In a surge of new announcements and details from this year’s E3, one of the big announcements out of Sony’s E3 2014 keynote was the reveal of LittleBigPlanet 3 for the PlayStation 4. The franchise started by Sony’s own Media Molecule, the reigns have been handed over to fellow UK developer, Sumo Digital. Despite the change in developer, the game retains the charm and style of previous installments of the series, and still plays very much like the originals. LittleBigPlanet 2 had a large amount of content and even had one of the most extensive level editors in games to date, so it leaves one to wonder what exactly would be next for the franchise.
New characters. LittleBigPlanet 3 now has new members of the playable cast, joining the already lovable Sackboy. During my four player demo, I played as Sackboy and I was slowly introduced to the new cast members one by one. Using the new item the Pumpinator, an air pumping gun, I had to solve a quick puzzle to reveal the character Oddsock, a quadrupedal dog-like addition to the cast with a wall jump ability and a faster run speed that makes him useful for treadmill style mechanisms. Using these abilities, we were introduced to the character Toggle, who is the largest of the cast…or is he the smallest? Toggle’s ability allows him to change his size on command. He can either be a large powerhouse, giving him the ability to weigh down switches and push heavy blocks, or he could be small and move through tight tunnels and be easily lifted. Speaking of lifting, this takes us to our final new character, Swoop. Swoop is sort of a “Sack Bird”, giving him the ability to fly, but also lift up other characters and carry them to new areas.
With all the new characters assembled, this allows for creative puzzle-based level design that encourages teamwork to get to the goal. Though there are four distinct characters, the full game allows players to be whomever they wish, so if you choose to be a four player Toggle team, you can. Want a team of two Oddsock’s and two Swoop’s? Go for it. Of course, various levels will require certain characters to complete them, so user-created levels will have to give players the option to become those characters in their crafted worlds.
Now technically, LittleBigPlanet 2 made it possible to do various things similar to the new characters abilities, using a bit of creative ingenuity and utilizing the tools provided, but given the new characters and their special characteristics, this will make it much easier for players to make more complex levels without having to think around the game’s traditional mechanics.
Speaking of the user-created levels, it has been confirmed that the franchises nearly eight million user-created levels will all be downloadable for play in LittleBigPlanet 3, updated graphics and all. This is an impressive feat, and it assures that the game will have a strong amount of content available right from the start. And with the new game, comes new decorations and materials to use for creating levels and customizing your characters, working the same way it worked in previous installments.
After playing my multiplayer and single player demo, I was left feeling like this is how LittleBigPlanet should be introduced to the PlayStation 4’s ever-growing library. While it could technically be said that the added 3 characters could be downloadable content for LittleBigPlanet 2, it’s still a charming way to progress Sony’s loveable franchise, and a great way to jump to the PlayStation 4 without taking big risks. LittleBigPlanet 3 may have just been announced, but it’s already on track to release in just a few short months this November 2014.