News Article

Next Level Games on Working With Nintendo to Create Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon

Posted by Andy Green

Miyamoto demanded a multiplayer experience to rival Mario Kart

Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon is being released on the 3DS at the end of this month. It's been developed by the Canadian studio Next Level Games, the team behind a host of Nintendo games such as Punch-Out!!, Mario Smash Football and Mario Strikers Charged. There's no doubt that landing the Luigi's Mansion job was the biggest coup for the company, and as you'd expect Nintendo was closely involved in the project all the way through.

In an interview with Kotaku, gameplay engineer Brian Davis and director Bryce Holliday from Next Level Games revealed what it was like to work with Nintendo, and the process involved with making one of this year's most anticipated releases.

As usual with Nintendo the whole process was shrouded with mystery, and Holliday recalled the video call that revealed to the studio what it was going to be working on:

We were developing something in secret, like we usually do working with Nintendo. There was a conference call very similar to this one where it was kind of announced to us that we would stop working on what we were currently doing and start - they even added a little drum roll - to work on Luigi's Mansion.

When work started on the game, Next Level knew nothing about the system it was building it for - leaving it with quite a difficult task. The studio pitched a few things to Nintendo, including a detective game, until it was eventually told a little more about the overall framework.

Naturally, when making a game with Nintendo there are going to be some rules that need adhering to, especially when starring one of the company's most iconic characters.

Next Level revealed that one of the biggest restrictions it had placed on it was that Luigi was not allowed to jump under any circumstances. Yoshihito Ikebata, the supervisor for Luigi, was also in on the interview along with Ryuichi Nakada, and he explained that this particular rule came from the previous game, whereby Luigi never left the ground. It seems fairly natural for a Luigi's Mansion title to use this method of gameplay, as the atmosphere would drastically change if Mario's brother could just bounce himself around the eerie mansions.

There were also rules surrounding Luigi's little helper, Toad. According to Davis, Toad was to look like he was enjoying himself when around Luigi, so when the little blighter isn't by the leading man's side he looks frightened; all so that players feel connected to him on an emotional level.

Another challenge set by Nintendo came from Shigeru Miyamoto himself, as Davis explained:

Miyamoto-san actually challenged us to say that this multiplayer will only be in the game if people will constantly play it, similar to Mario Kart.

Apparently multiplayer is something Nintendo, and Miyamoto in particular, wanted included in Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon, as the original GameCube title missed out on it. There were experiments done and Ikebata confirmed that Miyamoto had "very positive impressions" on the multiplayer aspect in the original.

Hideki Konno, the director of Luigi's Mansion, had strong feelings about bringing in a multiplayer aspect for the sequel, so the decision was made from the very beginning that it would be implemented.

Next Level Games was given over three years to develop Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon, and it was clear from the start that Nintendo wanted the game to be much longer than the original, which was seen as too short by many. Holliday recounted his meetings with Miyamoto:

Miyamoto himself would play the game even a year into development and say, 'No we need to keep adding more. Let's keep experimenting with new gameplay ideas.' So [there was] almost 16, 18 months of, I would say, prototyping phases of just let's just try a slide game, let's try ballooning, let's try different things with the vacuum.

We threw away a lot, maybe enough to make another game, but it's that kind of commitment to experimenting that was trying to satisfy his need to add a lot of value to the game. And I think the multiplayer eventually ended up being that value-add component.

Nakada, who also helped supervise the game's development, admitted that he had thought Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon was finished several times:

Throughout the three-year development time there were a number of points where we stopped and were like, 'Well, we're done. This is good to go.' But there were places that we found that were good enough that we actually wanted to take advantage of them a bit more and expand upon those discoveries throughout the development. So that's another factor as to why it took three years.

Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon is actually finished now, so Nakada can breathe a sigh of relief. It will be released on 24th and 28th March in North America and Europe respectively and features both online and local multiplayer.

Are you looking forward to getting to grips with Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon? What are your thoughts on the multiplayer aspect? Let us know in the comments section below.


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User Comments (44)



BenAV said:

I'm still pretty unconvinced by the multiplayer aspect of the game.
It looks like a bit of fun, but I expect I'll mainly just play through the single player mode and then move on to my next game rather than spending a lot of time on the multiplayer.
Love the first game and can't wait for this, nonetheless.



Prof_Elvin_Gadd said:

We've linked to the original article at the bottom of ours — if you have any further questions or suggestions for our editorial team, please let us know. Thank you! — TBD



DarkCoolEdge said:

I honestly don't care about the multiplayer. Nevertheless this is first day purchase. It looks very fun and funny.



NintyMan said:

The multiplayer will be interesting, but the single-player experience is what I'm most looking forward to, so it's a tall-order to make this game's multiplayer rival Mario Kart's.

It's good to see that they were willing to stay faithful to the original gameplay-wise. I imagine there were quite a few ideas floated around that didn't get realized, but that's why you shouldn't throw away ideas and keep them for another game down the road.



MasterWario said:

Interesting interview! I'm looking forward to this game as I highly enjoyed the original, which I beat like 20 times. Also, I want something to tide me over until Pikmin 3 actually gets here (cause who knows when that will be -_-)



MrWalkieTalkie said:

If they want Luigi's Mansion's online to be a good competetor with Mario Kart then does that meanb there will be a Luigi's Mansion for Wii U?



SheldonRandoms said:

Miyamoto demanded a multiplayer experience to rival Mario Kart

Wow, I didn't know about that before, the multiplayer will be a lot of fun, and I also just got a swapnote from Miyamoto about the game.



Wonder_Ideal said:

Reading this article has made me even more excited about Dark Moon. Next week will be most awesome!



Emaan said:

Next Level was a very good team for a game like this. I notice their humor is as profound as ever, just like in the Mario Strikers games. Can't wait! 8 Days to go!



Dpullam said:

The multiplayer looks wacky and comical. I can't wait to play Scarescraper mode locally as well as playing the story. I've been looking forward to this release for a long time.



OdnetninAges said:

Well, that was quite an interesting read.

Can't wait to play Luigi's Mansion 2: Dark Moon! (Yeah, that's what Im calling it...)



SkywardLink98 said:

@MrWalkieTalkie No, I think they mean just as good as Mario Kart. Until they announce something, it's usually a better idea not to expect it so you don't get your hopes too high.



Spoony_Tech said:

I'm waiting for hopefully my Luigi's mansion puzzle to show up any day now just like Fire Emblem did days before release! Can't wait for some multiplayer fun with my 3ds friends. I'm hoping its as good as Kid Icarus tbh!



idork99 said:

I'm excited to play this for the fact that it's going to feel like playing a Luigi-only game for the first time. Yes, I played the 2001! I passed the game within a day or two of owning a GameCube and somehow never played it again. Twelve years later, I'm curious to see how I'll feel about this game now a days. Hopefully it'll be a good one.



Meaty-cheeky said:

I already ordered three copies on Amazon for me, my brother and my fiancé, so excited for this game!



Dpishere said:

Looking at what I have seen of the game, Nintendo chose the right people for the job. It looks really fun to play and I can't wait to try it for myself!



Haxonberik said:

I'm really excited for this! I'm not sure what I think about the multiplayer, but the day I go buy the game I'll actually take 3 copies up to now, 2 that a pair of friends asked me for, so that's a big plus for that side of the game.



JuanitoShet said:

What I got to play of Luigi's Mansion years ago I can't say entertained me.

However, for all.of those that are excited about Dark Moon, it doesn't sound like you'll be dissapointed! Hope the game is as enjoyable for you guys as it sounds to be.



Mahemoth said:

This game alone makes me want to have a 3ds lol... Luigi's mansion... good times.



Aquas said:

Can't wait. Especially now that I know Miyamoto believes the online play will have us constantly playing- in rival to that of Mario Kart. Luigi needs this type of popularity.



Foot77 said:

Guys! it's almost here! The graphics look fantastic on this game, the multiplayer looks cool too, i hope i get this for my birthday!



LuigiTheGreenFire said:

I've waited over 9 years for this game. Day 1 pickup! It sounds like Next Level Games is pulling all the stops out on this one.



Kirk said:

This is sounding better and better the more I hear about it. It's also looking better and better the more I see. I think this could actually be a bit of a sleeper hit on 3DS this time around.



sinalefa said:

Sounds cool and thankfully there is online and offline mp to cater to all tastes. Never tried uprisings mp as it was online only.

These guys made a great job with punch out



Mickey said:

"Miyamoto-san actually challenged us to say that this multiplayer will only be in the game if people will constantly play it, similar to Mario Kart."

I wish OTHER developers (EA) took that to heart...



shinobi88 said:

Nintendo of America really freakin SUCKS. Not only are they always slackin off when it comes to 3DS virtual console releases, but Europe gets a glow in the dark game case AND a bonus item with this game and we in the States get jack squat?? Gimme a break



LordessMeep said:

This game was the system seller for me. I've played the original, loved it and have been looking forward to this one since the day it was announced. Every thing I've heard/seen about the game sounds very promising but it doesn't affect my decision. I was already going to download it at midnight.



Sun said:

I am re playing the original one these days (on the Wii). It looks quite good on my huge TV despite of being a Gamecube title (pity it doesn't support 16:9 screen format). Other Gamecube titles don't to be honest. I loved it in 2002 and I love it now. That makes you realize that some games are just good! Of course I will buy the sequel although I am worried this one is not being developed by Nintendo but Next Level.

In between I connected the N64 to the same huge TV and the games look awful! Any advice or trick? I tried composite yellow cord with and without SCART adaptor. The image is absolutely blurry. When I compare that to Wii VC's Super Mario 64 the graphics are perfectly crisp. Problem is only a few N64 games are on Wii VC and some of them will never be on Wii U's VC such as Rare's games (my favourites).



hayes1516 said:

Not a big fan of multiplayer in handheld games so that means nothing to me, but I am super excited for this game and already have my copy pre-ordered.



WoottWinds said:

This has been by far my most anticipated title since the moment it was first announced. Luigi's Mansion for GCN is one of my all-time favorites, and playing it has been a yearly tradition for me every single Halloween since its initial release. Never thought the game would get a sequel, so stoked and can't wait to go pick up Dark Moon next week!

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