In an interview with Nintenfo Life, the team behind Paper Mario: Sticker Star speaks out about behind the scene details regarding the latest entry in the series. Want to know behind the scenes of the Paper Mario: Sticker Star project? Read on! See some of the major quotes from the interview below, or simply read the entire thing here!
While Paper Mario and the Thousand Year Door adhered to fairly traditional RPG tropes, with Super Paper Mario on Wii perhaps being more of a platformer with RPG elements, what direction or style do you feel is most representative of Paper Mario: Sticker Star?
Mr Kensuke Tanabe: When you think of RPGs, you think of the traditional game style where the user gains experience points and levels up. In Sticker Star we did our very best to create an adventure game filled with battles completely unrelated to experience points and level ups. We are calling the genre “Sticker Battle Adventure”.
When making this game were you primarily inspired by previous Paper Mario games, or did you also draw particular ideas from the Mario & Luigi handheld games?
Mr Kensuke Tanabe: We tried to move away from the old Paper Mario series and establish a game with its own unique battle system instead. Although we tried to keep the part of the Mario & Luigi battle system which emphasises well-timed button presses, we didn’t really draw any ideas or inspiration from those games.
Mr Taro Kudo: This is the first time I’ve been fully involved on a Paper Mario game and seeing as none of the characters from those games will appear in this title I specifically decided not to bring in elements from previous Paper Mario games. However, I did work on the SNES Super Mario RPG and I wrote a lot of Toad dialogue for it, so I think that some of the essence of that project must have found its way naturally into Sticker Star.
With this title adopting a goal-orientated style with fixed levels, rather than an open-world structure, can you share the reasoning behind that design choice? Also, is this the same throughout the game or is there a large open-world map akin to Rogueport in The Thousand Year Door?
Mr Kensuke Tanabe: My personal reason for choosing the fixed level style was to make it easy for you to stop playing at any time. This way if you haven’t played for a while and have forgotten where you were you can have a quick look at the map and see straight away how far you got through the game. It also makes it easier to remember what was where. The simple fact that it is a Mario game also makes this kind of fixed level style a possibility. And although there is no large open-world map as such, I believe that the player will feel like there is an open-world structure to the game since actions in one level become the key to solving puzzles in others.
Mr Naohiko Aoyama: Since this is a handheld game, I wanted to create a game where the structure would allow the user to pick up or put down the game whenever they wanted without any worries. We ended up using the same world-map structure used in the Mario series, in which paths connect each of the courses to each other. However, after the start of the game you are free to choose the course you want. You don’t have to play through the game in order starting with World 1 and then moving to World 2, etc.
Previous Mario RPG titles featured partners or sidekicks that teamed up with Mario throughout his adventure, yet this game doesn’t seem to follow that approach in the same way. How did the development team come to that decision? Were partners removed to focus more on the sticker aspect of the game?
Mr Kensuke Tanabe: That’s right. As we were working on using stickers in battles and in puzzles the things you could do often seemed to conflict with the use of partners. For Sticker Star we decided to prioritise the sticker theme and so remove the partners.
Will the Sticker Star story or characters be linked in any way to the previous Paper Mario RPGs, such as cameo appearances or references for fans to enjoy?
Mr Kensuke Tanabe: As I mentioned earlier, none of our original characters from earlier games in the series will be making an appearance. Of course Luigi will be there since he is from Mario’s world. See if you can find him.
Mr Taro Kudo: The main story in Sticker Star doesn’t have any links like this. However, there is a rumour that there is a letter hidden somewhere in the game that was written by one of the characters from an older game. Maybe you’ll be able to find it.
Are there any current plans or ideas in the team for the future of the Paper Mario series, either on 3DS again or perhaps on Wii U? We’re sure fans would love an example or two of concepts under consideration, or even ideas that you’d personally like to see come to fruition.
Mr Kensuke Tanabe: I am personally interested in making a new game in the series. However, I can’t give you any more details than that at this time.