Iwata Asks: Mario & Luigi Dream Team

Nintendo has finished the translation of a recent \”Iwata Asks\” interview focusing on the team behind Mario & Luigi: Dream Team for the 3DS.

For starters the team discusses their early design process, generating ideas and trying to work those mechanics and scenarios into a playable game.  Many of the team members felt \”burnt blank\” after finishing and releasing their most recent Mario & Luigi game, Bowser’s Inside Story.  For the fourth Mario and Luigi game, however, the team decided they would commit to focusing strictly on the eponymous characters and would not use any other Nintendo characters in the central theme of the game.  It took several ideas over the span of years to settle on the idea of Mario entering Luigi’s dream world and controlling several dream Luigi’s to complete tasks.  Burning themselves out paid off in the end, as Bowser’s Inside Story sold much better than the second game in the franchise.

Once the team was settled on their ideas in prototype form, they divided the team up to work on Alpha, Beta, and Gamma versions of the game.  Because AlphaDream is more skillful with pixel art than 3D, the decision was made to make the characters with pixel art but were designed to work and look good with stereoscopic 3D.  This meant several retakes and creating the 2D sprites for each of 16 directional movements; without mirroring sprites, as that would have made the animations look wrong and Luigi’s L would have turned backward.

During development, AlphaDream called on their female staff members to play test the game to ensure the difficulty was accessible to novice players.  This lead to the inclusion of the \”easy mode\” system that makes Mario and Luigi stronger for a short period after dying and, after repeated deaths, the hint block that would appear and help the player.  This prevented those not skilled with RPGs to ease into the leveling and advancement systems in the game.  If you\’re more into challenging gameplay, don\’t worry, the hard mode in the game is too hard even for the people designing it.

Mario & Luigi: Dream Team takes advantage of many of the features and capabilities of the 3DS system, from using the touch panel to control Luigi, to using the gyroscopic sensor to finish attacks, to pixel art in stereoscopic 3D.  This game is a labor of love that has taken 3 years to develop fully.  It blends action and RPG elements to create an approachable, yet challenging, level of play to appeal to those returning to the series as well as those who are new to even the idea of a Mario RPG.

What are your thoughts on the content of the newest Mario & Luigi game?  Let us know in the comments.

[Source: Nintendo]

Wesley Stopford