While it has a fully realized single player campaign, the focus of LittleBigPlanet 2 is squarely on the community- and player-produced content. How did MM decide on that direction for the sequel?
Martin Lynagh: I think it's very similar to the approach we took with the first game. We put a lot of effort into making the story levels shine on their own but their other purpose is to inspire players and give examples of how they can use the creation tools to build their own levels and games.
With that in mind, how was development different for the sequel?
The development process has been slightly different mainly because LittleBigPlanet is now an existing IP, so we weren't starting from scratch. Part of our direction this time around has been taking into account feedback from the community and doing our best to implement their ideas into LittleBigPlanet 2.
Was there any concern about fragmenting the LittleBigPlanet community—players with the original, players with the sequel, players with both)? Have there been difficulties porting over player-created content from the first game?
Backwards compatibility was a big priority for us. We knew that members of the community invested a lot of time working on their LBP levels and it wouldn't be acceptable for us to make a sequel where they had to start again from scratch. With that in mind we put literally tens of thousands of hours of work into making sure that levels would carry over. Also since the graphics engine has been rewritten, those levels look better than ever now.
What was the most challenging hurdle you had to overcome with LBP2?
Making sure that as many as levels as possible from LBP1 work perfectly in LBP2—and I'm happy to say we succeeded!
What are Media Molecule's plans going forward with the franchise? Will there be DLC support in the same vein as the original?
DLC will of course be a big priority, and we'll be continuing to work with great partners like Disney, Marvel, and others to bring fans amazing costumes, level packs, and more.
How is your personal Sackboy/SackGirl/SackCrossDresser usually dressed?
This may not be the most creative costume out there, but I usually like to dress my Sackboy in a beanie hat and sunglasses.
What are the most exciting new tools available for players in LBP2?
I think the most exciting new tools in LBP2 are LBP.me, the Controlinator, Sackbots, the Cinematic Cut-Scene Maker, and the Music Sequencer. LBP.me is a website lets people browse levels so they can check out what their friends are playing and what's trending/popular in the community. They can also look at screenshots, read reviews/comments, and check out high scores. Most importantly, it lets players add levels to their play queue from any computer so that when you get back to your PS3 you can play them right away.
The Controlinator allows you to make your own games with much more ease than in the original LBP. Players can reset the controller buttons for any object and change the rules to any level. Your vehicles and creations can behave exactly the way you want them to. Basically, it allows people to make non platforming games, side scrolling or top down shooters, driving games, etc.Ăłjust about anything in fact because they can directly control their own contraptions using the six axis.
Sackbots are non-player characters that you can utilize to act or perform simple AI tasks. They are really useful when you want to tell a story in a level or when you want to add some bad guys to give the player a challenge. You can customize sizing and clothing for each individual or group of Sackbots, place them in your game creations or cut-scenes, dress them up, choose different behavior patterns (make them mean or friendly, safe or dangerous), and even record your own voiceovers and/or actions for them to perform.
The new Cinematic Cut-Scene Maker add lots of new transition, tracking, and focus camera options which means that you can actually make movies in LBP2. You now have full control over camera position, movement (including tilt, zoom, and shake), transitions, and timings, as well as the ability record full voice-overs for Sackboys and Sackbots that can be used in music videos, short films, and yes, entire movies. This is useful when you want to tell a story or just show the player that something has happened in a level—for instance, you could use them to show a door opening off-screen when a player pulls a lever.
The Music Sequencer allows you to compose your own musical score with multiple instruments to choose from giving you the ability connect in-game objects to your own custom tunes, taking CREATE to a whole new level.