Tuesday, October 7, 2008

October Lookout: Little Big Planet

There are a ton of games coming out this month as people prepare for the holiday season. I don't think there is any question though, that the biggest game coming out this October is Little Big Planet for the PS3 on 10/21.


LBP is more than just a game, it looks to be the greatest level editor ever conceived. Here's a great description of what the game is all about from the Little Big Planet forum at GameFaqs:

"The LittleBigPlanet experience starts with players learning about their character’s powers to interact physically with the environment. There are obstacles to explore, bits and pieces to collect and puzzles to solve – requiring a combination of brains and collaborative teamwork.

As players begin to explore, their creative skills will grow and they will be ready to start creating and modifying their surroundings – the first step to sharing them with the whole community.

Creativity is part of the gameplay experience and playing is part of the creative experience. Players can make their world as open or as secretive to explore as they like. When it's ready, they can invite anyone within the LittleBigPlanet community to come and explore their patch -- or can go and explore everybody else's.

This genre-busting PS3 offering is turning with its quirky ragdoll, unique patchwork visual style, and revolutionary approach to level design. While you and three friends can simply tussle and hop through premade 2D stages, the game's true appeal lies in the ability to design and share your own levels.

The goal with the game is to have users creating tons of new content that will continue to keep the game active long after release. Sony has confirmed that there will be a group of set levels ready to play out of the box -- and even a single-player offline mode for those who don't want to experiment with the community ideas and simply want to play it like they would a traditional platformer." -Balloon_Popper

Creativity is the key to the game. If don't have the mindset of a level designer, you probably won't enjoy this game as much as other people. I've just started to work with level design in programs like Maya and Virtools, so I'm really excited to see how I can use the tools I've learned in class and apply it to the LBP world.

Little Big Planet is also drawing attention outside of the gaming world. The New York Times recently published an article about LBP, raving about the potential of turning gamers into creators. In fact, some students at the Parsons New School for Design (one of the premier colleges for design students) have received advance copies of the game for the purposes of creating an interactive experience. One student remarked on her LBP experience in the NY Times article:

"I don't think of it as a videogame -- even though it is, I look at it as a different form of creativity."

Since the beta came out last week, a few thousand lucky gamers have had the chance to mess around with Little Big Planet pre-release. Here are a couple of videos of some of the levels people have created and shared. Keep in mind this are completely user made so you could make levels like these with this game:







Lolz at the last video. Some people are just fixated/obsessed over one thing. Seriously though, this game looks amazing. I can't wait to play it and make some cool levels. Maybe I can make a version of my Lego Labyrinth in LBP. Hm....

I'll try to do lookout segments every month, highlighting one game of the month that I'm really excited about. Below are other big titles that are releasing this month. The links jump to the trailers for each of the respective games.

Saints Row 2: 10/14 (X360, PS3)
Wii Music: 10/20 (Wii)
Little Big Planet: 10/21 (PS3)
Fable II: 10/21 (X360)
Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia 10/21 (DS)
Guitar Hero: World Tour: 10/26 (X360, PS3, Wii)
Fallout 3: 10/28 (X360, PS3, PC)

7 comments:

ultima301 said...

LBP definitely is getting a lot of attention, and it should, it looks like a really well developed game. I personally can't get myself excited about the game that much. I think it has to do with me being a game programmer myself - if I want to make levels, I can design my own from scratch, instead of build one within the confines of a game. But I think this could definitely be the RPG maker of platformers, so it will do pretty well.

As for the rest of October, the only thing I'm sort of interested in is Fable II, but I could definitely see it falling flat or coming up short. Will probably at least rent or try the demo, assuming there will be one. Course the music game fanatic in me will be giving GH World Tour a try too.

Richard R. said...

I think to call LBP the next RPG maker is not giving LBP enough credit. However, I don't want to overhype the game like other games that came out this year *coughMGS4/GTA4cough*.

However, I think the design is great. Could you imagine programming a game that makes it simple to for a non-programmer to do whatever he or she pleases in terms of level design? The beauty of LBP is that even though it is only one program, the confines are very little. Hell, you can take pictures with the Eyetoy and upload those photos as objects in the game. That's INSANE.

Building your own levels in programming is also awesome, but never before have I seen a game that gives so much power to the gamer as their own developer. That's why LBP is so special.

Let's not get crazy though, LBP is a game, not the next coming of design greatness as some people are making it out to be. I hold judgment until I play it. Though, the potential is massive.

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