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Making a Game the Nintendo Way - Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon
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Making a Game the Nintendo Way - Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon

April 12, 2013 Article Start Previous Page 3 of 4 Next

YI: So, it was really important to be able to bring out the originality that is afforded by building a game within the Luigi's Mansion world and concept. We asked ourselves questions: What can we do because of this game setting, and because it's Luigi's Mansion? That's definitely a principle that we have throughout development.

BD: One of the points that Miyamoto brought up -- we originally had bosses designed in our game, and they were all designed, and then he said, "No, we actually want to make not just bosses, but Luigi's Mansion bosses." So, each boss is an original design for our game.

BH: You could've seen those other bosses -- the original concepts for the bosses -- in other games. They would look in their style, but you could've seen that animal-character boss in this [other] game. And he's like, "No, it has to be a more Luigi's Mansion boss."

And eventually one of the bosses that came out was you fight against stairs. Which would be a concept that would be pretty hard to do in a first-person shooter. Fight the stairs! But that's actually one of the bosses in the game, is a staircase. And it came out of that discussion of, "How can it be something about Luigi's Mansion?"

BD: A lot of those bosses are rewards for the player to experience. I think that challenge he put out to us, to make Luigi's Mansion bosses, actually brought out a ton of creativity from the team.

BH: You might notice if you've already been playing that only the first boss is a traditional one. After that, they become more awkward and weird... in good ways. In good ways!

I would like to talk a little bit about that process of experimentation, because as Bryce mentioned, it's really become clear from talks and interviews, and Iwata's presentation at GDC a couple years back, that Nintendo is absolutely focused on experimenting and working on games until they're right and if they don't get right, don't put them out.

I want to talk a little bit about not necessarily that process but from the process of working with an external developer, from both your perspectives -- from you working in Japan with them, and them working with you, how you can make that process work and have results.

YI: This was a case of a long distance between us, and the challenges that come with working apart, but having to communicate a lot was definitely the reality of the situation -- and we would do things like a video conference once a week, and while it is still just looking at your screen on your side of the world, it still was a way to have some face-to-face time and communicate.

BH: The commitment to experimentation, it's a little bit of a mindset that the developer has to get into. You have to be willing to throw out work, and that's really hard to do because you've got people -- your entire team, basically, putting their passion into the game and you think you need to get every feature to completion. But if you have this commitment to rapid experimentation, you set the tone of, like, "Hey, certain things are just gonna be thrown out and you won't ever have to finish them." We'll pick the best.

For me, as director, that's actually the hardest thing, trying to convince people that it's tenuous -- that the stuff you're doing might not make it into the final game. And after a little while, you're doing so many experiments it's just a different experience, for that reason.

So you just kind of end up trying a bunch of things that you normally wouldn't try because you're worried about them failing. And that's when you start getting real innovations. If we're trying so many things and we have the time, we're just gonna do things even crazier than we would've if we needed to make sure that that feature made it into the game. Being less conservative. And then there's technical reasons that Brian can get into of how we made it work. 

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