The original Little Big Planet game was met with critical acclaim upon its release in 2008, and its protagonist Sackboy (or Sackgirl or the more egalitarian Sackperson) quickly became a video gaming icon. With such aspects as its tutorial being narrated by Stephen Fry and an unprecendented level of customisation (the Shadow of the Colossus level brought manly tears to my eyes, and subsequently running round it dressed as Ezio was nothing short of surreal), it’s no wonder that it became so popular (or indeed that a sequel, Little Big Planet 2, is now well on the way).
Little Big Planet began with a conversation between developer Media Molecule’s co-founders Dave Smith and Mark Healey after having seen Howl’s Moving Castle. Healey and Smith, having left Lionhead Studios in December 2005 (along with other co-founders Kareem Ettouney and Alex Evans), managed to get a meeting with Phil Harrison, head of SCE Worldwide Studios, in order to plug their prototype game Craftworld. The latter was a physics-based, 2D side-scrolling game with a character known as Mr Yellowhead acting as its placeholder protagonist (Sackboy can actually acquire a costume resembling his in Little Big Planet by acing the collector level). Luckily he liked the idea, and soon Sony were enthusiastically backing the game, Little Big Planet well supported until its release in October 2008.
LittleBigPlanet 2 (spaces, more often than not, optional in both games’ titles) looks set to take what was established as awesome in the first game and improve it (you can actually use content from the previous game as well if you so desire). Retaining the three layer, 2.5D format of the former, Little Big Planet 2 allows for the ability to create cut scenes, a customisable HUD, many new level types (from racing to RPG), a music sequencer and Sackbots, NPCs whose AI can be set by the level creator. Supporting the use of a Playstation Move controller, the second instalment in the Little Big Planet series looks to be even more fun – and diverse – than the first.