Discover some vital details about the exclusive PS Vita game on everybody's lips at gamescom 2012.
LittleBigPlanet developer Media Molecule surprised everyone at gamescom 2012 with the announcement of Tearaway on PlayStation Vita. We sat down with the team behind this special looking game to find out more.
Bringing paper to life
The world of Tearaway isn't flat - it's a 3D universe made entirely out of paper and brought to life. "It's sometimes fragile and always magical," explains Alex Evans, co-founder of Media Molecule. "And it has all sorts of surprises. Paper is amazing - you can tell stories with it, fold it, draw on it... and it's perfect for PlayStation Vita."
Only on PS Vita
Media Molecule wanted to create a game which would be unique in both the way it played and how it made use of the PS Vita system's features. So the team gathered into a room and pitched ideas to each other, keeping the ones which were the best and felt most natural to the system. The result is something you won't be able to play anywhere else. "We wanted to create a game that only works on PS Vita," says Mark Healey, creative director and co-founder. "So we took the features of the system and aimed to make great use of them."
Media Molecule's amazing looking action adventure is about a messenger from another dimension called Iota - and he's got a message specifically for you. Trapped in the craft-like world of Tearaway, you have to guide him from there to the real world to deliver his message. "We've taken the traditional adventure platformer and given it a Media Molecule twist," says Dave Smith, co-founder and technical director. "When Iota is too weak to deal with something, we give you - the player - the connection with this fragile paper style world."
Bringing worlds together
An important message behind Tearaway is merging and crossing over the real world with the game world, with the PS Vita system's unique features such as the touchscreen and rear touch pad acting as the connection. So blowing or shouting into the microphone affects the world in Tearaway, turning the PS Vita system upside down will make things fall in the game world and so on.
"When you play games you sometimes tilt the controller unconsciously to dodge out of the way of things," says Dave. "So we wanted to take those physical movements and make them into gameplay. You're not just tapping at the screen to have a subtle effect on it - you're literally shaking the world and shouting at it and your fingers are grasping in there and destroying it."
"We wanted to find ways to use these features that felt natural and made sense," says Mark. "So things like drumming your fingers on the rear touch pad can help Iota bounce up to places. And I really love poking your fingers into the world of Tearaway. There are a lot of gameplay elements that come from that which we didn't really show in the trailer; for example, the zoom of the camera on the screen affects the size of your finger, so it could be the size of a mountain or a tiny tree stump. "
Reality bends at your fingertips
As you progress through Tearaway, you unlock physical paper trophies that are emailed to you, which you can then print out and use in the real world. This creates unique possibilities rarely seen in video games. "These little items are things you've customised in the game," says Mark. "So you can create something in Tearaway, have it printed out in the real world, draw on it, then recapture it using the PS Vita camera and put it back into the game."
Iota and you
Tearaway isn't so much about you being Iota - even though you control the cute messenger, you're acting as a partner to his adventure, helping him along the way and interacting with the world around him. "We like to think of it as a buddy game, between you - the player - and Iota," says Alex.
The best postman ever
Wondering how unique Iota's message to you is? "It's tailored to how you play the game," says Mark. "So if there will be as many unique messages out there as there are people playing the game!"
Smile with Media Molecule
Like LittleBigPlanet, there will be moments of wackiness and humour throughout Tearaway. From little paper cyclops to multi-coloured elks, Media Molecule likes to have a laugh. "We're not afraid to get a little silly," smiles Mark. "We're making games, after all!" agrees Dave.
What's in a name?
Tearaway is an incredibly fitting name for the action adventure, although it was only chosen a week or so before gamescom 2012. "When we were putting the game together, we named it after the room, which was The Treehouse," explains Mark. "Then we named it after the team working on it, which was Sandpit. After that it was called Uncovery. We also had some hilarious names suggested for it, like Pokey World."
Tearaway's hero, Iota, also went through a few different names. "We can't say what they were though," says Dave. "We may want to use those for other projects!"
Size doesn't matter
The team on Tearaway currently consists of 15 people. To give you a sense of scale, some development studios have departments that are bigger than Tearaway's whole team, and true to Media Molecule's style, they've created a game which has charmed virtually anyone who has seen it.
"We're really proud we can create the sort of games that fit this lean company and I think that's what makes for a very distinctive flavour of games," says Dave.
Want more on Tearaway? Keep reading au.playstation.com and PlayStation.Blog for all the latest on this delightful adventure.
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