Takemoto-san, when Tezuka-san suggested making the main character Luigi, what did you think?
At first, I said, “What are you talking about?!” (laughs)
But he brought it up again a few days later, so I was thinking…
He’s serious. (laughs)
Yeah. I realised he was serious. So we decided to rethink it based around Luigi. Until then, while we had been making the add-on content with the idea of changing all 82 courses, even if that served as a selling point to some extent, I still wasn’t fully convinced. But now we could change the main character and clearly say, “This is a Luigi game!”
It became easier to explain.
Right. Finally it was a game we could clearly explain. Then I got into the work and it was easy to make.
(happily) Oh, that’s good.
Several things were good about switching to Luigi. When we were making the game for Mario, it was somewhat difficult, and I myself wondered if some parts were too difficult. But when we switched to Luigi, we realised we also needed to change the actions. When we did, places that had been difficult weren’t so much anymore.
Luigi can jump higher .
Right. As a result, the balance turned out just right. And since it was add-on content, I thought a digital download would be enough, but then it was decided to also come out with a packaged version.
Nintendo’s sales teams around the world pressed you to also come out with a packaged version, right?
Yeah. I thought, “Really?!” (laughs)
You hadn’t imagined that at all.
No. I just wanted everyone to know about downloadable content, but as for packaging it… When I thought it over, though, I realised that was one way to spread the game.
Because bringing out a packaged version would create more opportunities for people who hadn’t played New Super Mario Bros. U to play it.
Right. Until then, our target audience was only people who had played New Super Mario Bros. U, and what’s more, only those who wanted to play it more. The great thing about a packaged version was that we could also aim for people who hadn’t played that game.
But by switching the main character to Luigi, you also had to rethink the player-character for multiplayer mode, didn’t you?
You’re referring to Nabbit 9.9. Nabbit: A new character who appeared in New Super Mario Bros. U. Nabbit steals items from Toad’s House and is then chased by Mario. He’s good at slipping past enemies.
Why did you choose Nabbit?
When we decided on Luigi as the main character, I talked with Tezuka-san about how I was absolutely against having Mario make an appearance.
Not wanting to use Mario is something you simply don’t hear around the Entertainment Analysis & Development Department! (laughs)
Yeah! (laughs) The idea came up of using three Toads, but when three Toads show up, the screen gets confusing, so I hounded Tezuka-san about seizing this chance to use a new character.
So if you hadn’t pushed for it, there would have been three Toads?
Yes, it might have ended up that way.
So we decided to rethink the characters from the start. A lot of enemies have always shown up in this series, but not many are allies.
And often Princess Peach is off somewhere far away in need of saving. (laughs)
Yeah. (laughs) So I thought the only choice left was Nabbit! In New Super Mario Bros. U, you chase Nabbit around, but I thought it would be fun to keep Nabbit’s ability to slip past enemies and use him as a player-character. I asked a programmer to make something as a test, and his first reaction was “Are you really going to do this with Nabbit?!”
The programmer was less than thrilled.
Yes. But when he actually made it, before he even showed it to me, I got a phone call from that programmer, who was overjoyed, saying, “It feels so refreshing to use Nabbit! Even the way he walks around the course selection screen is great!” When I heard that, I knew I had to keep pushing for Nabbit!
So you made something provisional before receiving Tezuka-san’s approval.
Yes. Then I showed him the prototype with Nabbit and said, “The way he doesn’t run into enemies would be good for beginners, wouldn’t it?”
Yeah. Just about that time, we’d been talking about how we needed something for beginners, and Nabbit was perfect for that. It’s like Miyamoto-san is always saying…
“An idea is a single solution that solves multiple issues at once.”1010. “An idea is a single solution that solves multiple issues at once”: Shigeru Miyamoto said this in a discussion for Hobo Nikkan Itoi Shinbun. For more, see “The Definition of Idea.”
I thought Nabbit would solve the problem. And just between us, you can also use Nabbit for single-player gameplay.
We said in Nintendo Direct in May11 that Nabbit was only available for multiplayer mode.11. Nintendo Direct in May: Nintendo Direct, May 17th 2013: Nabbit is introduced at 09:52.
Later, the specs were about due, so I said, “I don’t mind if it’s a hidden feature, but make it comfortable for beginning players,” and we tried making it so a single player could use him. As for the way you make him appear, you know how old games had hidden commands?
Right, right. You could do things like make hidden characters appear with hidden commands.
I won’t give away specifics, but you only have to do a certain something once you enter a course, so it should be easy.
That’s for the players to discover.
Yeah. We couldn’t put those kinds of hidden commands in most recent games, so I hope people will find it nostalgic and enjoy finding it.
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