About eight months since it was first announced, we have finally completed LBP Reconnected, a contest aimed at celebrating the return of the official LittleBigPlanet online servers. Although the contest wound up being bittersweet due to the permanent shutdown of the LBP PS3 and Vita servers, the community presses on. In this article, we'll talk about the results of the LBP Reconnected contest and the amazing creators and creations that were part of the event.
LBP Reconnected: A Brief History
LBP Reconnected was first conceived for a few reasons. Firstly, some of us here at the LBP Union realized that there had not been a major community contest for LittleBigPlanet in several years. Originally it was hoped that a real prize crown would be able to be given for it, but the official LittleBigPlanet team yielded no response on Twitter.
The contest was announced on March 26th, 2021 with another motive: inspiring hope in the community. With the servers shut down, many people worried that it was the end for LBP's online features. However, pinning hope behind the contest was a great way to motivate people to keep creating. Soon enough, many people had signed up for the contest with a fantastic lineup of creations.
However, LBP Reconnected had to be postponed due to extended server outages. These outages lasted all the way until this past September when it was revealed that the PS3 and Vita servers would be discontinued permanently.
However, this opened up a critical question for Reconnected: if the contest was meant to celebrate the return of the LittleBigPlanet servers, did it make sense to include levels from the titles that had been discontinued?
A Contest in Flux
Although there were several changes to what submissions would be accepted, ultimately all playable levels published with '#LBPReconnected' in the title were accepted so long as they had signed up in one of the two sign-up threads on our forum. There was a great deal of talent here that deserved to be recognized, even if those levels were not selected as the ultimate winner.
In addition, there were various other creative non-competitive creations like music and logic demonstrations that deserve recognition.
Results of LBP Reconnected
It's important to note that the purpose of LBP Reconnected was not rooted in competition but instead in celebration. LBP Reconnected was intended as an event with the objective of bringing people together in one of the darkest times for the LittleBigPlanet community. Although the contest recognizes a single winner, everyone who participated deserves great recognition. Thank you for signing up and for helping bring hope to our community!
We'll start first with the winner of the contest and then cover some highlights of the levels. Not all can be featured here but be sure to search up '#LBPReconnected' on LBP3 PS4 to find all of the great submissions for the contest!
The winner of LBP Reconnected is FK2P, now using the account Skeleton2797. Their submission for the contest was Deathray Guts, a fascinating isometric stealth platformer.
Deathray Guts by FK2P
Choosing the winner for Reconnected was a very challenging task. It came down to a margin of about three points (more on scoring later). Between the top contenders of the contest, Deathray Guts stood out as one of the most unique.
Deathray Guts opens in a very unorthodox fashion, the familiar audio compression of LittleBigPlanet's magic mouth recording feature greeting the player with seemingly nonsensical quotes from a text to speech engine and an imported image of a man's face. However, the level quickly transitions into a cyberpunk scaffolding high in the air, populated by deadly drones and ladders.
The level is set in a unique isometric camera angle which persists throughout. The design and theme seem reminiscent of Mirrors Edge and Metal Gear Solid. Indeed, FK2P confirms in their Reconnected sign-up post that the level was inspired by Metal Gear Solid 2.
The level offers a unique custom soundtrack as well with music sequenced by its creator. These sequencers are available as prizes in the level.
Deathray Guts is filled with all sorts of strange and odd quotes that can be activated by approaching hologram lights. These mysterious quotes seem nonsensical for the most part, perhaps being obscure references that might be worth exploring later with further research.
However, at the end of the level, the quotes become much more meaningful. The quotes begin to reference things that most long-time LittleBigPlanet players are familiar with, starting with Heart for Heart, clans, and eventually the #SaveLBP hashtag which is repeated over and over in the level's final moments.
Gravity Rush by TheRealEpicPro
This level was the truest to the level design of Sumo Digital and did so in spectacular fashion. In scoring, Gravity Rush placed second. It's a long, challenging, and fun level that pushes the console to the limit at times.
The level seems reminiscent of Trixel Creative's Return to Carnivalia and stays true to the official style of LittleBigPlanet. TheRealEpicPro clearly spent a great deal of time animating the characters, fitting each piece of the level together, and planning out the flow of the level itself.
Most importantly, TheRealEpicPro is very conscious of gameplay accessibility. They make sure to include natural tutorials for nearly every gameplay mechanic beyond basic gameplay controls. The level's design itself, placement of score bubbles, and more are all helpful guides in remembering how to use these mechanics while still providing sufficient challenge for veteran players.