We'd be lying if we said that every time we see LittleBigPlanet (LBP) we don't crack a smile. It's geeky to admit, but the real-time object collision, physics calculations, and overall cuteness of the characters--in addition to its fantastic gameplay--was enough for us to award it Best Platformer in our E3 Media & Business Summit 2007 Editor's Choice Awards, as well as ultimately the highly coveted Game of the Show gong.
UK-based developer Media Molecule was on hand at the pre-TGS Sony Computer Entertainment event Wednesday night to demo and allow journalists some hands-on time with the latest version of its highly anticipated game.
While the build on show wasn't drastically different from the code shown at Leipzig, reps did let us know that the one being shown at TGS did feature a couple of subtle changes that may not have been so obvious to those outside of the development circle. The most noticeable changes were the addition of new stickers and objects in the "pop it" menu. These give players even more customizability on their avatars and surroundings.
While the game focuses on the environment, as well as the completion and creation of levels, Sack Boy and Sack Girl have also received updated gestures, with the amount of pressure on the Sixaxis analogue producing varying degrees of emotion.
The biggest change to the version on display was the news that in previous demonstrations, Media Molecule had cheated slightly by including objects in the demo levels that couldn't previously have been made with the user-generated tools. This has now changed, and the level was rewritten from scratch. As a result, it is totally reproducible if you have the time and inclination.
The other major new feature to be shown off at TGS was the new globe menu system, which users will use to navigate, as well as enter zones and levels. Badges on the globe will indicate whether the user is viewing a single or a series of stages. Media Molecule is making an effort to specifically avoid users needing to bump heads with menus, and the globe system will help provide seamless transition between play sessions. What planet would be complete without a moon? The LittleBigPlanet world includes one, and here, you'll be able to access your user-created levels.
This new build was also the first we've seen to include a scoring system, and while in co-op play you're working together to complete common goals, successful attempts will reveal a fluff counter, as well as a cooperative score. There are no individual scores currently because the developers believe it's counterproductive for a game that is so heavily focused on two players helping each other out.
Gameplay looks as fun as ever with an emphasis on teamwork and completing environmental puzzles as a duo. Snail shells were used in our demo to weigh down a platform needed to access the next area. Certain objects have been given attributes that make them too heavy to move alone, so you'll need to work together if you want to progress.
With more new features every time we see it, we can't wait to get our hands on it to start completing tasks and building our own challenges. No official launch date has been confirmed for the ambitious project, but the PlayStation 3-exclusive game looks to be worth the wait.