Develop 2011: Creative director Mark Healey says network outage didn't hurt online community; user numbers "rocketed" thanks to LBP giveaway; studio will stay "protective" of franchise.
The PlayStation Network outage hasn't harmed LittleBigPlanet's online community, according to Media Molecule creative director Mark Healey. After the outage, in which Sony took its online service down for several days in April and May, the number of players online in the community-focused LBP games surged due to PSN users downloading the first LittleBigPlanet game for free as part of Sony's welcome back package.
At UK-based games industry conference Develop, Healey told GameSpot about Media Molecule's experience of the extended network outage: "We have a scrolling LED sign in the office that tells us how many people are online [in LBP], so that obviously said zero [during the outage], so [the PSN outage] was in our face in that sense."
After the PSN was restored, said Healey, the number of users swelled past pre-outage numbers. "Because Sony offered LBP 1 as a freebie, the number rocketed up. I imagine a lot of the creators were just sort of, 'OK, I'm just going to make something ready to unleash when it comes back on.'" He noted that the "massive" increase in the online community, powered by Sony's global giveaway, "has probably cost Sony something."
Media Molecule art director Kareem Ettouney called the user community "so forgiving," saying that it had been "very, very understanding."
On the topic of "stepping away" from the LBP series, with development duties on the upcoming PlayStation Vita LBP title going to outside developers Double 11 and Tarsier Studios, Mark Healey said it isn't as though Media Molecule is suddenly letting go of its franchise. "Even from LittleBigPlanet 1, we were always working with outside companies anyway, so it's not like a sudden, black-and-white [shift]. It's a gradual process, and we're going to keep involved. Sackboy's like our firstborn child; we can't just let it walk off into the wilderness on its own. We're going to be very protective of it."
Speaking on the incoming downloadable Move Pack for LittleBigPlanet 2 which is "just being tied up now," Healey said: "It will be interesting to see what that does with the Move controller because it's like we've taken the Move controller, opened up the guts, given it to hopefully lots of people…just to explore the possibilities." He also talked about the scale of the downloadable content pack, comparing it to the size of a boxed product. "There's a lot of content there…I could easily see how we could have made the Move Pack a full Blu-ray with a bit more content."
Media Molecule is currently spending time working with the new LittleBigPlanet teams, as well as experimenting with new ideas, said Healey. "There's a lot of dialogue with the teams that are going to take over the weight of the work with LBP. There's some experimentation and exploration going on."
Though there was nothing specific to share on the Sony-owned studio's next game, Ettouney added, "We are creative people who will always produce stuff anyway, whether there's a Media Molecule project or not. We draw all the time; we create prototypes all the time…that's the way we arrive at [new projects]. I think the industry has overdone the magic, key, cool idea thing. There's no such thing. It's only a process of working, working, working, and then something sticks."
LittleBigPlanet 2 players will get their hands on the downloadable Move Pack in the near future. The LittleBigPlanet title for the PlayStation Vita will follow next year.
"It's natural. The welcome program had only 2 games worth picking (LBP1 and Infamous 1), so everyone who didn't have them got those." And in some countrys Sony wasn't even allowed to give away Infamous 1 for free regarding country's law due to it beeing 18+ and they replaced it with utter casual gamer crap instead. So, no wonder.
I'm not surprised, in some countrys with way too overprotective youth protection laws about "dangerous media", like mine, Little Big Planet was actually the only good and interesting full core gamers game at all
It's natural. The welcome program had only 2 games worth picking (LBP1 and Infamous 1), so everyone who didn't have them got those.
I picked up Infamous and LBP as part of the "Welcome Back." I have hardly played LBP so far, and I'm not sure what I think of it. I'm sure it's a great game based on what I've seen, it just isn't drawing me to it.
I downloaded LBP because I either already owned the other games or had zero interest in them. All I can say is that I'm glad I didn't pay for it. What an excruciatingly boring game. At least I know now to pass on anything LBP in the future.
Yeahhhh. Love Little Big Planet :) Glad to see so many folks took the free offer and ended up enjoying it.
i hadn't played the game in a while and after returning back to it, i began to remember the amount of creativity in the community. I watched a trailer for an absolutely EPIC fps level, a 50 minute long movie someone made, and played through an engaging sewer level . . . all i can say is . . . imagination is the limit, especially with LBP
LBP is a great game. I hope a lot of people that didn't own the game chose it as part of their free games.
Turns on the PS3, see a DVD under games, its say "Black Ops", takes out DVD, destroys DVD, looks in downloaded games, sees LittleBigPlanet, presses X, smiley face :D
@taino1128, hackers could have sold or cc info.. lucky for us they did it just to show sony they could do it.. they didnt do it to use our cc to steal our money. sony knew they did it 2 whole weeks before they even told us!! then they gave us almost the worst games to choose from.. only way it coulda got worse is if they gave us pain, haze, that sky diving game,folklore and wipeout without the packs... sony shoulda had to give all our money back for what we spent on the ps3 and our games for not protecting our info....
I wasn't able to play online games for about three weeks. I then got LBP for free as a result. I must say, it was more than worth it!
Honestly, I was disappointed by LBP. Way too much hype. Then again, I got it for free, so it certainly isn't a big deal.
i downloaded for both ps3 and psp...... all i can say is i wish they had better games to choose from. this is way to boring for my tastes
@Triton - You DO attract a new audience with free sandwich day, even if 10 of the 100 people come back again and again, you did gain 10 more regular customers that you didn't have before.
So now we know who was behind the PSN hacking. Sackboy u devious little attention seeker, you're great enough as is, no need to resort to these extreme measures for popularity !!!
@triton that analogy doesn't really work here because food is a constant thing you pay for while the game was a one time fee that lasts as long as you want it to. If they like the game they may be more inclined to buy DLC or another game in the series.
Yep just like a restaurant that hands out a free sandwich sees a major surge in the amount of folks that start eating there all the time. - More like only when they hand it out for free...once the free goes away , so do they.
Well if you think about it thousands of people who hadn't ever picked up the game were able to try the full version free, and because of this probably went on to get LBP2 and will probably continue on with LBP3 it actually makes a lot of sense and I can see in the long run it helping push more sales for LBP3. Obviously it would have been better to sell them rather then give away but I think this will help sony out.
I didn't chose LBP as one of the welcome back games. I chose Infamous and Dead Nation. After play Dead Nation I realized I made a mistake. My cousin had showed me the awesomeness of LBP and I was fairly dissapointed i didn't download it. So I went out and bought it because it's one of the most awesome PS3 titles out there. Long live LBP
"Sony took its online service down for several days in April and May" I think that's stretching the definition of "several days" by juuuuuuuuuust a bit.
Sony may have given LBP away for free, but the developer certainly got paid. I know LBP is a hit game, but I wouldn't base it's current status/success or it's next game off of the recent free give-away. That's asinine.
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