Paper Mario: The Origami King released recently to great fanfare, but it remains a stark departure from prior games such as Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door. Fans are understandably curious about what’s been going on behind the scenes with this series – why did it abandon RPG mechanics and unique partners, for example? Earlier this month, an interview revealed that developers are no longer allowed to modify Mario characters. Now, thanks to an interview with GamesRadar, we’ve received a bit of elaboration on how that’s applied to recent Paper Mario games: they can’t make physically unique Toads anymore. Series producer Kensuke Tanabe explained when this came to be and how the developers manage to work around it as follows:
From the production of Paper Mario: Sticker Star onwards, we were no longer able to graphically represent individual characteristics, such as age, gender etc., in the Toad NPCs (non-playable characters), and so it has become that much more important to convey their personalities simply through text. Our writer, Mr Taro Kudo, has been grappling with this difficult challenge since Paper Mario: Sticker Star, but has managed to achieve giving all the texts a sense of humour. In this instalment, Paper Mario: The Origami King, we were able to include some Toads wearing an outfit to match their role, and also created original origami characters.
It’s a good thing that the writing in Paper Mario: The Origami King is as strong as it is, because the writing team behind the game clearly had to bring their best to make lasting impressions with each of the title’s many Toads.