by Ryan Phillip Hardesty
previewed on PS3
The Motion of Your Ocean
Creeping underneath the sackbots virtual surface, quite literally, will be Direct Control Seats, essentially a control board that can be inserted into most objects, namely vehicles and sackbots. Once inserted, you’ll be able to customize the control of said object, such as assigning buttons on the Six axis controller forward, reverse, accelerate etc., allowing for a much more fluid experience of vehicle-control this time around. This will also work in reverse, allowing you to limit standard controls if needed. The Seats will hand over to the player an entirely different plane on which to play with, a setting that’s already given birth to genres like racing sims and Space Invader type games.
Interestingly, the Direct Control Seats have allowed the developers an excellent opportunity to utilize Move, Playstation’s take on the Wii remote. Currently, Media Molecule is working with another studio on how to best take advantage of the motion-sensing controller, and though the majority of the work is ongoing, the game at launch will include a set of roughly ten levels showing off the capabilities. Then, a short time after launch, a DLC package will arrive, handing over to the community the complete tool set needed to create levels with the device, an intriguing point in LBP’s history that should hopefully launch a whole new set of amazing levels based on an entirely different control scheme.
And even though so much attention has been given so far to the new creation mechanics, Media Molecule is also working dutifully on the single-player aspect. There will be 30 new developer levels set within 6 new, themed worlds. Many of the levels will switch early on from the traditional platformer to the other genres available within LBP2.
Media Molecule has not forgotten the original game either. Most of the more than 3 million levels created within LBP will be backwards compatible for the sequel, as well as all of the DLC content. These old levels will be upgraded with a shiny new coat of the sequel’s upgraded graphics, an improvement that includes a larger color palette, more dynamic lighting, and more fluid and realistic shadow effects.
All Play and No Work
With all the new options about to flood the hands and minds of LBP's fan base, it’s safe to say the developers at Media Molecule have kept in their sights exactly what the people want, as well as allowing them to say it. The service site at http://lbp.me, not yet live, will act much like a Facebook page for your content when you log in with your PSN credentials. You can show off your content to the world, browse other people’s content, rate and write reviews for user-created levels, and add promising levels to your favorites list to download and play the next time you boot up the PS3.
It is reassuring to see a studio like Media Molecule provide such dynamic, loaded content to those who love video games. Not often do you see such an original approach taken. They’ve constructed a fascinating experiment that’s tapped into the creative capabilities of that broad, intangible group known as “the community”, and with the original game’s capabilities about to be shattered, we the people have a lot of great “work” ahead of us.