Earlier this week, Gameinformer published a massive feature on Paper Mario: The Origami King, where they had a chat with the game’s dev team about various aspects of the title’s development.
Topics covered include the origins of the game’s unique new battle system, as well as the developers’ approach to worldbuilding. You can check out some snippets from the interview below:
Battle System Origins
Producer Kensuke Tanabe: Mr. Naohiko Aoyama, who is a member of the staff at Intelligent Systems and the director of the previous entry in the series, Paper Mario: Color Splash, asked for a battle system in which the enemies surround Mario to attack from all sides. That became our starting point when thinking about how the battles would work.
We kept thinking about what to do, until one day an idea suddenly popped into my head while I was in the shower. The idea was based on a Rubik’s Cube. It inspired me to add vertical rotations to the horizontal rotations, so we got the slide mechanic added to the program, and it worked well. That is the moment I was convinced we’d be able to build our battle system.
I drew concentric circles on a whiteboard, put mock-ups of some panels using magnets with arrows and other things drawn on them so Ms. Risa Tabata [the assistant producer] and I could simulate how a battle would play out multiple times. We felt that we had gotten something pretty good out of that process, so I proposed it to Intelligent Systems.
Producer Kensuke Tanabe: We never considered whether or not we should implement a party-based system like some other games. As we worked on Paper Mario: The Origami King, we decided we could create more memorable moments if Olivia and the other characters team up with Mario along the way.
In other words, we first determine what elements are needed in a game and then figure out how to implement and program them. Bobby, the Bob-omb, was the first character we decided to include, and from there we chose the characters that would be the best fit for the events in each stage of the game.
Bowser Jr. was an exception. The director, Mr. Masahiko Nagaya, personally had strong feelings about including a storyline where a son sets out to save his father, so in this case, we decided to include the character before deciding exactly what we would have him do.”
Director Masahiko Magaya: One major feature that makes the world where this adventure takes place special is that there are huge maps to explore at every turn. Because the game is laid out this way, we were careful during the design phase to make sure there is always something in the player’s field of vision to catch their attention.
Paper Mario: The Origami King launches July 17th on Switch.
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