After a year of targeted hacks and unexplained downtime, the online service for four is from Sony’s Small big planet Games – and probably the heart of their mantra “play.create.share” – no longer exist. Announced in a tweet on his official Twitter account, online services throughout Small big planet Vita and the Small big planet Trilogy for PS3 has been discontinued without notice as it cited issues of continued security for the online fan base.
For the uninitiated, the original 2008 Small big planet introduced a massive online concept of level creation and release. The series’ creators, Media Molecule, included incredibly robust creation tools that fans can use to turn the side-scrolling game into a myriad of incredible concepts, and that foundation grew as the series expanded from the PS3 generation to the Vita and PS4 .
But challenges for this creation toolbox arose in November 2020 when several fans posted on Twitter that LBP.me – the series’ social website, where players browse or queue up every available user-created level in almost every release can – no longer works. In the meantime, there were problems with social functions in the older entries in the game.
The next year was tough for them LBP Community. In March, Sony withdrew the original game’s servers – which were working with LBP2 and 3rd This allowed users to continue playing levels developed for the original game while simultaneously leaving all three games open to attack online – offline for “technical questions”. Many members of the community believe it was the result of repeated DDOS attacks by an angry fan, although to date no individual or group has been held responsible for such an incident.
Since then, both the PS3 entries and Small big planet Vita was repeatedly attacked, resulting in multiple shutdowns that made access to online services inaccessible for most of the year. Today’s statement is the first update from Small big planet Team on the situation since May.
Lack of transparency
Follow the digital paper trail of what happened to whom Small big planet and when is a mess. When LBP.me collapsed in November, that was LBP social account tweeted that there were no plans to shut down the game’s servers and that the site was offline simply for maintenance. (Concerned fans would later suspect that the site was actually attacked by the same hacker who started the DDOS attack in March, but no one came forward for that either.)
Neither Sony nor the series’ current developer, Sumo Digital, have been very open about what happened behind the scenes. LBP‘s Twitter reiterated Sony’s statement after the March attack, saying the team is investigating some technical issues. In April there was a follow-up in which it was said that security updates were the cause of the unpredictable online availability.
A third tweet on May 21st confirmed the team was aware that LBP Servers had problems again. A day later, the account announced that the servers would be temporarily taken offline. Around the same time, users on Reddit and Twitter posted screenshots of hacked in-game social pages that contained transphobic messages.
“Due to the severity of the recent attacks, we have no option but to temporarily disable the game servers. We do not take these attacks lightly, especially if they target our loyal community members,” the statement said. All tweets from the series’ social account related to ongoing hacks have since been deleted without further comment until today’s news.
It is currently unknown whether this DDOS barrage is the work of one person, as some community members claim, or whether there are multiple parties behind it. Nor has anyone stated whether these attacks were aimed solely at the original Small big planet against LBP2 and 3rd or when the Vita game servers were first bombed.
Equally puzzling is whether the decision to shut down LBPSony’s legacy servers came from Sony or Sumo Digital, who most recently developed the cross-generational PS5 LBP ground out Sackboy: A great adventure. IGN even tried to help investigate the circumstances behind the hacks own investigation back from April.
As it stands, the campaigns for every PS3 and Vita entry in the game can still be played offline, but any access to social features or the game’s store is now cut off. LBP Twitter has confirmed that the cross gene LittleBigPlanet 3s servers are back online after a new patch for PS4 gamers, although many members of the community have complained that the PS4 netcode for the 2014 release – Sumo’s first since it acquired the series from Media Molecule – was a hit with many of the users levels created by ruining the older games.
Sony had other issues with handling online services on its older platforms this year. In April the company did stopped plans It had announced that it would discontinue access to the PlayStation Network storefronts on Vita and PS3 next to the PSP store. Jim Ryan, head of Sony Interactive Entertainment, even came out saying, “It’s clear we made the wrong decision here.”