KZ: What was the original idea for Minecraft Earth?
T: There was this dream of Minecraft in the real world, but an inability to execute on a broad scale.
KZ: Where did you start?
T: We built a lot of prototypes. But it just didn’t feel right. It didn’t feel authentic.
KZ: Why's that?
T: A lot of the original ideas were just bad, so we had to throw them out. Things just didn’t work. With the second prototype, which had everything in it – crafting, health, meeting, adventures, building – the whole team was playing it a year ago.
KZ: Lucky! How’d that go?
T: That actually taught us a lot. One of the challenges was the first one to find resources to build a diamond pickaxe would get a big box of LEGO to take home.
KZ: That’d motivate us!
T: The team would be running around all over town and digging into the ground and pretending to be playing Pokémon Go when asked.
KZ: Sounds like it got competitive.
T: It actually made us change the game mechanics. Today, when you and I play an adventure together and we see a diamond in the ground, if I dig it up, you get a copy of the diamond as well.
KZ: Sharing is caring!
T: Well, it’s terrible for the game economy but great for gameplay because suddenly people are incentivised to play it more together. That’s been the North Star in all of the design decisions: this game is from the ground up social and collaborative.
KZ: You mentioned Pokémon Go before. What other games were influences?
T: Minecraft Earth is an amalgam of a lot of different influences. Our focus is more on the building augmented reality and adventure experience than the pure collection experience.
KZ: How can players help shape how the game changes?
T: We’re very conscious of how much value player feedback can give to a product. Minecraft would be nothing without the community. We try to keep an open mind of where the game should go based on what the community wants, other than necessarily what we think is right.