The LittleBigPlanet franchise is 7 years old today! On October 28th, 2008, the very first LittleBigPlanet game was published by Sony Computer Entertainment Europe. In the seven years since that auspicious day, players have explored the whimsical world of LittleBigPlanet in countless awesome adventures. I’m very proud to have been a part of the music team for this famous franchise. So, to celebrate the game franchise’s seventh birthday, let’s go for a tour through the history of LittleBigPlanet!
LittleBigPlanet was first announced at the Game Developers Conference in 2007, where an early version of the game was demonstrated during the Sony press conference. LittleBigPlanet immediately created a huge buzz in the gaming community. As described in March 2007 by Cheat Code Central, the first LittleBigPlanet was “a fully interactive gaming experience. You design the characters. You design the levels. You design your character’s abilities. You create goals. You decide when levels begin, and you decide where they finish. The world is literally in your hands. Sound innovative? Nothing like this has ever been done before.”
The game starred Sackboy: a tiny fabric doll with button eyes, a lovable smile and a huge personality. Sackboy immediately became an iconic mascot of the Playstation console. Let’s see the very first video of Sackboy as he was demonstrated during the Game Developers Conference in 2007.
In LittleBigPlanet, we are introduced to Craftworld — home to imaginative crafters known as Creator Curators. One of these Curators (known as the Collector) has started to steal everyone’s creations and not share them. By undertaking a series of quests and adventures, Sackboy is finally able to defeat the Collector, and we learn that the Collector’s acts of theft were only a lonely cry for help. Everyone in Craftworld offers to be the Collector’s friend, and the story ends happily for everyone.
The first LittleBigPlanet game was a modest success when it hit retail, but soon proved its staying power with consistent sales. The power of critical acclaim and word of mouth propelled the game to further financial success. Nearly a year later, a Game of the Year Edition of LittleBigPlanet was released, demonstrating the enormous impact of the fledgling franchise.
I became involved in LittleBigPlanet in 2010, when I was hired to join the music team and compose tracks for the much anticipated sequel, LittleBigPlanet 2. The sequel was announced at the Game Developers Conference in March of 2010, and released in January 2011 to universal critical acclaim and impressive sales, rising to the top of the UK and North American sales charts.
In LittleBigPlanet 2, Sackboy’s world is threatened by a huge vacuum cleaner, the Negativitron, which is sucking up the inhabitants of Craftworld and turning them into mindless enemies called Meanies. To defeat the Negativitron, Sackboy embarks on a series of wild adventures that take him to an out-of-control robot factory, an insane asylum in a giant tree, and a huge spaceship. Finally, Sackboy defeats the Negativitron and its Meanie army, and everyone is happy in Craftworld once more.
I was very proud to be a part of the music team for LittleBigPlanet 2. The music of the game was named “one of the best video game soundtracks of the year” by Kotaku, and one of my tracks (LittleBigPlanet 2 Victoria’s Lab) was nominated for a Hollywood Music in Media Award. Here’s a video showcasing that track, and the level in which it appeared:
Over the next two years, I composed music for several other spin-off games in the LittleBigPlanet franchise, including LittleBigPlanet PS Vita, LittleBigPlanet Toy Story, LittleBigPlanet Cross Controller, and LittleBigPlanet Karting. I had tremendous fun working on this imaginative series of games, and the creative teams at Sony Computer Entertainment Europe were endlessly inspiring.
In 2013, I was contacted to join the team working on the next big sequel, LittleBigPlanet 3. The game was announced during the Electronic Entertainment Expo in June 2014. When the logo for LittleBigPlanet 3 appeared on the big screen during the event, the audience set up an enormous roar of approval and excitement. The game hit retail on November 18th, 2014 and became both a critical and commercial success.
In LittleBigPlanet 3, Sackboy encounters a shady character named Newton, who tricks Sackboy into releasing three mythical Titans that steal all of the world’s creativity. In order to overcome these Titans, Sackboy recruits three new friends (Oddsock, Toggle and Swoop). Together they defeat the Titans and rescue Newton (who had only wanted more creativity for himself). The heroes return home, and the story ends happily ever after.
Here’s one of the happiest tracks I composed for LittleBigPlanet 3… the LittleBigPlanet 3 Ziggurat Theme, which won both a Global Music Award and a Hollywood Music in Media Award:
So that brings us to today – Sackboy’s birthday! He’s been entertaining millions of fans for seven years now. There are over 9 million user-created levels in the game so far. Sackboy’s status as one of the Playstation console’s most popular heroes is shown in this Playstation commercial (one of my favorites) in which all the iconic Playstation heroes swap war stories in a mysterious bar. Sackboy makes his appearance at minute 1:14, playing chess with Sweet Tooth the killer clown from the Twisted Metal series:
So, if you own a copy of one of the games from the LittleBigPlanet franchise, why not fire it up on your Playstation console today? Take Sackboy out for a spin! It is his Birthday, after all. 🙂
Winifred Phillips is an award-winning video game music composer whose most recent project is the triple-A first person shooter Homefront: The Revolution. Her credits include five of the most famous and popular franchises in video gaming: Assassin’s Creed, LittleBigPlanet, Total War, God of War, and The Sims. She is the author of the award-winning bestseller A COMPOSER’S GUIDE TO GAME MUSIC, published by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press. As a VR game music expert, she writes frequently on the future of music in virtual reality video games. Follow her on Twitter @winphillips.