How PS Plus gave Sackboy A Big Adventure the attention it deserves

Sackboy A Big Adventure has seen new life thanks to Sony's subscription scheme — now if only it could have hit PS Plus without leaving LittleBigPlanet behind.

How PS Plus gave Sackboy A Big Adventure the attention it deserves
Kes Eylers-Stephenson

Opinion by Kes Eylers-Stephenson


Thanks to features on PS Plus Essential and Extra, loads more people have the chance to earn Sackboy A Big Adventure trophies — something we noticed has brought our threaded friend some much-needed attention. Now I've seen it in action, I'm convinced Sackboy's new look is pretty much the perfect evolution of some of the best PS3 games. That said, hasn't some of the charm been whisked away by robbing PS Plus of the LittleBigPlanet name?


LittleBigPlanet is a tragic loss, but Sackboy is a great reinvention

Having finally gotten around to playing Sackboy A Big Adventure over the last week, I have to say I'm pleasantly surprised at the PS5 launch game. Quite a few people around TrueTrophies have declared equal surprise since the game hit PS Plus this year, with many of us not having revisited the series since the Sackboy's last appearance in LittleBigPlanet 3 back in 2014.
It's not that I thought the latest game would be bad, I'm just surprised that Sackboy A Big Adventure is actually great. The game clearly needed PS Plus to help me realize that though. When Lee dived into the Sackboy's post-PS Plus player count, he noticed it was easily one of the most popular PS Plus games this year as the player count rose 1934.28% the week it released onto PS Plus Essential — and even more so when it hit PS Plus Extra.

Having now played the game myself, the fact that it's so good makes me wonder: why did Sackboy A Big Adventure seem to struggle so hard at launch to find its audience? The knitted fellow's previous games never had trouble finding a passionate crowd, and with the game simultaneously launching on PS4, it's not like there wasn't a built-in fanbase waiting to jump in.

SackboyLiving legend.

In my opinion, I think the tension comes from the change in direction with the branding: the move from the loveable "LittleBigPlanet" to the new mascot-bearing "Sackboy" IP.

When LittleBigPlanet first came to PS3 back in 2008, it was at a time when the console and Sony were struggling to convince players to invest in PlayStation. Sackboy's chaotic charm made him an instant mascot for Sony's third console — at least before Nathan Drake firmly swiped that role with 2009's Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. He left a big impression on people, especially when complemented by the powerful level creation features and online functionality of the first LittleBigPlanet.

Sackboy A Big Adventure strips the level design tools away, yet I think the game is better for it in some respects. Without these features, efforts have instead gone into creating a much more traditional mascot platformer that totes its clearly popular leading man well. It evolves the gameplay perfectly by offering gloriously honed levels with a wonderful homemade aesthetic. Most importantly, you can still dress Sackboy up, jump through levels with friends, and soak up the whimsy, which for me was always what LittleBigPlanet was really about.
With the removal of the level design tools, you can understand why there was perhaps a need to distinguish Sackboy from LittleBigPlanet so as not to upset people when they realize a core feature has been removed. Yet I think there was something more to the LittleBigPlanet name than just its allusion to its craft-'em-up world-building features.

It was a name that captured the charm and beauty of Media Molcule's original two games and struck a chord beyond just the family-friendly gaming market. These are weird, unique games with a flavor all of their own — Sackboy A Big Adventure included — and I think LittleBigPlanet still got that weirdness across effortlessly.

Sackboy hits PS Plus in April 2023Sackboy hit PS Plus in April 2023

If they were worried about backlash over the missing features, a subtitle might have done the trick instead. I'm sure someone wrote the name "LittleBigPlanet: Sackboy's Adventure" down at some point during development, and I think that would have worked fine. For me, renaming the game wiped away all attachment I had to the series and made me rebuild that from scratch — and I'm sure I'm not the only one.

The new name didn't give me the same feeling the old IP used to represent and that turned me off at launch, and I wonder just how many other players felt the same. Perhaps that can go some way to explaining the game's muted early reception. It certainly can't have been a rejection of the game itself, because thanks to PS Plus, I now know that Sackboy A Big Adventure is in many ways just as good as LittleBigPlanet. It's the perfect evolution of the series, once again giving you a hit of the simple pleasures of gaming with friends.
Well, regardless of the naming discrepancies, Sackboy remains atop our best co-op games on PS5 list! Did the difference in vibe from LittleBigPlanet give you trouble with Sackboy at launch? Did you finally give it a try through PS Plus? Let me know what you think about all of it down below, I'd love to hear your thoughts and chat with you in the comments!
Written by Kes Eylers-Stephenson
Editor Kes is our resident expert in PlayStation and other gaming news. He writes about PS5 exclusives like The Last of Us and Horizon, PS Plus news, and his favorite games — The Witcher, Assassin’s Creed, and God of War — before an evening swim.
Hide ads
View discussion...
Hide ads