Don't get me wrong, I expect the new game to be received just as well as the first game (if not better). But there's going to be that one paragraph in every review that states — "You know, the Create mode's really good, but it's kind of time-consuming to make a good level". Of course: do people expect Media Molecule to implement a "Create amazing level now" button? It'd be fair to critique how intuitive the "Create" mode is, it would even be fair to say the tools are difficult to learn — but saying it's time-consuming to make something good frustrates me no end. Since when did we expect things to be handed to us on a silver platter? Are we really that lazy?
Back in late 2008, I want through the process of creating my own level. It took about a week to create the vision I wanted, and much of the process was spent learning the tools available to me. The level was fine - a little predictable and hardly worthy of reaching the front-page of LBP's community planet. But it was my level, y'know. I was proud of it because I'd spent 20-30 hours learning simple LBP programming techniques — how to create puzzles that open doors, how to tweak simple platforming elements. That experience almost made me feel like a game designer. I was play-testing and tuning, trying to come up with achievable but complex puzzles. I loved that time with LBP.
Granted, when it came to my second project, life got in the way. I wanted to create some kind of shooter, and these were the days before the Paintinator was an available tool. As the scale of my project grew, and life commitments furthered, I began to spend less and less time in LittleBigPlanet's Create mode. It was never a fault of the game, though. I've always known, that if I'd have spent more time in LBP and less time elsewhere, I could have eventually created my master-piece. Likewise, I know if I'd have spent more time learning guitar, I might have written a song worth listening to. "Create" by its very definition is to "make" or "to become". That's time consuming.
What makes LittleBigPlanet so time-consuming is the amount of possibilities on offer. Both LittleBigPlanet and Modnation Racers allow you to create, but one system is vastly inferior to the other. That's not a slight at Modnation Racers — the system in UFG's kart-racer allows you to create a unique and interesting tracks, but it never offers the scope of LittleBigPlanet's system. Sure, you could lay out the track from Rainbow Road, but you couldn't create it. And that's the difference between the two systems. When people complain about the time-consumption of LittleBigPlanet's Create options, do they imagine some kind of less personalised, automated system such as Modnation Racers?
I hope not. Even though I sacrificed my creative tendencies in late 2008, I still continue to be amazed by the content the community are pushing out on a regular basis. Amazing, amazing stuff. People will take advantage of that freedom, even if it's not you at the helm. And that's what's so great about it. You could get everyone involved in the action - Modnation Racers style - but suddenly everything feels a lot less personal. Give players full freedom and you get incredible, jaw-dropping creations. Sure, that creation took someone a lot of time, but I always think back to the pang of satisfaction I got when my creation received its first "Heart".
LittleBigPlanet 2's going to simultaneously make it easier to find levels, while expand the scope of creativity. These are two components that should help two distinctly different play-styles. Some don't want to create, and just want to play. I can accept that, and that's why introduction of playlist queues and social networking will enhance the game for those type of people. Meanwhile, creators want to do more, and likewise the enhanced suite of tools will give them more scope to create the mechanics in their vision.
It doesn't matter how long it takes to create something, it matters about the end-result and the process getting there. If you're having fun essentially manipulating a programming language, then Media Molecule's achieved their aims emphatically. So can we skip this criticism come November please?
Twiggy is an anonymous PushSquare columnist who has been spotted in three major cities across the globe. Its rumoured hes on the run from the British monarchy who accused him of treason.