Before LittleBigPlanet was called “LittleBigPlanet”, it was called “Craftworld”. It was a physics-based 2D side scrolling game and it’s main character was a little guy by the name of “Mr. Yellowhead” (he is an unlockable character in LBP). His arms were controllable with the right analogue stick and his legs were controllable with the left analogue stick. The main point of the prototype was to guide Mr. Yellowhead past a bunch of little and big obstacles by grabbing on to them and pushing and/or rolling them around, much like a puzzle game.
This was enough to make Sony interested in the game and after much work and a public beta, LittleBigPlanet was released worldwide by November 5, 2008.
As wrote on TheEscapist, it seems that Media Molecule had some plans to make the game a “full 3D” exploring platform:
Media Molecule co-founder Alex Evans told Joystiq at Gamescom that an early build of LittleBigPlanet had “free depth and completely moving cameras, and the gameplay engine wasn’t layered fundamentally.” Levels could “travel into the screen,” so Sackboys were able to move more than just left and right.
Evans admitted that this level of freedom was “really hard” and “creatively unconstrained.” He says: “We found our level designers wasted tons of time in 3D land, so we iteratively reduced it; first of all, we reduced the scope, then we added the layers, and with each restriction we did, it improved the quality.”
In the screenshots below, we can see some interesting concept art of the various stages of the game.
Thanks to Robert Seddon for the contribution!