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'Let's get that in a box': How Media Molecule's Siobhan Reddy ships games

"If you don't keep moving, you can work on something forever," the studio director and cofounder tells Glixel. "I think that's probably my most overused phrase: 'Let's get that in a box.'"
"If you don't keep moving, you can work on something forever, reimagining it over and over and over again. You've got to be moving through the phases toward getting the game in a box. I think that's probably my most overused phrase: 'Let's get that in a box.'"

- Media Molecule studio director and cofounder Siobhan Reddy, speaking to Glixel about how the studio ships games.

During a recent conversation with Media Molecule studio director Siobhan Reddy, Glixel raised a very interesting question: how do you impose structure on a fundamentally creative environment?

Fellow devs may appreciate hearing her answer, given that Media Molecule has been able to maintain a seemingly freewheeling environment (Glixel calls out office accoutrements like craft tables and life-drawing classes) for over ten years while also shipping games.

According to Reddy, the trick is to keep the production process moving; getting too caught up in any part of the process will lead to problems down the line.

"In order for it to work we have to underpin the creativity with structure – there needs to be momentum and progress," she explained. " If you don't keep moving, you can work on something forever, reimagining it over and over and over again. You've got to be moving through the phases toward getting the game in a box. I think that's probably my most overused phrase: 'Let's get that in a box.'"

However, she's quick to point out that that doesn't preclude stopping, re-evaluating, and even restarting your work if you step back from the broad strokes of a game prototype and realize it's not going to work.

Reddy points out that Media Molecule's original concept for the game that became Tearaway was much more focused on encouraging players to get out and explore the real world (via the Vita's GPS tech) but the team wound up starting over when they realized it wasn't going to ship the way they envisioned it.

"We wanted to create a jamming culture in the studio; when musicians jam together, there are all these happy little creative accidents that come out of the flow," Reddy said, suggesting this love of creative "jamming culture" was a big inspiration for the studio's current project Dreams. "That's kind of what we wanted to get into, we wanted to allow games to be made in a flow state."

As Glixel elucidates, much of Reddy's approach to game development is colored by her early work (and enduring love of) the independent music scene. For more of the game dev veteran's comments on game production, her career, and her work at Media Molecule, check out out the full interview over on Glixel

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