Yesterday, we posted the first half of our interview with Nintendo’s Mr. Yoshihito Ikebata, and Next Level Games’ Bryce Holliday and Brian Davis, where they discussed some of their thoughts on “Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon.” Today the group tackles multiplayer, some of their favorite Luigi moments from the past, and even gives us a little insight into the possible beginnings of the “Luigi’s Mansion” mini-game in “Nintendo Land.” Oh, they even talk a little bit about Luigi’s lesser known big brother, Mario.
Multiplayer: In relation to the multiplayer – I was curious as to why you’re playing as four Luigi’s instead of four different characters from the Nintendo universe, as a lot of the other games allow for?
Bryce Holliday: The reason why there are four Luigis in the game instead of four different characters was because we really wanted that in-the-same-room multiplayer to be the main focus, and we realized that not everybody owns the game, or brings the game at the right time when they meet somebody with a 3DS. There is a download limit of 32 MB, for the download play system that exists on the operating system, so we had to work within that smaller confine, and therefore the texture and model data for a Mario, and a Toad and a Peach just wouldn’t fit in that space. By being limited we actually had to innovate, and do randomly generating maps, use four Luigis, and use the upgrade system from the single player game to really flesh out that experience, because it was planned as a kind of viral thing like, “hey, play this, let’s sit down and play it” and we just had to work within that scope.
Brian Davis: I think another point is that we also wanted to have everyone have the same game, even if you’re on download play. To ensure that, we had to make sure that we had enough room to have the game loaded for everybody.
Holliday: Yeah, there’s only one feature in the multicard game that doesn’t exist in the download play game, and it’s a rare boss ghost that you haven’t found yet.
Multiplayer: How would Dark Moon have been a different game if it starred Mario?
Yoshihiro Ikebata: Yeah, how would it be different? I suppose that if you had Mario as the main character in this game, he really wouldn’t be quite as scared of ghosts. You wouldn’t see him shivering and emoting in quite the same way as Luigi does. So probably, it would be not quite as fun. It would be a different game completely, I would think.
Davis: I think in terms of gameplay, players would expect Mario to behave a certain way, so the gameplay would probably be completely different if Mario was in the game over Luigi.
Holliday: Yeah, you’d be able to jump, and perhaps the Boos would have captured the Princess.
Davis: I guess one thing that they allowed us to do with Luigi is that the game is more of an adventure game, than an action game, as well.
Multiplayer: It’s been a while since the original “Luigi’s Mansion,” and the franchise has made a couple of small appearances in games like “Smash Bros.,” and I was just curious if you thought the “Luigi’s Mansion” mini-game that was included in “Nintendo Land” served as a worthwhile introduction to the fans that might have been previously unfamiliar with the franchise?
Ikebata: I think that we were really happy to have “Luigi’s Mansion” mini-game appear in “Nintendo Land,” because it at least introduced the game as a concept to people who had never played it, or might not have been exposed to the original one.
Holliday: Another good question, and it leads to a pretty funny story. The way Nintendo develops games is through a lot of experimentation. We’re inspired to try ideas out even, whimsical ones. We learned about “Nintendo Land” “Luigi’s Mansion,” when they announced it at the press event – I believe it was E3. That’s when we’d first heard of it. When we saw it on the screen, as we were watching it on a video conference, it looked an awful lot like a demo we had done, where in “Luigi’s Mansion” you were going to play as ghosts, and we called this mode “Haunt and Seek.” Basically, we were building a multiplayer game, or just like a little experiment, that had the players play as ghosts in “Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon,” and it was nice to see that although that idea didn’t go through on our team, it was taken by another group and possibly used as reference and/or more.
Davis: I was actually excited to see the game when they announced it, mainly because it allowed Miyamoto-san’s “Pac-Man Vs.” gameplay to be playable now by a wide audience, so everybody that owns a Wii U can now play that gameplay which before required the GBA/Gamecube connection that not everybody had at the time.
Holliday: To give him credit, we actually played “Pac-Man Vs.” to come up with our experimental demo. It’s kind of circular there.
Ikebata: (laughs) That’s interesting. I don’t think that we ever actually showed the demo from NLG for that early version to the team that worked on “Nintendo Land” version of “Luigi’s Mansion,” so I think that the idea must have developed separately and parallel.
Holliday: Or maybe Mr. Miyamoto had a factor in something there. (laughs)
Multiplayer: One of the most endearing things I’ve noticed while playing the game is that Luigi hums with the background music, and I was just curious how that came about?
Ikebata: Well, thanks for noticing even small details in the gameplay like that. This was something NLG worked on, so I wanted to make sure that they got a chance to talk about it.
Davis: Throughout development we were always experimenting with new ideas, but there are a lot of fans of the old game within our company, and there were certain features that we felt that fans would appreciate, and that we also really wanted to see in the game. There’s the humming, and if you press the D-pad you can communicate with other players in multiplayer, but in single player you can do something similar. There are a lot of things that users can find on their own and notice if you were a fan before.
Multiplayer: Was there any consideration of not using the Poltergust as Luigi’s main weapon, or if it’s inherently tied to the franchise and the mansions?
Ikebata: You know, I think we always thought of the Poltergust as one of the essential elements, and I don’t think we ever tried varieties of gameplay without it.
Holliday: Yeah, E. Gadd is also part of this franchise, and Ikebata-san’s direction is that E. Gadd is a character that takes old technology, and manufactures or modifies it into useful things. He’s kind of like a tinkerer, so I think the E. Gadd/Poltergust connection is pretty strong, and it makes the franchise kind of unique.
Ikebata: And even in gameplay terms, it’s hard to imaging this game without it.
Multiplayer: With this year being the Year of Luigi, I’m just curious what your favorite Luigi appearances are throughout the history of Nintendo?
Ikebata: Hmm… I’m not so sure about other Luigi titles, it would be hard to nail one down – I’ll have to get back to you.
Davis: I probably have to say “Super Mario 2″/”Super Mario USA” where Luigi had a very unique control style that’s never really been looked at outside of that game, so I think it’s very unique.
Holliday: I think for me, I’ll probably get all of the terms wrong, but in “Super Smash Bros.” the super power that comes out, and Luigi does his little dance. I remember reading that that dance was based on being in the shadow of your older brother, and I though for a concept for a super power, that is pretty cool. Luigi’s just always a goofy guy, anywhere where he’s acting as the reluctant hero is always funny for me.
Ikebata: “Negative Zone.”
Bryce: (laughs) I’m feeling “Negative Zone.”
We wrapped up our Q&A by speaking about what it was like for a team with such a varied repertoire to work on a third-person action game like “Dark Moon.”