Media Molecule was demoing LittleBigPlanet 2 at gamescom this month in a Sony booth full of 3D tech, Move games and very, very weird seating arrangements – and yet it still managed to stand out from the crowd. I got a brief 15 minutes with the level creation suite to see just how far LBP2 can push the “Play, Create, Share” concept.
LittleBigPlanet 2 isn't just about doing more – though you definitely can do more with its new level creation tools – it's about doing it quicker. Tasks that used to take several days in the old LBP creation suite now take a tenth as much time. There are quicker, easier ways to compose your own music, link levels together and make full-blown, bite-size games rather than adorable levels which, despite their hilarious recreations of Mirror's Edge, Metal Gear Solid and even Shadow of the Colossus, limited you to running, jumping and admiring.
Media Molecule can tell us all it wants about physics parameters, sequencing and gyroscopes, but the only way to understand how LittleBigPlanet 2 is different is by looking at what you can make with it. We're shown a top-down racetrack where two little sackboys can leap into furry rat-shaped karts, which careen skittishly around the track, slipping around corners thanks to a new gravity option that lets you unstick things slightly from the world.
There's also an incredibly impressive Robocop walker that fires globs of fire ahead of it – you can even use sixaxis tilting to control its direction of fire. A gyroscope option lets you tell it to reset to neutral after a few seconds. Vehicles are clearly a strength of the new creation tools – we also see a little tank game, where you can tell the game to dissolve an opponent’s tank after it's been hit three times. You can have proper competitive games that involve more than collecting.
It's the puzzle stuff that blows my mind though. I'm shown a level about halfway through the story mode where you have to control two Sackboys simultaneously, getting them both to stand on switches to open a doors. It's space-age lateral thinking along the lines of Echochrome, and really shows what you can do with the game if you think outside the platforms.
The people behind this full-featured reimagining of LittleBigPlanet have not only made things easier for the community, they've made things easier for themselves. All of LBP2's story levels were created in this new set of tools, and Media Molecule reckons that's just the beginning.