The Art of LittleBigPlanet: Never Compromise

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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.



Well, whatever they thought up to conceive the Sackboy worked. It's the cutest thing I've seen in ages, without being plastered with kittens and rainbows n' such.