LittleBigPlanet (PlayStation 3)

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This article is about the PlayStation 3 game. For the PlayStation Portable game, see LittleBigPlanet (PSP). For the PlayStation Vita game, see LittleBigPlanet PS Vita. For the series article, see LittleBigPlanet.
LittleBigPlanet
LittleBigPlanetOfficialUKBoxArt.png
PAL LittleBigPlanet box art, showing sackpeople characters and the game's sticker feature
Developer(s) Media Molecule
Publisher(s) Sony Computer Entertainment Europe
Designer(s) Mark Healey
Dave Smith
Series LittleBigPlanet series
Platform(s) PlayStation 3
Release date(s)
Genre(s) Puzzle-platformer, sandbox
Mode(s) Single-player,
offline / online multiplayer (co-op/competitive)
Distribution Blu-ray Disc, download

LittleBigPlanet, commonly abbreviated LBP,[5][6] is a puzzle-platformer video game, based on user-generated content, for the PlayStation 3 first announced on 7 March 2007, by Phil Harrison at the 2007 Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Francisco, California.[7][8][9] It was developed under the title The Next Big Thing by Media Molecule and was published by Sony Computer Entertainment Europe. Many saw the game as an important title for Sony's PlayStation 3.[10]

The game received an overwhelmingly positive reaction from critics and has been praised for its presentation, including its graphics, physics, and audio, along with its gameplay and large array of customisable costumes and online features. Additional praise was given to its scope and future potential based on user-created content; minor criticism was reserved for specific elements of the gameplay mechanics and level creation facilities. LittleBigPlanet has won a considerable number of awards.[11] A PSP version of the game was released in November 2009, featuring new levels and content.[12] The game was offered by Sony as a free download as part of their 'Welcome Back' program, following the PlayStation Network outage of 2011.

Overview[edit]

The game revolves around the player's control of a small character, known as a Sackboy or Sackgirl — or gender-neutral Sackperson — owing to their appearance, in a variety of platforming scenarios. Though the game features a set of pre-built levels for the player to explore, the game's customisable nature is equally important, from altering the player's character and personal space, to building entirely new objects and levels, and then sharing and playing them online with other players as part of the LittleBigPlanet community.

Main features[edit]

Sackboy can run and jump and grab certain objects. Grabbable objects can have the designation of being purely for mobility, such as swinging, or they can be pushed, pulled, switched, or operate in other manners.[13] The player uses these abilities in several ways: to play and explore the environments that come with the game, which feature platforming elements such as jumping, pushing, grabbing and running, and which make use of the game's robust physics engine; to create their own content, such as simply placing stickers into levels, in addition to using the level editor to create, destroy, edit and manipulate levels; and, finally, to share creations, by publishing items such as levels and objects with the online community, and play these creations online with others. These three modes are described simply by the title's tagline: Play. Create. Share.[10]

The player begins the game with an introductory level, and then go inside their own "pod", a personal space from which they can access the three modes of gameplay, and decorate the room with stickers and decorations.[13] Initially, only the Play mode is available and the player must complete some tutorials, narrated by Stephen Fry;[14] once the basics are mastered, the player is free to play the rest of the game.[15]

Core gameplay[edit]

The Play section of LittleBigPlanet consists of a number of levels that have been created by Media Molecule, and are based around different themes that draw inspiration from real-world locations, such as Japanese gardens, dry Mexican deserts, New York City streets, icy Russian stages, and other places.[15] By completing the levels available to them (by reaching the scoreboard), the player may then advance the story and play further unlocked levels.[16] The story mode comprises eight themed areas, with each area containing three or four main levels, and some of these levels in turn contain collectable keys to unlock bonus mini-levels.[17] The main story mode comprises more than 50 pre-built levels in total.[17]

A screenshot from the Savannah level Swinging Safari in LittleBigPlanet.

To control their Sackboy character, the player moves by using the analogue sticks, jump with varying degrees of height depending on the pressure applied to the action button, and grab onto objects to either move or swing on them.[16] In addition to regular left-and-right movement, and despite the 2D look of the game, levels consist of three levels of depth—the foreground, middleground and background—and may be traversed between either automatically by the game itself, or by the player's command.[10] The player can opt to emote their Sackboy by applying varying degrees of delight, fear, sadness, and rage,[18] control each arm independently through the analogue sticks,[18] slap other players by jerking the arm movement with the analogue sticks, and use the Sixaxis motion-sensing functionality to animate the character's head and body.[18]

The player can access the Popit menu at any time during the game by pressing the square button.

A large variety of pre-built objects are present in levels which may be interacted with. Those, along with objects that have been constructed out of simple shapes can be given specific materials, which act in a manner physically similar to those they represent. Examples include soft sponge, gripping rubber, and tough wood. Objects that are built with mechanical components, such as motors, pistons, jets, wires and springs also act appropriately.[17] Along with these objects, levels contain dangers that the player must avoid. Examples include objects or platforms that have been set on fire, and explosives that can damage the player's Sackboy if he strays too close. Explosives can also be used to blow up sections of the level.[10] The player's Sackboy can also be crushed to death if trapped under or between heavy items[19] and drown in water.[20] As the player progresses through the level, he encounters checkpoints - points from which the player can resume upon death.[16]

Each level contains a number of "score bubbles", initially known as "sponge" in early demonstrations of the game,[21] which may be collected in order to increase the player's score to beat their own, and other players', high scores. Users may collect larger bubbles known as "prize bubbles" which contain collectable items. Many of these bubbles are hidden or are in hard-to-reach places, and contain items such as new stickers and decorations, or new materials and objects that may be used in the Create mode for the user's own levels. Certain stickers, when placed properly, trigger events.[16] Special clothing and accessories for the player's Sackboy is obtained by completing a level without losing a life, also known as acing a level. In addition to the prize bubbles, collectable keys found in main levels unlock new mini-levels with unique goals, such as skipping a spinning pole or bouncing to grab bubbles. There are also unlockable time trial levels such as bobsleigh racing.[10][17]

Throughout the story mode, players collect prize bubbles which unlock materials, objects, stickers, decorations, sound effects and music tracks which can be used in Create mode.

Content creation[edit]

A demonstration of the character customisation available in LittleBigPlanet.

The player may customise their character in a range of ways. They are able to select a base colour and texture for their Sackboy from a range of materials and designs along with giving them pre-made items including clothes, masks, swords and capes. By placing stickers and decorations on their Sackboy, it is possible to make new kinds of costumes. The game also features items based on other PlayStation franchises, such as a Helghast soldier from Killzone 2;[22] and character models based on Kratos, Medusa, and the Minotaur from the God of War series;[23] Nariko from Heavenly Sword;[24] Old Snake, Raiden, Meryl, and Screaming Mantis from Metal Gear Solid 4;[25] Sephiroth from Final Fantasy VII;[26] a Chimera from the Resistance series;[27] as well as Ryu, Guile, Chun Li, and Zangief from Street Fighter;[28] characters from the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise; and Ezio from Assassin's Creed II.

Although the Create aspect does include minor tweaks to existing levels whilst they are being played, such as placing stickers and decorations in levels, the main focus of this mode is the level editor. The editor incorporates a large number of editing facilities to create levels from a low to a high degree of complexity. The player may create new objects by starting with a number of basic shapes, such as circles, stars and squares, and then "painting" a shape into the level using one of the many materials. Objects may be glued to each other or to the level. More mechanical features are also available, such as connecting objects together with string, using bolts to spin objects, or using various kinds of triggers. Rocket motors can be attached to objects to propel them across a level.[17] After creating custom objects, the player may save their creation to a library for later use, and even share their object by placing it inside a prize bubble in their level, so that other players who play the level can collect it and may use it in their own levels.[10]

In order to facilitate the creation process and to accommodate any mistakes made, the editor features a manipulatable time system, whereby the player may "rewind" the editor, which acts as an undo feature, or pause the editor, which temporarily halts objects that run under the physics engine, such as gravity acting on falling or rolling objects.[10] In addition to his narration for other parts of the game, Stephen Fry provides the voice-over for the large number of video and interactive tutorials that accompany the create mode, a number of which must be completed in full before unlocking a new set of objects for use.[18] User-generated content is not limited to the player's region, but is available worldwide.[29]

Although the feature was initially announced with the game, the ability to use create mode with other players online was not included in the final release. This functionality was added to the game through a software patch in November 2009 following a public closed beta test. Users are able to invite up to three people from their PlayStation Network Friends list to join them and create levels together.[30]

Online community features[edit]

A large part of LittleBigPlanet is the global community features through the PlayStation Network for the player to interact and share their "patches"[31]—levels and other modifications—as well as online play. As of September 2011, more than 5 million user-created levels have been published.[32] The main focus of the Share component is the ability for level creators to publish their levels and objects to the online community for other people to play. Once a custom level has been played through, the player is able to tag the level with a list of predefined words, and may cycle through the word choice to find the most appropriate. This allows other players to quickly find their level of choice. The player can search by a specific tag such as "Beautiful". The player has a "heart" feature available to them, which allows them to specify which levels, stickers and decorations they prefer; in this way, people can heart to show appreciation for other people's creations, and visit their online friend's hearted items, or visit the creator of a hearted item, then view his or her hearted items, and so on.[10]

An official community website called the LittleBigWorkshop complements the in-game sharing features. Logging on with their PlayStation Network IDs, users are able to create blueprints for level designs, view in-depth tutorials and take part in challenges. It is additionally the home of the official forums. Among its other features, the website allows users to upload in-game videos and photos.[33]

LittleBigPlanet features a range of multiplayer options. Levels can be played online with up to four players, locally with up to four players or with a mixture of up to four online and local players. Up to four local users can play together in Create mode, whilst the ability to create levels with up to four players online has been added in an update.[34] The way in which users undertake the level is dependent on the design of the level and how the users choose to play, allowing the players to choose whether they play cooperatively or battle against each other to get to the finish line first, or collect the most bubbles.[21]

In the weeks following the game's release, some users reported on community forums that levels they had created had been taken down for "moderation", and were no longer available to play. A representative from Sony stated that once a level is flagged by players using the in-game Good Grief system, levels were reviewed by a moderator and only removed if deemed inappropriate. On 11 November 2008, SCE confirmed that around 200 levels —less than 0.5 percent of levels published — had been removed, the majority of which contained obscenity, while the rest were removed due to copyright violations.[35] Media Molecule acknowledged there were issues with the moderation system and released an update in December to help rectify them. In addition to an on-screen message, users are notified with a PSN message when a level they have published is removed, along with information on the reason for its removal. They are able to play and edit the level themselves whether on or offline. The developers have clarified the rules regarding what is and is not appropriate and have made several changes "behind the scenes" which they hope will "alleviate most of the issues that creators have experienced."[36]

Web-based portal and API[edit]

LBP.me allows people to search for levels from a web browser.

In May 2009, Alex Evans revealed that a new community website was in development that will serve as a web-based portal to help users promote their levels. Shortly before the release of LittleBigPlanet 2 a new community website was launched with the aim of enabling users to find and share in-game creations more easily. LBP.me allows players to search and browse community-made levels from both LittleBigPlanet and LittleBigPlanet 2. Every level is allocated a unique URL which users can copy and share with other people. When signed into the website with their Sony Entertainment Network account, users may add levels to their 'Queue' enabling them to find the level quickly when they're in the game and connected to the game's servers.[37]

Website owners may use a selection of widgets to add live data from the game to any website.[38] A public API is also available but access to it is provided by the game's developers on a case-by-case basis.

Interface[edit]

The game's main interface is based around the player's "pod" and three planets, each of which is focused on the three areas of the game; "Play", "Create" and "Share". These are accessed using the "pod computer". The main Play planet is the "LittleBigPlanet". This is where users access the main story levels and also serves as the main gateway to user-created levels.[39] The LittleBigPlanet features an interface into the PlayStation Store where users can access and purchase downloadable content.[40] The Create planet, called "My Moon", is where players save and access levels they have created or copied. Each crater on the moon holds one or more levels. The Share planet, or "Info Moon", is where players can access their friends list, gameplay statistics and their hearted levels and creators. The user can select a person on their friends list to view their published levels, hearted levels and hearted creators.[41]

The "Popit"[42] is a menu which provides access[43] to costumes, decorations, stickers, materials, editing tools, and messaging features. It is contextual and displays certain sets of options, depending on whether the user is playing a level, editing a level, or in their pod. Stickers and decorations can be plastered[16] onto any surface in the game world, and can be used to decorate something, or to activate certain switches. Stickers may be created by the player, either using an in-game camera (allowing them to take pictures of in-game scenarios), or they can use the PlayStation Eye.[15] However, the ability to import images from the player's console hard drive has not yet been implemented, and is not planned.[44]

Plot[edit]

LittleBigPlanet is set in a world full of creations made by Creator Curators. One of the Curators, a rogue Creator called "the Collector", is stealing the other Creators' creations and not sharing them with the world (sharing is one of the core elements of LittleBigPlanet). Play starts at the "Gardens" level, where the player meets the King, one of the Curators; the Queen; Little Xim; Big Xam and their servant Dumpty. The player is taught the basic gameplay at this stage: running, jumping, and swinging. The next setting is the "Savannah", where the player accidentally breaks one of the ruler's creations. In return for forgiveness the player must investigate what's scaring the ruler's buffalo. Further adventures involve finding Meerkat Mum's son and a Bridegroom (a story arc with a Day of the Dead theme). After the wedding play moves to the "Canyons", where the player must rescue Uncle Jalapeño and defeat the evil Sheriff Zapata. After completing this the player is taken to the "Metropolis" and turned into a car for a car race scenario. The next adventure takes place on the "Islands", where the player is trained in martial arts and must defeat evil Sumo. From there the player goes to the "Temples", to get a talking flame-throwing cat, and the "Dancer's Court", to speak to The Goddess. Finally the player gets the chance to defeat the Collector in his "Bunker". After the final battle the Collector is revealed to be a little, lonely man who kidnapped everyone because he did not have any friends. Everyone, including the player, offers to be his friend and he accepts, ending his being evil.

Development[edit]

LittleBigPlanet's origin lies in a conversation between Media Molecule co-founders Mark Healey and Dave Smith after a cinema visit to see Howl's Moving Castle.[45] Healey and Smith discussed a game that had character controls similar to their previous game, Rag Doll Kung Fu, that would be playable on a console. Healey and Smith left Lionhead Studios in December 2005 along with other Media Molecule co-founders Alex Evans and art director Kareem Ettouney, and managed to arrange a meeting with Phil Harrison, the then-head of development for SCE Worldwide Studios. They created a prototype of their idea, a game called Craftworld, a physics-based, 2D side-scrolling game, with a place holder character called Mr. Yellowhead.[46] Mr. Yellowhead's arms were controllable with the right analogue stick of the PlayStation 2 controller that Media Molecule had connected to their PC,[45] whilst his legs were controlled with the left stick. The object of the game was to guide Mr. Yellowhead past a number of obstacles by grabbing onto objects and pushing or rolling them around.[46]

A screenshot of the early prototype, Craftworld, depicting Mr. Yellowhead dragging blocks from water.

They chose to pitch their idea to Harrison using their own software, rather than PowerPoint, which allowed for bullet point information as in standard presentations, but also for live, controllable movement of game characters.[45] By their own admission, the pitch was vague and they had deliberately toned down the creative aspect of the game—which they felt may have appeared as "weird" for a console game—for fear of negative reception of their pitch by Sony. They presented the prototype purely as a playable game, and only briefly mentioned the user created content aspect; Evans relates that Harrison actually picked up on the creative side, and had asked them why they had chosen not to explore this element further. The meeting, which had been scheduled to last 45 minutes, eventually lasted 3 hours[47] at the end of which, Sony agreed to fund the project for six months. After some further development, the team were asked to present what they had done to Sony in what Healey describes as a "Dragons' Den style scenario". Following this, Sony gave them a deal to develop LittleBigPlanet for the PlayStation 3 in exchange for exclusivity and ownership of the intellectual property.[48] Media Molecule became incorporated as a company in February 2006.[45]

Despite backing from Sony, Media Molecule were unsure about exactly what direction they were going to take the game. They also worried about whether people would understand, or even like the game, but these worries were dispelled after its first presentation. Media Molecule were aware of the fact that Sony wanted them to demonstrate the game at the upcoming GDC 2007, but they were not told they were to be part of Phil Harrison's keynote speech until near the date it was due to take place. Healey stated that it was only when they arrived in San Francisco for the conference that they realised just how much backing Sony were devoting to the game—much more than Media Molecule had previously thought.[49] Healey relates that although the revelation of Sony's faith in the game boosted their confidence, additionally, it increased the pressure on them with the realisation that their task had become much greater than originally anticipated.[49]

The game was less than one year into development, when it was first shown at GDC 2007. Evans remarked that this public approach to the game's development meant they had been able to react to feedback from the community, and the game had been specifically designed to allow them to easily implement further developments in the future, based on demand from players.[50] In the game players can earn an in-game costume of Mr. Yellowhead by completing the last level in the Story Mode without losing a life.

Marketing[edit]

Both Sony Computer Entertainment and Media Molecule undertook a large-scale marketing campaign in the run-up to the game's release. In North America, SCEA partnered with several major online retailers to offer unique bonus gifts to customers pre-ordering the game from the selected retailers.[51][52] These gifts include codes to access additional in-game costumes, a sticker book, a burlap pouch and an official game guide.[53] In the UK, SCEE partnered with online retailers to offer downloadable costumes, such as the Nariko character from Heavenly Sword, to customers who pre-order the game.[54] A temporary shop in the UK was set up in Manchester city centre, where people were able to play the game before its release. The shop moved to central London in October. In addition to a chance to play the game, it offered such activities as t-shirt making.[55] To market the game to an online audience, a website campaign to "reclaim Pluto as the ninth planet", Proposition Pluto, was released as a marketing tool several weeks before the game's release.[56]

On 17 December 2009, LittleBigPlanet content including virtual clothing and furniture was released for PlayStation Home. Users are also now able to meet players and launch into an online LittleBigPlanet game from within PlayStation Home with advanced options.[57] On 13 May 2010, a LittleBigPlanet Game Space was released in PlayStation Home called the "LittleBigPlanet PlayGround". It features a mini-game called the King’s Snap Happy Photo Challenge where users find the target, snap a shot, and unlock Home rewards. There's also a sub-space called "The Creator" where users can create their own wallpapers for their PS3's XMB and coming soon is the LittleBigPlanetDerby which will be a carnival style mini-game. In addition to the Game Space, a personal space was released that users can purchase called the "LittleBigPlanet Pod Penthouse" which is designed after the Pod in LittleBigPlanet.[58]

Release/Re-release[edit]

A demo version of the game was planned for release on the PlayStation Network in the fourth quarter of 2007,[31] but was delayed until 2008.[59] The demo was again delayed until 11 September 2009, when it was released alongside the Game of The Year Edition.[60] Original announcements pointed to a full release early in 2008, but Sony later said the game had been delayed until September 2008 in the UK.[61] During the Sony PlayStation Day on 6 May 2008 in London, Sony announced the game would be delayed for one month,[62] but also confirmed release dates for 21 October 2008 in North America, 22 October in Europe, 24 October in the UK and Ireland,[63] and 30 October in Japan.[64]

Originally intended for a release in mid-to-late October, a last-minute delay involving a licensed song in the game's soundtrack delayed the game's release worldwide.[65] It was released in North America and Japan at the end of October 2008, and in Europe at the beginning of November 2008.

On 17 October 2008, SCEE instigated a worldwide recall of LittleBigPlanet and announced the game's release be pushed back[66][67] after a PlayStation Community member reported the lyrics to one of the licenced songs in the game included passages from the Qur'an and could therefore be offensive to Muslims. However, no actual complaints regarding the music were made.[68] The song, entitled "Tapha Niang", was by Malian artist Toumani Diabaté, himself a devout Muslim.[69][70] The game was patched twice, the day before its release for players who had received the game early, before its intended release date. The first update did not affect the song, and was released to patch online issues, modify jetpack controls, and add further costumes,[71][72] whilst the second updated the game to remove the vocals from the track, leaving only an instrumental.[73] Some American Muslims responded to the recall and stated that they were offended by the restriction of freedom of speech. M. Zuhdi Jasser M.D., head of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, was quoted as saying, "Muslims cannot benefit from freedom of expression and religion and then turn around and ask that anytime their sensibilities are offended that the freedom of others be restricted."[74]

SCEA announced new versions of the game that would be shipped to North American retailers the week commencing 27 October 2008.[75] On 20 October 2008 an SCEE press release stated LittleBigPlanet would start to appear in stores in the United Kingdom, Europe, Middle East, Australia and New Zealand no later than the week commencing 3 November 2008 on a country-by-country basis.[76] Later the same day SCEE confirmed the UK release date as 5 November.[1][2]

Beta phases[edit]

A public beta version of the game was previously scheduled for the summer of 2008,[77] but it was later announced that only private beta testing would take place; a public demo was mentioned as a "possibility".[78] However, in a later interview, Alex Evans, Co-Founder of Media Molecule, said a beta would be released in September 2008 describing it as "a public beta, but limited at the same time".[79] The first beta became playable on 23 September 2008, when gaming website Eurogamer began offering beta codes to its members on the same date, with a total of 5,800 codes available; the website quickly buckled under the influx of visitors, with many unable to load the site.[80] Subsequently, several other gaming websites including 1UP.com[81] and GameSpot[82] offered beta codes to their users. Players were able to play the beta until it ended on 12 October.[83] Although Sony had originally planned to erase all levels created by players during the beta period, an official poll was held to let the players decide their fate;[84] the players voted to keep the levels.[85] These levels were carried over to the final game, although save game data and progress made in the beta was not.[84]

Future developments and downloadable content[edit]

A feature the title lacks, but was included in demonstrations, is the ability to create stickers by importing images from the console's hard drive. When initially asked about the missing feature, Alex Evans replied that its removal was due to time constraints, and that a patch before Christmas would enable the feature.[86] A later forum post from a PlayStation official countered this by stating image import would not be appearing "for a variety of reasons".[87] Further speculation arose when Media Molecule posted an image to their Flickr page after both statements were made, showing the image import tool in action,[88] and a television advert for the game demonstrated family photographs in a custom level.[89]

It was originally intended that players would be able to use the content creation mode with other players online however this feature was dropped before the game's release. Online Create was added to the game via software update 1.21 .[90]

In a demonstration at the 2009 Tokyo Games Show, footage of LittleBigPlanet being played with PlayStation Move was shown. This led to many people to believe that a PlayStation Move DLC pack would be released, allowing the creation of Move levels. It was later revealed that the footage was from a spin-off game, Sackboy's Prehistoric Moves, and a Move pack was later released for the sequel, LittleBigPlanet 2.

Major updates and downloadable content packs[edit]

On 23 December 2008, weapons were introduced into the game with the release of a Metal Gear-themed game pack titled "Metal Gear Solid Level Pack". A paintball gun power-up, called the "Paintinator", can be used to activate "Paintinator Switches", can destroy certain enemies, and can be picked up similarly to a jet-pack (which is by simply touching it). The player can also add the Paintinator to custom levels.[91] The game pack includes new Metal Gear Solid-themed stickers, music that can be placed in user-created levels, and various character costumes.

In April 2009, Media Molecule released a free software update dubbed "Cornish Yarg", the first major update for the game. New features that were introduced with this update include the ability for the user to play their own music from the PlayStation 3's hard drive whilst in their Pod or in "Create" mode, the ability to turn a prize collection in user-created levels on or off and improvements to the character customisation process. Changes were also made to some creation tools including the ability to hide mechanical objects such as bolts and pistons.[92] Shortly after this update, Creator Pack 1 was released as a downloadable content pack for free. This pack added new Create mode tools including a new type of checkpoint which provides the player with an infinite number of lives for a given section, a tether-less version of the jet-pack (allowing the player to hover around more freely) and a power-up removal marker which forces the player to drop any power-ups such as the Paintinator or jet-pack. The update also included a tool to allow the creator to trigger changes in the entire level's lighting and other environmental settings, when the player passes a certain point or performs an action.[93][94]

In addition to characters from other franchises appearing in LittleBigPlanet, Sackboy has also appeared in other video games. In March 2009, an add-on was released for Everybody's Golf 5 which made Sackboy available as a playable character.[95] Sackboy is also in Rag Doll Kung Fu: Fists Of Plastic, a game released on the PlayStation Network based on the 2005 PC game, Rag Doll Kung Fu by LittleBigPlanet creator, Mark Healy.[96] Sackboy has also appeared in ModNation Racers[97] and 3D Dot Game Heroes.[98]

A "Game Of The Year Edition" was released only in North America on 9 September 2009.[99] The Game of the Year Edition includes many downloadable content packs, along with new levels made by various LittleBigPlanet community members. (See the Game of the Year Edition section.)

In August 2009, Media Molecule announced that a future update would add water to the game.[20] Eventually, it was revealed that the water would be released as part of a Pirates of the Caribbean-themed downloadable content pack that arrived on 22 December 2009. Much like the Metal Gear Solid pack, the premium downloadable content pack contains six new levels and also unlocks new Creator tools allowing users to use the new mechanics in their levels. It allows the user to add water to their levels, and these tools include a Global Water Object allowing users to trigger changes in the water properties of their levels as well as a water-activated switch, a scuba-gear pick-up and a bubble machine. The pack also features Pirates of the Caribbean-themed stickers, decorations, music, backdrops, objects and materials.[100] Whilst users are required to purchase this pack in order to create levels with water and water-related items, users are able to play levels utilising the features whether they purchase the pack or not.[101]

Game of the Year Edition[edit]

A Game of the Year Edition of LittleBigPlanet was released in North America on 8 September 2009. This version included all of the content from the original game, as well as exclusive levels from 18 members of the LittleBigPlanet community (along with short videos of each of them explaining the levels). The re-release also includes the "Metal Gear Solid", "Monsters", and "History" costume and level packs and the "Animals" costume pack. A limited number of copies of the game also included a code, giving the player access to a beta of ModNation Racers.[3] Initially there were no plans to release the Game of the Year Edition in Europe,[102] however a European version was eventually announced for release on 16 April 2010.[4] The Korean language version of the Game of the Year Edition is available in South Korea.[103]

Reception[edit]

Reception
Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings 94.75%[116]
(77 reviews)
Metacritic 95/100[117]
(85 reviews)
Review scores
Publication Score
1UP.com A+[104]
Edge 10/10[105]
Eurogamer 9/10[108]
Famitsu 38/40[113]
Game Informer 9.5/10[110]
GamePro 5/5[109]
GameSpot 9/10[111]
GameTrailers 9.4/10[107]
Official PlayStation Magazine (UK) 10/10[112]
X-Play 5/5 stars[106]
IGN (UK) 9.7/10[114]
IGN (US) 9.5/10[10]
IGN (Aus) 9.2/10[15]
Giant Bomb 5/5 stars[115]
Awards
Publication Award
Edge Best Game (2008)
Best Innovation (2008)
Best Visual Design (2008)[118]
Eurogamer Best Game (2008)[119]
GamePro Game of the Year (2008)[120]
GameTrailers Most Innovative Game (2008)[121]
IGN Best New IP (2008)
Most Innovative Design (2008)[122]
Spike Best PS3 Game (2008)[123]
AIAS Overall Game of the Year (2008)
Outstanding Achievement in Art Direction (2008)
Outstanding Achievement in Visual Engineering (2008)
Outstanding Innovation in Gaming (2008)[11]
BAFTA Award for Artistic Achievement (2009)[124]
Game Developers Choice Awards Best New Debut (2009)
Best Game Design (2009)
Best Technology Award (2009)
Innovation Award (2009)[125]

Previews[edit]

The unveiling of LittleBigPlanet at GDC 2007 elicited numerous positive reactions. In his BBC News blog, technology editor Darren Waters wrote, "LittleBigPlanet is perhaps one of the most dazzling demos I've seen in the last 10 years".[126] IGN described the game as "beautiful" and reported that "even in the presence of Home, Sony's impressive new community software, LittleBigPlanet stole the show at Phil Harrison's Game 3.0 practice conference, and was the thing that everyone was talking about."[127] 1UP wrote that "There are plenty of questions remaining about LittleBigPlanet … but it's clear from the reaction to the game so far that it has already won over many fans and that this could be something very special."[128] Slashdot Games editor Michael Zenke suggested the game could be the PlayStation 3's killer application.[129] Even Reggie Fils-Aime, the president of Nintendo of America, praised the product, but was unsure how the game would fare on Sony's platform.[130]

Reviews[edit]

LittleBigPlanet has received wide critical acclaim from reviewers. The first major publication to review LittleBigPlanet was the UK edition of PlayStation Official Magazine. In their November edition they gave the game a score of 10/10 calling it "a beautifully elegant and powerful creative tool that puts unlimited potential in the palm of your hand".[112] Eurogamer scored the game 9/10. Reviewer Oli Welsh commented specifically on the game's "unforgettable visuals" and that the accurate lighting was "as total a realisation of high-definition as you'll see anywhere in games this year". He similarly praised the multiplayer gameplay as "a loosely-structured scrum of competition, collaboration and sheer, joyful mucking around". Speaking of the game's comprehensive creation and community tools in contrast with its classic platforming gameplay, he calls the game "the future and the past of videogames, rolled into one".[108] IGN (U.S.) scored it 9.5/10 and said the game was an "instant classic". The reviewer, Chris Roper, also suggested that the game may even be a reason to purchase a PlayStation 3; "If you own a PlayStation 3, you cannot miss this. If you don’t have a PS3 yet, this is the reason to get one."[10] GamePro scored the game 5/5 and said that the real strength of the game "is the tremendous sense of freedom and creativity that it instils in you."[109] Edge gave it a 10/10 and said "It's a multiplayer riot, a visual landmark, a feat of engineering, and one of the most charming games ever made. But even those accolades are dwarfed by its scope, its potential, and the apparent endlessness of them both."[105]

Some reviewers have criticised the game's control system. Eurogamer's review stated that the jump timing sometimes feels "off by a fraction of a fraction of a second" and that this can be a minor annoyance when attempting challenges which require dexterity and timing.[108] In IGN's review, Chris Roper also reported issues with the control system stating that the game's heavily physics-based gameplay "left a few corners on what should have been a razor-sharp control scheme". He goes on to say that the character acceleration and deceleration "isn't as quick as it could be" but that his biggest complaint is the way the game handles player movement between foreground, middleground and background on the 2.5D plane. He says that "there are instances where it doesn't do what you want it to do, and these points stick out like a sore thumb." This is an issue that has been raised by Media Molecule's co-founder Mark Healey who stated in an interview that "The Z [axis] movement is an incredibly hard thing for us to get right. There's times when it annoys me actually." He went on to say they would continue refining it, suggesting improvements via a future update[131] IGN's review commented that the story mode ended "in a somewhat disappointing manner" and the story as a whole doesn't make sense.[10]

Awards[edit]

LittleBigPlanet has been given numerous awards. It won in eight categories out of 10 nominations at the AIAS Interactive Achievement Awards including Outstanding Achievement in Art Direction, Visual Engineering, Game Design, Game Direction, and Outstanding Innovation in Gaming and was judged Family Game of the Year, Console Game of the Year, and as Overall Game of the Year.[11] LittleBigPlanet was also given the Award for Artistic Achievement at the 5th British Academy Video Games Awards.[124] It was dubbed Game of the Year by several gaming websites and publications including GamePro,[120] Edge,[118] and Eurogamer whose editors felt that while the single-player experience was nothing special, the multiplayer gameplay brought the game into its own and were impressed by some of the user-created levels which inspired "gasps of wonder".[119] It also received various other awards from gaming websites in 2008 including Best New IP and Best Platform Game from IGN[132] and Most Innovative Game from GameTrailers.[121] LittleBigPlanet was judged Best PlayStation 3 Game at the 2008 Spike Video Game Awards[123] and was given the awards for Best New Debut, Best Game Design, Best Technology, and the Innovation Award at the Game Developers Choice Awards.[125]

Sales[edit]

In the UK, the game entered the ELSPA video game charts at number four, then fell to number 19 in its second week of sale.[133] By 29 November 2008, the game was at number 32[134] and had sold between 100,000 and 200,000 copies in the UK.[135] In the US, the game sold 356,000 units during October and November placing it fourth amongst all PlayStation 3 software sales for that period.[136] It entered October's all-platform video game chart at number eight before falling out of the top 20 by the end of November.[137] Sony defended the game's sales, stating the abundance of other released titles at Christmas was a factor. A representative from SCEE said "In other times of the year it would be a clear number one, so you have to put the chart in context."[133] Due to the game's last-minute recall and subsequent delay, LittleBigPlanet was released mid-week and as a result, its first week performance indicators are based on four days instead of the usual seven. This has also been suggested as a contributing factor. Many supporters of the game have suggested that a lack of advertising has let it down[138] although advertising campaigns were launched in North America and Europe which helped to boost the game's sales in the run up to Christmas.[139] After the launch of the UK-based advertising campaign and a decrease in price, LittleBigPlanet sales increased by 58 percent and raised it from 32 to 16 in the videogame charts by mid-December[140] and had sold over 300,000 units by the beginning of February 2009.[141] In January 2009, Sony announced that the game had sold 611,000 units in North America up to the end of December 2008[137] and that there were 1.3 million unique users playing LittleBigPlanet.[142] As of March 2010, the game has sold over 3 million copies worldwide.[143] SCEE President Andrew House announced at Gamescom 2010 that the game has now sold over 4.5 million worldwide.[144]

Sequel[edit]

Main article: LittleBigPlanet 2

Statements from Media Molecule and Sony indicated that there were initially no plans to create a traditional sequel to LittleBigPlanet.[145][146] Alex Evans stated that the "huge emotional investment" users have made in LittleBigPlanet is the reason he does not want to ship a traditional sequel. Because they do not want all of the user-generated content to be made obsolete, their focus would be to "expand the game without partitioning the audience".[147]

In May 2010, Media Molecule announced that recent rumours[148][149] of a full sequel were true and that LittleBigPlanet 2 was in development, and that users would be able to use all the DLC released for LittleBigPlanet and all its user-generated content. Games magazine GameInformer revealed the first details of LittleBigPlanet 2 in its June 2010 edition.[150] The game was released in January 2011.

PSP game[edit]

Main article: LittleBigPlanet (PSP)

In a February 2009 press release, Sony announced a version of LittleBigPlanet for the PlayStation Portable would be developed by SCE Studio Cambridge in conjunction with Media Molecule.[151][152] LittleBigPlanet for the PSP was first shown publicly at E3 2009[153] and it was released in November 2009.[154]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]