LittleBigPlanet developer Media Molecule has spent £4.1m on research and development - including work on "leading edge physics and dynamics" - in a bid to retain the studio's reputation for innovation.

Financial documents obtained by Develop show that over the year leading up to the end of March 2011, Media Molecule invested £4.1m in research and development. The studio made £3.44m profit over the same period.

The paperwork mentions that research included work on "leading edge physics and dynamics, rapid world creation from laser data, innovative routes to market via web based interfaces, 3D stereo-optics for advanced simulation, and use of 'hi-def' data capture and processing techniques".

It's clear that Media Molecule wishes to retain its reputation for innovation: "It is vital for Media Molecule to focus a high proportion of its resources on R&D to allow it to maintain its world leading position as a developer of innovative games".

Elsewhere, a directors' annual report states that Media Molecule's main business risks are "largely as a result of the company's heavy reliance on the one LittleBigPlanet brand name".

Media Molecule is probably right to be concerned about being seen as overly reliant upon the LittleBigPlanet franchise. We've really enjoyed the two main games in the series, but it'd be great to see something else from the Guildford-based developer.

This heavy investment in R&D seems like a smart idea - and if nothing else, it works as powerful statement of intent. It'll be fascinating to see what the studio does next.