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Mario & Luigi: Dream Team Iwata Asks - Development, Accessibility for All Gamers and More

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

Sweet, sweet pixels

Mario & Luigi: Dream Team — known as Mario & Luigi: Dream Team Bros. in Europe — hits North America on 11th August, while European gamers are lucky enough to get their hands on it from 12th July. We're currently playing through this for review and will simply say that if this isn't on your radar, it should be.

Ahead of its European release, Nintendo has published the officially translated version of a recent Iwata Asks on the game. As always with these articles, there's plenty of interesting information from those behind the game, particularly as they talk about burn out from working on Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story, but also the happier angle that it was a release that revived the series' sales.

One of the most interesting sections, meanwhile, is that where AlphaDream's team members relate the challenges of using pixel-based graphics, and why that's difficult in 3D environments being viewed on an auto-stereoscopic screen. It was partly down to AlphaDream not having sufficient personnel skilled in 3D graphics — some external assistance was given for non-pixel based sections — but also because it gave a unique, charming look to the visuals. Even small touches such as Mario & Luigi's various poses were all created and animated from scratch, as pre-existing data from the previous entries couldn't be reused; keep an eye out for a new variation of (laughs) in this excerpt.

Iwata: And they didn't use any preexisting data?

Kubota: No, they're each one of a kind.

Iwata: You made each one specially? Wow…that would take time! Now I understand why it took three years since the previous game. What a staggering workload! (laughs)

Everyone: (laughs wryly)

Iwata: But it's in proper 3D, so it feels different than polygons, which is mysterious in a way I've never seen before. The more I look at it, the richer it is, like, "You draw it by hand…right? But even so, doesn't it look unique? How did you make that?" You truly are a team that's proud of what you do with pixel art.

Sano: Another thing that was hard in its own way was the process of trial and error in presenting three Luigis together: the pixel-art Luigi in the game, the polygon Luigi in the giant battle, and the Luigi sleeping in the bottom screen, which has an illustrated touch. In the end, we asked them to remake the Luigi in the bottom screen.

Kubota: Yeah, we gave him a big makeover!

Iwata: Luigi's difficult even when he's asleep. (laughs) Hmm. Still, I have to say I've hardly ever heard of anyone who can do stereoscopic pixel art.

Everyone: (laughs)

Another aspect of this game is the balancing designed to maintain challenge for experienced RPG gamers, but to offer assistance to those that are less capable.

Sano: But there are substantial support features for people like me who aren't great at action games, which is a big help. If you get wiped out, you can redo that scene, and right there, for one time only, Mario and Luigi temporarily get strong.

Kubota: That's called Easy Mode, which the player can choose.

Sano: If you get wiped out again and do the same battle over again, a Hint Block appears. In the Mario & Luigi series, all the enemies attack different ways. If you look at the hint, you will learn an enemy's weak point or a tip for dodging. But in the end, you still have to play hard for yourself.

Iwata: The hints don't take away the fun of playing, but they will tell you how to make it easier to advance.

Sano: Right. And if you fail at the Bros. Attack a few times, Slow Attack Mode kicks in. The moment you do a finishing move, it gets slow so you can get the timing just right.

Otani: A reason we put in so many support features this time is we realized how until now there hasn't been enough explanation about how to play RPGs. The regular Super Mario games are action games, so you can avoid enemies and proceed without leveling up, right? But Mario & Luigi is a series of RPGs, so if you don't pay attention to leveling up, you run into a wall.

As always we recommend checking out the whole Iwata Asks article for an insight into how the project came together. How many of you are gearing up for Mario & Luigi: Dream Team on 3DS?


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User Comments (38)



banacheck said:

Nooooo 3DS at first i thought it was for Wii U, haven't played Mario & Luigi: Dream Team Bros before sounds good with RPG elements.



Gioku said:

Hmm, I won't be using easy mode (as I'm a hardened M&L veteran ), but it seems like a neat feature. I cannot contain my excitement for this game; I've been replaying Bowser's Inside Story in anticipation!



Buduski said:

I've played every mario & luigi game so far and they are great rpgs, for anyone who hasn't tried them yet definitely look into it



DerpSandwich said:

I love it when there's an entire mode for new or younger players. Dumbing down a game and making it so that anyone can play regardless of what mode you're in can really hurt it. (Did Fi really need to be telling me how to hit switches during the last quarter of the game on Hero Mode?)



Icefreak45 said:

Really didn't too much care for Bowser's Inside Story but if this one is any good I'll give it a go.



Doma said:

I played the GBA game, thought it was pretty good as a starter RPG.

Then played PiT on DS, felt indifference towards it (seemed like i was playing a more forcibly linear, less funny and easier version of the first, with a lame double-up gimmick). Battling as Mario/Luigi repeatedly with little difference between them (move wise) gets old fairly quickly. Can't really say i'm interested in this series anymore.



19Robb92 said:

To be fair, PIT is the worst in the series. You should give it another shot if you find this or BIS cheap at some point.



StephenYap3 said:

I'm gonna enjoy this countrymiles more than PiT and BIS. And not surprisingly, this game also has a Hard mode.



Subaru said:

Super Star Saga is the best in the series at the moment. But, that might change once Dream Team releases.



NintyMan said:

It was interesting to read how much work and dedication they put into the game. Making a completely new art style for Mario & Luigi must not have been an easy task. But all that extra time and work should really play out in the end.

The soundtrack so far sounds incredible, the classic Mario & Luigi humor is going to be back, and characters from the past games besides Bowser's Inside Story will be returning in this game. It also sounds like it will have a large amount of content, and having an easy and hard mode is a good idea to please as many players as possible. I think this may end up being a strong contender for my 3DS game of the year.



rjejr said:

Glad to read about easy mode, my kids will play it 2x, first on easy then on hard like Kid Icarus.

TW - how did you not mention this in the 3DS vs. WiiU article yesterday while your playing it?



Shambo said:

@undead_terror when i first played Superstar Saga i was immediately hooked by its humour and charm. the gameplay is outstanding as well, imo. you should try one, you might do yourself a favour!



Prof_Elvin_Gadd said:

I am happy for my EU friends, it's about time they were shown some love for their great passion for gaming! I'll wait patiently during the extra month knowing that.

The next two games I am getting for 3DS are SMTIV and Mario & Luigi Dream Team. Two games that look amazingly fun, two RPG's, yet two very different tones. I am so excited for both, but I think I am a little more so for Mario & Luigi. This summer is actually pretty solid for games, as Pikmin 3 comes out in about a month as well!



ianmage1 said:

I'm a hardcore Mario and Luigi RPG veteran and I honestly don't think anyone needs a hint to figure out the enemy's attack patterns and whatnot. But it's only optional, so no complaining.



ricklongo said:

I'm kinda burned out on Mario after playing so many games in his universe in the past year or so. I never played a Mario & Luigi game before, though, and I'm a huge RPG fan, so I'll likely get this.



19Robb92 said:

This isn't taking place in Mario's universe though. It's on Pill'ow Island.

The first game took place in the BeanBean Kingdom, and that felt very new and fresh for a Mario title. So hopefully this will be the same.



Alienfish said:

I hope they bring back some of the original humor, like those L33T hammer bros. They are so L33T. Bowser's Inside Story just felt like a downgrade for a younger audience to me.



suburban_sensei said:

I have yet to get an RPG on my 3DS, and I am a Mario freak, so you better believe I am getting this day one. In fact, I am going to go pre-order it int he next few days. Great article.



JaxonH said:

I agree completely. I like the trend lately of keeping the original difficulty in tact, keeping the challenge there, but offering an easier mode for those who need it (as in DKC Returns 3D and Fire Emblem Awakening). Hope 3D World follows that precedent, because 3D Land was a tad on the easy side.



LuigiTheGreenFire said:

I meet need to use the Easy Mode on this. I own Superstar Saga and didn't make it very far and I own Bowser's Inside Story and I can't even beat a caterpillar boss.



globalisateur said:

@ LuigiTheGreenFire
In Superstar Saga, I found some special attacks very hard to master.
Anyway you can finish the game without using them.



DerpSandwich said:

@JaxonH Oh man, 3D Land was a breeze. Especially with the Tanooki suit. There's a game that could have benefited from different modes. Less suits and harder star coin locations would have been great.



JaxonH said:

@DerpSandwich Yeah, it seems that for the Mario titles nowadays, they appeal to the veteran gamers through the star coins. NSMBU provided adequate challenge with its star coins for example, and is where I got most of my fun out of that game. Unfortunately it seems that the trend is to keep the 3D Mario titles accessible to anyone and everyone, as evidenced by 3D Land and from the looks of it so far, 3D World as well. Don't get me wrong, I'll still probably buy the game, but I'm really disappointed they've dumbed down the 3D Mario titles. I don't mind how the game looks (some claim it looks too generic, etc.) just so long as it provides a decent challenge that holds my interest. I lose interest in easy games very quickly.



DerpSandwich said:

@JaxonH Yeah, I'm definitely in the "disappointed by 3D World" camp. I figure pure Mario platforming fun should be for the 2D titles and grand, innovative adventures should be in 3D (or at least on consoles in 3D, as 3D Land was pretty great). But it seems like Nintendo is...shaking things up, you could say. If a "true" 3D title is in the works then I'm fine with 3D World, but otherwise I'm really worried about the future of Mario. I'm sort of worried that as long as the money is coming in Nintendo is going to stop being creative when they don't have to be, all under the guise of "keeping it simple" and "sticking to roots." That goes for all of their IP's.



JaxonH said:

@DerpSandwich If a "true" Mario 64/Sunshine/Galaxy title is in the works, I'm cool with it too. That would make 3D World an additional game, and I'm all for extra games. But if it replaces it, then yes I'm going to be concerned as well. I mean, we haven't so much as heard a peep about a new Metroid for Wii U or 3DS, while both Gamecube and Wii received 2 mainline Metroid titles in their lifespans. Now I'm worried we'll even see one! In all honesty, I'm pretty confident we'll get a Metroid on Wii U, but I'm not so sure for the 3DS. I will say this, I'm actually very happy to see a new DKC game, and to see it's retaining the difficulty of Returns. That was one sequel I was really hoping for that I didn't think would actually happen. Still, N needs to get their act together and start announcing some of their more core IPs, the usual suspects: Metroid, Star Fox, F-Zero (even though that'll probably never happen). I don't mind waiting, just so long as I know it's coming ya know. Right now, we're left in doubt as to whether they're even going to continue these franchises, and that's gotta be the worst thing about it!



DerpSandwich said:

@JaxonH I hear you. Not knowing is enough to drive a guy crazy. Sometimes I wonder if it takes so long to get new titles from a series because they don't think it's financially worth it to make too many, or if they just don't have the manpower. Because if I were them I would buy up studios like crazy. I mean, 12 years to get a sequel to Luigi's Mansion? 9 years for a new Pikmin? An entire generation without Star Fox? I feel like for each major IP they should be working on the next title at all times. I say this a lot, but sometimes it's really hard to be a Nintendo guy. Other systems just don't do it for me the same way, and Nintendo is incredibly slow to deliver. I know that's where the quality comes from...but still. :/



JaxonH said:

Right. Being a Ninty fan has its pros and cons. I think the Wii missed out on some key franchises because a lot of their resources were devoted to the more casual fanbase. Unfortunately, with Wii Fit U and Wii Party U on the way, I fear that same strategy is being repeated, to the detriment of Nintendo. For the most part, casual players just aren't upgrading to Wii U, they got bored with their Wiis years ago, and have no interest in console gaming anymore. Nintendo would be better served (as would we) utilizing the manpower behind such titles for their key franchises that skipped the Wii. N-Life did run a story on a new studio being build that houses around 1300 employess, and should be completed by year's end. Hopefully that extra manpower can help them get new titles out to market. Yeah, it sucks waiting for their games, but when they do come, it's almost always worth it! Pikmin 3 is looking to become legend. I cannot express to you how hyped I am for this game. DKC Tropical Freeze as well.



Oscarsome said:

Does anyone know why the US gets this game so much later? I mean, it's not like they have to translate anything else.....



SuperMinusWorld said:

I'm so excited for this game but I hope it doesn't turn out to be one giant tutorial level like Bowser's Inside Story was (which was nonetheless a brilliant game).



k8sMum said:

ooooh man. another game i've gotta buy 2 of. my grandson's b'day is july 20th, so i've promised him this one as soon as it's out. i've already been giving him every mario item i've gotten in AC:NL. the little devil is making out like a bandit!



Giygas_95 said:

"We're currently playing through this for review and will simply say that if this isn't on your radar, it should be."

Glad to hear it!

If Bowser's Inside Story got a 10/10 on this site, then this game looks set to get an 11/10.

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