10 Things You Can Make In LittleBigPlanet 2
10. Valve Corporation
The scope of LittleBigPlanet 2’s tools is so huge that it looks highly unlikely that the best creations are going to come from individuals. Media Molecule full expects development teams to start forming within the LBP2 community, with creators able then to focus on their own particular specialisation be that art, programming, design, storytelling, music… some teams might even have managers and promoters. Who knows?
We’re not quite talking anything on the scale of Valve, of course, but there are few better examples of highly creative, independent developers that just seem to be able to do anything and everything. Oh, except PS3 development…
9. The Godfather Trilogy
LittleBigPLanet 2 isn’t just a platform for games, it’s a platform for a wide range of creative endeavours, including movies. You can now direct and record sequences and string them together into entire movies, or even epic movie trilogies. Some creators will inevitably recreate their favourite films as close to shot-by-shot as they can (and some studios will no doubt insist they be taken down), but Media Molecule is also hoping for some truly great original movie creations. Perhaps the LBP community will soon have its very own Francis Ford Coppola.
8. Just Cause 2
The jetpack and paint gun are now just two among an as-yet-unspecified (but definitely more than tow) number of items Sackboy can be equipped with. The only one we’ve had a chance to try out is the Grapple Claw, which works in a similar way to the grapple tools in Bionic Commando, Lost Planet 2 and Just Cause 2 and is loads of fun. In the level we played it was used to enhance the classic LBP platforming action – a longer arm for Sackboy basically – but it could be used as the centrepiece of an entire game idea we’re sure.
7. Michael Jackson’s Thriller
LittleBigPlanet 2 has specific tools for creating music videos so you could, if it weren’t for potential copyright issues, remake all 13 minutes and 33 seconds of the greatest music promo ever made. The scenes before and after the song would be no problem, and the undead dance routine is exactly the sort of thing the new tools are designed for. Just get a group of Sackbots, dress ‘em up as zombies then program them to dance in perfect synchronisation, and Bob’s your uncle. As for the song, there are going to be music creation tools of some sort, although we’ve not seen them yet, and you’ll even be able to record your own voice samples. Basically, LittleBigPlanet 2 could prove to be a better launch pad for fledgling pop careers than the X-Factor.
When Media Molecule first introduced to the concept of Sackbots – AI clones of Sackboy that can be customised and even programmed – it was mentioned that they could be used to create a game in the vein of Lemmings, and it’s easy to see how. Relatively easy anyway. Seeing a group of small Sackbots pacing back and forth between two unassailable obstacles is immediately reminiscent of the classic Psygnosis puzzler, and we can see how it would be possible to set up a means of selecting one to perform a task such as building a stairway, digging a tunnel or squeaking ‘OH NO!” then exploding.
5. Party Political Sackcast
When Media Molecule’s Kareem Ettouney first started seeing some deeply personal, expressive creations filtering out of the LittleBigPlanet community, he started wondering what might be next. Social commentary? Political statements? There’s nothing stopping someone creating a level with a serious message behind it, and in LittleBigPlanet 2 this will be even more flexible and easier to share with a wide audience. We don’t think it’s quite what Ettouney had in mind, but we do wonder if any politicians might get themselves into the LBP community in the same way that many now use Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. There are rules about using LBP to advertise or promote things that aren’t related to LBP, but there’s a lot of grey area to be exploited so long as you’re not too blatant about it. So then how do we know the viral LBP political levels haven’t started already? How do we know we didn’t subconsciously vote the way we did in the General Election because of Sackboy? Yikes!
4. Tales Of Symphonia
A quick check on the internet’s consensus view on the matter reveals that from story start to story finish, the longest RPG ever made is Tales Of Symphonia, with most players taking around 80 hours to finish it. But we’re not going to split hairs over which is the longest. The point is that in LittleBigPlanet 2 you can make an 80-hour RPG if you want. Levels can be linked together into whole games, and there’s no limit to how many levels can be linked because they’re all stored on the LBP servers. Of course, how long it would take to make a game that takes 80 hours to play is another matter, but the dedication of LBP creators should never be underestimated.
3. Corel Painter
One of the testing team at Media Molecule has already managed to make a set of his own creative tools using the LittleBigPlanet 2 tools. Exactly what these custom made tools do, we weren’t told, but we can imagine how painting would be doable. Make a brush controlled by a direct control seat and have it moved about with the analogue sticks, with different controller buttons emitting different colours of a material unaffected by gravity. Alright, so it’s not quite Corel Painter – which is a very realistic digital art application, by the way – but it’s still amazing that even LBP 2’s extensive range of tools doesn’t actually represent the limit.
2. Carnage Heart
“What the hell is Carnage Heart?” you’re probably wondering. It’s a very obscure PSone game developed by Japanese studio Artdink that Play, way back in issue 23, described as “well made”, “well presented” and “depressingly deep”. It was indeed one of the most demanding, inaccessible games ever but in light of what Media Molecule has revealed regarding the microchip and circuit board systems in LittleBigPlanet 2, Carnage Heart was perhaps also 13 years ahead of its time. What set Carnage Heart apart from other games was that you essentially programmed the AI of your own mechanoid forces using the incredibly fiddly, confusing, complicated circuit board system pictured above, then (eventually) watched it battle other mechanoids according to your programming. Very similar to what’s involved at the most hardcore end of LBP 2’s creativity spectrum. Carnage Heart’s problem was that it lacked the option to give up and go make a dragon out of cardboard if it all those microchips got too much.
1. Your Life Story
Above all else, Media Molecule’s art director, Kareem Ettouney, would like to see LittleBigPlanet getting personal. He cited the book/movie Persepolis to us as an example of the kind of personal, meaningful storytelling he feels LBP 2 is a perfect platform for. It’s a way to tell people about yourself and who you are and what you do in a more creative, entertaining way than a Twitter post or Facebook status update, that’s for sure. It’s something that emerged naturally from the first game – PLAY’s former editor Nick Jones shared his journey to work and his love of tea and cake through LBP, for example – and Media Molecule is taking deliberate steps to encourage more of it this time around.
Things You Can’t Do
…although some genius probably will.
LittleBigPlanet 2 is way more flexible than its predecessor, but it’s still fundamentally a 2D game. 2.5D at a push. The camera can be moved around a lot, but its rotation is limited by the fact that if you turned it to far up or down or either side your shot would go off the edge of the level. The closest we saw to first-person was a third-person view, tucked in behind Sackboy, but it was pointed downward so you could only see a little way in front of him.
No, World Of Sackcraft is not looking like a realistic possibility, as all levels are still limited to a maximum of four players. When we thought really hard about it, we wondered whether the new social features might make some kind of LBP equivalent to a play-by-mail game possible, but even that would be a stretch.
Someone made a calculator in the first LBP and no one seems to know how. A calculator is a basic computer so it stands to reason that someone will figure out how to make a more complex computer in LBP 2, with its in-depth chips and boards system. But there will be limits – no one’s going to make a PS4. But a ZX Spectrum? Maybe.
Bring Back The Dead
A lot of people are rightly excited about LittleBigPlanet 2, but we should remember that, while the possibilities are vast, it cannot perform miracles. So don’t expect the second coming of Christ, or even the second coming of your nan. That said, we reckon Sackboy might have what it takes to turn water into wine, or maybe even to part a sea.
Yes, you can create original movies, and recreate any existing movie so long as you’re aware of the risk of having it removed on copyright grounds… but wait, any movie? No, you couldn’t accurately remake The Matrix in its entirety. The ‘bullet time’ sequences would require the camera to move in a full circle and that’s something LBP 2 can’t do. Although… we just thought of a way that… maybe…