The Art of LittleBigPlanet: Never Compromise

Media Molecule's Creative Director, Mark Healey, and Art Director, Kareem Ettouney, had an hour to try and explain the look and feel of LittleBigPlanet — it took them about two seconds and one trailer.

But the talk went on for well over an hour as the two creative types gushed about their award-winning innovation. LittleBigPlanet might not have walked away with Best Visual Art — but the innovation, technology, game design and the fact that it was a debut game all contributed to the art of the game.

What made it fun to watch — aside from the super-cute Sackboy videos they showed to illustrate the concepts of visual versatility plus cohesive style — was how passionate both Healey and Ettouney were about creativity.

It's that kind of passion that leads to butting heads, though. "At the height of [the great Sackboy debate], we wanted to kill each other," said Healey. He explained that Errouney would probably take him out in about one hit — but luckily it didn't come to that.

The great Sackboy debate — where they had to figure out how to have a blank canvas for users to paint on that was also iconic — was resolved by another guy on the team who took each person's individual design and somehow combined them into a concept that he then animated and set to Bob Marley's "Could you be loved."

"The final one looks like a bastard soon of all of them," Errouney said.

The bottom line for LittleBigPlanet was having a game that felt somehow familiar and yet empowering — something that was nostalgic but totally new. The visual style of the game is very much a part of that by presenting you images of things you know — cloth, buttons, stickers, gardens — and by integrating that into the innovative part of the game.

"People see the game as a platformer with a level editor," said Healey. "It's actually a lot more than that. It's becoming a game creation tool [that anyone can use]."

So while it may be a crime that they didn't go home with Visual Art, it's certainly no accident that they won for Innovation and Game Design. And Technology. And Debut.