Paper Mario: Color Splash is about a month away from releasing for the Wii U. In a recent interview with USGamer, the game’s producer, Risa Tabata, talked a bit about the upcoming title in the Paper Mario series, including what makes it different from the Mario & Luigi games. Other topics discussed included the somewhat controversial inclusion of Sticker Star’s limited combat resources, as well as what Tabata personally hopes to bring to the series.
US Gamer: It seems like the Mario RPG concept has taken to an alternating schedule, with Paper Mario and then with Mario & Luigi. What differentiates those two series? How do you keep those two general concepts, both of which involve Mario and an RPG adventure, separate and distinct?
Risa Tabata: So, as you know, the first Paper Mario was very much a role-playing game, and Mario and Luigi is of course also a role-playing game. Yeah… obviously, we have these two RPG series, but they both allow us to offer new and varied experiences to players.
The old Paper Mario games, they were obviously RPGs and had a lot of good elements, but they weren’t just about the RPG elements. They were full of solving puzzles, solving mysteries, the color factor, the visual style. For the Paper Mario series, we’re focusing more on those elements — the puzzle-solving.
On the other hand, the Mario & Luigi RPG series is created more in a 2D space. And obviously, because we have this fully realized 3D world in the Paper Mario games, we’re able to have much more dynamic events, like you saw in the trailer, with the game being rolled up and the camera panning around.
There’s a developer by the name of Taro Kudo who worked on the previous game as well, and he’s been basically the overall director for the story and the dialogue in this game. He’s very very good at coming up with gags and jokes, but he’s also very good at crafting a good story. And I think if you play the game to the end, you may actually cry at the end. We did some test plays and there really were people who cried at the end.
USG: Let’s talk about the use of, the importance of limited resources in combat. That’s something that the series introduced with Sticker Star, and it was kind of a hotly debated element. Some people liked it and some people didn’t. But, you’ve gone back to that with this one, so, clearly you think it’s something that works. Games need limited resources to keep them interesting, but I mean for just basic actions. You know, using a hammer or jumping, those are things Mario can do. So, why does he need cards or stickers to help him do that in this game?
Tabata: So, as you kind of touched on, I think the main thing, the basis of what we want to do is provide a unique experience. So, I think when you have a limited number of cards, it kind of increases the depths and extent you have to think. Like, if I have a hammer card — should I use it now, or should I wait until later? But this game has a lot of different cards. If you wanted to look at them in one straight line, it would be giant. And I think, it’s also important that, because they’re cards, and they just have these simple images on them, you look at them once and know exactly what it is, and that’s very important, too.
USG: Coming in as someone new, working on a series that’s been around for 15 years — what do you personally hope to bring to Paper Mario?
Tabata: I think because I didn’t have experience in the previous titles, I was able to provide good insight on how to make Color Splash enjoyable for someone who would be new to the series. So, I’m always thinking about what’s new, what can be done that hasn’t been done before. I hope that maybe I’ve been able to come up with some gags or ideas that hadn’t been thought of before. Yeah, I think if you’re always doing the same thing, you don’t really get inspiration to do something new, so that’s what I hope with this.
To read the full interview, you can go here.
Paper Mario: Color Splash will release for the Wii U in North America and Europe on October 7th, in Australia on October 8th, and in Japan on October 13th.