would love to have creators sell their works though a number of obstacles like QA, trophy support and so on need to be sorted out first. Co-founder Mark Healey talked about wanting to reward creators in some way and though monetization is something that the studio wants to explore, there’s currently no update on it.
The Imp, Controls and More
In terms of gameplay, players essentially control an “imp” that serves as their character in the world. They can use this to create new objects, grab and pull items, possess and control other characters within a dream and so on. From there, you’ll venture into the realm of modifying various textures and surfaces call flecks, sculpting objects by subtracting details, manipulating different atmospheric effects and so on. A variety of shortcuts and a contextual menu, especially when holding L1, help make the entire process of building, dragging and changing aspects of different dreams that much more intuitive.
If you’re finding the PS4 controls to be a little constrained when it comes to creating things, Media Molecule has confirmed keyboard support. Strangely enough, there’s no have mouse support which could be a little awkward. Also, if you were hoping to play different creations on other platforms, such as the PC, that won’t be possible.
To help players learn all of this functionality, there are heaps of tutorials to sift through, all narrated courtesy of the jubilant Dream Architect. Along with explaining each function, there are videos that will play in the same screen so you can see how exactly certain actions must be performed. Multiple examples are provided and it’s possible to pause and rewind videos as necessary.
Let’s say that the creation toolkit is too overwhelming for you. Maybe you just want to relax and sift through the variety of content on offer. Dream Surfing is the way to go – players can explore a variety of user-made creations and just chill in that space. You can also enable Autosurf and play through a random assortment of creations at your leisure. If you’ve played Course World in Super Mario Maker 2, this will be pretty familiar.
Those seeking more social interaction should check out the Homespace Editor. This serves as a hub of sorts where players can seemingly interact. How much interaction is yet to be confirmed but there will be limited options for customizing the hub. PlayStation Home this is not but surely someone will find a way to bring the entirety of that into Dreams at some point.
Along with weekly challenges for the community, Media Molecule will also host a monthly Community Jam. This is a contest for creations centered on a specific theme with the community voting on the best ones. These will then likely be highlighted and placed into their own playlists for all the dreamers to surf through, as one would say.
Early Access Players Receive Full Game at Launch
Dreams will cost $40 when it releases for PS4. Early access isn’t available anymore but if you happened to pay $30 to hop into that, you get the full game for free. It would have been nice to retain early access leading up to launch but this approach works as well.
Online play will be supported in Dreams but it won’t be at launch. Four players is currently the plan with a total of eight players planned for down the line. The number of activities possible with other players is also up in the air but you will be able to sculpt creations with them. So there is that.
The overall performance of Dreams will depend on just how much one plans to stuff into their creation. The game runs at 60 frames per second and will start to dip to 30 fps with more complex creations. PS4 Pro players will see better performance as a whole but don’t worry – a creation won’t be able to crash your console, regardless of how complex it is.
Post-Launch VR Support
VR support, specifically with PlayStation VR, is another feature that’s in the works but won’t be available at launch. Its exclusion isn’t a deal-breaker (at least for us). Thankfully, there’s more on the way than just multiplayer and VR support thanks to the studio’s vision for the game.
10 Year Vision
Media Molecule has some big plans for Dreams, encompassed in a ten year vision of sorts. PlayStation VR support is confirmed to be a part of this as the first phase of post-launch focuses on PlayStation features. Sony’s Shuhei Yoshida also told PlayStation Asia at one point that, “We have a ten year vision for Dreams to keep growing with the community.” Expect the development team to take feedback from the community and incorporate it wherever possible (as you do in games such as this).