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Media Molecule: "It's time to expand"

Why it's "stepping away" from LBP.

Media Molecule has explained studio director Siobhan Reddy's recent comment that the UK developer is "stepping away" from LittleBigPlanet.

Speaking during a Develop conference keynote this morning, Media Molecule co-founders Kareem Ettouney, Mark Healey and Alex Evans told ex-Sony president of worldwide studios Phil Harrison – the man who signed LBP as a PlayStation 3 exclusive in 2006 – that the Guildford studio is "still very involved" with the game, pointing to the upcoming release of the PlayStation Move pack.

However, Media Molecule is now a multi-thread company, the Sony-owned developer said, and branching out into new areas.

"It's a bit like, if you think of LBP as having a child, Sackboy was our child, you get to the stage where they want to leave home," art director Mark Healey said. "It's kind of like that.

"When my son leaves home, whenever that is, I'll probably care about him even more and want to keep tabs on him and make sure he's not doing the things I did when I was his age. But we're still very involved with it."

"One of the funny pains we're having growing – airing our dirty laundry – we're no longer a single-threaded company," added technical director Alex Evans.

"Siobhan is no longer managing eight people in a start-up. She's managing this big franchise that Sony are really interested in us being involved with forever, which is cool.

"There are all these different threads, and this stepping away thread is just one of them.

"Ironically, she was the one who publicly said, oh, we're stepping away, thus ignoring the other half of her job, which is, for example, the LBP Move pack, which is coming out.

"The point is, we're no longer a one threaded company. That's really difficult for us, but we're doing it to keep it fresh. Because if you do the same thing all of the time single-threadedly, and that's it, you do end up getting stale.

"So what we've tried to do is almost pile things on. But as anyone knows who's worked in a growing studio, that's a dangerous place to go."

Little-known UK developer Double11 is the studio behind the PlayStation Vita version of LittleBigPlanet.

It is acting chiefly as the technology architects on the game, working closely with Sweden's Tarsier Studios, which worked with LittleBigPlanet creator Media Molecule on the last two editions on the PlayStation 3.

According to art director Kareem Ettouney, this is a situation Media Molecule is perfectly happy with.

"LBP involved us working with an extended family of companies and teams of very talented people, like Tarsier Studios. They have slowly learned the language and excelled at it.

"Once a language is established, that's the time to evolve and develop. Everybody speaks that language. The design style and the criteria of what works and what doesn't is much more established now, and it's time to expand."