For Little Big Planet 3, Sony's Getting Development Help From the Community

Sony is co-developing the Sackboy platformer with the help of members of the franchise's active level-making community.

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Earlier this year, Sony announced the return of LittleBigPlanet, the quirky platformer that champions user-generated content. The new game, LittleBigPlanet 3, will be co-developed by Sony XDev with the help of around 20 members of the game's large and active community.

Speaking at a recent Sony event in New York, Tom O'Connor, senior producer at Sony XDev, said the studio was so impressed with some of the LittleBigPlanet 2 community creations that they contacted some of the players responsible with job offers. "One of our favorites was the guy who made a first-person shooter in LBP 2," O'Connor said. "We reached out to him and a few others via the PSN and asked them to come to Sheffield in the UK and help us make LBP 3."

"We reached out to him and a few others via the PSN and asked them to come to Sheffield in the UK and help us make LBP 3." -- Tom O'Connor

Within days of the E3 announcement, Twitter lit up with the hashtag #lbp3wishes as the LBP community began discussing what new features they'd like to see implemented in the new game. O'Connor says many of the suggestions are already in the works, like an in-game power-up creator. The game's hero, Sackboy, has had a range of different power-ups in previous games, but now players will finally be able to design their own. Sackboy will be able to carry these around with him in his "sack pocket."

LBP 3 will also feature over 60 new content creation tools, as well as three new characters: Swoop, Toggle, and Oddsock. Toggle can move between being big and small; he can push heavy blocks and obstacles, but also fit through small gaps and catapult through the air. Swoop can fly, making it easy to access hard-to-reach places, and he can also pick up objects and characters (with the exception of Toggle). Oddsock, a four-legged character, is proficient at wall jumps and slides.

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The goal, as with other games in the series, is to inspire the LBP community to keep creating new content. "Whenever we try out new features, it's always with the community in mind," O'Connor said. "They get access to exactly the same tools that we use to make the game."

According to O'Connor, LBP 3 will be the easiest game in the series for players to get into, even if they've never played an LBP game before. The new characters will allow for local and online multiplayer, and there'll be interactive tutorials--voiced by Stephen Fry--to guide players through the content creation tools. In addition, all 8.5 million levels created by the community from LBP 1 and LBP 2 will be available, retouched, and upgraded for the PS4.

"LBP is very physical," O'Connor says. "People usually need very little explanation when they start playing. They just get it."

LittleBigPlanet 3 is out on PlayStation 4 this November.

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