E3 09: LittleBigPlanet + Mario Kart = ModNation Racers

Apparently, Sony’s tagline of ‘Play, Create and Share’ wasn’t just limited to its disarming physics-based platformer, LittleBigPlanet. Showing the first glimpse of their colourful racing game at Sony’s E3 press conference, developer United Front Games have managed to take Sackboy’s charm and creation tools and mix it with Mario Kart’s infectious pick up and play nature. The result is ModNation Racers, a title that could well do for racing games what LBP did for the platformer.

Like Mario's racer, Sony’s innovative game features Wacky Races-esque powers ups (including rocket launchers and other weapons) and ludicrous power slides. But unlike the toilet jockey’s kart game, ModNation won’t be sustained by entrenched mascots and familiar tracks. Instead it’ll thrive on the variety and freshness its course and character creators provide.

With a comparable amount of creative control as we have with Sackboy in LBP, we’ll be able to edit the diminutive drivers into Lucha libre wrestlers, Frankenstein-style monstrosities or Paris Hilton wannabes. Customising karts to suit our newly created racers should be a blast, too. And we can’t wait to craft contraptions that’ll shame anything Mario and co. ride around the Mushroom Kingdom in.

More exciting, though, is the sheer intuitiveness of the course creator. Not only can we edit the geography of trackside surroundings – with create tools similar to those found in Far Cry 2 letting you sculpt mountains and trees. But we can litter courses with a variety of ridiculous props, including explosive barrels, garden furniture and even flocks of sheep.

The best part though, is courses are created by driving around the landscape in third or first person. And this should ensure driving always feel natural and instinctive. Add to this the fact we’ll be able to share our tracks, characters and cars online, and the possibilities for karting chaos could be limitless. The days of Mario and his red shells could well be numbered.

Providing the final game lets us create buildings and complex inner city road systems, here’s what we’re making as soon as we get ModNation Racers out of the box…

Alright, maybe not the last one.

So what do you think? Reckon ModNation Racers could be as important for the PS3 as LBP? Will it really make Mario Kart irrelevant? What tracks would you like to create? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

June 05, 2009

David Meikleham
Google AMP Stories Editor

David has worked for Future under many guises, including for GamesRadar+ and the Official Xbox Magazine. He is currently the Google Stories Editor for GamesRadar and PC Gamer, which sees him making daily video Stories content for both websites. David also regularly writes features, guides, and reviews for both brands too.