LittleBigPlanet 2 Officially Revealed

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This weekend has been buzzing with news about the surprise announcement of a LittleBigPlanet sequel coming later this year. Even more surprising was the news that in LittleBigPlanet 2 you create whole games instead of just levels. Well, while there have only been bits and pieces of news to work on over the weekend, well, now we have the complete opposite as the embargo has been lifted. Here we go!

First off the trailer:

Now the Official Press Release:

Announcing LittleBigPlanet™2 for PlayStation®3: Sackboy is back!
Have brand new adventures, explore the imaginations of millions – and Play, Create and Share not just levels, but whole games…

London, 10th May: Sony Computer Entertainment Europe has announced the return of the world-conquering, award-collecting Sackboy in LittleBigPlanet™2 for PlayStation®3 (PS3™) – a game that will let your creativity run riot in ways you never imagined. Developed by the visionary team at Media Molecule, LittleBigPlanet 2 will provide fans a new means to PLAY, CREATE, and SHARE, including a revamped graphics engine supplying stunning visuals, a fresh storyline, added accessories and equipment for SackBoy, and revolutionary gameplay mechanics providing players a level of control and customization. This time, the game in the box really is just the start.

The multi-million unit selling LittleBigPlanet had the critics raving when it arrived in 2008. The game, where players meet on a colourful, patchwork planet to play as the charming, fully-customisable Sackboy, and create new levels for others to play via PlayStation®Network, heralded a new age of creative gaming, where players are constrained only by their imagination. Since launch, more than 2 million levels have been created by LittleBigPlanet fans, and uploaded to share with the rest of the community. Now, LittleBigPlanet 2 will explode the concept of Creative Gaming, offering exciting and unprecedented new possibilities – as well as backwards-compatibility with all of the existing LittleBigPlanet community levels and content.

LittleBigPlanet 2 begins with a brand-new, epic story adventure, where your quest is to save the LittleBigPlanet itself. On your journey you visit amazing places and meet wonderful characters as you run, bounce, swing and even grapple-hook your way to success. And then it gets really imaginative – in LittleBigPlanet 2, you can create not just levels, but whole new games. Racing games, shooters, platform challenges… cookery simulators even; if you can imagine it, you’ll be able to make it. Sackboy’s new set of simple but wonderfully powerful tools lets you create contraptions whose behaviour you can control, and populate new landscapes with Sackbots – automated characters who can help or hinder players. You can make intelligent machines, vehicles and puzzles, create cinematic cutscenes, and reassign the game’s controls to control any element of what you’ve made. Then, when you’re all out of imagination, you can take a break from creating to go and play what gamers around the world have been busy creating. Right now, no one knows what that will look like. If last time was anything to go by, though, it’s going to be amazing.

In 2010, the only limit to what you play is going to be the world’s imagination. Prepare for a revolution that’s truly going to blur the lines between gamers and games creators, breaking all the moulds and giving free rein to the creativity of millions… prepare for LittleBigPlanet 2. Find out more at www.littlebigplanet.com/2

Now for an interview with Mark Healy founder of Media Molecule:

VG247: Can you tell us how you are going to use LittleBigPlanet 2 to expand upon the Play, Create, Share philosophy that was created by the original game?

Mark Healy: We are attacking that from lots of different angles, obviously. To tackle the question from the specific areas, such as the Share point of view, we have put a lot of effort into finding the new content and the type of content that you would want. We feel we’ve done a lot for people who create their own levels and want to share them, like LBP.me which automatically creates a website for your level that anyone can access and add to their queue immediately.

Players will be able to go on the website to view all the levels they have made, pictures, number of views and comments. Of course, you will also be able to use the URL of your personalised website to tweet and put on Facebook. There are people out there who enjoy finding and reviewing levels, so we like to feel that we have streamlined this process.

The Create and Play elements directly feed off each other, but with Create we have just added a whole bunch of stuff which really takes it to a whole new level, taking it from a creation tool for a platform game to a much more versatile game-creation tool.

You don’t even have to make games any more. You can make interactive movies or non-interactive movies, and I’m sure the community will be the one that teaches us what can be done there.

The Play side is obviously influenced by the Create side, so when people go into the community there is going to be such a wide range of experiences to be had now. I am desperate to play the game a few weeks after it comes out to see what the community’s done.

How does the recent takeover of Media Molecule by Sony help you to achieve your goals better?

We have always had a close relationship with Sony anyway and really enjoy working with them. This is why we decided to get into bed with them.

Not much has changed really. What has improved is that it’s taken the pressure off a little bit. Obviously, the other directors and I have always had this additional responsibility of running a company and thinking a project ahead, thinking about who our next project is going to be with. That’s quite a lot of pressure. Now that this is gone we can concentrate on doing what we are actually best at: making the game.

It also means that we can afford to take more risks and do things that we might not have done as a small independent company, because if it fails Sony can sort it out [Laughs].

What made you decide to release a brand new game, rather than just expanding the first with DLC?

We’ve added a lot with LittleBigPlanet 2, much more than you would normally get with the sequel. Obviously, we could have split that up into areas and dribbled that out as DLC. What we have found from experience is that when you have got a bunch of tools and features and you’re working on them in unison together, you start to realise how they work and link together and influence each other, which is a lot harder to do when you are working with these items separately.

We also liked the idea of having the time to create a new story, which combines all these new experiences and shows them off to the users. The game is also fully backwards compatible, so we feel that we will not split the community in anyway.

It’s also a lot easier to explain to my mum when I have a disc to show her. I like making my mum proud.

Is there anything that you have specifically improved upon due to feedback from the first title?

Loads of stuff. We consider ourselves a small team, some 30-40 people, but we also consider ourselves as a huge team of 2 million people who provide lots of feedback to us. We are constantly looking at wish-lists and because we ourselves are using the same tools to create stuff it’s usually the things we want anyway.

That’s a direct way in which users influence the way things have improved in LittleBigPlanet 2.

There are also some little tweaks, like being able to hide things and add comments to them, so that you can remember what they do. All the obvious things that the creator out there would want, we’ve done. Hopefully we’ve also gone a lot further than that, and also added things that they didn’t realise they wanted.

Will you continue support the original LittleBigPlanet in terms of DLC and patches?

I imagine we will, though I don’t know how it is going to work as there is a very blurry line between the two. If no-one wants upgrade [to LBP2] then that community will still remain, and anyone who is playing LittleBigPlanet 2 will still be part of this as it’s one and the same community.

If there are any obvious bugs that come up then we will deal with them, however hopefully we can convince people to come and play the new game and experience the fantastic new content and features.

LittleBigPlanet 2 will no doubt be a big influence in helping Sony sell their PlayStation Move controller, so in what ways are you planning on incorporating this into the game?

You may remember from the presentation that we had the Sixaxis Direct Control Seat, which is a ridiculously long title which we will no doubt change. What this does is allow the user to take the guts of the SixthAxis controller and map the buttons in any way they like, and I see no reason why you couldn’t use this function with any other controller, like the Move controller for example.

We’re really excited by giving the Move controller to the community. We’re totally going to go to town on supporting that, but I don’t think we will have the full functionality at launch. There will be a taster, but it is something we are planning to do.

Will you be able to play the game using just the Move and perhaps the Sub Controller?

I think that will have to be the case. We haven’t sat down and scoped that out entirely, but it seems like a bit of a no-brainer really.

Last question. Are there any secrets that you can tell us about the new game, any hidden characters or features that we may not have seen today?

There is loads of stuff, just because there are so many things added. I can tell you about Level Links, as that is a great feature we didn’t talk about.

You can put badges in directly in to your level now. This allows you to link levels, entering directly into a new level without returning to the pod. Although this is a simple thing it’s incredibly powerful, as someone can now string together a thousand levels into one massive experience. Also, people who are good at finding good levels could create a café which is just full of badges of their favourite levels.

There are lots of new features, but I’m getting glares from the PR people so I think we best leave it there.

Thanks to VG247 for all the news, you can also find more interviews and loads of new screens over there so hop on over.

All i can say after going thru the trailer and all the news is “Wow”. I think from what we’ve seen today that LittleBigPlanet 2 has to be considered a serious contender for the GOTY Award. That would put three PlayStation 3 Exclusives as the forerunners for the award. I think its fair to say that the PS3 is really starting to up the ante in this generation. Bigtime.

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I'm a huge fan of the PES, MGS and Uncharted series', and anything else in between. If you love a good gaming discussion or want to talk about anything else, then feel free to get in touch.

@GariClark

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