ESRB Rating: Everyone with Mild Cartoon Violence
Miiverse hosts a Miiting with the developers of Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam.
Read on as fans have their questions answered by Akira Otani, a producer from Nintendo, and from AlphaDream, director Shunsuke Kobayashi, composer Yoko Shimomura, battle designer Jun Iwazaki, co-director and Hiroyuki Kubota, 3D designer.
Q: What was it that initially gave you the idea of a crossover with the Paper Mario games?
A: Mario & Luigi games in the past were all about using two buttons, but for this title, we thought that we'd try to break new ground and make the action based on three buttons instead. However, when we tried to think of a new third character, we didn't come up with anything very good. Things carried on like that until we thought, "Wouldn't it be fun if there were two Marios?", and then Paper Mario emerged as a prime candidate. We felt that Paper Mario would push Mario & Luigi towards some new play styles, by means of a contrast between the solid and the flat, so we put forward the idea of a crossover.
Q: It's kind of an unexpected crossover, isn't it…? Speaking of which, there was one question that cropped up a lot more than any other: "Why no Paper Luigi?"
A: We did think "We've got to have double bros!" at one point, but we also thought that we should stick with three-button play, that four buttons might be too difficult, and that the game would be frustrating to play. Because of that, we made ease-of-play a priority, and settled on just using the A/B/Y buttons, which meant unfortunately that Paper Luigi would have to sit this one out. Sorry about that!
Q: It seems like Mario games each have their own unique principles which they firmly stick to… I bet that makes crossovers a bit complicated. What was the trickiest thing this time?
A: It was probably making the most of Paper Mario as a main character. He has specific qualities, like his "paperishness" and unique gameplay style, and we had to find ways to show these qualities in lots of different settings, in a manner that was fitting for this crossover. And since we had to work from the Mario & Luigi base, Paper Mario didn't always catch the attention as much as we'd hoped... We started to worry that we were going to be in deep trouble with the Paper Mario team! Well, I'm joking a little here, but I did have to work hard to create big scenes for the Paper Mario character.
Q: Both the Paper Mario and Mario & Luigi series are known for their high-quality storylines, so did this aspect also turn out to be tricky to handle?
A: ...It did. We were thinking, since the paper characters were coming all the way from the paper world, let's make the main story something really bizarre, crammed with red herrings and misapprehensions. We had things like going back and forth to the paper world, and the Mushroom Kingdom turning gradually into paper... But we overdid it a bit, and the first draft of the plot ended up being a complete muddle that wouldn't resonate with anyone...
So we simplified the script and structured it with greater emphasis on showing the different characters meeting and interacting with each other. We had to do a lot of re-writes...