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Media Molecule Talks Tearaway Unfolded

August 18, 2014 Written by Jason Dunning

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Following the original Tearaway Unfolded PlayStation 4 announcement last week at gamescom, Tearaway Creative Lead Rex Crowle sat down for a conversation with IGN, where he refers to Unfolded as a ‘remix’ of Tearaway, adding, “In some ways, Tearaway Unfolded can be our definitive version.”

So, how much bigger is this definitive version over the original? Crowle couldn’t quite put a number on it:

It’s a hard thing to judge. A lot of people just want me to say a percentage, and you know it’s not really possible to do that. I think anyone who has played the Vita version will still recognize the environments and the journey they’re going on, but just the act of making it work on a big stage meant we had to scale things up.

However, with many areas in Unfolded getting an increased sense of verticality, Rex says, “We found that any of the hub areas just needed to be 50% bigger to get that sense of scale. Those areas are much larger.”

Going into further specifics about Unfolded, Rex mentioned how “each area is taking a fair bit longer to play through” and “we want to make sure each section introduces itself in a nice way and a has a nice conclusion as well. We’re putting a lot of focus into, say, the Gibbet Hills section at the end of the first third of the game so you don’t just arrive at this mountain. You are having this kind of joyful trudge up through the snow. You now really feel like you’re going somewhere.”

With each version of Tearaway being “a celebration of the hardware it’s on,” Unfolded will feature some necessary changes to the control scheme. This means the DualShock 4 touch pad will be receiving a lot of attention because Rex doesn’t “think it’s being used that much in games at the moment. It’s like, ‘Oh brilliant, I can scroll around the map a bit’. But it feels like there’s a huge opportunity to make more of it.”

In terms of controlling Tearaway Unfolded on PS4, pressing down on the touch pad will make the drums bounce; stroking a finger on the touch pad will create a gust of wind; the light bar can shine into the game world, allowing you to ignite candles and germinate seeds in some of the new puzzles; and you’ll be able to use the PlayStation Camera in similar fashion to the PS Vita’s camera by taking photographs.

Perhaps the biggest control addition is Thrown Forth, which allows you to tilt the DualShock 4 upwards and the Messenger will ‘throw’ the object they’re holding into your controller, changing the color of the light bar based on the item and making a rattling sound through the speaker.

Crowle talked about Thrown Forth:

Thrown Forth is a moment where we wanted it to feel like when the object comes out of the game, the game world turns back into a piece of consumer electronics. You actually see the TV as a TV: so we put scan lines on it, a bit of noise and some interference. Meanwhile, the piece of plastic that is in your hands is making sounds, shaking, and sort of coming to life. As you swipe that object or creature back out again, the two worlds swap back. You’re holding a piece of plastic again, and the world on screen comes back to life.

Crowle finished up by answering why Tearaway 2 wasn’t just made for PS4 instead:

We’d like more players – a different kind of audience – to experience what we’ve already made. It also means we can go back and have a really nice framework to build on top of instead of starting again completely from scratch and needing to spend a lot of time figuring out the locations and getting them to the same level as the Vita version.

Because we’ve already got the original as a proof of concept, it means we can just build on top it and makes things even bigger and better.

Do you plan on buying Tearaway Unfolded when it launches next year?