LittleBigPlanet was one of the most highly hyped titles for the PS3 in 2008. The appeal of adorable little sackboys, co-op play, and robust creation tools should have made for a smash hit. Instead, the title was plagued by mishaps, like the music controversy, excessive lag in online play, and unclear guidelines for moderation of user generated content. It's still a fine game, but it's star certainly isn't shining as bright as Sony and MediaMolecule had hoped.
IGN sat down with three of LBP's developers, fresh off of working on the recently released (and, sadly, buggy) Metal Gear Solid pack. The interview is quite lengthy, but we found one quote, about moderation of user created levels, very interesting.
IGN: Were you anticipating some of the copyright issues that blighted the game early on?
David Smith: We always had plans for dealing with that, but there were some problems in the process that we hadn't forseen. We learnt from it, and Sony worked really hard to resolve it.
Alex Evans: There were three issues; one was negative and two were positive. The negative one was how hard it was to get worldwide legal harmony, because different countries have different laws around copyright infringement. We knew that people would be creative, and that there would be references. It was hard getting the right balance on a worldwide angle. But then there's been these two mad positives; one was the high quality of the levels, including the infringing ones. The other point is the number of IP owners who came up to us and said please whitelist us – we'll never ever ask you to pull infringing stuff. I can't say who that is, but those two things really shocked me, I think it shocked [the IP holders], who were like, hang on, my IP's being represented and it's being represented really well. The IP holders have to have last say over the representation of their brand, and that's fair enough, so we've always got to have a method for people misusing a brand, but what's been really lovely is how well represented so many brands are.
David Smith: The concern was how people could take existing IP and refer to it in a really negative way. But there hasn't been a problem with that.
You may recall our editorial about user created content, in which we suggested that levels shouldn't be pulled unless an IP owner complained. It appears, at least, that the folks from MediaMolecule see it that way too. Hopefully many other IP owners will see the light and allow users of games like LBP and Spore to draw inspiration from their creations!