PS4 Exclusive Dreams Is Impressive, But Can It Also Make You An Artist? (2022)

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That's what Dreams are made of.

By Randolph Ramsay on

Dreams can be dizzying. It's a game, a set of tools, a palette, a musical instrument, an arcade, and much more. It's at once simple and potentially befuddling, depending on just how willing you are to engage with everything the game has to offer. At its most straightforward, Dreams can simply be a charming, multifaceted game. At its most complex, it can be as creatively intimidating as any blank canvas.

If you played Dreams developer Media Molecule's Little Big Planet series, then what Dreams is planning to offer will seem familiar. Both Dreams and the LBP series are games with creation tools built-in, but the scope of what Dreams will allow players to create is magnitudes more than those earlier LBP games. Little Big Planet helped you make games, Dreams looks like it wants you make nothing short of, well, art.

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"One of the things we realized with Little Big Planet was it was a really level designer's tool," Media Molecule's studio director Siobhan Reddy told GameSpot at a recent hands-on session with Dreams. "It wasn't one that allowed artists to really imprint their vision on the screen, or sound designers, or movie makers. With Dreams what we wanted to do was create something where you could really see people's personality on the screen, and it wasn't funneled around just level creation."

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"You can make a painting, or make a piece of music, or you could make a little play, if you wanted. Or you could make a game, or music video, or whatever."

It's a lofty ambition. If you were anything like me, the creation tools in the Little Big Planet series proved intimidating, and while the possibilities and scope they offered was astounding, that hurdle of knowing what to create with the tools was simply too large. I was impressed, rather than engaged, with what LBP had to offer. With Dreams featuring even more options--from creating characters, to building whole levels, to creating your own soundtrack to accompany said levels--the potential for creative brain freeze seems high, but it's something Reddy says the game is already built to tackle.

"We want to help people get over that blank canvas," Reddy said. "For example, I get very frightened by the blank canvas. Other people do not, but I'm like, 'Please just help me.' And so, one of the other big differences between LBP and Dreams is we're approaching tutorials very differently. Instead of them being a glossary of how everything works, they're very much more geared around you using a bunch of things to make something.

"[The tutorials] feel a little bit more like making a game or making a movie or making a piece of music. Another thing is we have these community weekly challenges that have a theme or a scene. And I just found that infinitely useful just to not have to think about what to do."

Just how well Dreams will funnel people through its myriad creation tools remains to be seen, but at the very least those tools seem fairly intuitive to use. During my hands-on time with Dreams, I built a basic platforming level (guided by a Media Molecule developer) where I created an environment, placed a large obstacle (in this case, a huge pool of lava), and positioned a series of platforms so my character could traverse safely across the fiery lava pit. We then added layers of complexity; first, we made the platform move, which was done by simply dragging the platform along the route I wanted it to take, letting the game record that manual movement, and then asking to replicate it. Next, we added an environmental trigger that made the platform move only when our in-game character came close to that area in the level.

Creating a moving platform over lava is only a fraction of what Dreams will allow you to do, however. Next up, we made a custom soundtrack from scratch by selecting instrument sounds and creating a beat and melody in Dream's GarageBand-lite like music tool. After that, we played with mood, setting the lighting conditions within the level, and even downgrading the whole scene down visually to 16-bit graphics (complete with artifacts to simulate the imperfections of an old-school CRT screen).

All of this--creating the environment, setting the platform, adding in-game logic, making the music, fiddling with visual parameters--was easy to pull off using Dreams' creation tools. And while all of this was in service of making a very simple game challenge, nothing in Dreams seems to be specifically pushing you to make game experiences. After my brief foray into game development during this demo, my partner Media Molecule rep showed me examples of things other people have created using Dreams' tools. While the majority of them were games--a space shooter, a cute competitive two-player action game featuring two adorable hammers, and even a text adventure--some of the most compelling ones were not even interactive, such as a series of 3D paintings, or long pieces of music.

Variety is in the DNA of Dreams' creation tools, and it's permeated the game's built-in campaign as well. It seems playing Dreams won't be a singular experience; we were shown different snippets of the main "game" within Dreams, and it flitted from being an action-adventure, to a puzzle platformer, to a straight-up adventure in the vein of classic LucasArts titles. Dreams can indeed be dizzying in the amount of "stuff" you can do and create, but it can also be more focused, especially in its campaign which eschews all of the game's creative tools. This, according to Reddy, is a deliberate choice.

"It overloads the gaming experience a little bit when you're trying to put everything into [the campaign]," Reddy said. "We don't want people to feel like they have to be the most amazing sculptor, or the most amazing musician. You don't have to be anything. You can be whatever you like."

The products discussed here were independently chosen by our editors. GameSpot may get a share of the revenue if you buy anything featured on our site.

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Dreams

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PlayStation 4

Randolph Ramsay

Randolph is GameSpot's Editorial Director, and needs more time to play games.

Dreams

First Released Dec 31, 2016

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FAQs

Do you need VR to play Dreams on PS4? ›

PlayStation VR and PlayStation Camera are required to experience VR functionality. VR games may cause some players to experience motion sickness. To play this game on PS5, your system may need to be updated to the latest system software.

Can Dreams be played with a controller? ›

Currently, there are two distinct control methods for Dreams. One is indeed a pair of PlayStation Move wands, but it's also perfectly viable to simply use a regular DualShock 4 PS4 controller. Dreams has a comprehensive suite of tutorials for both control types.

What you can do on Dreams PS4? ›

DreamShaping. This is your workshop where you can bring to life your own dreams, creating characters and environments, scripting events, writing music ,and testing what you've created. Everything you need to create a full game is right here.

Can you publish games from Dreams? ›

"The answer is yes," he said. "We want people to be able to go to the moon with their projects. We already have a commercial license, which means when you get Dreams you can apply to get the commercial license... And then everything you make in Dreams is yours to use commercially outside of Dreams.

Does Dreams work without VR? ›

What I love the most is that Dreams' design is VR-optional: you can dip in and out of your headset, creating with or without. While that could make VR sound like an unnecessary add-on, I love the fusion.

How do you unlock VR in a dream? ›

Dreams VR | ''How Do I?'' VR Questions! | #DreamsPS4 - YouTube

How do you move your imp in a dream? ›

How To: Control Your Imp | #MadeInDreams - YouTube

Can you play Dreams with Move controllers? ›

In case you didn't know, Dreams supports PlayStation Move controllers in addition to the DualShock 4. The wands work in tandem with the PS Camera to give a sense of depth, and in this game's case, allow for easier manipulation of 3D objects when creating something.

Can I make money on Dreams PS4? ›

Media Molecule's Dreams is pretty much a full-fledged game-creation engine, with one major drawback – you can't make money off the things you make with it.

How long does the dream last? ›

The length of a dream can vary; they may last for a few seconds, or approximately 20–30 minutes. People are more likely to remember the dream if they are awakened during the REM phase.

What can I make in Dreams? ›

An entire social structure emulating Twitter and Youtube exists within Dreams, letting players create and share content. If a player creates a sculpture, a level, a movie, or environmental object, they have the option of opening that object up to share with the rest of the creators in the Dreamiverse.

How can I make money with my Dreams? ›

Yes, You Can Make Money Playing Dreams PS4 - YouTube

Is Dreams good for game development? ›

Dreams can teach aspiring developers more than just technical skills as well, such as how pacing works in a game, which Smith considers one of the most difficult things to learn.

Can you export music from Dreams? ›

As there are no asset export features in Dreams, this currently applies to uses like concept art, music videos, albums, short films and more that can already be exported from Dreams via PS4 Share. This trial will help us learn more about how people want to use it & what we need to do to make more things possible.

How do you make a dream on PS4? ›

To play the game, you'll have to buy and download it directly from the PlayStation Store. You can learn more about "Dreams" and its early access period over at the PlayStation Blog. Sign up for notifications from Insider!

What is VR Dreams? ›

With VR support, Dreams allows you to play and create experiences even more immersive than before.
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Can PS5 play Dreams? ›

Dreams is literally a dream come true, and now PS5 players get to enjoy an upgraded version.

Can VR cause lucid dreams? ›

Overall, the VR training led to increased lucidity compared to a control group, and twice as many participants in the VR group reported full-blown lucid dreams compared to those in the traditional lucid dream training group.

What type of game is Dreams? ›

game creation system video game

Is dream a VR game? ›

Dreams VR offers Creators the opportunity to express themselves and turn their creations into incredible VR games. Dreams VR will offer players VR games made by users across the world.

How do I customize my imp? ›

How to Change Your Imp. If you want to change your current Imp cursor icon for a different one, go into the main menu through the Options button and select your profile in the right. Here you'll have the option to customize your imp on the left.

How do you change imp? ›

Dreams: How to Change your Imp (Playstation 4) - YouTube

Do you need Move controller for PS4 VR? ›

Many PlayStation VR games can be played with the standard PS4 DualShock 4 controller, but others require or are improved by using PlayStation Move motion controllers. They come with some headset bundles but not others, and are sold separately.

Is Dream a VR game? ›

Dreams VR offers Creators the opportunity to express themselves and turn their creations into incredible VR games. Dreams VR will offer players VR games made by users across the world.

Is Dreams on Oculus quest? ›

Oculus Quest 2 / Dreams PS4 Creations / Half Life Alyx Update

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