There's a growing clamour on the LittleBigPlanet forums about level 'moderation' — if by 'moderation' one means 'summary deletion.' Without warning. It doesn't have to involve penis innuendo creations or anything blatantly offensive, either. Just create a level that references anyone else's IP, and you're at risk of losing all your work on the spot. Considering some people are spending standard workdays on these things, keep that in mind before you plunge into your Metal Gear Solid tribute.
Reader Robbie M. angrily wrote us after his level was taken down. "So many cases have no questionable content in sight, even ones with humorous light hearted violence have been taken down, like the popular GoW Demon Skull level," he said. "What's the point of having a community driven game if you're not going to let your community do anything with it in an act to try and please everybody?"
It's not a case of removing the offending content and republishing the level. One's it's taken down, it's gone for good. One user posted a strategy for keeping a copy of a level offline and republishing it in case it gets deleted. But Robbie says there are instances of unpublished levels getting "moderated" too. "I've never been so infuriated over a game," he says.
Traffic on the LittleBigWorkshop discussion board seems to back him up. "This just happened to tons of levels in what seems like a matter of minutes, including my own level 'Failure To Launch.' " Says one user. "By the trend I see from the levels I can no longer play from my recent levels on my planet, its all about copyright. Some levels I've seen now unplayable due to moderation: Pacman, Batman, and Scrubs related level."
If "Failure to Launch" was taken down because it shares a title with a romantic comedy from 2006, then this is truly out of hand. The thread is more than nine pages long now, including a claim that a level based on the PlayStation 3 was taken down. Destructoid rightly points out the absurdity of a console exclusive being unable to refer to that console.
Seriously, what on earth did Sony and Media Molecule think would happen here? One of the first things you see in any decent game with a custom level editor is someone's homage to Super Mario Bros., to the point that it's become cliche. I understand that those levels are not hosted online, and that's probably what the lawyer-mans told them created risk of exposure to a lawsuit. But your freedom to create absolutely isn't as open-ended as they've implied. And this creates a huge chilling effect on user-created content for the game that was supposed to set a new standard for it.
My level was "moderated" [LittleBigWorkshop Forum, via Destructoid]
My Level has Been Moderated and I Don't Know Why [LittleBigWorkshop Forum, thanks Robbie]
Getting Moderated? READ THIS! [LittleBigWorkshop Forum]