Everything but the Game: The Art Behind the Stitches of LittleBigPlanet

usa02.jpg The true magic of LittleBigPlanet -- the PS3 debut from former Lionhead designers at then upstart Media Molecule -- wasn't fully understood until the game was in our collective hands for some time after its initial release. What was then (mis-)understood as the videogame that would let us design our own videogames turned out to be one level abstracted from that. LittleBigPlanet had no intention of letting us faithfully recreate Mario's World 1-1 or Sonic's Green Hill Zone with pixel precision. Instead, what it does is take us back to the childhoods where we built those levels -- and every other bit of the world around us -- with the only materials we had at the time: markerpens, cardboard, felt and stickers. And that's precisely what gives the game -- still continuing to grow and evolve both on the backs of its dedicated community (last reported to have created some 1.3 million levels) and through updates from MM themselves (their upcoming water pack has caused more excitement over a ubiquitous liquid than anyone imagined) -- its peerless charm. mexico02.jpg That's not to discount the brilliance of its digital puppetry -- turning your tiny plush avatar into something you actually embody rather than simply propel forward -- or the delicate balance of its 'co-opertition' (as you attempt to hinder your friends' race toward score bubbles as evenly as you beg for their help). But it's the naive and innocent joy inherent in a game that's at heart about the arbitrary rules of the real-world games we created as kids ('you can only walk on the couch cushions, the floor is made of lava') as it is about its own crafted experience that's made it a modern classic. So, in celebration of its recent first birthday, and its even Littler debut on the PlayStation Portable, below is a collection of the concepts and sketches (happily provided by its relaunched community site) that trace how the game's little pan-planet were cut-out constructed.
gardens01.jpg gardens02.jpg gardens03.jpg gardens04.jpg africa01.jpg africa02.jpg africa06.jpg weddings02.jpg weddings03.jpg weddings04.jpg weddings05.jpg weddings08.jpg mexico03.jpg mexico04.jpg mexico06.jpg mexico07.jpg mexico08.jpg usa04.jpg islands02.jpg india01.jpg india02.jpg


  1. Little Big Planet is awesome. It’s the reason I own a ps3. We need more games like this. Go buy it, if only to round out your Stephen Fry (who narrates the tutorials) collection.

  2. Well, I got my sackboy tattoo more than a year ago, so I guess I can be considerd a fan either way. :)

    It’s an amazing game – doesn’t get boring, ever. And so delighted to see some of the storyboarding!

  3. I love this game. the visuals are incredible, the philosophy of play is amazing and my kids and their friends laugh more and talk to each other when playing it than any other game. It’s brilliant. PLEASE make more games like this–it is art in motion!!

  4. I’m a bit peeved that I’ve gone through the agony of wanting a PS3 just for this (and so far resisted), and now I have to go through the same agony with the PSP. Although that one will be easier to resist, since it’s the definition of Awesome Device Destroyed By DRM and Corproate Greed.

    Beautiful, just beautiful – and a demonstration that super-powerful consoles aren’t just about graphics. Clever people can have great ideas spawn on these platforms in ways never previously possible.

  5. Love it, love it, love it! This game is truly revolutionary in that the developers went to extensive lengths to make it use real physics that you can actually feel while playing.

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