Wow, what a journey. In case you haven't heard yet, Media Molecule has decided to cease its live service operations for Dreams, its magnificent and severely under-played PS4 exclusive. The game itself is staying online, and you can continue to play and create to your heart's content, but this marks the beginning of the end. After just over three years, the studio is throwing in the towel and moving onto another project. It's sad, but frankly, not unexpected.
We've always been big advocates for Dreams. In isolation, it's a truly outstanding achievement; the intuitive-yet-deep toolset allows anyone with a PS4 to make pretty much whatever they like. Whether that's a simple field full of flowers, an animated music video, or an entire game with multiple levels, the limits really are down to one's imagination. It lets people express themselves and share that with the world, and it has, ultimately, paved the way for some seriously great creations. It's a wonderful game that contains some real magic among the, admittedly high, concentration of nonsense. In a way, the somewhat chaotic nature of what you can find in Dreams only adds to its appeal, but that's a whole other conversation.
Whether you aim to make top notch platformers or a series of interactive Wallace & Gromit memes, you'll still be able to do that after 1st September. However, Media Molecule, which has been keeping things ticking with annual in-game events and some in-Dreams original games of its own, is making its exit. Unfortunately, the reasons are fairly clear — its player base is tiny, it's nearly impossible to market, and had no other ways of making money.
Back before Dreams, Media Molecule was in a solid position. LittleBigPlanet and its sequel were very successful side-scrolling platformers on PS3, championing user-made content and finding a creative, positive fan base. PS Vita's Tearaway, while taking a slight step away from the creation side of things, never sold bucketloads of copies but was also very well received, and is widely regarded as one of the handheld's best. The latter was a more conservative effort from the studio, albeit an incredibly charming one, but no one could've predicted how big it was planning to go with its PS4 game.
A very early prototype was shown alongside the console's unveiling in 2013. Co-founder Alex Evans presented its 3D modelling tech using PS Move controllers, ending with a demonstration involving dancing puppets and a rock band to play it off. It was an exciting prospect, the promise of making anything you could envision.
However, the road to releasing Dreams in 2020 was a long one. Media Molecule continued showing the game off where and when it was able, and it always looked fascinating and groundbreaking. But the protracted development didn't help the game's momentum one bit; for every dazzling presentation, there was a lengthy wait to follow. On top of that, it became clear that, for all its noble intentions, Dreams lacked a certain something for prospective players to latch onto. You can make anything with this software, but where was its face? By being so admirably broad in its scope, the game never had its Sackboy — something to make it iconic.
That didn't stop eager players from hitting the ground running, though. From the very beginning, even during the game's early access phase, creative users quickly made brilliant, bonkers, and baffling things with Dreams' impressive set of tools. The promise was kept: you can make basically anything and share it with everyone else. It's what remains special about the game today. Though the player base may be small, their drive to create cool stuff will continue past Media Molecule's final update in September, and that's the important thing.
That being said, the studio's contributions will be missed. Regular in-game events gave the game a shot in the arm. All Hallows' Dreams every October was excellent, as was the digital gaming expo DreamsCom and the annual awards ceremony, The Impy Awards. Without these touchstones, the game will lose some of its pulse — but we have a feeling that the community will aim to keep facsimiles of these events going themselves.
Dreams achieved what it set out to do in many ways, but there was always room for it to grow. Porting the game to PS5 and PC would've expanded the audience, though given how complex a project it is, it wouldn't have been a quick job. Adding it to PS Plus would probably help it as well, and there's nothing stopping Sony from doing that, even with the stoppage of updates.
Still, it's just a shame. We don't have a searing hot take on this; it just kind of sucks. Dreams is excellent, and deserved more, but it wasn't to be. Media Molecule remains one of the industry's most ambitious, imaginative studios, and we're of course intrigued to see what it comes up with next, but we'll always look back on Dreams' 10-year journey thinking what could've been.
What do you think about Media Molecule ending support for Dreams? Will you continue playing despite a lack of updates? Discuss in the comments section below.
Honestly think Sony made a mistake with Dreams by not bundling it with the consoles or PS+ in any form. It deserved a bigger install base, even if it was a really hard sale
Just another step into the futute of Playstation were risky, more niche Games will sadly have no place in anymore.
This exactly. Some of the articles Pushsquare put out were incredible. It's one of those games, my backlog didn't allow me to invest in but a PS+ inclusion and I would have at least kepto it installed and who knows maybe gotten hooked. Sony can make just bizarre choices....
I have to agree with the sentiment in the article — it’s just an unfortunate course of events for Dreams. As a creative and technological achievement, it’s absolutely amazing. But that has clearly not translated into any commercial success. I’m as guilty as anyone, since I played it for a few hours and just never stayed with it.
There’s a lot of “what if’s” and “shoulda, woulda, coulda’s” with this project where an alternate version of history may have ended with this being a smash hit. But as it stands, it’s going to go down as a seminal artistic achievement that no one experienced.
It's insane what Media Molecule were able to make on a technical level. But at the end of the day I just wanted to play levels rather than make them, and I think a lot of other people felt the same way
After waiting seemingly forever Dreams I preordered the early access and then… hardly ever played it. I don’t think I have even finished the main story yet. I have played it for 17 hours and some of it has been fun but if it weren’t for PS doing the occasional article I would have forgotten it existed long ago.
Just looking at that menu pic gives me PTSD. I know the game was about creating but every time I do turn it back on it takes me too long just to remember how to navigate the menu. And that’s not good.
Too bad there’s no PS5 version though, PS4 is over soon, and while we can obviously play PS4 games on our PS5 $500 is a lot to be playing “last gen” games.
Will be interesting to see if mM can recover from being Icarus and flying too close to the sun.
Sorry for anyone who loves dreams, but this is great news to me.
The talanted devs at media molecule can finally make some new IP!
Dreams was a fantastic achievement, but if people are not playing, its time to move on...
Had some amazing time and memories with this game. The definition of an underrated masterpiece.
Here's hoping the next Media Molecule project can match up to this. It's got very big boots to fill indeed.
@Titntin I have to agree. And even if people were still playing, it's important to have new games and experiences too. I don't want Media Molecule to end up like Rare just updating Sea of Thieves for all eternity for example.
That was the only game I was sincerely rooting to get ported onto PC. We PS players aren't as creative or dedicated to make games. But them PC players, in their basements, hiding from sunshine and fresh air, would definitely push this game, which is essentially a very consumer friendly engine, to its absolute and create amazing experiences. What a bummer.
Also agree with the sentiment of the article. An absolutely mind blowing artistic and technological achievement that seemingly had no "focal" point to attract punters and no real means of sustaining itself long-term.
I'd love to know more about the discussions that took place regarding this behind closed doors, as Media Molecule effectively spent the best part of a decade on a game that can't have sold more than a million copies.
Most fascinating to me is that Media Molecule was, at the beginning of the PS4 generation, one of Sony's powerhouses. But in the PS4 generation, the likes of Guerrilla Games and Sucker Punch had truly huge, breakout, mainstream hits. Meanwhile, Media Molecule almost seemed to fade into obscurity.
I'm glad Dreams exists and was made, but it's a bizarre chapter in PlayStation history to me.
Perhaps they can take what they've learned in this exercise and transfer it into another game with creative elements.....yes, I mean LBP4. Either that or, as they assisted United Front games at the time, we could well do with a ModNation Racers 2.
LBP3 was a cross gen title back in the PS3 to PS4 days. I know it was by Sumo with a little assist from MM, but we've not seen anything so creative since. Hopefully they can push something really good out on the PS5 and finally the tub o' lard will have a must have title.
Just so people don’t get the wrong idea, Dreams is already backwards compatible on ps5 and benefits from its engines uncapped framerate. You can play and create fine with the Dualsense, and psvr still works via the ps5 too with it. It just never got a dedicated ps5 version…there wasn’t really any need.
It’s a real shame Sony never packaged it in with every console and psvr headset years ago.
The ones keeping it alive for years are creators…but creators create…they don’t play. So there’s loads of content on there but nobody playing it.
Hopefully Sony will just make it F2p at some point and it can get a second life. We’re going to see gaming make more moves in this direction regardless - epic are currently marketing the unreal engine to show how transformative it can be for fortnite.
Leslie Benzies‘s Everywhere is set to garner plenty of attention…a game that sounds very much like Dreams. It really would be a good opportunity for Sony to get the conversation back on dreams again by announcing f2p. Trouble is…there’s no money to be made via microtransactions in dreams - and that’s the real shame, it will probably be the last time we see a game like this release where it’s not full of microtransactions…it’s just surviving off the love of gaming and creating.
What surprises me is that this didnt happen before.
Dreams is honestly quite the tool but the entrance barrier is a bit too high for most people, I dont think it should be free to play at all but itsl was never even on ps+ on any tier.
It's a DriveClub situation where it truly feels like sony didnt even try, like they were stuck with the project and only supported it this long because they were contractually obligated to.
Hopefully Media Molecule can work on a real game now
make an actual game not tools to make a game
This needed to be brought to PC. I've been dragged for saying this before but creating with the controller was awkward. Maybe it's something you get used but it created a barrier to entry that most people were not going to bother getting over. Mouse and keyboard would have worked so much better.
sorry but it was a waste of time money and resources for everyone
Limited only by your imagination....
And talent... Definitely talent....
It's also the right decision. I applaud Sony for taking a risk with it. Clearly it didn't pay off, but at least they invested in something different.
I definitely don't want Sony to go in the direction they're going in of all blockbusters and no creative risks, but, Dreams, I never felt was the right risk. Yes the creation genre is popular with a particular audience, but Dreams, was little more than a toolkit for creatives. If you're not a creative it has no appeal, and playing a bunch of created content made by amatuer creators isn't really something that console players are playing for, whether free, behind a retail release, or with mtx. Mobile thrives on that. PC has it's place for that, but not many buy a console with the plethora of games available to just play minigames made by other users. I bought Dreams, found it charming, played for like 2 hours and removed it to make space for something else. I don't really want to spend time learning a creativity toolkit when I'm not creative, and don't have time to just learn complex tools I can't use outside a single video game. And playing the content made by users didn't seem engaging vs playing any of the dozens upon dozens of professionally made games available.
The talk of mtx makes business sense but I don't think that would have helped. The problem is if nobody wanted to play all this user content for free, why would they have started if they had to now pump money into it, too?
Creativity software is a complex problem. It's offering as the entertainment itself what is otherwise a productivity tool, yet the output requires people to buy the productivity tool itself to use the content. And if it otherwise lets creators sell the content outside the productivity tool, then it really is a productivity tool and not a "game" for consumers to buy.
This has been an issue for MM games from the beginning. Most of us love LBP, but most of us love playing the LBP campaign, not spending hours and hours making LBP levels to distribute for free, nor paying random players for their "paid" levels. Much as I loved LBP, the tiny campaign that was clearly used as just an introduction to the creation tools I was never going to use always seemed like a turn-off. Sack-Boy and the Vita game that didn't do that were always the best Sack-Boy games to me for that reason. One could say "it's just not for me" but that's the point. It was clearly not for very many people at all!
Mario Maker thrives because it's simple. It's a very simple toolkit for 2D editors with limited tools so anyone can make ok levels and feel ok about it. It's the only "creatives" game I've actually spent time making a level or two on. It's simple enough to be fun for players, like solving a puzzle.
Minecraft is the holy grail everyone wants to duplicate, where it's endlessly played by everyone, but it's because creating is nothing but simple blocks at least until you get to the super advanced stuff that's more optional. Minecraft is NOT for me, and I don't even fully understand how it's as popular as it is, but I'm going to take a swing and guess the simplicity of big blocks is the reason. It's limitless if you're creative, or you can make a hut with a few blocks if you're not.
The lack of a PSVR2 version is sad though. I feel like I could have actually spent some time messing with it in VR2. I tried in VR1, but my camera setup and the Move controllers never agreed with me.
@naruball My sentiments exactly.
At least they took the risk, but it's clearly time to put this talented team to work on something else.
I bought it, completed the campaign, played it in VR. Why no PSVR2 support or PS5 support?
Again another misstep from the new management only caring about the potentially big money makers and GAAS.
@get2sammyb That's what happens when you take a full console cycle to make 1 game. And unlike Polyphony Digital this didnt sell well. Take too long and the audience forgets about you. ☹
It's so sad though as The Playstation landscape is markedly different from that Feb 2013 PS4 reveal. I fear for MM...
It’s also the PS exclusive that needed a PC port the most with cross play enabled.
PC gamers would have eaten that game up.
I bought this over 3 years ago and, according to my game list, I only have 9 hours played on it. I mostly forgot about it altogether and the rare times I didn’t I never felt desire to play it. It doesn’t seem it caught on which is a shame as this is different to the other titles Sony & Microsoft have and this will further discourage creating anything different. I’m surprised Dreams lasted this long.
They should have put this on PS+ ages ago. I still haven’t played it, if indeed “play” is the right word.
@3Above Dang, I forgot we first heard about this at the PS4 console reveal presentation. And it didn't release until just before PS5. And failed. That's dire.
I don't think just putting it on psplus would have been enough.
Next to "play and media", the ps5 should have had a third tab named "create".
There Sony integrates dreams and sharefactory in the main UI, where you can browse through new and top rated user made content, events, competitions etc. as well as being able to launch the individual creation software (after downloading it, for those who don't want to use it and waste SSD space)
Secondly dreams needed ways to export and possibly monetize creations. Only few are willing to spend loads of time to create for something that can only exist in a locked infrastructure.
It could have been something that could perhaps compete with the likes of Roblox if it wasn't so locked off.
Sony, as they often do, sleep on their own innovations.
I tried a few times to get into the toolset but life, time and talent always got in the way.
I always enjoyed dropping in to see what people had made (game, story and music) but that waned and I haven’t loaded it up for at least a year now.
They should have monetised or at least incentivised creations, as Roblox does.
It's great to learn that you have a talent but after spending every weekend on a labour of love, you eventually want to get paid and there is no way to even export your works into paying platforms.
Media Molecule should add a Unity export function as a parting gift - allow those individuals that made their project shine an opportunity to keep their work after the eventual switch off.
Perhaps the only game i bought at release at full price. Never regretted doing so. The things some people made...
It's an amazing creation engine that would always be niche. With all Dreams creations being owned by MM there wasn't much incentive for additional work by aspiring game creators.
Dreams was wonderful. It also provided a great playground for VR. In that sense it would be great if it got psvr2 support at least. But maybe the next project is even better ?
I was expecting it every month on PS Plus... didn't happened. I think now it is too late...
@JAMes-BroWWWn this. Imagine it the PC port happened and had a path available to the creators to get the games onto the PlayStation store if they were good enough.
I don't think there was anything to really sell it to us. Game mechanics are literally a way to play a game. Put these mechanics in a Mario game, and you're laughing all the way to the bank. One wonders if this story would be different if it were fronted by Sackboy, Tag, "You" from Tearaway, Ash or a Genie from Concrete Genie, or even Astro Bots. Who can remember who or what you were playing as?
@NEStalgia Speaking of PS4 console reveals, anyone seen Deep Down at all?
@Magnus_Selene I don't think this is entirely correct, but probably not incorrect either. Sony will still have a place for artistic games, just with less of an onus placed on them. Pixelopus, Housemarque and of course, Media Molecule all make less than typical PlayStation games after all.
Many learned to focus and learned how to develop games and they will do it earlier in other Engine. Dreams had and have potential but lack of possibility for earnings is hard to implement but it will produce much better results, i was surprised with creativity and patience of Developers and Sound Engine is apsolutley amazing above Professional DAW's and Synths and all virtual Synthesizers would be amazing in combination with PSVR.
I like the IDEA of it, but as soon as I get on there I exit within about 20 minutes. Sad but inevitable.
@TrickyDicky99 The Developer said it wouldn't be worth the money needed to make it support PSVR2 or PS5. They are also busy working on something else which they can't say but they said it's not Dreams related.
@rjejr "while we can obviously play PS4 games on our PS5 $500 is a lot to be playing “last gen” games."
This is the weirdest reason I have ever heard not to play games you already own on PS5 from PS4.
And seriously not everyone is obsessed with every game having 60fps especially a last gen one.
Damn shame, I was waiting until there was a native PS5 version, before I started playing.
@Phornix "you already own"
Thank you for making my point for me. 😉
When people spend $500 on a PS5 they aren't going out looking on Amazon or a Walmart shelf for all the PS4 games they missed, they are looking for all of the PS5 games they could be spending their money on.
Dreams is a PS4 game, and possibly a digital only game at that (I forget). If they made a native PS5 version then peoplw who DON'T ALREADY OWN IT may buy it. That is how a company makes $, by selling copies of it's games. They don't make $ by people who already own their game on PS4 just downloading it to their new PS5. And people who didn't buy it on PS4 are probably less likely to buy it on PS5 b/c they'd rather buy PS5 games.
That's why it's bad it's not natively on PS5. I, and lot's of other people, already own it, we probably weren't buying it again, but lot's of PS5 owners probably don't own it, and they would more likely buy it as a PS5 game than a PS4 game. 🤷♂️
@BeerIsAwesome this would be amazing…. Create your own Mario themed worlds. A bit like Animal Crossing, but with the Mario them instead. Maybe even offer different art styles from different generations…,
@rjejr I actually did look to play PS4 games that I missed….. the graphics were still amazing to me coming from the Nintendo ecosystem…..
@rockodoodle See, that's already sold it to you, and I'm really only talking about a glorified Mario Maker! LittleBigPlanet appears to be hanging on, while Fortnite Creative is attached the the most addictive game in the world. So like I say, a schtick will sell a game like this. Putting Sackboy on this game would've definitely sold a few more copies, even if it were to turn it into a 3D LittleBigPlanet that is different to the Sackboy game we currently have.
@pip_muzz Totally agree. Although to be fair to Rare, they recently brought Lucid Games on as a support studio for Sea of Thieves so they can shift more of their focus to their next project, Everwild.
Wouldn't have minded if MediaMolecule brought a support studio on for Dreams and did the same. Would be the best of both worlds, really...
@BeerIsAwesome I wish Sony would develop Sackboy and Astro more as franchises….maybe even some more Ratchet & Clank….
@rockodoodle Ratchet And Clank not so much, given there's like 17 games out there, a movie, and various appearances in other games, like PlayStation Move Heroes (we don't want to remember that one). Sackboy hasn't been too badly represented either, but I think Astro Bot suffers from being a bit too new to have made any real crossover appearances in things like Everybody's Golf or Modnation Racers like Sackboy did in the early years.
@BeerIsAwesome well, I think they can use the characters more…. Maybe make some party games with Sony characters?
@rockodoodle I don't disagree. A mascot is very versatile. If the next game Sony puts out just so happens to have one of the multitude of mascots as an unlockable character, all of a sudden I'm taking an extra second to at least think about the game from which it came.
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