LittleBigPlanet Karting comes out tomorrow--although you probably wouldn't know it based on Sony's anemic marketing for it. Some have written it off as ModNation Racers with a LittleBigPlanet skin. And while that isn't entirely inaccurate, I'd like to point out two notable enhancements made to Karting.
First are the load times. Perhaps the greatest flaw of United Front's original play, create, share racer were the minute-long loads that preceded every race. Spending 20 percent of your play time looking at a load screen is not entertainment--and thankfully, that's been thoroughly rectified in LBPK. The developer had to rewrite the engine from scratch, and the end result is as clear as night and day.
The more significant change LBPK makes over its ModNation predecessor comes through the game's creation tools. When we first saw the game at E3, promised that you could create modes that are not just races. However, we didn't know that you could make entirely different games.
"If you are familiar with the scripting language of LittleBigPlanet 2, you're going to feel right at home," design director William Ho told us. And yes, the editor does look more LBP than MNR. In fact, the Karting editor is even more powerful than the one that shipped in LBP2 because it runs in 3D. Whereas creators had to work within LittleBigPlanet's limited three-layer system, Karting lets you create full 3D worlds.
Yes, that is a first-person shooter running in LittleBigPlanet Karting's engine. While this user-created "track" from the game's beta is quite rudimentary, it shows off how powerful the game's tools are. In fact, at a recent preview event at Sony Santa Monica, I saw an even more polished FPS experience from a developer at United Front. I also saw a fully 3D tower defense game that makes the 2D ones created in LBP2 seem antiquated.
LittleBigPlanet Karting will be available on PS3 tomorrow. It'll be fascinating to see what the community makes with the game's powerful creation tools--y'know, if they ever find out about the game to begin with.