|Portal: Action/Adventure||LittleBigPlanet at|
LittleBigPlanet—abbreviated to LBP; and developed under the working title The Next Big Thing — is a puzzle platformer and world creation Video game for the PlayStation 3, first announced on March 7, 2007, by Phil Harrison at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, California. It was developed by Media Molecule, a British company founded in part by Rag Doll Kung Fu creator Mark Healey, will be published by Sony Computer Entertainment Europe and was released in October/November, 2008. A beta version of the game was scheduled to release this summer, but since the recent announcement of the delay, it is unknown if the beta will go ahead.
GameplayIn LittleBigPlanet, players control small characters (nicknamed either "Sackboy" or "Sackgirl", owing to their material and appearance, though they are androgynous), each of which can jump, move, and grab objects. Players can use their abilities to shape and develop the highly manipulable environment to build custom spaces either individually, collaboratively, and/or competitively. Levels focus on co-operative, physics-based gameplay, and players can use mechanisms such as cogs and blocks to build anything from small level parts to large, complex worlds. The game will also allow opportunities for players to acquire new skills and tools.
A major focus of LittleBigPlanet is on the global community features through the PlayStation Network for players to interact and share their "patches" - levels and other modifications - as well as online play. It has been stated that a "YouTube" of gaming may form as user content is published.
Players can navigate their way through the world by jumping, pushing, grabbing, running and flying to overcome numerous puzzles provided by the game's robust physics engine. The traditional concept of enemies has not been shown but the game will, in fact, have enemies, ranging from the small, to the big and complex. In addition, harmful objects can be placed in the game, such as pits of fire or poison, electrified objects, and being "squished" or flattened by an object that cause the player to restart that section of the level; players pop and roll out of restart points nearby. The number of restarts available at any given restart point are limited, and the level will end if the active restart point doesn't have any left.
A scoring system is also in place, in the form of a time trial with a start and end gate and players collecting world items such as sponge. There are also score orbs that are expressly for the purpose of scoring points. Scoring is based on both time and execution of the level.
Objects are made of many different, selectable materials, such as felt, wood, metal or sponge. The materials act realistically; wood does not change shape when you stand on it or grab it, while felt "squishes" and deforms. Objects are selectable from a pull-out menu, nicknamed "Pop-It", accessible at any point during play.
Usable items are not limited to physical objects; from the "Pop-It" menu "stickers" are also selectable. These "stickers" are pasted to any object or wall throughout the world, limited only by the player/level creators imagination. The stickers can range from photos taken from the PlayStation 3 hard drive to other storage media, even the PlayStation Eye.
A resource system is also in the game, where fluff and other items are collected by the player in order to fuel their ability to build new objects.
Bonus items, costumes, and stickers can be obtained by completing levels, completing levels without dying, and collecting all objects within each level.
Players can jump, move, and grab objects by using the controller. The analog sticks are used for movement and camera control during the game, but may also be used to move a characters' arms by pressing a certain button to swap between functionality. The head can be moved by using the SIXAXIS tilt control.Character movement will also be based on how hard the controller is used, much like pressure sensitivity; for instance, when the L2 or R2 triggers are held (for the left and right arms respectively), by jerking the analog stick, the player is able to slap another player inside the game.
Grabbing is also a key ability; it allows a character to pull an object, or even another character, in whatever direction they are currently moving. This allows, for example, a chain of players to hang off a rope when only one character is actually grabbing the rope. Also, it allows a jetpack-equipped player to carry other players through the sky.
Emotions are also a controllable aspect of the characters. Aside from the normal expression the player's Avatar exhibits, the player also has a choice of four different emotions to show, each emotion triggered by a different directional button on the SIXAXIS's D-pad. Starting from the upward directional button and going clockwise, the emotions are as follows: happy, angry, sad, and nervous. Each emotion has three different levels of intensity, the emotion growing more intense with each consecutive press. Kyle Schubel of SCEA also mentioned they want to expand the emote system even more.
LittleBigPlanet has integrated content-creation tools for the player. There is no separate level editor, and all of the tools are available within the game, however, some of the level-creation tools are only available in "create mode".
These tools enable the player to dynamically place, edit, morph, rotate and interact with objects within the game world. Dynamically reacting physical objects such as springs, ropes, levers, cloth and motors have been seen so far. Allusions to player created objects have also been made.
The player may place an unlimited number of stickers onto the objects in their stage, including custom pictures stored on their hard drive or other storage media. From here, levels can be uploaded onto worldwide servers where other players can download them by browsing world ladders of popular maps. When levels are created they can also have a "prize" added to them that other players will get when they complete the level. Once they get the object they may use it in their own levels but may not set it as a prize for their levels. So when another player plays that player's level they will see this item and ask that player where they got it. That player will then direct them to the original player's level and thus a level gains "popularity" through interesting "prizes" for the creation of the level.
In addition, the player's individual Sackboy character may be highly customised to suit the player.
LittleBigPlanet is a world full of creations made by the eight Creator Curators. However, the eighth Creator, 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), and later, the Creators themselves.
The player starts out at The Gardens level, where the player's Sackperson meets the King, one of the Creators, the Queen, Little Xim and Big Xam, in charge of the Score Challenges and the Survival Challenges respectivley; and their servant Dumpty. The player heads for the Savannah, where the next ruler, Zola, resides. When the player accidentally breaks one of Zola's statues, the player is asked to investigate what's scaring his buffalo; in return for his forgiveness. The culprits turn out to be fire and crocodiles, and the player has to clear a crocodile's name accused of eating Meerkat Mum's son, Stripy Tail. The player finds out that Stripy Tail is actually at a club with some female meerkats, underground where the meerkats live. After the player returns Stripy Tail to Meerkat Mum, the player does a favour for one of Zola's servants and goes to The Wedding (a story arc with a Day of the Dead theme), where his friend, Frida, is about to wed with her bridegroom, Don Lu. However he's gone missing; therefore the wedding is at stake. Later, with the help of his dog, the player finds him in a dark cave. Don Lu explains to the player that he got lost, and got tired that he couldn't find his way out. Getting him back to the wedding, Frida thinks he jilted her at the altar, gets her Skulldozer, and starts to bulldoze everything in sight. However, when she sees her bridegroom waiting for her, she realises it was just a silly misunderstanding, forgets everything, and they wed.
Don Lu takes the player to the Canyons, where Frida and Don Lu have their honeymoon and the player meets Uncle Jalapeño. The player frees Uncle Jalapeño, who was put in prison unfairly by the evil Sheriff Zapata. Uncle Jalapeño teaches the player about explosives throughout the Canyons levels. After the player chases Sheriff Zapata into a temple and defeats him, Uncle Jalapeño takes a vacation into the Metropolis, taking the player with him, where they meet Uncle Jalapeño's friend, Mags the Mechanic. She trades the player for a new car for Uncle Jalapeño,then the player can edit the car to their liking. The player next races Mags's nemesis, Ze Dude, who stole her car, and after the race drives it into the sewer. The player then goes into the sewer and retrieves her car, then stops Ze Dude and his bouncers, who were wrecking Mags's construction site. Ze Dude, defeated, praises the player as a worthy foe, and lets the player take his private jet to the Islands to train with Grandmaster Sensei, his martial arts teacher. Grandmaster Sensei trains the player to defeat the evil Sumo, who took over Grandmaster Sensei's castle and her talking flame-throwing cat; and the Terrible Oni, with the help of her cat.
From there the player goes to the Temples, to get their very own talking flame-throwing cat, the Great Magician's latest creation, who is the master of emitters. After speaking to The Goddess at the end of the Dancer's Court she guides the player to The Magician himself. After the player overcomes his toughest obstacles, he asks to defeat the Collector, which would be the player's "greatest challenge". The player, with some help from the general and a bear whose family the Collector has kidnapped, infiltrates the Collector's bunker, gets past his army, and frees the characters the player met throughout the game who had been kidnapped by the Collector and locked up. As everyone escapes, they thank the player, and wish him good luck as the player goes to confront the Collector. After the final battle with the Collector, the Collector is revealed to be a little, lonely man who only kidnapped everyone because he didn't have any friends, and hides in shame. However, everyone, including the player, offers to be his friend. He accepts, and everyone holds hands, beginning a new friendship.
The unveiling of LittleBigPlanet at the 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." IGN described the game as "beautiful" and reports 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.". 1UP writes 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, including our own Bryan 'Fragile EAgle' Intihar," and that "this could be something very special." Slashdot Games editor Michael Zenke suggested that the game could be the PlayStation 3's Killer application, saying, "if these elements are for real, this is the reason to buy PlayStation 3". Even Reggie Fils-Aime, the president of Nintendo of America, praised the product, though he was unsure how the game would fare on Sony's platform.
|GameRankings||95% (based on 77 reviews)|
|Metacritic||95% (based on 85 reviews)|
|Official PlayStation Magazine (UK)||10/10|
PreviewsThe 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". 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". 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". Slashdot Games editor Michael Zenke suggested the game could be the PlayStation 3's killer application.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.LittleBigPlanet has received wide critical acclaim from reviewers. The first major publication to review LittleBigPlanet was the UK edition ofPlayStation 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". 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". 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." 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." 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."
Some reviewers have criticised the game's control system. Eurogamers 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. In IGNs 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 IGN's review commented that the story mode ended "in a somewhat disappointing manner" and the story as a whole doesn't make sense.
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 Gamingand was judged Family Game of the Year, Console Game of the Year, and as Overall Game of the Year. LittleBigPlanet was also given theAward for Artistic Achievement at the 5th British Academy Video Games Awards. It was dubbed Game of the Year by several gaming websites and publications including GamePro, Edge, and Eurogamer whose editors felt that while the single-player experience was nothing special, the mulitplayer gameplay brought the game into its own and were impressed by some of the user-created levels which inspired "gasps of wonder". It also received various other awards from gaming websites in 2008 including Best New IP and Best Platform Game from IGN and Most Innovative Game from GameTrailers. LittleBigPlanet was judged Best PlayStation 3 Game at the 2008 Spike Video Game Awards and was given the awards for Best New Debut, Best Game Design, Best Technology, and the Innovation Award at the Game Developers Choice Awards.
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. By 29 November 2008, the game was at number 32 and had sold between 100,000 and 200,000 copies in the UK. 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. It entered October's all-platform video game chart at number eight before falling out of the top 20 by the end of November. 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." 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 although advertising campaigns were launched in North America and Europe which helped to boost the game's sales in the run up to Christmas. 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 and had sold over 300,000 units by the beginning of February 2009. In January 2009, Sony announced that the game had sold 611,000 units in North America up to the end of December 2008 and that there were 1.3 million unique users playing LittleBigPlanet. As of March 2010, the game has sold over 3 million copies worldwide. SCEE President Andrew House announced at Gamescom 2010 that the game has now sold over 4.5 million worldwide.