Another first-party Playstation game is coming to PC, and another entry gets ticked off the impressively accurate GeForce Now leak, which at this point is something of a crystal ball for the PC release schedule. But is it Demon’s Souls (which is in the GeForce leak), or perhaps Bloodborne (which we’re all praying in vain for)?
No, ladies and gentlemen, it’s Sackboy: A Big Adventure (cue irregular, muted applause). On the one hand, that’s cool and everything, especially as it marks another Sony IP to make its way over to PC, but given the nature of the former Sony exclusives that have, will, and we hope will come to PC, it’s a bit of a shoulder-shrugger. Let’s face it, Sackboy isn’t exactly Crash or Ratchet as ‘cute mascot’ recognisability goes, nor is Sackboy’s first spin-off game offering us anything significant on PC that we don’t already have. But hey, Ariana Grande likes it, so there’s that…
To be clear, there’s nothing inherently wrong or offensive about Sackboy, but the cutesy pin cushion isn’t recognisable for the memorable platforming adventures we’ve shared with him a la Mario, or Sonic, or Crash. Sackboy’s recognisability is pretty much intertwined with the LittleBigPlanet series, which beyond the platforming was about creating a vast universe of player-made content. That’s the real appeal of the Sackboy IP, and while Sackboy: A Big Adventure will be a nice little addition to Sony’s PC repertoire, LittleBigPlanet would’ve been a phenomenon.
I couldn’t tell you how many hours I spent trawling through player-made creations in the LittleBigPlanet games back in the early 2010s – a veritable galaxy of goofy and wonderfully inventive games that were mostly 2D platformers, but with LittleBigPlanet 3 branched out into top-down games, racing games, and even shooters. I remember my friend and I spending three hours trying to top the online leaderboards in a recreation of the original Donkey Kong. Around Halloween or Christmas I’d dive into lovingly crafted festive-themed levels to get into the mood, and particularly in LBP 3 I remember some incredibly well made party and board games.
The series brought just a smidge of that creativity we’d mainly see in the PC modding scene to the PS3 and PS4 – it turned consumers into creators.
LBP was a weird and whimsical series, tethered only by the relatively restrictive toolsets available in the game – the kind of toolsets and possibilities that would be completely unrestricted were they to be opened up the world of PC modding. Sackboy’s imminent debut on PC is not unwelcome, and it will almost certainly find an audience, but with LittleBigPlanet Sony could’ve tapped into something much bigger.
Where new content for LittleBigPlanet was always restricted to carefully curated and sanitised DLC on the Playstation Store, on PC it would all come from the community; as with many PC games, it’d be a case of opening up the game code just enough for players to be able to fully customise sackpeople, have greater flexibility with prop creation, custom music and sound effects, and allow modders to create tools to further streamline the creation process. Then there’s the inherent precision and speed that comes with using a mouse and keyboard. The efficiency of creation on PC alone would enrich the creations that would come out of the LBP PC community.
Sony could even go a step further and bring Dreams, Media Molecule’s 2020 creation engine for PS4 that opened out that Play, Create, Share ethos even further. Console folks have done incredible things with the tool – from Elden Ring fan art to sections of Halo Infinite, Silent Hills PT, and the original Resident Evil. Were this to come to PC, Sony would have itself a long-term piece of marketing where for years we’ll be seeing news pieces, videos, and mods showcasing the incredible things that can be achieved by combining a creation toolbox with the tinkerer-friendly PC platform.
It’s actually a little surprising that no PC developer has replicated the ‘Play, Create, Share’ concept on PC. Of course there are things like GameMaker and RPG Maker, but those are on a slightly more advanced level than, say, a LittleBigPlanet or Mario Maker.
That may be about to change, however.
Back in 2019, modding collective Trixel Creative tried creating a fanmade version of LittleBigPlanet (LittleBigPlanet Restitched) for PC, but received a cease-and-desist order from Sony. It’s understandable really, given that it’s a valuable Sony IP and technically already available on PC via Playstation Now. In a 2020 interview with Eurogamer, Trixel acknowledged Sony’s right to defend their IP, though bemoaned the fact that they couldn’t give LittleBigPlanet the presence it deserves on PC.
But proving that death can indeed lead to rebirth, Trixel Creative made the wise decision to keep going. They cut LittleBigPlanet from the name (leaving just ‘Restitched’), replaced Sackboy with stitched-together little stuffed toy models, and beyond that very much kept the 2.5D LBP tone and ethos.
The studio officially formed in February this year, and in July posted a reveal trailer on YouTube for their new game, Restitched. Sure, it looks more LittleBigPlanet 1 or 2 than LittleBigPlanet 3 (let alone Dreams), but it’s the start of the journey for the studio, and unless Sony gives them some competition by deciding to bring the beloved LBP to PC, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t see Restitched evolve and go through ever-improving iterations over the years like LBP did on Playstation. There’s a niche right there just waiting to be filled.
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