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Interviews

GC: LittleBigPlanet PSP

Interview: Small and beautiful

The pint-sized version of Sony's platforming stunner is looking great. But you already knew that from the videos released so far. Time for a chat about the game then. And who better than senior producer Mark Green, who we cornered at Gamescom?

How hard was it to convert the PS3 game, with its emphasis on realistic physics, to the PSP?

Mark Green: It was very difficult. So much so, that when we first came to it we didn't think it was going to be possible. We were looking at all sorts of options about giving players a kit of parts that you could then build together, so it would be a semi-physics-based environment. But as we worked through, we suddenly thought that building your levels and playing other people's levels is the most important part of LittleBigPlanet.

So we tried, and I think we've done a pretty good job of actually making sure that you've got a full physics engine. There are a few corners we've cut, if you like; whereas the PS3 version's levels have three gameplay layers, the PSP version has two. In the editor, instead of just taking a big brush and wildly creating a giant shape with holes in, in the PSP version you have to paint to a grid and you can't put holes in it.

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But you can manipulate points and add shapes together if you actually want something with a hole in it. All those cheats on the physics - all we keep are the positions of the outside of objects. We don't bother with what's inside of that, so that saves on processing power.

Tell us about the single-player missions?

Green: The whole story is that Sackboy is travelling the world - different countries, different themes, similar to PS3. One of them towards the end is Tinsel town - Hollywood essentially. You start off on a film set, you get taken on as the stuntman and you have to do some wild, crazy stunts. You eventually get taken on as the leading man, and end up doing stunts akin to James Bond or Mission Impossible, dodging laser beams and the like.

There's also a sci-fi bit with a 1950s influence, where you have to battle the UFOs and the aliens before you make it to the premier, where the leading lady gets kidnapped and you have to rescue her.

Any features or gameplay nuances, no matter how small, new for the PSP?

Green: I'd say no to that because what we've tried to do is make sure that we've got a very accurate physics engine the same way they had on the PS3 version. What we have done is tailor it for PSP. People will be playing it on the go, so we've added more puzzles in there, it's not just platforming. There's a different flavour in the levels that we've put in. But in terms of what you can do it's pretty much identical.

Will there be any connectivity features with the PS3 version?

Green: Not at the moment. The question we're always asked is if you can build levels on one version and play it on the other. That's just not technically feasible. We're looking at things like making the PS3 themes and items available on the PSP version at a future date maybe.

So you may add the Paintinator gun that launched on PS3 via DLC?

Green: That's always a possibility. We'd love to do our own downloadable content for the future. So ideas for the Paintinator or whatever else may come up.

Do you have plans for DLC on PSP considering it isn't nearly as common on handhelds because of storage constraints?

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