Mark Healey, co-founder and creative director of LittleBigPlanet developer Media Molecule, has hit out at developers who are motivated by profit, arguing that those who view their audience solely as a potential source of revenue risk wasting their lives.
Healey was speaking to us at this week's Develop conference in Brighton, where several speakers have spoken of the increasing need to engage and monetise players for a sustained period of time. Healey, however, recognises that LittleBigPlanet would never have taken off without its huge, highly engaged community, and takes a markedly different view.
"I find it quite depressing that you'd approach designing a game from a point of view of: 'How do we milk people?'," he tells us. "I wouldn't like to work in that kind of environment. When we work on things we're primarily trying to make things that amuse us, that we love.
"If I was to work on a game that was about trying to come up with this ultimate business model, or how to sell the most copies… if you spend two or three years of your life making something like that, and then it fails, what a fucking waste of your life.
"If you work on something that you love, and it fails, then you don't care because it's something that you're proud of."
Healey's attitude, while refreshing, is hardly surprising given the members of LBP's engaged community whose creativity inspires not just other members, but developers at Media Molecule as well. "We kind of think of them as an extended development team," Healey explains. "It's very important to treat those people with respect, and not think of them as consumers we can milk and manipulate."
Our full interview with Healey, and fellow co-founder Kareem Ettouney, will be published later today.