How LittleBigPlanet brought game design to the masses

LittleBigPlanet retrospective
LittleBigPlanet retrospective

Cast your mind back to 2007. It’s Sony’s presentation at the annual Game Developers Conference and an unassuming British developer takes to the stage to introduce a curious game called LittleBigPlanet. At a time when many high-profile games were chasing after realism, LittleBigPlanet was a colourful breath of fresh air, with its cheerful arts and crafts aesthetic and its instantly recognisable mascot Sackboy. The audience’s interest was caught, but it wasn’t until technical director Alex Evans began to demonstrate the mechanics of the game, that LittleBigPlanet started to look like something truly special.

https://www.game.co.uk/en/dreams-748006?cm_sp=GAMEMedia-_-Littlebigplanetretro-_-Dreams

Cast your mind back to 2007. It’s Sony’s presentation at the annual Game Developers Conference and an unassuming British developer takes to the stage to introduce a curious game called LittleBigPlanet. At a time when many high-profile games were chasing after realism, LittleBigPlanet was a colourful breath of fresh air, with its cheerful arts and crafts aesthetic and its instantly recognisable mascot Sackboy. The audience’s interest was caught, but it wasn’t until technical director Alex Evans began to demonstrate the mechanics of the game, that LittleBigPlanet started to look like something truly special.

LittleBigPlanet put the tools of game design in the hands of players, allowing them to craft their own platforming levels in the game’s uniquely charming visual style and share them online for others to enjoy. Long before Mario Maker came along, players were devising beautiful, strange, difficult, and downright perplexing creations all from the comfort of their sofas in Media Molecule’s debut title.

LittleBigPlanet did an amazing job of introducing new players to the basic principles of game design with extensive yet digestible tutorials narrated by the comforting tones of Stephen Fry. It wasn’t long before the game’s servers were fit to burst with temples of doom, haunted mansions, azure oceans and more.

Fans and critics were impressed by the charming story mode, but what really stood out was the dazzling wealth of tools at players’ disposal with which to create and share their own levels. LittleBigPlanet was a sales hit and soon became recognised as one of the PlayStation 3’s must-have games. The game earned a dedicated global fanbase that reached beyond the game to social networks, fansites, and YouTube channels, all set up to share and celebrate user-made LittleBigPlanet levels.

The 2011 sequel greatly expanded on the ideas of the original, broadening the options for creators from platforming levels to racing, puzzle, and fighting genres. LittleBigPlanet 2 was pitched as a ‘platform for games’, encouraging players to go beyond single levels to create entire games. It’s fair to say that players rose to the challenge, once again producing thousands of unique creations, this time with the help of the PlayStation Move controller.

Media Molecule’s next game Dreams is almost here. Using the power of the PS4, Dreams will allow you to explore your creativity in any genre you please, whether that’s action, puzzles, text adventures, or remakes of classic games. Whether you’re an armchair game-designer or just want to see what people can create, we reckon Dreams might just take over your life.

Fans have already started producing some breathtaking projects in the game’s Early Access form, and we expect players’ creations to get even more sophisticated when the full game launches on 14 February.

And if you want the latest news, features, and deals from GAME, sign up to our newsletter today!