LittleBigPlanet: It will not be stopped
October 1, 2008 § 3 Comments
Spore was interesting to me. Not because of the revolutionary methods of animation or the insane scope of what Will Wright was trying to achieve, but because it was one of the first games ever to give simple game design controls to the masses, stand back, and say “Show me.”
Admittedly it’s a bit of a stretch calling those tools ‘game design tools’ but it’s a fair observation to make; after all is making character, vehicle and environmental models not an essential part of any game’s development? Within a short time of the mere Creature Creator going up for download the Sporepedia (the EA created encyclopedia for housing Spore’s creations) was flooded with user-generated content – more than any other game in history – with many creatures that were, for want of a better word, brilliant. On that note, let’s move on to Little Big Planet.
Little Big Planet takes this idea a step sideways with the ability for users to create entire levels, before putting them online for friends (and enemies) to peruse. If people managed to create things as inventive as this and this with a creature creator, then just imagene what PS3 users will be able to do when given the ability to sculp out entire levels for themselves. Any limits present initially on creativity would soon vanish when the masses get their hands on the tools.
Limits like exactly what people have the potential to create. The tools Media Molecule have thusfar been showing off are for the creation of a single level but what if you don’t want to create a single throw-away experience? What if instead you want to craft an entire game of ten levels or more of increasing difficulty, with an all encompassing plot far beyond that of your standard 2d platformer. There truely is no limit to what a creative enough gamer could achieve, and then with the ability for thousands of others to view their work in an instant, we now have a platform for talented level designer to get their ideas out. Earlier this year MM said that the best level designer would be granted the right to sell their work on, there’s hardly a lack of incentive here.
So far MM have their bases covered in the hardcore department, but playing through some pre-created levels it also become clear that that’s not all they were aiming for. You see, Little Big Planet’s controls are, crucially, simple. You’ve got a thumbstick for running, a jump button, and a grap button, and without delving into the editor you won’t need much else. This isn’t a game your girlfriend’s going to regard apprehensively from across the room as if picking up a controller will equate to an instantaneous demise. Instead here we have a simple control scheme that above all makes sense, and graphics that just scream “Hug me!”
So we have the hardcore creating levels, the casual playing these levels, and together we have one of the most beneficial communities that may ever exist. It’s not hard to imagene talented level designers becomming cult celebrities around the LBP scene. As a creator you might want to get people from the community to bug-test your levels before you release them, and because there’s no real competative element to this game, smack talk may simply pack its bags and head home.
When you consider LBP as a side scrolling platformer, it’s an old-school return to a genre that has remained relatively untouched since the early 90’s. Add in the potential for near unlimited creativity on the part of the community and you have the potential for one of the most expansive games ever to grace the earth.
I’ll be buying it day 1, hows about you?