Alex Evans answered a lot of questions in an interview with Game Informer. He was bombarded with endless questions of whether you could build this game or that game in Dreams, and he answered affirmatively for most of those. However, the question is wrong. It should not be can you recreate Half Life, but should you?
Every game level creator contains endless clones of games. In Project Spark there were many re-creations of fan favourites such as Slender, Five Nights at Freddys, Flappy Bird, Pac-Man. The most played game on the platform was inspired by Legend of Zelda.
You may get a lot of plays of your level if you make a good clone of a popular AAA title. Team Dakota themselves remade other peoples games with a re-imagining of Limbo with their game Suspension and Angry Birds became Rodent Rage. Dreams developers have already made a Uridium update in Ferovium, rebuilt the garden level in Little Big Planet, and spent time with other software houses sculpting their game characters.
There is no doubt that a lot of the content made in Dreams are going to be based on popular culture. However, be warned, you may find your level removed if it infringes on someone’s copyright and they make a complaint. If you are going to spend a lot of time creating something, play it safe and make something original.
Making original content is a lot harder to do than recreating someone else’s work, but it can be more satisfying. It is going to be a lot easier to create an original character in Dreams than in many other level creators, and I am expecting some weird and wonderful creations from day one (perhaps not intentionally – who knows how hard sculpting is going to be!). Creating a brand new game concept is a lot harder, but you can create originality by combining and updating. Many AAA games are made this way – take a pre-made idea and brainstorm it to improve and change it, and soon you will have something new.
Whatever you choose to make, have fun doing it. If you start to feel like Dreams is a chore, a work project that you are not enjoying, step back, try something else. You do not want to burn out too early. Game making takes time and you are going to need patience. And if you have run out of ideas and inspiration: play, play, play. You will be amazed how many ideas will crop up from playing other people’s games.