Over the years, Nintendo has grown its catalog of games to include a wide variety of genres. From kart racing to puzzlers, the industry's longest standing hardware and software developer has just about all of the bases covered. However, there is one area that, when compared to other publishers, they come up a little short in - third person action adventure games.
Sure, there are the 3D Mario games ("64," "Sunshine," and the "Galaxy") that keep them covered to a certain extent, but those are really platformers at heart. Their best example is "Luigi's Mansion" on the GameCube, a game where Luigi hunted down ghosts and sucked them up with a vacuum cleaner. It's no "Gears of War," but it's also not not. So, what happens when you give this unique franchise to a team of internal and external developers with a range of expertise to create its first sequel? Well, "Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon," is the easy answer, but I wanted to dig a little deeper.
Last week during a video conference interview that spanned four different cities, I posed the question, "What was it like to make a third person action-adventure game, especially one staring Luigi?" to the game's Supervisor, Mr. Yoshihito Ikebata, as well as the Director of Next Level Games, Bryce Holliday. They both had different takes on the situation given their unique backgrounds.
Mr. Ikebata, whose name appears in the credits games like "Eternal Darkness," the bit Generations series, and "Metroid Prime" really just had a passion to work on "Luigi's Mansion 2."
"How did that happen? I guess I just wanted to work on a game like that.
I guess the strongest element of me getting involved with this was just because I, personally, really wanted to see a sequel to "Luigi's Mansion." Now, of course, that was battling within me, against the anxiety that I felt about working on a kind of game that I hadn't really had a lot of experience with before, but I would say that in the end, the desire to make a sequel to "Luigi's Mansion" was the stronger feeling, and it won out."
Mr. Holliday had a slightly different take on the situation, given that Next Level Games' has a unique relationship with Nintendo, having worked on games like "Super Mario Strikers" and "Punch-Out" for the Wii.
"For Next Level Games, we had this long existing partnership with Nintendo, and we've kind of done slightly different games than Nintendo would make if they were using an internal team. "Mario Soccer" is a little more competitive and edgy than say their other sports titles. "Punch-Out" is really a North American classic game. I think they are hopefully using Next Level Games as a way of pushing themselves, or challenging themselves, to be a little bit different, and by giving us "Luigi's Mansion 2," it kind of allowed us to bring something to the table that they might not have had internally.
We're big fans of the original GameCube game, and we were honored to be given this opportunity. We had a little bit of background with "Captain America" for Sega, which was a third-person action adventure game, but in terms of our Nintendo catalog, we hadn't done a game like this. So we kind of used our experience at the company with other developers, plus our established relationship with them and their commitment to us pushing the envelope a bit, and it was a nice match for how "Luigi's Mansion 2" came about."
This conversation came at the end of a long discussion about "Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon" that we will be featuring more of later this week. Check back for more from the development team on the game's use of humor and 3D, as well as some rather interesting tidbits about the game's development.