GDC 07: LittleBigPlanet First Look

Sony's intriguing new game asks what happens when felt creatures come to the PlayStation 3.

Given the abstract nature of the theoretical talk that occurs when the power of the PlayStation 3's cell processor is brought up, it's somehow fitting that one of the most intriguing displays of what the system can do should be a unique game from the fine folks who brought us Rag Doll Kung Fu. During Sony's Game Developers Conference press event last night, Phil Harrison introduced reps from UK-based Media Molecule, who were on hand to show off LittleBigPlanet, an upcoming PS3 title with a funky twist. The demo of the game offered an intriguing showcase for what's possible with the PS3.

The demo started out with a long sock-puppet critter hanging out in a plain area. The player giving the demo touched on how the control scheme would work and showed off how the Sixaxis' motion control could be used to move the critter's head. Once the basics were covered, the host called up a menu and selected some items to place in the area around the critter. The items, such as a felt tree, could be rotated for placement and dropped anywhere. It was also possible to combine items. For example, when a gear was placed on a large piece of wood, it became something that could be interacted with by hanging on it, spinning on it, and running on top of it treadmill style.

Besides physical objects, it was possible to place stickers on the world. In the case of the demo, this included the fabric that formed the walls of the initial area. Once that was shown off, the demo moved to a four-player run-through in an area that had been created ahead of time and showed off the different looks possible for the sock critters. The basic sock critter was joined by a buddy in an Evil Knievel outfit, another wearing a dragon costume, and a more feminine pal. The quartet began at a starting area and then raced to collect sponge, which is a resource needed for making items.

The journey showed off the unique ways you can interact with objects once they're placed. Upon reaching a high area that couldn't be reached by jumping, the crew alternately used an orange and a soccer ball as a series of platforms to reach the upper area. It was also possible to swing and jump from the moving soccer ball or use the momentum of the rolling orange to vault there as well. Besides the individual platforming, a later sequence showed off the potential for teamwork as the four characters strapped on jetpacks and worked together to move a large item onto a platform by grabbing it and zipping up to where they needed to go.

The run ended with the four characters dramatically sailing through the air on a skateboard, commemorated with an in-game snap taken by one of the players. At the end of the run, signaled by a helpful "finished" sign, the reps showed off a video that gave an idea of what is going to be possible in the game. The big element in the video was the showcase of how you'll be able to create and upload levels to the PlayStation Network that others can download and rate. The closing bit of the demo also showed off the game's nod to Media Molecule's Rag Doll Kung Fu roots as the characters engaged in a friendly brawl.

The visuals in the game were sharp and featured a mix of modest and photorealistic detail of what was shown. The game's sandboxlike nature requires a degree of flexibility that's impressive considering how you can interact and manipulate with what looks to be just about anything. The demo area shown featured an impressive level of scale and interactivity with the demo, opening up in a small area and then opening up into a much bigger one seamlessly. The look of the game is interesting in that it blends real-world objects with more fantastical bits, such as felt trees and stickers. The little sock-puppet characters feature more personality than you'd think, though they definitely lean toward the cute end of the spectrum.

Based on what we've seen, LittleBigPlanet is a promising new idea that works as a showcase for the PS3. The visual elements coupled with the gameplay and the impressive amount of customization and online support are intriguing. We're curious as to the kind of structure the game is going to have, how much "game" will be in there out of the gate, and how much will rely on the user's imagination. Still, there's a lot of potential here for some cool stuff that we're excited to see realized. According to Harrison, LittleBigPlanet will be available for download later this year on the PS3 network and on disc in 2008. Look for more on the game in the coming months.

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Discussion

135 comments
Pyro77
Pyro77

God that music is so damn catchy. I've got that flute rift stuck in my head. Will finally get a PS3 for this and MGS4 =)

Ardiendo_1
Ardiendo_1

It's spelt Evel Knievel not Evil!

Chocolate_Hero
Chocolate_Hero

This looks so impressive! Very original. Me wants.

guitarfreak2005
guitarfreak2005

Haha. Me and my friends agree that, if this was the only game for PS3, we would still buy it. It simply looks great, the physics are awesome, graphics, gameplay, teamwork, competition, online, level editors.. the list keeps going on. Has anyone seen the whole uncut on-stage demonstration at GDC 07? It's awesome. Phil sucks at playing LittleBigPlanet :P

BlueyesCyclone
BlueyesCyclone

This Game is Excellent reminds me of Ted Berton's Nightmare Before Christmas . tHis game and Home and Final Fantasy 13 and Final Fantasy verse 13 will show what the PS3 can do EXCELLENT 10/10 I SAY.

daniel665
daniel665

This looks so great and at first i was gonna step out and buy a ps3 for this but on reflection i realsied that with me only getting a 360 at christmans and playing viva pinata, kameo, def jam icon, test drive, crack down, splinter celld da, oblivion, pes 6, pgr 3 and test drive9ilove games.) i don't think ill have any money or time to make levels for this game especially with lost odyessy, mass effect, fable2, blue dragon, halo 3,forza 2, unreal, gta 4, vf5, colin mcrae rally dirt andnstrangle hold coming out. Man ther are to many games to play this year.

hairy_freak
hairy_freak

the ps3 may not have as many titles as other consoles but when it does those titles are just unbelivably incredible

NY_Yankees_Fan
NY_Yankees_Fan

LittleBigPlanet looks great!.I'll be sure to buy it,but don't hate on killzone 2,it's going to be great,and the only reason it got a bad score is because of the gameplay and graphics which will be fixed come killzone 2,I'm really exited about LittleBigPlanet!!!

Platyphyllum
Platyphyllum

This game looks quite interesting! The physics are great, and the graphics are awesome! It's definitely something to check out, classicfan: What if it looks childish? Does it mean it can't be a good game? Honestly, it's idiotic opinions like yours that are making Sony make bad games. Honestly, the only reason you want Killzone 2 is because it's a shooter. Why would you want a sequel to a game that got a 6.8 on Gamespot or something?

maxmax1234
maxmax1234

this is for me ( with home ) the real reason to buy a PS3.

Dark_Pheonix01
Dark_Pheonix01

I cant wait to see more of what this game is about, its definetly different from any game I've seen before.

BIGboss600
BIGboss600

this game looks kind of like a joke but it could feed the minds of the children who want a ps3

Kreean
Kreean

Yeah Phil and give classicfan some hairs on his breast ( he needs it desperately ;) )

OddballTECH
OddballTECH

I don't care what anyone says. This game is going to be amazing. The level of things you can interact with is insane! I'm sure this game will be one of the coolest titles on the PS3.

classicfan
classicfan

Oh man this looks like a game for kids lol lamo! not to trash it I'm sorry but this game come on seriously looks childish! ragdolls quit playing with your sisters dolls lol! Come on wheres the games for the real players! Killzone 2 etc.No MGS4?.. Phil Harrison!!.Show what the PlayStation 3 can do!..

Kreean
Kreean

Great game (brought tears to my eyes when I watched the trailer) that focuses more on gameplay then fancy graphics (although the graphics and music are gorgeous) that's the way it's done. It's great to see such refreshing titles an not just another generic shooter. Go Media Molecule! And go Sony take some risks and innovate don't imitate!

ryokinshin6x3
ryokinshin6x3

combines good gfx and gameplay, not taking away one for the other thats wat nxt gen is about

MGSFan27285
MGSFan27285

this looks really fun and intresting.

MGSFan27285
MGSFan27285

this looks really fun and intresting.

JustWiicredible
JustWiicredible

An original franchise that emphazies gameplay over graphics in this day of age. Amazing. The physics engine alone looks fantastic, the inertia of the soccer ball compared to the tennis ball is so realistic. The apparent use of teamwork to complete tasks, cute characters to boot. This IS NEXT GEN GAMES! Little Big Planet is just a taste of what PS3 games can be like. Though the launch line up is poor, you know your getting quality in the long run. Friday or Xmas is up to you but everyone will have one eventually. Fact.

JedimasterRocky
JedimasterRocky

This thing just blew my mind, If the final product has enough game play and depth right out the box to stand on it's own it'll be amazing; don't get me wrong I'm am loving the idea of creating your levels and stuff' I'm just worried that they'll get lazy and rely on that to provide the meat of the game and if you aren't into the creating stuff you'll won't have have a lot to enjoy right out the box.Anyway I'm loving this cuteness. PS3+MGS4+Little Big Planet= SOLD

stasker
stasker

mikado01, did you say exploding knockers!! Oh sorry, got distracted. Littlebigplanet looks amazing and along with Ratchet is what is pushing me over the edge to becoming a PS3 adopter.

Guidochua
Guidochua

this game is completely in my tracking list ^^

karlpenlington
karlpenlington

damn that game looks so cool can;t wait to play :)

Deadly_Fatalis
Deadly_Fatalis

Why can't people just be happy that we get something innovative and new. I bet if Gears Of War was on the PS3 and not the 360 all the 360 fanboys would bash it to hell. But because it is on the 360 they praise it like god.

mikado01
mikado01

This game looks pretty amazing. But i really don't see today's market buying into this type of game. Most people will just go "this is lame, there aren't any explosions or big knockers!" I am still totally interested in this game, but cutesy videogames are definitely going the way of the Dodo.

magnumpeeaye
magnumpeeaye

This game is the most original thing Ive seen in a long time. It definately beats the 360s gaming by numbers catalogue!!!!

znte140
znte140

cute game.. but it looks more suited to the nintendo audience (don't get me wrong.. nintendo are great); is there any other reason apart from great graphics to buy the ps3 over the xbox360? my personal reasons for buying the ps1 were due to gran turismo, mgs, and the final fantasy series.. now forza 2 and splinter cell leave only one reason to stay sony

pblancaflor
pblancaflor

Man, Sony is finally giving me some reasons to buy a PS3 - now if only they would lower the price ;)

noxian
noxian

malmeid2 Did you even look at the pics? It doesn't look that great to me... The AA looks like trash and I don't see any good HDR. You shouldn't believe everything that Sony tells you. For starters, this includes: "The PS3 is awesome."; Also: "The PSP is awesome." And no YlowBstard if it were on 360 and looked the same as those pics I would also call it trash. --------------------------- real question is how much did you look at the game you mention AA and yet the AA is better than a lot of the games on the 360 already and this game's a year away

malmeid2
malmeid2

MrSiko - "I really do believe, having read comments in many forums about this, that people are just not getting that this game, and the game-creation engine it is running on, represent the best rendering so far done in real-time on commercial hardware. Simply astounding, and may just be the unlikely saviour of the PS3. Been waiting for this since I first saw Toy Story, and now it is here." Did you even look at the pics? It doesn't look that great to me... The AA looks like trash and I don't see any good HDR. You shouldn't believe everything that Sony tells you. For starters, this includes: "The PS3 is awesome."; Also: "The PSP is awesome." And no YlowBstard if it were on 360 and looked the same as those pics I would also call it trash.

YlowBstard
YlowBstard

If it were on 360, people would call it genius- Just like if Viva Pinata was on PS3, people would dismiss it as a novelty that wears thin.

Trenchman
Trenchman

A novel idea, but it seems like the kind of game that once the novelty wore off you wouldn't care anymore.

fetusfart18
fetusfart18

The reasons people are bashing this game are the very same reasons they would be showering it with the highest of praises if it were to be released on Xbox 360. Jesus I hate biased fanboyism.

DrCLos
DrCLos

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

DrCLos
DrCLos

I must admit that this "game" looks pretty interesting. Definitely something I would want to try out at least. :)

the_no_one
the_no_one

This looks really bad, like most PS3 exclusives. Why's there so much hype for it??? Why Goddamit!!

RabbidDawg
RabbidDawg

This game looks lame. Its not going into my PS3

GhostyMcboo
GhostyMcboo

looks fun... not worth 6 bills, but seriously original

Sorean
Sorean

Why does this have so much hype? It looks boreing, being able to build your own maps sounds fun but not a real selling point, not really worth buying a PS3 over and no where near as cool as the Home system being introduced.

Cellien
Cellien

Not a bad looking game, but seems once again overhyped... TOTALLY not worthin buying a $600 machine to play, it looks like a minigame or something for DS with much better grfx.

MrSiko
MrSiko

I really do believe, having read comments in many forums about this, that people are just not getting that this game, and the game-creation engine it is running on, represent the best rendering so far done in real-time on commercial hardware. Simply astounding, and may just be the unlikely saviour of the PS3. Been waiting for this since I first saw Toy Story, and now it is here.

Bevinsky
Bevinsky

I must say, this game looks brilliant. But it'll probably take a while for me to play it, since the PS3 is far too expensive for me right now. But this will definitely be one of the first games I'm getting. Pure genius! But, I'm currently not such a big fan of Sony's right now, not after all their strange PR stuff...

rrx_88
rrx_88

For everyone who screams "Great work sony". Sony didn't do it! Media molecule did! So, great work Mark etc! Gotta buy me a ps3...

SpazH3d
SpazH3d

I WANT IT ON XBOX 360! HOW CAN YOU DO THIS TO MEH!

chakan2
chakan2

Finally, PS3 might have a killer app. This totally should have been a Wii game though. :)