Game Informer has just shared a massive feature on Paper Mario: The Origami King, and it's chock-full of new details and interview snippets with the dev team. Check out a complete breakdown of the feature below.
- Toad Town is hosting a special origami festival
- Mario and Luigi are among the requested guests
- the duo finds that the ordinarily thriving town is virtually abandoned
- Peach has been transformed into an origami form, and her normally friendly personality replaced with a detached automaton
- the trouble comes from King Olly, the diabolical ruler of the Origami Kingdom
- Mario gets dropped into a dungeon, and Olly wraps Peach’s castle in five massive streamers and places it atop a mountain
- Mario meets Olivia, one of the few origami creations who isn’t an enemy
- Mario and Olivia need to figure out how to restore Toad Town and the rest of the land to its normal
- the two end up helping a partially origami’d Bowser along the way
- each of the five streamers encasing Peach’s castle is guarded by a member of the Legion of Stationary
- the Legion of Stationary are realistic depictions of familiar art supplies such as colored pencils, rubber bands, and tape
- the story isn’t chapter-focused, as players can travel from region to region seamlessly in an open-world setup
Kensuke Tanabe talks about development, battle system, supplemental characters, and more
“When continuing a game series, it’s much easier to carry over the basics from an existing game system rather than building new systems for each new installment, but that’s not how you create new experiences or unexpected surprises. As a game designer, I want to deliver new experiences and surprises to our fans, so I always challenge myself to create something new. To be sure, I will sometimes use the same system in a subsequent game to further develop that system until I feel it has reached its full potential. But my goal is to continue to tackle new challenges as much as possible.
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.
It occurred to us that one way to avoid introducing a different system would be for the boss battles to be the opposite of regular battles, with the boss in the center and Mario creating a route to the boss from the outside,. 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.
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.”
- when combat begins, players have a set number of turns in the planning phase to optimize their positioning
- the goal is to line enemies up in groups so that Mario can take them out efficiently
- Mario's stomp attack hits enemies lined up in a row
- Mario's hammer deals more concentrated damage to groups of enemies that are standing side-by-side and one row deep
- you can spend coins to purchase more time to think if you’re running low on time
- Toad friends can give you hints if you pay them
- even if you mess up the first time, you can rearrange the stragglers once both you and the enemies have taken turns
Intelligent Systems' Masahiko Magaya discusses world-building
“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.”
- bosses are scattered around the world
- players can see the streamers far in the distance
- Mario can run around to travel, drive a boot-shaped car, and captain a boat
- Mario will also climb aboard an airship, where he takes command of the ship’s defenses to fire rockets at paper plane
- the game is filled with one-off activities and miscellaneous diversions
- Mario will encounter a host of Toads who have been folded into different origami forms
- hitting them with his hammer reverts them back to their normal form
- at this point, they might return to Toad Town, restoring valuable services to the location
- Toads may also join Mario in battle, watching from the sidelines and helping when asked (and paid).
- you can also go fishing
- Olivia is a constant companion throughout the adventure, and other characters join and leave along the way