James Shepherd, Cambridge Studio's Development Director chats to playstation.com about bringing Sackboy and his colourful world to PSP.
How have you gone about adapting LittleBigPlanet from a PlayStation 3 game to a handheld experience on PSP?
We've worked closely with Media Molecule, and followed the principles laid down in the PS3 version of Play, Create, Share. Everything we can build in a level players can build, every piece of gameplay we can make, the players could make.
Given some of the levels we've come up with, there should be no limits to the kind of levels players can produce. The only extra creative freedom we have is that we get to choose the music.
What sort of changes have you had to make to the control system when developing for the PSP system's layout?
We have only had to make minimal changes to the control system to get it working on a PSP. The core move set for Sackboy has been carried from the PS3 to the PSP intact and has fitted well into the PSP system's control layout. Analogue movement has been retained although the user will also have the option to play the game through the directional buttons.
Elements of Sackboy's movement have been refined for the PSP to give him a more precise feel which is more forgiving when viewed on a smaller screen. The PS3 system's gesturing moves for Sackboy have been streamlined due to the absence of dual sticks and motion controller input with Sackboy's emotion becoming much more automated.
How do you think the experience of playing LittleBigPlanet on PSP and on the move differs from that of playing it at home?
You'll be playing in shorter bursts and perhaps have a more intimate relationship with the levels you create. We're looking forward to see whether there are differences in the type of levels that the community makes once they have the ability to make them, on the train, in the park or on their lunch hour etc.
LittleBigPlanet is an extremely download-centric based game on PS3, will this aspect of it transcend on to the PSP version?
Absolutely, we felt that the critical thing about LBP was that anyone can build levels and upload them for everyone else to play.
Stephen Fry is back again on voiceover duties. What is it like working with him? He's a very funny man; does he ad-lib any lines when he's in the recording booth?
He is a very funny man, but I must admit that most of his ad-libs couldn't be repeated here! Oh, and he was very adept at correcting our grammar on the fly as he was reading the script - annoyingly clever, in an ever so nice way.
With PSP being played so much on the go, does the pace at which people can create levels with the level editor reflect this?
The pace of creation should be very similar, but the very nature of the PSP being handheld and used anywhere means that you're not tied to doing it all in one place at the same time and you could do some on the bus in the morning, when the teacher or boss isn't looking during the day, or whenever takes your fancy.
What are the new worlds that players will be able to play through in the game?
Well, we're hoping that the public will do the same as they have on the PS3 and create a vast array of new worlds, but in terms of the places we're including I can say that you start Down Under.
Were any of the levels in the game inspired by anything that fans might have created since LittleBigPlanet launched on PS3?
With around a million player-created levels I'm sure we'll discover that there were some accidental inspirations, but we've honestly tried to do something new with each level and in fact the main inspiration was simply that they clearly demonstrate some of the amazing functionality within the game and set an incredible quality standard for us to try and beat.
So when you deconstruct our levels you'll see that we've really pushed the Create aspect of the game to the absolute limits. In fact a few of our design decisions were based around the idea, "Well no one's managed to do this very well yet so let's try and do it."
What sort of fan feedback have you had in terms of what people have been asking for from a PSP version of LittleBigPlanet?
Haha! Everyone wants everything! Most of the comments have been along the lines of "Ooh, can we have everything that's in the PS3 version but can we have more of it". We've tried to make sure that all the functionality is there and that we've added new flavours of gaming experience in the levels we provide.
Will the PSP version be cross compatible with PS3?
We're still finalising details on this but our intention is that when you hook up your PSP and PS3 we'll unlock some special items. We're hoping that the wealth of new materials will allow people to go off and be inspired all over again.
What sort of experience do you hope players and fans of LittleBigPlanet will get out of its PSP debut?
We're hoping that the fun, excitement and wonderment that people felt when experiencing LBP on the PS3 is translated to the PSP. What new levels are an entire new audience of people going to come up with on a new platform? Most of all we feel that LBP on PSP will transform the way people use the connectivity of the PSP, uploading, downloading, swapping via Ad Hoc - sharing is key.
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