When Evans and Media Molecule first created LittleBigPlanet, they had hoped ordinary people like Beech could become game designers in their own right. But they never thought they'd be hiring them.
"We probably joked, 'Oh yeah, it'll be the end of our jobs!'" said Evans. "But for me as a programmer, the craft of making games is actually about giving tools to people like John. And LittleBigPlanet puts [game creation tools] in the hands of millions of people. I just wanted people to feel empowered. It's a dream come true."
Though he joked about losing his job, Evans maintained that people like Beech are what the industry needs. "John's story is inspiring because it shows you don't have to come through the traditional route to be in the industry," he said, adding that about a third of the studio had never shipped a game before LittleBigPlanet. "It's like the wisdom of a beginner who hasn't been jaded by how games are made. People who come from outside games approach it differently; they don't know what's typical or what's hard. On the flip side, there are the jaded game developers who just go, 'That's not possible.' But then you think, 'Well, actually, that's a good idea,' and you try to re-think how to do it."
"So John saw the game totally differently than we did," Evans continued. "Now you're actually a professional game developer, we've probably corrupted you," he said, smiling at Beech. "You've probably lost your innocence somewhat."
"The first thing I did when I got to Media Molecule was to shut up, listen and learn from everyone, so now I have a much broader overview," Beech said. "And like Alex said, they've probably corrupted me in some ways. But at the same time, I've still got my spirit and my willingness to do the impossible!"
Photo courtesy of JesseAngelo.com.
Tracey John is a freelance writer living in Brooklyn, New York. When she's not writing about games, she's preparing for the inevitable zombie robot apocalypse... and baking cupcakes. See funny pictures of cats at her website, www.traceyjohn.com.