Gameplanet: Can you let us know your gaming background, and what prompted you to seek employment in the industry?
Siobhan Reddy: From an early age my mum instilled in me a love of art, film and theatre. As a teenager, I got into making fanzines and films. Then really got interested in the technology of the Internet.
After a brief period working at an exciting web firm in Sydney I moved to England and that's where I started working in the games industry. It's perfect fusion of my interests. I started out as a production assistant and when I arrived at Criterion, and worked incredibly hard to learn how to be a producer. Fiona Sperry was a brilliant mentor for me during my time there.
Gameplanet: Sequels are often about moving an intellectual property forward in a measured way. Were there any concepts or gameplay changes you had to sacrifice to keep LittleBigPlanet 2 closer to the vision you had when you created the original?
Reddy: Plenty! We work in a ground-up way, so experimentation is key to our process. It's key to have the freedom to throw things away if they aren't working.
Gameplanet: Can you give us an indication of any aspect you’ve reworked due to it failing to meet your quality standards prior to release?
Reddy: There wasn't an area that needed reworking, the final stages of a game are very much about looking at the experience as a whole and making sure that it's consistent. Lots of playing, writing lists and then playing again once we've ticked everything off the list. Then repeat! [smiles]
Gameplanet: Do you see a clear delineation between British game designers and their US counterparts insofar as creativity is concerned? In other words, are British games more likely to lean towards the cerebral, puzzle-orientated side of things, as opposed to flashy explosions?
Reddy: No, I think there are plenty of creative, cerebral US games - look at portal or braid for example.
Gameplanet: How about the collaboration between Media Molecule and Japanese companies such as Square Enix – was LittleBigPlanet specifically designed to facilitate Japanese interest, or as a way to bridge the gap between Western game design and its Japanese counterparts? Can we expect to see more Japanese interest with LittleBigPlanet 2?
Reddy: Well, Sony is a Japanese company and we are very keen to grow our Japanese community so we are excited by other possible collaborations.
Gameplanet: Is LittleBigPlanet 2 the limit of what you can add to this intellectual property, or do you see even more content being released in future?
Reddy: We are very excited by the possibilities of giving the community the move controller creation tools.
Gameplanet: Looking back on the success of LittleBigPlanet, would you say that the desire to keep Media Molecule as a small, focused team - and empower users to create content themselves - was the best approach to ensure long-term success?
Reddy: Yes, we couldn't work in any other way! We have grown to help in areas where people are spread too thin and we have great support from Sony.
Gameplanet: Has the transition between PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Portable for LittleBigPlanet been problematic in regards to sacrificing quality, or maintaining the spirit of the gameplay inherent in the original title?
Siobhan: No, we have been very happy with the results on both platforms. Obviously there are challenges, but the teams have worked hard to overcome them.
Gameplanet: The original LittleBigPlanet came under criticism from some quarters insofar as the movement system was concerned. Some felt the platforming wasn’t tight enough. Was it difficult to decide between tweaking that and perhaps sacrificing continuity between LittleBigPlanet and LittleBigPlanet 2 user-created levels, or leaving it alone and ensuring all existing user-created levels remained compatible?
Reddy: Backwards compatibility was the priority. There are 3.5 million levels and changing the handling would have had far reaching affects.
Gameplanet: Do you ever have to reign in the production team for being too creative, too ambitious? Are their ideas sometimes at odds with what can realistically be produced in a given timeframe?
Reddy: Not so much the production team. Our goal is to deliver, so our feet are usually pretty firmly planted on the ground. We help facilitate the process and help people identify both their plans and the risks involved. When areas are looking very risky then we chat with the creative directors and figure out if it's more or less important than other work. Then we decide how to handle this.