After a two-month delay, LittleBigPlanet 2 is finally upon us.
Now that his ‘To Do’ list is finally up to date, Media Molecule’s Creative Director, Mark Healy, had plenty of time to speak to Game Console’s Damian Seeto about what we can expect from the sequel.
First off, what was the main reason behind the two-month delay of LittleBigPlanet 2?
Mark Healy: It wasn’t finished! We really tried to get it out in time for Christmas, but it just wasn’t ready. As simple as that. And it wasn’t a case of “it was finished, but we felt it could be better”. No, it just wasn’t finished; a bit like a house without a roof.
What did you learn from the first LittleBigPlanet that influenced the development process for LittleBigPlanet 2?
MH: LBP1 was primarily a platforming experience, and the majority of community levels reflected that. The tools were more geared towards making this type of experience, but many bright sparks managed to create other types of experience: space shooters, puzzle games, even sit-back-and-watch movies. This is what we tuned into with LBP2, so LittleBigPlanet is now a much more versatile creation tool with specific gadgets and tools that are geared towards making different types of games (or movies, or music, or some new genre that we don’t know about yet!).
Honestly, did you expect to see user-made creations to the quality of those that surfaced in LittleBigPlanet?
MH: I never expected the level of polish and ingenuity that has gone into many things that cropped up in the LBP1 community. It’s almost taken for granted now that certain people will make amazing stuff, and the LBP2 beta hasn’t disappointed on that front. Something that did surprise me with the LBP2 beta, though, was people making fully fledged 3D experiences. We didn’t really cater for that especially, but somehow (and I’m still not quite sure how), it has been managed.
This time around you can create music sequence levels and cutscenes. Tell us a little more about this feature and what it will bring to the LBP party.
MH: Well, it isn’t really a single feature; more a collection of features that allows for making music, movies and general sequencing. There is the music sequencer:, which is worthy of a full product in itself, in my opinion. It’s a fully fledged music sequencer, allowing you to do many things you’d expect to see in a professional music-making package, but because it’s integrated into the other create tools, you can also use it to sequence other events in the world.
So making things happen in the world in time with music is a doddle (rabbits that jump every time the snare drum hits, for example). Then there’s the movie-camera object, allowing you to sequence various shots together to make cinematic sequences with control over wipes/fades, depth of field, camera shake etc. I’m really looking forward to someone pushing the boundaries of interactive movie experiences…
The first LittleBigPlanet focused on platform gaming; what other genres can we expect to see in LittleBigPlanet 2?
MH: You name it. I’m sure pretty much every genre you can imagine will crop up in the community. The beta trial alone has seen seeds of side-scrolling shooters, beat-‘em-ups, puzzle games, sports games, role-playing games (complete with turn-based combat), racing-car games, flight simulators, movies. What I’m really looking forward to, though, is someone creating a new genre. That’s the Holy Grail!
I understand that LittleBigPlanet 2 will feature PlayStation Move support. How will players interact with the game in this way?
MH: LBP2 itself on launch will have no move functionality, but there is a separate package on the disc (Sackboy's Prehistoric Moves) giving a taste of it. We are planning to integrate Move into LittleBigPlanet, which will allow for the community to really explore what’s possible with the controller. We basically want to expose its guts and let creators unleash their imagination.
Players can now program AI sackbots in LittleBigPlanet 2. In what ways will this affect the gameplay?
MH: It should add a lot of life to levels, enemies/allies will be able to do more useful things. It’s possible to remotely control sackbots too, so you could enter a level, think you are controlling your sackboy, but suddenly find you can jump much higher, or walk up walls. And [you] realise that, at some point, your sackboy was stolen and replaced with a replica sackbut. Controlling groups of sackbots (like in classic games such as Lemmings, for example) open up a lot of gameplay possibilities too.
Tell us something about that sequel that nobody else knows.
MH: There is a sneaky little Easter egg in one of the Avalon levels that one of our designers put in...
LittleBigPlanet 2 went on sale this week for PS3. You’ll find Game Console’s review in the February issue, on sale January 31st.