For those who were doubting that Media Molecule's follow-up to their first game LittleBigPlanet would fail to achieve the mass success that they had initially hoped for, you may want to hold off on criticism. After a record-setting launch last week, the developer has announced that LittleBigPlanet 2 is already enjoying more concurrent users than the first title ever achieved. What does this mean for the game? This could be just the beginning of never-before-seen levels of community creation and content.
There's no question that the fanbase surrounding the original game was as loyal and inventive as any other, but for many players, the idea of putting in the amount of time and concentration to create their own levels proved to be too daunting.
There was certainly no shortage of inventive programmers who managed to do things that surprised even the developers, but a large number stuck to the levels that shipped with the game and called it a day.
It would seem that things have changed with the sequel. After LBP2 premiered at the top of the sales charts in the UK, it seemed that the success would mirror that of the first game, with a first week only "95 sales short of" that of LBP. But after less than a week in the hands of fans, the amount of people playing the game is blowing previous records out of the water.
Media Molecule's David Smith expressed the team's delight when speaking with Eurogamer, reiterating that the news couldn't be better for the game's future:
"The user count is actually quite crazy - we've already massively outstripped our LBP1 record for total users online at once. And that's just with North America and a few other territories.
"I think some people [at Sony] would be waving certain things at me if I gave the actual numbers, but it's significantly higher."
This is fantastic news for fans, since the size and activity of the community is directly related to the amount of new and inspired content. Given that the follow-up title has added voice recording and writing, the fact that more owners are willing to spend their time experimenting proves that they may have been underestimated. It would seem that once again, LBP fans are showing just how creative gamers can be.
We can't forget that the customization tools are in addition to an entirely separate story mode, so the game shouldn't be thought of as merely a budding developer's toolkit. We've spent some time with the game, and while it isn't perfect, it is a step forward in many respects.
The game's staying power will ultimately be in the community support, and that level of responsibility placed on the users takes some time to build. The fact that the sequel is truly picking up where the first game left off in terms of activity is a great sign going forward.
Since the activity can really only be expected to increase at this point, Media Molecule may have done the impossible, and gotten even more people to really try their hand at playing, creating, and sharing.
You can join the ranks of sackboy-makers by picking up your own copy of LittleBigPlanet 2 today for the PlayStation 3.