LittleBigPlanet fans have a bit of a good news/bad news situation this morning. After months of downtime, the PS4 servers for LittleBigPlanet 3 are back online, with all the community content restored and working as before. However, servers for all prior PS3 and Vita versions will remain offline indefinitely, having been shut down in an effort to “protect the LittleBigPlanet community” and keep the online services “safe.”
Back in May, Sony shut down the servers for the first three LittleBigPlanet games (and the Vita version) due to ongoing attacks and malicious messages left by hackers. The issues went back to late last year, when Eurogamer reported that ongoing DDoS attacks and unstable servers could be traced back to a single fan who was “unhappy with Sony’s treatment of the franchise.” There were also reports from players of being unable to play some community-made content, and offensive messages appearing in-game.
To sum: It was a huge shitstorm, which is why Sony shut the servers down on May 22.
Now, months later and with no warning, the official LittleBigPlanet Twitter account announced that the Little Big Planet 3 PS4 servers are back online after a new title update. But it also confirmed that the servers for the original PlayStation 3 trilogy and the Vita version are now permanently deactivated.
An update on the LittleBigPlanet server and online services: pic.twitter.com/vUrvHcZvIs— Sackboy: A Big Adventure | LittleBigPlanet (@LittleBigPlanet) September 13, 2021
“We have no doubt that this news will come as a disappointment to a lot of you,” said Sony in a statement on Twitter. “Ultimately this is the best way to protect the LittleBigPlanet community and to help ensure that our online environment remains safe.”
In follow-up tweets, the LittleBigPlanet account explained that the games will remain playable offline, that DLC levels purchased and downloaded in the old games will still work, and that all previously uploaded community content will remain playable in the PS4 version of LittleBigPlanet 3.
The community reaction has been mostly negative. While some are thankful for the devs saving and keeping all the old community content, many others criticised the lack of transparency from Sony about the ongoing server issues, extended downtime, and today’s surprise cessation of a majority of the games’ online features.
Read More: LittleBigPlanet 3: The Kotaku Review
The entire situation is odd, as LittleBigPlanet isn’t a small franchise from some unknown indie developer, but a popular Sony series that has appeared in multiple forms across various PlayStation consoles. To see it be attacked by hackers and trolls so easily and then, after months of downtime, to be nearly shut down entirely except for the most recent entry is bizarre.
Today’s outcome seems less than optimal, but if there’s a silver lining, it’s that at least all user-made content from the PlayStation 3 trilogy remains playable in the PlayStation 4 game. Losing that would have been truly catastrophic.