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Sack-Thing, also spelled Sack Thing or Sackthing and also known as Sackboy, Sackgirl and Sackperson, is the generic avatar in LittleBigPlanet. Sack-Thing travels through the various lands of LittleBigPlanet in a cardboard spaceship called the Pod.
Sack-Things are made out of various cloths (mainly brown knitted wool), and stuffing, with stitches clearly visible, and a large zipper down the front of their chest. Sackpeople are stuffed with fluff, and also mentioned to be stuffed with ice cream, too.
The game focuses on its base of simplicity and the controls are minimalist and yet diverse at the same time: The Left Stick makes the Sackperson run left and right, and up and down make it move from the background to the foreground (or vice versa.) The button makes it jump; the longer you press it, the larger the leap is. A quick tap results in a short hop. The R1 button makes it grab things that are, well, grab-able.
You can also tilt their head (or waist by clicking L3) by tilting your controller utilizing the PlayStation 3's unique SixAxis capability, and move the analogue sticks while holding down the L2 and/or R2 buttons to animate the Sackperson's arms. If you hold down the L2/R2 button and quickly snap the left/right stick from left to right or right to left, then Sack-Thing will execute a slap. Whenever you slap a nearby Sack-Thing, they will flop down onto the ground, moving in the direction slapped slightly. (leading to quite the tomfoolery after being slapped off a cliff). When using the Popit to fix Stickers and Decorations on the Sackperson, you can press L1 or R1 to rotate them 90 degrees, so you can customize its sides and back easier.
For those who want to express their Emotions to friends whilst playing online where text or your voice just won't do the job, you can do. Sackboy has four different emotions, where each has three levels of "intensity"; joy, sorrow, fear, and anger.
Sack-Thing may, and can be killed in various ways; crushed between cramped up spaces, get squashed by a heavy object, blown up to smithereens by explosives, disintegrated by a plasma ball, get electrocuted, dissolved by a horrible gas, get stabbed by a knife, drowning, get the stuffing knocked out of them by a spike or shuriken, or even get incinerated by flammable objects.
Main article: Customization
As well as the Costumes originally included in the game, there are also extra costumes, most of which are cameos of other video-game characters, which can be bought on the PlayStation Store.
Concept and Creation
Yellowhead was very much placeholder programmer art created by Dave for the first playable Craftworld code which was taken up to Sony on that fateful day of the pitch. Although he was merely a stand in, he ended up dictating the proportions of Sackboy, and the things he would need to be able to do.
After the team got the go ahead to develop the game, the character needed to evolve into a proper character to fit the game’s developing art style, and so Mark, Francis and Kareem all went to the drawing board and started to concept. For quite some time the character was still called Yellowhead, and indeed kept the yellow head after which he was named.
“I don’t know why but I always drew him with this little mosquito antennae on his head. My designs were always very anatomical, with legs and arms, whilst Francis was exploring body proportions and shapes - how the head relates to the body. It was Mark who was really pushing the handmade look, the buttons, patches, and the hessian fabric.”
As Sackboy was reshaped time and time again, it was these handmade aspects that stayed true throughout everyone’s designs. There were three distinct versions of Sackboy shape wise, but you could see the similarities between them too.
“We were struggling. But then Dave came along with some doodles, once again bringing a bit of personality and the subtle shapes. It refreshed us all”
Dave’s sketches show the arrival of the trapezium head, the attitude, and the wrinkles in the cloth from his expressions. These tiny things were a huge influence on the final design.
By now, one of the most distinct features of Sackboy was prevalent throughout all the designs. The zip. These days it’s just a cute feature of the character, but it was not always just for show; once upon a time it had an important function.
“There was always a concept of a place where you play, and a place where you build that eventually became the Moon. But at this stage various ideas were flying around - an extra room in the pod, a warehouse somewhere. But then Mark came up with a crazy concept…”
“Maybe the place where you go to create is… in yourself. Let’s put this zip on Sackboy, he opens the zip, folds in on himself and goes and creates inside himself, because creativity and ideas are all inside you.”
“I’m kind of glad to say that this idea didn’t manifest” laughs Kareem. “it’s a legacy part of design, but it makes him really distinct.”
From this moment on, Francis took the wheel “we thrust all these designs into his lap and said - ‘make it cool!’” Francis looks bemused, and shakes his head.
“Sackboy ended up being a combination of these 4 concepts” Francis pipes up “and you can see it - Mark’s crafty vibe, Kareem’s pinched limbs, the more appealing shape and proportions of my drawings”
Appearances in Other Games
Main article: Sack-Thing in Other Media
- Sack-Thing is a playable character in PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale. His rival is Big Daddy from the Bioshock franchise.
- Sack-Thing appears along with other LittleBigPlanet characters, objects and locations in the Minceraft LittleBigPlanet Mash-Up Pack.
- He is a playable character via DLC in Hot Shots Golf: Out of Bounds, ModNation Racers and Invizimals: Shadow Zone.