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Paper Mario: The Origami King info blow-out (dev team interview, story tidbits, battle system breakdown, and more!)

The biggest info drop yet

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.

Story info

- 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.”

Combat breakdown

- 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.”

Gameplay features

- 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

Thanks to Sligeach_eire for the heads up!

Comments

Top Rated Comment
tupin
Tue Jun 30 20 05:51pm
Rating: 6

"“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."
An actual functioning battle system would be the real surprise at this point.

gybones
Tue Jun 30 20 05:26pm
Rating: 1 (Updated 2 times)

This slaps paper pasties onto my nipples. But will it please them? Still not sure

tupin
Tue Jun 30 20 05:51pm
Rating: 6

"“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."
An actual functioning battle system would be the real surprise at this point.

I find it so weird that they apply this logic to Paper Mario so fervently like it’s Nintendo’s overall ethos to turn each new instalment of a series on its head but it really isn’t. They innovate for sure but so often they simply build on the cores of prior games, and there’s nothing wrong with that. People want more of the same but for fresh ideas to be mixed in; it’s not a bad thing, especially when a series has defined itself by its gameplay. It’s like turning Metroid into a level based platformer, nobody wants that because that’s not Metroid.

Really they’d do better to make unique Mario RPG titles detached from Paper Mario with whatever battle systems they want to explore if they aren’t willing to stick to what made those games successful in the first place, though I guess it’s too late at this point.

tupin
Tue Jun 30 20 06:57pm
Rating: 1

I'm pretty sure at this point they are treating Paper Mario like how they did Chibi-Robo/Pikmin/Star Fox/Dillon in the past. They just throw whatever IP is around at a game concept they have created and try to make it fit. No one else makes games like this.

Translation: "We understand that it wasn't broken, but we decided to try and fix it anyway because surprises are more fun for us when they're not wanted by any person with a functioning brain."

Hey, getting a dog turd wrapped up as a present technically is a surprise.

Think I'd rather take the dog turd; least that won't cost me $60 to throw in a bonfire.

In his logic, he only took role in Paper Mario from Sticker Star onwards. So he's referring it in that sense. He's probably unaware that Paper Mario existed before Sticker Star.

Supplemental characters and a 'choose the chapter' approach just screams shallow in my ears. When this comes out I'll be playing Bug Fables instead.

fylo
Tue Jun 30 20 07:16pm
Rating: 1

Already played Bug Fables. IT's a nice throwback, that feels more like Paper Mario 64 than TTYD. There's a bit too much back and forth with sidequests, so I'll reccommend not rushing with those.

In regards to Paper Mario, 2/6 games are in a particular style, I don't think it's the identity anymore. Mario and Luigi had more consistency but surprisingly not the same level of ovations, so in a way, I can assume it's the art style people like.

Thanks for taking the time to write a clever comment in this page that is, how shall I put it, not GN community's best effort.

you can also go fishing

Color me interested.

endless-e
Tue Jun 30 20 07:42pm
Rating: 4

The amount of work and thought that has to go into these games that are just gonna release as a 5/10 product that everyone forgets after a month or two always pains me

Yeah the more I read of this the less Im excited for this game. *Sigh* Guess we can declare Paper Mario officially dead. R.I.P. 1999 - 2007.

the utility man
Tue Jun 30 20 11:27pm
Rating: 1 (Updated 1 time)

Is it really that difficult to know what to keep from previous entries and want not to keep? Paper Mario 64 and TTYD are still beloved titles after all these years and people keep referencing what they liked about them. Super Paper Mario was criticized but eventually some people came around and enjoyed it, though it still doesn't have the reception of the first 2. Sticker Star came out with almost everyone hating it. Color Splash was released to most people calling it Sticker Star 2 even if it wasn't exactly the same it was close enough to bother people.

You'd think after so many attempts they'd have learned now what people want out of this series and what they don't. This reminds me in a way of that old code breaking game "Mastermind". Something people want but not done exactly how they want? White peg! Something people want done exactly right? Red peg! Something people don't want at all? LEAVE IT OUT OF THE GAME!

That being said, I haven't decided if I'm going to get this game or not yet, but they are definitely steering me towards not getting it real quickly.

The team knows what people want, but pretty flatly do not want to make a game that is just what fans want. It's the whole "trying something new is always good" fallacy that Nintendo often goes with. If they actually think about what fans want at all (which they apparently don't give that much thought to given this interview), it is almost certainly "They don't know what they want" combined with "It's just Westerners complaining that it isn't what they liked when they were kids, it doesn't matter."

Ugh. Open world. Why?

Will this game get another backlash to the point that Mario RPGs are dead?

Also I think Kensuke Tanabe is my least favorite person at Nintendo. He's the producer on Federation Force and we all know how that turned out, he was the one who told Retro not to use K.Rool and the Kremlings in DKCR and Tropical Freeze, He's been a major player in making Paper Mario terrible. Hes had his hand in both Luigi's Mansion sequels and while LM3 isnt bad by any means they both pale in comparison to the original but they completely miss the tone/atmosphere of the original.

Each producer and director is gonna have it's own ideas. It's kinda like comic book runs or film direction.

The vision is natural for it to change if they're different people managing it. Even indie games while using core ideas fans like of certain genres they still go to places big companies will not.

Yeah I get that but it still doesn't mean I enjoy their visions. But yeah Nintendo as a whole for most of their franchises like to change it up each time for better or worse. Their are very little Nintendo franchises that play it ultra safe from game to game. The only ones I can think of are the NSMB games, mainline Pokemon, Star Fox (to an extent we gotta keep remaking SF64 again and again), and Animal Crossing. Every other series Nintendo likes to flip things on its head every now and again and I can respect that and some series as well as producers/directors definitely do it better than others.

Kid Icarus is a good example or how to revamp an old IP. While not succeeding at every front the vibe and personality mark an impression in that IP.

In the case of DKC, I think it was also Miyamoto who didin't seemed interested in bringing the Kremlings back, not out of malice, just that he just seemed more interested in making new characters (funnily the opposite of Paper Mario).

Besides people I think the nature of making established IP bigger is also what changes the vibe. Luigi's Mansion was a short game, like the old RE games, a shorter length was more fitting for the spooky vibe, most good games and movies in that genre aren't very long.

Ugh. So many people dismiss changes WITHOUT KNOWING WHY THE CHANGES ARE MADE IN THE FIRST PLACE.

Nintendo is simply applying what they've learned from the Zelda franchise. So now the Zelda cycle has invaded the Paper Mario franchise. All new Paper Marios will be declared shit and the previous Paper Mario will be put on a gold pedestal when it was called shit on its release.

But the main reason why Nintendo changes each Paper Mario is to suppress critic review scores.

You know what would happen if Nintendo actually makes The Thousand-Year Door 2? Reviewers will mark down scores FOR DOING NOTHING DIFFERENT.

"The Thousand-Year Door 2 - 5/10
Pros:
Great graphics.
Great music.

Cons:
Does nothing different from The Thousand-Year Door 1.
Just go play The Thousand-Year Door 1."

Or
"Cons:
You've already played The Thousand-Year Door 2 if you're played the first game."

Apparently Nintendo is going to need to Breath of the Wild Paper Mario to stop all these complaints. Oh wait. People will complain about that too.

“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.

What an extremely stubborn and toxic way to approach game design. No doubt this was drilled into him during the Wii era. Let's not pretend he is noble for doing this, as he reserves this kind of guinea pig experimenting only for the lesser IPs he is told to watch over. This wouldn't fly for a bigger IP that sells more. Clearly, he does not give much of a fuck and treats this as just another job. Like are you kidding me? Using shower thoughts to make up a new battle system? This dude is full of himself. Easily the worst person working at Nintendo right about now.

Kills Chibi-Robo, delays Prime 4 with his garbage ideas, and utterly eviscerates the Paper Mario series and fandom. The only time he ever puts out any good work is when he's working with Western devs like Next Level Games and Retro Studios, since they probably challenge his authority and don't just go along with whatever bullshit he concocts on the spot just to be Novel & Creative™. An absolute joke of a producer. Whoever defends his way of thinking deserves to have a dunce cap placed upon them.

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