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Little Big Planet (PS3)

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This game really deserves its own thread.


I wasn?t hugely taken with the Playstation Home concept, so Phil Harrison?s additional announcement of Little Big Planet today at GDC was a welcome surprise. I?m thrilled that we?re starting to see such an original IP being announced for the PS3. I think the game looks gorgeous and the concept sounds absolutely wonderful:


"LittleBigPlanet starts with players learning about the powers of their chosen characters to interact physically with the environment. There are obstacles to explore, items to collect and puzzles to solve -- requiring community-based teamwork and brainpower. As players begin to explore, their creative skills grow and they will be ready to start creating and modifying their surroundings -- the first step to sharing them with the whole world. Ultimately, levels of the game will be user generated on a worldwide scale and will change everyday as players create, publish and share their own levels.


Users have the power to design, shape and build both objects and entire locations for others to play. Players can make their world as open or as secretive to explore as they like. When it's ready, they can invite anyone within the LittleBigPlanet universe to come and explore their "patch," or they can go and explore everybody else's."






From Eurogamer:

Sony has now spent around a year working with Media Molecule on LittleBigPlanet, and Healy and MM co-founder Alex Evans were on hand to demo the game last night. Healy began by telling the audience, "This game is basically all about creativity."


When the game starts, you find yourself on a blue and green planet divided into plots. Your character starts out as a small brown creature who appears to be made out of wool, nicknamed Sackboy. The first task is to find out what the character can do and how to interact with the environment. Once you've mastered the basics - LittleBigPlanet is designed to be very easy to pick up and play - you can start to create your own games.


This is done by using your character to place and manipulate objects, using the Sixaxis controller and a simple cut and paste type system rather than a complex level editor. Objects are made out of materials such as wood, fabric and metal, and behave as you'd expect them to in real life.


In the demo, the gameworld appeared as a sparse backyard environment into which Evans began placing objects - a block of wood to which he attached a cog his character could run around, for example.


Then came a tree made out of fabric, followed by a giant orange to which Evans added bug eyes and Deely Bopper hair. He showed how you can also customise your character by adding Deely Boppers, while other characters appeared wearing space suits and elaborate Chinese dragon-style head dresses.


"The cool thing is it's not just about making pre-made objects," Healy said.


"You can lift the customisable level, do whatever you want with it, make it look how you want it to look." So, for example, you can create 'stickers' using content on your hard drive, photos taken with EyeToy and so on, and slap them wherever you like. "There's no limit. You can literally cover the entire world."


The first part of the demo only lasted a couple of minutes, but already there was a sense of just how many options and how much freedom LittleBigPlanet will offer. Despite this, the game didn't appear to be too complicated. Everything flowed quickly and smoothly.


There were now four characters on screen - the maximum number of players - with Harrison joining in. They lifted up a giant curtain at one end of the backyard, revealing the start of a previously created game. The object of the game, Healy explained, was to collect a resource: sponge.


At the beginning, the characters were simply running and jumping around a variety of objects, and again everything appeared fast and fluid. They skipped along branches, swung on ropes and zoomed around with jetpacks. Although the players were competing for resources, there were moments where they had to co-operate, combining their strength, for example, to move a heavier object.


All too soon, it was time for the grand finale. The four characters jumped on a giant skateboard and began waving as it zoomed down a steep hill. One of the players pressed a button to take a snapshot of the moment, and the demo was over.


"As you can see, it's all about empowering a community of gamers by embedding the creative tools into the game experience as well, so they don't even know they're editing and creating," Harrison said.

"But the key, after they've edited and created, is to share, so we're going to give you a glimpse of how that could work."


It really was a glimpse. A short, fast film which seemed to suggest that once you've uploaded the game you've created to the PlayStation Network, other users will be able to play and rate it. There was a rankings chart, apparently showing the most popular games on the Network. A messages section to communicate with other users. A forum-style comments feature where you can post your thoughts on the game. It was all over very quickly, and followed by a long and loud round of applause.







The physics engine looks superb. I didn?t realise until I listened to the 1up Podcast that this is in fact going to be an actual game disc release in 2008. I?d assumed it would be exclusive to the online network, so that?s exciting news that this will actually be a physical release. The online demo will arrive this autumn.


I must have watched the trailer over a dozen times and the whole concept and design just makes me smile. It clearly won the hearts of the journalists who saw it and all of those in the audience during Harrison?s keynote.

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I wasn’t hugely taken with the Playstation Home concept, so Phil Harrison’s additional announcement of Little Big Planet today at GDC was a welcome surprise. I’m thrilled that we’re starting to see such an original IP being announced for the PS3. I think the game looks gorgeous and the concept sounds absolutely wonderful:


I agree. I am most impressed by what I've seen of Little Big Planet

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I just watched the video, and it looks awesome. But I was sort of left thinking WTF is that? The gameplay and music reminded me of Loco Roco actually. I have read a bit about this, as far as the community development and everything. But I'm having a hard time reconciling where the game starts and the community ends or whatever. Do you basically just play "levels" that people make, like the one in the video I just saw?

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Game videos features a 1up interview with Phil Harrison which you can watch here. It?s primarily about Home, but toward the end discussion shifts to Little Big Planet.


The 1up boys pose the scenario that the final disc based version of the game in 2008 might incorporate the best of the user designed levels that would have already been put online, and Harrison effectively confirms this will be the case. I certainly hope the Blu Ray release is driven by developer created levels too though. I?ve still a number of questions about precisely how the disc based version of the game will be executed.

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I'm ridiculously excited for this game. I'm a huge Rag Doll Kung Fu fan so when Mark Healy came out during the Sony keynote I was all smiles, and then when they fired up LittleBigPlanet I was blown away. What Media Molecule has done in the time they've had is incredible. This game looks like it'll be pure joy.

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The Edge article has firmly cemented this at the top of reasons why I might buy a PS3 at one point. The cover is much nicer (really) in real life, too. Last time they used that Pantone pink to such great effect was for WipEout purE; I'm hoping that means something.


One little snippet I learned there is that they're aware of the dangers of user-created content leading to exacting recreations of SMB3 levels covered in porn, so I'll be keen to see what they do about it. Also, the styleclash of the official Sony XMB style of the online interface covered in what looks like felt-tip scribbles by Media Molecule is wonderful.


Mostly, however, I don't quite think MM worry too much about the invasion of of 'borrowed' content. Their character sketches include what are quite clearly Mario and the Prince Of All Cosmos!

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More from Phil Harrison about the game, and the Blu Ray version(s):


Q: Regarding LittleBigPlanet, how much pre-made content will go out with it? And secondly, how important would a tutorial be, for example?


PH: We?re going to debut the product on the PlayStation Network first, as a commercial release, and then it?ll be on Blu-Ray disk in 2008 ? hopefully early 2008 ? and our goal is to be able to access some of the user-generated levels onto the disk when we sell it at retail. Maybe not the first version that we sell at retail, but future versions that we sell at retail can have user-aggregated content on them.


As far as a tutorial is concerned, I?m sure we?ll do something to make it easy for people to start off, but that?s also part of the interesting cross-over between Home and LittleBigPlanet; we could have a LittleBigPlanet space in Home where you can show expert user videos ? imagine that in a classroom setting where you?ve got people sat down who are LittleBigPlanet designers and somebody going: ?This is how you make boxes, this is how you make spheres, this is how you assign behaviours to them.? That?s really interesting.


Q: What?s the reward system going to be ? what will you get if you make the number one played level?


PH: We?ve got some interesting ideas on that which we?ll share a little bit later, but we hope that star creators will be recognised and rewarded for their efforts.


Q: Maybe with jobs in the games industry?


PH: Why not? Why not? If that is one of the side benefits of what we do with LittleBigPlanet then I will be extremely happy, because that will help address some fundamental challenges that we have in training and creating new human resources to take our business forward.


Q: And I assume if your level is put on the Blu-ray disk you?ll be paid as well?


PH: Like I said, we?re not ready to talk about the specifics and I?d really prefer not to get drawn into that too much right now, but we?ve got some cool ideas.


Q: It seems to me the key to a game like that is finding out all the best things you can do that maybe not everyone else knows about?


PH: But that?s the great thing about the social element of audience-created content or user-created content. The fact that somebody makes an innovation, they upload it to the network and instantly everybody can see that innovation and it filters to the entire network. That?s the emergent entertainment that we?re most excited about, that we are not going to define, we?re not going to set the rules, so we?ll just see where people run with it.




Doesn?t sound like we need be concerned about lack of developer created levels on the disc based release then. I really must pick up that copy of EDGE.

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I didn't get why you guys and everyone else were so hyped up about a cutesy 2D platformer game. Who cares that you can make you're own levels, the examples of levels thus far don't look that "fun" to play, I don't care how innovative the idea is.


BUT then I saw the video. And now I see how it comes together and it looks friggin awesome. Really promising.

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I didn't get why you guys and everyone else were so hyped up about a cutesy 2D platformer game. Who cares that you can make you're own levels, the examples of levels thus far don't look that "fun" to play, I don't care how innovative the idea is.


BUT then I saw the video. And now I see how it comes together and it looks friggin awesome. Really promising.


That's how I felt when I saw it on the 1up Show. Very Nintendo looking.

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