The lights are on
Media Molecule might not be as prolific as some of my other
favorite developers, but the studio's reinvention of the 2D platformer is one
of my standout memories from this generation of consoles.
The word "innovative" gets thrown around a lot in the video
game industry, but rarely is the praise actually warranted. Formula tweaks, UI
redesigns, and gameplay gimmickry are all too often referred to as innovative,
along with every variation of shooting something with a gun that developers
have come up with over the years.
When I think back on the concepts and features introduced in
Media Molecule's debut game, however, the description isn't just apt – it's an
understatement. LittleBigPlanet not only allows players to create their own
content to extend the life of the game, but makes it easy to find and download
new content from your fellow players.
I'm a big fan of games that provide level editors to players
(which sadly still seldom occurs on consoles), and Media Molecule did a
remarkable job with LBP's creation tools. Not only can you create your own levels
from scratch, but the versatile engine also takes physics and materials into
account, and allows you to make your own mechanical contraptions. Long before the
release of Minecraft, players were coming up with surprising creations in
LittleBigPlanet, and have continued recreating movie
systems, and different
genres in LBP 2. The series' latest milestone put the number of
user-created levels at eight
million; a lot of games boast "infinite replayability" but LittleBigPlanet
is one of the few series that comes close to delivering on that promise. Even
more importantly, Media Molecule pioneered sharing content, creating its own self-sustaining
community while providing a blueprint that numerous developers have since
Media Molecule's projects share a design aesthetic that I
can only describe as unabashedly happy. In an industry that's obsessed with
violence and war, Media Molecule reminds players that games can still just be
fun, lighthearted affairs; I can't help but smile when I see Media Molecule's
cutesy characters and creative worlds. I love explosions and headshots as much
as the next gamer, but Media Molecule's work provides a nice respite from all the bloodshed, and I'm looking forward to its upcoming Tearaway
as another cheerful diversion from the battlefield.
When Game Informer tackled the great debate of whether video
games are art, LittleBigPlanet was my go-to
example, as a series that both has its own creative and artistic merit, and
also provides players with editing and sharing tools to express themselves. Based
on the developer's demo
at the PlayStation 4 reveal, the studio is still trying to nail down what its
next project will entail, but the hallmark attributes of user-created content, community integration, and creative expression are all present. I'm glad Media
Molecule has successfully carved out its own niche in the industry, and I can't
wait to see more of what the studio is working on for next-gen.
Email the author Jeff Marchiafava, or follow on Google+, Twitter, and Game Informer.
Excellent article Jeff. You're absolutely right bout LBP being a nice, refreshing diversion from all the gore and violence that we've grown accustomed to in games. Diversity in the game space should be recognized and rewarded.
LBP came out while I was in middle school. I would come home every day and play this game until I had to go to bed. Never have I ever been so attached to a game before. I have so much nostalgia for it now. I remember waiting for it to come out. I had followed it for over a year on their blog, told all my friends about it, and would check up on it pretty much hourly. When it came out it blew me away. I did the campaign over and over and made many great levels. It's not one of those throwaway games with a campaign you beat and a multiplay you dwaddle in and then stop. It's a unique experience that enthralls you in and keeps you coming back. I haven't had this experience occur ever again! I love LBP. Good read, Jeff.
I haven't played LBP2 for a few months now. To busy playing The Last of Us and BioShock Infinite. Maybe I should see if any of my friends want to go create a level on LBP2.
YES!! LBP 2 is awesome, i Want LBP 3 on PS4 SOOOOOOOOOOO BAD!! but i guess i can look forward to Tearaway
I got LBP2 from PS Plus, but I couldn't really get into it, probably because of the wealth of other free games I had from Plus. Anyway, I am looking forward to Tearaway.
its sad that they are done with little big planet
Oh man, I spent so much time playing LBP. Such a brilliantly designed game. I really hope to see a new one for PS4 sometime down the road.
awesome to see people recognizing how great LBP is, this is a game that surprise me for how deep and complex the user created can be is up to the creativity of the player in the end and for what i see there amazing people out there and is thanks to LBP that they have the tools to express themselves
I love MM.
Great feature Jeff. I haven't played a ton of Media Molecule's games, but definitely understand your appreciation for them.
They definitely deserve the shoutout.
I've never played any of the LittleBigPlanet games. But after reading this I may have to give it a try.
I never played Little Big Planet.