Next Level Games celebrate the Year of Luigi in style

It's been 12 years since Luigi's Mansion was released on the GameCube, and the long arduous wait for its sequel Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon is close to being over.

Next Level Games is the developer behind the title, and Nintendo President Satoru Iwata caught up with the studio in the latest Iwata Asks.

However, it appears this time around Iwata-san was too fearful to face the Dark Moon developer by himself, and so he brought the one and only Shigeru Miyamoto along for reassurance.

Of course Miyamoto wasn't just there for the sake of it; he was obviously heavily involved in the development process of the game, what with Luigi being one of his favourite creations. He revealed that he wasn't too over-protective of the green-clad plumber, and instead of telling Next Level Games what to do he would simply give it the creative freedom to do what it wanted.

However, he wasn't too lenient; if the studio did something he didn't approve of he was certain to shepherd them in the right direction:

I didn't give clear instructions like "Go that way!" but I served as a sort of a sheepdog by just saying, "Don't go that way!"

Next Level Games was represented by the game's director Bryce Holliday, gameplay engineer Brian Davis, and audio director Chad York, who all began the interview wearing Luigi hats to celebrate both the Year of Luigi and the release of the highly anticipated sequel.

Holliday recalled the moment Nintendo informed the studio that it would be making a sequel to Luigi's Mansion. The team was in a conference call with the company regarding a previous title when executive officer Kensuke Tanabe broke the news:

Kensuke Tanabe-san suddenly started something like a drumroll and said, "You're gonna make Luigi's Mansion 2!" I was so surprised I could barely speak.

Miyamoto may well have seen himself as a shepherd, but Next Level Games saw him more as a sensei. Holliday explained that rather than giving the developer concrete instructions Miyamoto would give "lessons from a high and wide perspective on the whole project - which was very informative".

Miyamoto-san's comments contained many hints for development, but one that made a particular impression on me was when he said, "Make something better today than you made yesterday." That's incredibly important as a director, so by putting those words into effect, even across a long development period, we were able to concentrate on each day.

Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon took three years to make and in that time the developer would constantly liaise with Miyamoto and Yoshihito Ikebata, from Software Planning and Development. Naturally, a lot of this was done over video conferencing and emails seeing as the development was taking place in Canada. However, Miyamoto did visit the studio on two occasions and collaborated on several ideas for the game.

Interestingly, Miyamoto revealed that the control scheme was redone more than ten times, as the developer honed it down to the perfect formula. Another area that had a lot of work put into it was multiplayer - something Nintendo wanted to include from the very beginning. Miyamoto spoke more about the experiment that was performed on the original version, which in the end never made it to the finished game. According to him the multiplayer mode saw several Luigis encounter other Luigis - this crossed over to the 3DS iteration.

The developer actually made a change to the multiplayer system in Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon after making Luigi's Ghost Mansion on Nintendo Land for Wii U. Originally, the system did not allow for players to revive one another, however after seeing how it played in Nintendo Land it became incorporated.

At the end of the interview, the trio from Next Level Games said they hoped players would enjoy both the single player and multiplayer elements of Luigi's big adventure. You can see what we thought of it in our Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon review.

Miyamoto signed off with a message for the fans of Luigi's Mansion:

I'd like to say one last thing. We released Luigi's Mansion 12 years ago, and lots of people around the world said, "Make another one!" and "Let's make another one together!" Thanks to them, we're finally able to bring a new Luigi's Mansion to the world. What's more, this is "The Year of Luigi," with celebrations and everything, so on Luigi's behalf, I'd like to express my appreciation.

As always, it's worth following the link below to read the entire interview.

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