One of the features I was most excited about with LittleBigPlanet was the fact that people from all over the world could create worlds for everyone (in the world) to play. I have a particular interest in Japanese Creators as I love Japanese games and I wanted to see how Japanese games would influence the design of LittleBigPlanet levels… …and I wasn’t disappointed.
Whilst searching for ‘Pitagora Switch’ type levels I found levels by O-tera. O-teras level are fun and interesting and really have a sense of Japanese minimalist style. O-tera also has a great Hearted Levels List which I dived into and found many more Japanese levels (some of which have been/will be Mm Picked).
So, with the help of my fantastic, amazing (and sugoi kawaii) wife, I contacted O-tera and asked him a few questions.
MM: So, please introduce yourself!
Otera: Good morning. My name is Otera, my PSN is o-tera. 23 y/o Japanese guy.
I like making stuff. I want to be a musician in the future, please come and check my website!
MM: How did you find out about LBP?
Otera: One day I found the word ‘LittleBigPlanet’ on the internet by accident and searched for the word. and I found the GDC movie and thought “LittleBigPlanet? Sounds fun!”. I congratulate myself that I searched for that word!
MM: What was your favourite level in the Story mode and why? Also, which level was the hardest to finish?
Otera: I liked all the levels in LBP, but my favourite was The Wedding. I liked all the springs and elastic gameplay. The hardest level was The Bunker, very difficult to Ace (Danny says sorry)
MM: What did you think of the adverts for LBP in Japan?
Otera: Ah sorry, I have never seen LBP’s TV advert. Sony, please advertise more :D
MM: Have you designed games before? If so, what sort of stuff?
Otera: I like game with editors. I used to make ExciteBike levels on my NES.
MM: How long does it take you to make a level?
Otera: Just to make the layout and make it playable takes about 2-3 days. After that I keep tuning it until the level is fun and can be played without any problems.
MM: How do you know when you have finished working on a level?
Otera: It’s never finished :) Whenever I get a new idea I add it. The level is finished when I don’t have any more ideas for it.
MM: Do you have plans in the works for any new levels?
Otera: Hmmm, I want to make a stage based on Japanese Myths. I’ll keep on making stages that people can enjoy for long as I keep getting ideas.
MM: Have you got much attention for your levels?
Otera: Hmm, do I get attention?... :) It makes me happy to hear that people are enjoying my levels. I get lots of Friend Requests and messages which makes me appreciative.
MM: Do you think you could use LBP to apply for Game Planner (Level Design) job in Japan?
Otera: Anything is possible if you have the will and imagination.
MM: If a Japanese company had made LBP, how do you think it would be different?
Otera: If a Japanese company had made LBP it wouldn’t have been as bold. I’m always surprised at the boldness of western developers.
MM: Who are your favourite Creators?
His levels don’t have any complicated logic and are very simple to play. He just uses basic actions to create complex gameplay.
This Creators robots are awesome. I respect this Creator because he’s good at making complex machines which I’m not very good at.
His levels are funny and cool and playing them makes me laugh and smile.
I was amazed by his ‘Karakuri Chochin Yashiki’ level. It made me very jealous of his creativity.
MM: Can you think of any trends by Japanese only Creators? Stuff like Lobbies, museums, roller coasters, etc.
Otera: I’ve heard of unofficial contests in which Creators show each other cool things.
MM: Who started the trend of [JPN]? (Most Japanese Creators suffix there level title with [JPN])
Otera: Hmm, I don’t know who started it, I think it’s an abbreviation to show that a Japanese creator made it. Or, it’s a useful search word for people to find Japanese levels. Everyone, please play more Japanese levels :)
MM: Where do you go to to talk to other Japanese Creators and general LBP chat?
Otera: Mainly forums on the internet. I wish there was an LBP lounge in PlayStation Home.
MM: Have you made any friends (Japanese or Western) through LBP?
Otera: Yes, lots! I’m happy that I have met various people through LBP. Everyone make more friends!
MM: If you could ask for one more feature in LBP, what would it be?
Otera: Japanese translation! [joke]. I’d like to watch people play my levels to see if they are having fun.
MM: What other games are you playing?
Otera: Recently, Samurai 3 and I like Armored Core as well. But I always come back to LBP :)
MM: What is your favourite game for Famicom? (NES)
Otera: I used to like the Kunio-Kun series. I also liked action games and strategy simulations.
MM: Any greets or shout outs?
Otera: Thanks to Mm for creating a wonderful world and to everyone, lets enjoy LBP!