Little Big Planet 2 has already been comprehensively detailed at previous preview events, but there seems to be plenty left up Media Molecule's metaphorical sleeve. At Gamescom 2010, the developer's technical director, Alex Evans, demonstrated more of the game's story mode, more of the new building elements, and more of the sequencing tools that can be used to build music loops and even levels.
Evans started by showing off a couple of levels from the game's story mode. "We try not to cheat," said Evans on the in-house level creators. "Our designers just get a PS3 and a controller," he explained, "and that's it." The story revolves around something called the negativitron, which has been sucking up everything like a giant Hoover. Like in the first Little Big Planet, though, the story seems to be intentionally nonsensical and more of an excuse for Media Molecule to unleash its creativity.
With the levels now all finalised in the beta version of the game, the team has been finding out new things about its creations. One of the levels that you'll have seen if you've watched the trailers is Tower of Whoop, which combines the game's new bounce pads and grapple hooks to form the most vertical Little Big Planet level yet. The level's designer recently found that it was possible to perform one long point bubble chain from start to finish if you're good enough. The team in Guildford, UK, is now obsessed with completing score runs on the level according to Evans.
Another level we saw took place aboard a spaceship that vaguely resembled a flying Sackboy. When the ship came under attack, it entered warp speed, and the gravity went haywire, allowing Sackboy to perform huge jumps through the air. The next section from the story starred Victoria, a bipolar baker whose kitchen is invaded by evil cupcakes. The level features a device called the createnator, which can fire anything that the creator wants. In this case, the ammunition was icing, which was imbued with a stickiness that is a new physical property for the Little Big Planet universe. What this means is that you can shoot icing to clog up machinery that may be powering an electrical obstacle in Sackboy's way, or fire it at a bridge to weigh it down so you can cross. The first Little Big Planet had an impressive physics system, but the sequel looks to be taking things to the next level.
On top of the story levels, we got to see one of the bonus stages that will be featured in the game. Evans called for the help of a second player to partake in a game of basketball, on a floor that featured a couple of bounce pads and with a ball made of rubber bands. The idea was for one player to grab hold of the ball, pull it over the pad, and then direct it in midair to score a slam dunk. However, you can sabotage the other player by pulling on him or the ball, which we witnessed to hilarious effect in the demo.
The final part of the Gamescom demo was a technical demonstration of the sequencer, which can be used to perform a surprisingly wide range of tasks. It was originally invented so that you could add your own music to the game, which it still does, but the team at Media Molecule has also used it to help build levels. In one level, the action went from platforming to a top-down racing game with Sackboy riding a giant caterpillar creature. When the level was booted up in edit mode, we could see how the designer has built panels of the track and left them floating in midair and then used a sequencer script to place the constituent parts to make a track.
Our demo was short, but we also managed to glean more information about Little Big Planet 2. Stephen Fry will definitely be making a return as the narrator, and his voice could be heard frequently during our demo. The backdrops for the levels have been designed by design specialists Fireproof, a Guildford-based graphics house that has also worked on Blur and the upcoming DJ Hero 2. You'll also be able to record your own lines of dialogue for characters in the game, and they'll automatically lip-sync to your recordings. There will also be a brand-new licensed soundtrack, although Media Molecule wasn't naming names at this stage.
For more on Little Big Planet 2, be sure to check out the previews, footage, and interviews on GameSpot right now.