The two Little Big Adventure games are a curiosity of early 3D development, and both fit comfortably under the "cult classic" label. I got along well enough with these games back in the nineties as a nipper, but the series has a devoted following that will swear blind they're among the best games you'll ever play.
That claim is, not to put too fine of a point on it, probably less persuasive in 2022—the original came out in 1994, the sequel in 1997. They were visually impressive and far-reaching games at the time but 25 years of technological progress have happened since. Nevertheless the series' reputation has persisted, and last year Adeline Software co-founder Didier Chanfray announced plans to return with a third game in the series.
Those plans have changed and, while it may not seem like it now, probably for the better. The studio had previously ported Little Big Adventure to mobile, hoping that this would reignite some interest in the game. "It appeared very fast that no major publisher would be interested in LBA," writes Chanfray. "The sad truth is that the community—while active and loyal—is too small to build a game release on. The financial risk is simply too big."
Chanfray says that the studio was also aware of LBA fading into the background of cultural consciousness. "When Playstation exclusive Little Big Planet arrived—a much bigger IP with a larger audience and fame—'Little Big' became more and more associated with this IP instead of LBA [...] this makes marketing and publicity around LBA all the more challenging."
All of this context means that, when Adeline Software was given some investment by a series fan in order to think about the future, the initial idea of soldiering on with the unmade third game soon began to look like a losing strategy.
"[W]e quickly realized that the third game we initially wanted to make—the Genesis of the Stellar Entity—would be strange to make. The script was a first draft written to end the series. With the new studio, we do not want to end the series. We want to attract a wider audience and share the wonderful world, iconic characters and story with as many players as possible, so that more Twinsunian adventures can be created.
"We decided to reboot Twinsen’s story."
The studio aims to develop the game with a core team of around a dozen, and release it alongside the series' 30th anniversary in 2024. Due to the Little Big Planet issue, the reboot will be called Twinsen's Little Big Adventure.
As part of the decision to start anew, Adeline Software has open-sourced the code for the original games, and says it will "support any fan project/mod to the maximum of our capabilities."
If you're curious about the series, and why folk still care strongly about it now, PCG's own Phil Savage revisited the strangely sweet world of Little Big Adventure 2 a few years ago.