LittleBigPlanet 2 European box art
|Publisher(s)||Sony Computer Entertainment Europe|
|Composer(s)||Kenneth C M Young
LittleBigPlanet 2 is a puzzle-platformer video game that features user-generated content. The game is developed by Media Molecule, published by Sony Computer Entertainment Europe for PlayStation 3. It was originally scheduled for release in November 2010 but was delayed until January 2011. The game was released in North America on 18 January 2011, in mainland Europe on 19 January 2011, in Australia and New Zealand on 20 January 2011 and the UK and Ireland on 21 January 2011.
It is a direct sequel to the critically acclaimed 2008 title LittleBigPlanet and the third game in the series following a PSP version released in 2009. Most of the more than 3 million levels created by users in the first game carry over and are playable and editable in LittleBigPlanet 2. Unlike its predecessor, which was marketed as a platform game, LittleBigPlanet 2 was marketed as a "platform for games". Support for PlayStation Move was added to the game through a software update in September 2011, allowing users to play the game using the PlayStation Move motion controller in conjunction with a Navigation Controller or gamepad.
- 1 Gameplay
- 2 Story
- 3 Development
- 4 Marketing and release
- 5 Reception
- 6 Sackboy's Prehistoric Moves
- 7 Applications in education
- 8 References
- 9 External links
While still retaining the three-layer, 2.5D nature of the original title, with the player controlling their Sackboy characters, players are not restricted solely to platforming levels, and can now choose to create many types of levels including racing, puzzle and role-playing games. The player may also choose to create and customise their own heads-up display to accommodate their game type. New animation recording options are available and players are able to create full-motion cut-scenes to go with their level design, manipulate the camera for both cut-scenes and gameplay, and record their own sound effects for use in the level. As well as including a wide selection of original and licensed music, the game also includes a robust music sequencer. Multiple levels can be linked together, so that finishing one level immediately takes the player to the next in the series.
A new tool to assist in gameplay creation is the "Controlinator" (formerly the "direct control seat"). This allows players to assign specific actions, such as button presses or Sixaxis motion control, to specific aspects of their gameplay design. Players are not restricted to using the controlinator on level elements, however, and they may use it to direct the actions of the player's Sackboy character, allowing greater freedom of movement; Media Molecule made this design choice in response to the large number of homages to early platforming games, in which players had to "hide" and manipulate the Sackboy character in specific ways to replicate the style of gameplay. In addition to this tool, more gameplay items, similar to the Metal Gear Solid paintball gun released as downloadable content, are available including a grappling hook, the "Creatinator" - a hat which is worn by Sackboy and can be configured by the Creator to fire any object - and the "Grabinators" which allow Sackboy to pick up and throw grabable objects. Media Molecule plans to regularly update the game with further items.
Enemy creation has also been improved. Players can now create "Sackbots", which are non-player characters whose AI can be controlled by the level creator. Options include determining weak points on the Sackbots, as well as programming routines for the AI to follow. Sackbots can be customised using costumes and decorations in the same way that the player character is and the AI for may be copied and pasted between multiple Sackbots. Sackbots may also be controlled by the aforementioned controlinators.
All downloadable content from the first game is usable in this sequel, as are most user-made levels from LittleBigPlanet. As of June 2013, almost 8 million levels have been uploaded and created for both the LBP games on PS3.
Players continue Sackboy's journey after the events of the first game and the portable version are brought to an end. An inter-dimensional vacuum cleaner called the Negativitron appears over the skies of LittleBigPlanet and begins to suck up its inhabitants, including Sackboy. Larry Da Vinci (Robbie Stevens), the leader of a semi-secret semi-organised group known as "The Alliance", comes to Sackboy's rescue, saving him from the Negativitron (Jeremy Mayne). The organisation is dedicated to battling with the Negativitron and defeating it before it destroys Craftworld (Alternate name for game's environment). After Sackboy passes the tests in Larry's Hideout, he tells him that they must get to Victoria Von Bathysphere's (Judy Sweeney) Laboratory, since she has built a Sackbot army for the Alliance.
However, the moment they get there, the Negativitron attacks and sucks up some of the lab and the Sackbots, mutating some of them into Meanies. Victoria, after escaping on her train, tells the group that they need to get into the factory and shut down the machine making the Meanies. After shutting it down, though, the Negativitron makes the machine come alive into a spider-like creature that scales the wall of the laboratory. After destroying the machine, they find out that the Negativitron has taken the Sackbots to The Factory Of A Better Tomorrow.
Upon arriving, Sackboy and Larry find the factory's owner Clive Handforth (Barry Meade) hiding in a can after the Negativitron took over the place. The Sackbots have become enslaved inside the factory, prompting them to rescue as many as they can. When trying to escape from the factory, one of Clive's guard-turkeys escapes and tries to stop them from leaving the factory with the Sackbots. After losing him, Sackboy, Larry, and Clive take the Sackbots to Avalonia for re-training.
In Avalonia, Avalon Centrifuge (Colin McFarlane) takes Sackboy on a training course to learn combat using his machines. Half-way through, though, the Negativitron attacks Avalonia and spreads Meanies throughout. After rescuing the Sackbots among the wreckage of the facility, they get loaded back onto Huge Spaceship and prepare to leave Avalonia, but a Meanie warship attacks the ship. Even though Sackboy defeats the warship, Huge Spaceship crashes and is in need of repair, but only one creator can make it fly again. Victoria suggests the great inventor Dr. Herbert Higginbotham (Ewan Bailey), but Clive tells them that when he was at his factory, he was infected by a Meanie during the Negativitron attack. Avalon sends Sackboy and Clive to Eve's Asylum for the Mentally Alternative to liberate Higginbotham.
When they arrive, it turns out that the asylum is under attack by Meanies. Eve Silva Paragorica (Jules de Jongh) asks them to help save the asylum and the patients within, then she will lead them to Higginbotham. After clearing out the Meanies in the asylum, they find Higginbotham. Eve proposes that they should get rid of the infection by shrinking Sackboy and sending him into Higginbotham's head. Even after clearing the infection, Higginbotham still appears to be insane. Upon their return to Avalonia, Higginbotham repairs Huge Spaceship, but as they are about to leave, Avalon decides to make a speech, and is abducted by the Negativitron.
While traveling through the Cosmos to find the Negativitron's core, they are attacked by the Negativitron who vacuums up parts of the ship, damaging it. Sackboy is sent to launch the escape pods to get the machines and the Sackbots out, and then escape. Huge Spaceship crashes on the Negativitron's core planet and is shut inside a forcefield. Larry Da Vinci sends out a message for Sackboy to help them, and after finding a White Sackbot Knight and rescuing him, he finds one of the Robobuns and uses it to rescue the Alliance. After defeating a giant robot that was holding Avalon hostage, they make their way to the Negativitron's core. The Negativitron shows up and launches his army of Meanies and guard-turkeys at them, but the Sackbot Army defends the Alliance members. The Negativitron tries to discourage them from fighting him by saying "If you destroy me, you destroy yourselves", but is defeated after a long and dangerous battle with Sackboy and the rest of the Alliance. The Alliance congratulates Sackboy for rescuing them and saving Craftworld, and they decide to return home.
Shortly before the release of the game 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. If the user is playing LittleBigPlanet 2 and isn't currently in a level a Play Now button becomes available on the website which sends a command back to the game to navigate instantly to the selected level.
Website owners may use a selection of widgets to add live data from the game to any website. A public API is also available but access to it is provided by the game's developers on a case-by-case basis.
On 17 February 2011 a community-made semi-official level pack named Hansel and Gretelbot was released. The series of levels, based loosely on the fairytale of Hansel and Gretel, was created by a team of community members who were approached by Media Molecule and asked to collaborate and attempt to make a set of levels that could match the quality of the game's story levels. The series, created using only the in-game tools, features original music, voice acting and prizes.
The game was first hinted at by a Sony representative in March 2010, who stated that the game was in production and would support PlayStation Move controllers, and in April 2010 by musician Ochre who revealed one of his songs had been licensed for the game. It was then formally revealed by video game magazines Edge and Game Informer in their June 2010 issues. On 8 May 2010 Media Molecule officially confirmed that they were developing LittleBigPlanet 2 on their Twitter account and hinted that the game would be formally revealed on Monday 10 May 2010. On 10 May 2010, the official website launched an announcement webpage and news article announcing the game with game details and an announcement trailer. The announcement was also made on the PlayStation Blog with a Q4 2010 release date. Numerous gaming websites reported about the game when an embargo lifted, including EuroGamer and IGN.
In October 2008, BBC reported before the original game was released that Media Molecule had already begun development of a sequel to LittleBigPlanet. The statement was later clarified in an interview with IGN, in which Siobhan Reddy of Media Molecule stated, "we see LittleBigPlanet as a platform... There will be a lot of additional content and it will vary in size and what it does. And we've already started that, yes." The "huge emotional investment" users have made in LittleBigPlanet, Alex Evans stated, is the reason he does not want to ship a traditional sequel. Because they don't want all of the user-generated content to be made obsolete, their focus was to "expand the game without partitioning the audience".
In July 2008, Media Molecule mentioned that should there ever be a LittleBigPlanet sequel that the game would feature backwards compatibility with the original game's user-created levels. In November 2009, Level Designer Danny Leaver elaborated that a traditional sequel could fragment the LBP community, which would be "the most counter-productive thing you could do".
On 23 March 2010, IGN reported LittleBigPlanet 2 was in development and would support the upcoming PlayStation Move controller. Sony later denied this report saying that future content for the original title would be compatible with PlayStation Move. Later on in May, along with the release of the trailer, Sony confirmed that LittleBigPlanet 2 would be compatible with Move. Keyboard and mouse support in Create mode was initially announced however it was later confirmed that this feature was not included in the game at launch.
On 8 December 2010, Media Molecule posted an article entitled "The Music of LittleBigPlanet 2" in their official blog, in which they revealed the identities of the composers who had created original music tracks for the game. The list of seven composers included Paul Thomson, Richard Jacques, Winifred Phillips (with her music producer Winnie Waldron), Baiyon, Keith Tenniswood, Daniel Pemberton and Media Molecule's audio designer, Kenneth Young.
Media Molecule was asked in an IGN Q-and-A session how Move will be added into the game in future updates, the company revealed that they are working on integrating motion controls into the Play, Create and Share modes of the game: "The exciting thing to do with Move is, we're working on a play-create-share pack. We're still in the R&D phase and working out what the features will be, but it will be announced in a little while and we’re really excited. In the same was as in [LittleBigPlanet], you have the Controlinator and you can remap the controls, you'll be able to do the same thing with Move. It'll also allow the community to make their own Move games and that's very cool." A software update allowing users to play the game using PlayStation Move was released in September 2011. A premium DLC pack titled Rise of the Cakeling was released shortly after and added new story levels and tools for creators enabling them to create PlayStation Move games.
The "Arcade" genre trailer was released just one day before the game's launch, showing several new gaming genres, including action, sports, and adventure genre. A behind the scenes video was also released, this video was shot as the game was about to go gold. The launch trailer was released on 21 January 2011, and is a tribute to the history of video gaming, as told from Sackboy's perspective. A TV ad was released, which showcased the new in-game features, and highlighted how diverse and global the LittleBigPlanet community is. A "Share" was also released, which showcased how to share the LittleBigPlanet 2 fun.
On 17 January 2011, Sony handed LittleBigPlanet 2 to selected gamers as they attempted to break the Guinness World Record of 50 hours of consecutive game play. The Guinness World Record of 50 hours of consecutive game play and four other records was broken after two days.
Customers who had the game on week one were given the "1 week only" DLC (only available the first week), which consist of Launch Day "Space Suit" and "Rare" T-shirt. As a special offer, customers who showed that they have checked in on Sony Style Store Foursquare received an autographed cover from Media Molecule and Limited Edition DLC. The offer was only available on 18 and 19 January.
Major updates and downloadable content packs
On 15 February 2011, Media Molecule released software update 1.01. The first patch for the game, dubbed "Cupcake", addresses a number of technical issues which were affecting online play.
On 3 August 2011, Media Molecule released the Toy Story Level Kit, which is the first DLC pack to feature playable levels since the release of LittleBigPlanet 2 in January. The premium pack includes 9 Toy Story themed levels, 5 materials, 10 decorations, 6 objects, 149 stickers and the Toy Story Alien Costume, which had previously only been available as a bonus for preordering LittleBigPlanet 2 from Best Buy, and bundled in the LittleBigPlanet 2 Collector's Edition. The pack also includes music composed by Winifred Phillips and produced by Winnie Waldron. The music includes three new Toy Story-themed music tracks, one of which is an interactive track. In a review of the music on Gamertell.com, assistant editor Jeremy Hill said "Even without [LittleBigPlanet 2] backing it up, these songs can stand on their own", and Simon Smith of Higher Plain Music described the musical score as "Utterly charming and disarming it'll have you beaming in no time." The music received a score of 4/5 from reviewer Juanjo Ramos of Criticas de Cine.
On 7 September 2011, software update 1.06 was released. This patch added support for the PlayStation Move motion controller. A downloadable content pack released the following week includes new story levels and creation tools, enabling users to create their own Move-based games and levels.
Marketing and release
LittleBigPlanet 2 was originally scheduled for release in November 2010, but was delayed until January 2011. The game was released in North America on 18 January 2011 in mainland Europe on 19 January 2011, Australian and New Zealand on 20 January 2011 and in the UK and Ireland on 21 January 2011. On 21 December 2010 SCEA PR Manager, Eric Levine, confirmed that the game has "gone gold", meaning the game was 100% finished and had been signed-off by SCE QA.
The LittleBigPlanet 2 Story Mode Demo was made available as a free download from the PlayStation Store on 21 December 2010 in North America and on 22 December 2010 in Europe. The demo includes 3 levels from the game's story mode. Each of the levels in the demo demonstrates one of LittleBigPlanet 2's new features: The Grapple Hook in the "Tower of Whoop" level, the Controlinator in "Avalon’s Advanced Armaments Academy" and the Creatinator in the "Rocket Funland" mini-game.
The auto manufacturer, Toyota, offered free sponsored content when LittleBigPlanet 2 launched, including a free XMB theme and a special Prius-themed level. The downloadable add-on included collectible items which players could use to build their own creations to win "some very cool prizes."
On 19 January 2011, Sony made a Home Square makeover. Cardboard and carpet transformed the familiar Home Square into an environment where Sackboy will feel right at home, in the European version of the PlayStation 3's online community-based service, PlayStation Home.
7-Eleven offered exclusive downloadable content for LittleBigPlanet 2 in exchange for Slurpee purchases in stores in the U.S. at the end of January 2011. 7-Eleven was also featuring LittleBigPlanet 2 themed Slurpee cups. Each Slurpee cup bear a unique code, allowing a download for LittleBigPlanet 2 content (and other Slurpee rewards), such as a dynamic theme for the PlayStation 3 system, the "Slurpee Sticker Pack", the Strategy Guide, the Sackboy Backpack for PlayStation Home, several ringtone, a behind the scene video, and a creator video. The promotion runs until the end of March 2011. A Sackboy easter egg was also spotted in Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception.
There were several pre-order offers through several retail outlets. Each pre-order consists of four costumes from the "Even More Animals" pack and up to two "special" costumes from Disney/Pixar and Insomniac Games. Which of the "special" costumes the player received depended upon where they pre-ordered the game. The costumes on offer were Ratchet & Clank costumes, Toy Story Alien costume, a Tron suit or The Muppet's The Great Gonzo costume.
Alongside the standard edition of the game, there are several other versions of the game exclusive to certain countries and/or regions around the world. All of the special edition versions of the game are sold in limited quantities and contain a copy of the game as standard or in special packaging.
SCEA marketing manager, Mark Valledor, announced a Collector's Edition for North America in July 2010. The Collector's Edition for North America includes a copy of the game, a 7-inch Sackboy plushie, five PlayStation Network avatars, LittleBigPlanet 2 bookends and 11 in-game costumes.
SCEE product manager, Alex Pavey, told the readers of the PlayStation Blog in November 2010 that there will also be a Collector's Edition released in Europe which different from the North American version. The Collector’s Edition for Europe comes with different box art, the Collector’s Edition copy of the game comes in SteelBook case packaging. It also includes seven in-game costumes and five PSN avatars. There are four other in-game costumes: Jak and Daxter and Ratchet & Clank. These will be available through retailer-specific pre-order incentives, but details of these have not yet been announced. The LittleBigPlanet 2 Collector's Edition will be available in different ways across Europe and the other PAL countries.
The Collector's Edition for Australia is very similar to the Collector's Edition for Europe. It comes with the SteelBook packaging, eleven downloadable Sackboy costumes and five PSN Avatars. It also included a 7-inch Sackboy plushie as a pre-order bonus.
In the UK, a console bundle is available which consists of a 320GB PlayStation 3 console, a DualShock 3 controller and a copy of the standard edition of the game.
Exclusive for North America, a Special Edition was released in November 2011. This edition includes the standard edition of the game, PlayStation Move support, "Move Pack: Rise of the Cakeling" (5 new levels and 7 mini-levels), "Disney/Pixar Toy Story Level" and "Costume" packs, and "Pets Costumes" (the "Dogs", "Cats", and "Even More Animals Costume" packs). The Special Edition was also included as a pack-in game with the 2011 holiday 160GB PS3 system bundles in North America.
An Extras Edition was originally set to be released in February 2013 but was delayed until March 2013 exclusively for Europe. This edition features the original game and a range of bonus content previously released as DLC. Bonus content consists of such as the "Cross-Controller Pack", "Move Pack: Rise of the Cakeling", and the "The Muppets Premium Level Kit". The edition also includes plenty of costumes as "The Muppets Costume Pack 1", "Weekend Pursuits Costume Pack", "Deep Sea Adventures Costume Pack", "Sports Costume Pack", "Dogs Costume Pack", and the "Cats Costume Pack".
LittleBigPlanet 2 has received universal acclaim from critics. PlayStation Official Magazine (UK) gave LittleBigPlanet 2 a perfect 10/10 score. They praised the redesigned creation tools as "simple-to-grasp, all with huge potential" and said the game overall was "hugely improved" over the original. IGN's Greg Miller scored the game 9.0/10, complimenting the amount of variety found in LittleBigPlanet 2's story mode. He went on to commend the new creative tools, stating that the "focus of creating games in the game really shines through", referring to the new tool-set as "mindboggling deep". Miller did however reserve some criticism for some of the same "frustrations" from the first game which are still present in the sequel, such as "floaty" jump controls.
Eurogamer scored the game 9/10 commenting on its "achingly pretty" visuals and looking optimistically on the game's community, saying "there is little doubt that LBP2's online servers will play host to some extraordinary content". PlayStation Universe's Adam Dolge states that "the soundtrack is simply wonderful, while the art style is moody with a vaudevillian flair." Paste Magazine's Kirk Hamilton singled out the game's backward compatibility with user-created levels from the first LittleBigPlanet, and also praised the game's "musical soul", both in its "eclectic collections of licensed music" and in its "outstanding original score." Edge gave LittleBigPlanet 2 9/10 commenting on the game's "dramatic and funny" cutscenes, created with the in-game tools. They also praised its more focused, witty and imaginative story levels as well as the new creation tools, saying in closing, "LBP2 represents a dazzling new opportunity for creating deep, diverse and ingenious play."
In the UK, LittleBigPlanet 2 debuted at number one on the UK All Formats chart, then fell to number two in its second week of sales. According to ChartTrack, the original LittleBigPlanet sold 95 more copies than LittleBigPlanet 2 managed at it debut week. LittleBigPlanet 2 remained the UK's biggest-selling PS3 game for two weeks in a row. In Japan the game debuted at number five, selling 24,648 copies and in North America it topped the North American software sales in its debut week. LittleBigPlanet 2 was ranked number four on NPD's sales charts for January 2011, selling over 353,000 units in its first couple of weeks. On Black Friday in November 2011, LittleBigPlanet 2 sold over 400,000 copies. According to SCE, LittleBigPlanet 2 was one of the most popular games on PlayStation 3 in 2011.
LittleBigPlanet 2 was nominated for a 2011 Golden Joystick Award in the 'Best Action/Adventure' category. The game received a nomination as "Best PS3 Game" in the 2011 Spike Video Game Awards, losing to another PS3 game, Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception.
The "Victoria's Lab" music track from LittleBigPlanet 2 was also nominated for a 2011 Hollywood Music in Media Award in the 'Best Song in a Video Game' category.
Kotaku named the score of LittleBigPlanet 2 as one of the best video game soundtracks of the year. In the article The Best Game Music of 2011: LittleBigPlanet 2, features editor Kirk Hamilton praised both the collection of licensed tracks and the original score, singling out the music of composer Winifred Phillips (and particularly her track "Victoria's Lab") as his favorite original music of the game, and the "Infotain Me" licensed track from electronic musician Ochre as capturing "the essence of the game".
LittleBigPlanet 2 was nominated for the 10th Annual Game Audio Network Guild Awards in the category 'Best Use of Licensed Music'.
LittleBigPlanet 2 was nominated for the 2011 Game Developers Choice Awards in the category of 'Best Audio', which recognizes the overall excellence of audio in a game - including musical composition, orchestration, sound design, sound effects, etc.
LittleBigPlanet 2 was nominated for the 15th Annual Interactive Achievement Awards in the categories of 'Outstanding Achievement in Original Music Composition', 'Outstanding Achievement in Online Game Play', and 'Family Game of the Year'.
The 10th Annual Game Audio Network Guild Awards nominated the original music track, "Victoria's Lab" from LittleBigPlanet 2 in the category of 'Best Original Vocal - Pop'. The track was composed by Winifred Phillips and produced by Winnie Waldron.
Sackboy's Prehistoric Moves
|LittleBigPlanet: Sackboy's Prehistoric Moves|
Sackboy's Prehistoric Moves logo.
|Publisher(s)||Sony Computer Entertainment Europe|
LittleBigPlanet Sackboy's Prehistoric Moves is a LittleBigPlanet spin-off developed by Supermassive Games and SCE Worldwide Studios' XDev team, which can be played with two to five players and requires a PlayStation Move controller and a PlayStation Eye Camera. One player uses the PlayStation Move motion controller as a pointing device to manipulate the environment by triggering switches and moving platforms, while the others play using a gamepad to control Sackboy in the usual way. Although billed as a PlayStation Network game, Sackboy's Prehistoric Moves' narrator introduces it as a "demo". It features ten prehistoric-themed levels and was released on the PlayStation Store in North America on 7 December 2010, and in Europe on 8 December 2010 for PlayStation Plus subscribers. It was made available to other users in North America on 14 December 2010 and in Europe on 15 December 2010. The game was also bundled with LittleBigPlanet 2 when it was released in January 2011.
Due to the unconventional release of the game, Sackboy's Prehistoric Moves has not been widely reviewed as a standalone product. Greg Miller from IGN scored the game 6.5/10, describing it as more of a tech demo of the PlayStation Move's functionality, rather than a fully-fledged game. He also criticised the game's lack of lasting appeal as there are no prizes or costumes to collect. Miller did however say "If you have a bud who is as into LittleBigPlanet as you are, you're going to have fun" and that the game could act as a good demonstration piece for the PlayStation Move. Eurogamer scored the game 7/10 and said that "there's not a great deal of substance" and criticised the use of the LittleBigPlanet engine instead of LittleBigPlanet 2's enhanced features, but tempered it by saying "when you've got a game that already looks as lovely as this one does, I'm sure you'll be able to live with that." GamesRadar also criticised the game's length; "Sackboy's Prehistoric Moves is a very capable game; there's just not that much "game" to go around", the reviewer was also puzzled about the use of the original LittleBigPlanet engine in a game released next to the enhanced LittleBigPlanet 2 and summed up by saying "Overall, Sackboy's Prehistoric Moves is a strange beast. It's too good to be a demo, too short to be a game, too outdated to be a preview and imbued with too much care and character to be passed off as a PS Move advergame", and scored the game as 7/10.
Applications in education
Media Molecule worked in conjunction with ConnectED, a branch of Sony Computer Entertainment focused on the education sector, to develop a LittleBigPlanet 2 teachers' kit for use in the classroom. The pack will feature levels themed around National Curriculum subjects including physics, maths, science, art and history and is designed to help engage students in these subjects.
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