We've already heard Paper Mario: The Origami King producer, Kensuke Tanabe, discuss the creative restrictions tied to the series and how it is "no longer possible to modify Mario characters", and now in a more recent interview with GamesRadar, he's touched on it again.
He reiterated how it's been this way since Paper Mario: Sticker Star on the 3DS and also expanded on previous comments - explaining how the team is "no longer able to graphically represent individual characteristics" in the Toad NPCs:
Tanabe: From the production of Paper Mario: Sticker Star onwards, we were no longer able to graphically represent individual characteristics, such as age, gender etc., in the Toad NPCs (non-playable characters), and so it has become that much more important to convey their personalities simply through text. Our writer, Mr Taro Kudo, has been grappling with this difficult challenge since Paper Mario: Sticker Star, but has managed to achieve giving all the texts a sense of humour. In this instalment, Paper Mario: The Origami King, we were able to include some Toads wearing an outfit to match their role, and also created original origami characters.
As previously mentioned, Tanabe addressed this in an Iwata Asks interview, around the time of Sticker Star's release:
Aside from wanting us to change the atmosphere a lot, there were two main things that Miyamoto-san said from the start of the project—"It's fine without a story, so do we really need one?" and "As much as possible, complete it with only characters from the Super Mario world.
But being unable to use new characters is pretty strict. Of course, we could not make any new enemy characters, and as for allies among the Super Mario characters, there's really only Toad in various colors!
How do you feel about all of this? Do you think this particular Mario series should be given more freedom? Share your thoughts down below.
I have to give them credit where credit is due. They do a great job giving these generic characters funny and interesting personalities.
I wish Nintendo didn't impose these restrictions on their devs. It doesn't prevent the game from being good, and I can understand having some restrictions on how characters are depicted, but this is too far.
This just seems absolutely insane. How can you expect writers and artists to inject charm into these games when they have to adhere to such rules? I love Miyamoto’s work in the past but games have moved on, design methodologies have moved on. Stifling creativity surely goes against everything that Nintendo is known for, fun family-friendly content with bundles of charm.
Miyamoto-san...this is upsetting.
How can Nintendo push to becoming a multimedia company and also restrict their game development team like this?
They’re so freaking backwards it hurts.
If changing the toads' design wasn't a problem back then, why is it one now?
@nessisonett Agreed. I was blown away by the realization last month that he's 67. Seems like his design philosophy is calcifying around characters he created and (understandably) loves. Also, how can he suggest it's 'fine without a story'?
Enjoying Origami King, so it seems like the team overall did a good job, but part of the fun from previous Paper Mario games is the unique take on on classic Mario IP. Goombella anyone?!
Uhh.. YESS. OBVIOUSLY. The games has lost quality since sticker star. So clearly these restrictions are the problem. Their imaginations being held back. And honestly I liked the weird out of Mario verse inclusions that they infused previously. I don't know one person that disliked the games before sticker star. Soooo maybe stop being soooo conservative Nintendo and open your dam minds..your stressing your devs and killing the paper Mario franchise in a slowwwww death. It'll be a miracle if we get a truly great paper Mario game again. Also the battle system and lack of partners once again suck in orgami king. The humor is great thank God. But no exp when winning battles sucks. Just getting coins without any realll strange items/badges etc to use them on is also lame. Shoulda made Reggie nintendos president. Freedom of expression is what makes artists and writers creations as well as worlds we can only dream of come alive. Finding toads with only meaningless battles as an alternate option of fun is getting old..really old. Finding badges, get exp, and discovering otherworldly places with unique and sometimes Mario verse enemy's all never before partnered was satisfying and rewarding. occasional toad finding would be ok but just seems like that's all there is.
I’ll get around to this one eventually, but my impression is that this series is in large part so beloved because it is Nintendo kinda making fun of its own characters and lore. Giving the artists and developers relatively free reign with character models seems like the way to go with Paper Mario.
In fact, injecting some of the Paper Mario humor into the next mainline Mario game would also be welcome. Bowser hasn’t been a menacing presence since Mario 64, so seeing him bumble around like a dork in Thousand Year Door was really funny. More of that Nintendo.
I’d love to know who in upper management is enacting these stupid rules so we can get him replaced with someone who believes in their employees and creativity.
Miyamoto is crazy. Time to retire, good sir that changed the gaming world but is getting weird ideas!
@Entrr_username it has always been a problem, and it is a bigger problem now
If I was told i cant wright a good character I would lose it.
I wonder if it was backlash from Super Paper Mario's characters? It's definitely a shame, but they do differentiate the Toads fairly well with the dialogue.
I haven't played the game yet, but the screenshot of the toads with all of their faces hole-punched out seems all too fitting now...
Nintendo being far far to precious. Never!!! 😂 but yeah. Bonkers. Makes no logical sense.
I'm not buying paper mario until they at least drop these restrictions
what makes this hurt even more is that we already SAW them make creative characters and worlds before, and how it made the games feel so alive. why they would double down on restrictions like this is beyond me.
Maybe don't use these generic toads?
There's a ridiculous amount of characters from Mario 1,2,3 and World they could use instead
I’m honestly at a loss for words.
@Vincent294 : ah, see.. without a character bible saying what characters can and can’t be.. you end up with whatever that sonic was
It makes you wonder if Miyamoto isn't trying to kill the Mario IP. He expected Pikmin to be the new flagship IP, so this could be him becoming a grumpy old man who wants to bury the thing he created
@Thwomp_Stomper Most of his choices are upsetting. I wonder why he hasn't retired yet.
As far as I can tell, Toadsworth is old and Toadette is a girl, and they were both designed by Nintendo internally. What makes them off limits now?
This is akin to how they gave Star Wars’ BB-8 such a personality. It’s akin to making an NES or Gameboy game with strict hardware limits. I get it. Use what you have. All the more credit to the makers getting to much personality and quality in.
So that's why the Paper Mario games have looked so generic since Sticker Star. Can Miyamoto just resign, please? He appears to only be making games worse now.
I agree with this, to be honest, Im scared of the so called "creativity" some of these writers have and attemlt to execuye on beloved characters, Miyamoto-san these wondercul characters are your creation, take care of them as you see fit, look what happened to George Lucas
This should not be a problem! No other mario series has to follow these guidelines!!! (well, besides the story part. But still.) Look at mario odyssey for instance.
They forgot what height and hair was. That's sad
It kills the paper mario spin-offs
@NotTelevision i feel like bowser was decently intimidating in the galaxy games, but yeah I wouldn't mind that as long as paper mario was given more freedom.
I'm really enjoying The Origami King, partially thanks to its writing and cast of characters, but these character design restrictions are ridiculous.
@Shift and both are used less and less nowadays too.
I'm obviously not a fan of developers having to work with unreasonable restrictions placed on their creativity, but, in spite of all that, I feel like The Origami King has still turned out to be a wonderful game.
Restrictions often leave room for creativity to solve problems — just look at horror movies (usually the problem is that they have low budgets) — but this seem nonsensically restrictive.
You'd might as well make everyone lifeless puppets
This is backward in every way. No one in their right mind wants this.
I think it would be nice if we actually got a concrete explanation on why they can no longer make toads distinct with things like gender and such. Also figures people would blame Miyamoto for everything again even though he hasn't really been involved in actual development for ages at this point
This is a worrying outlook. Their ethos may work for enough people in Origami King but future titles that adhere to this are naturally going to fall in favor over time. Like many have stated, it's totally opposite of Nintendo to stifle creativity at all on one of their most beloved franchises when it was there previously. It's a darn shame but that's my take
If it aint broke dont fix it
Something is amiss here I don't really understand what has caused Nintendo to become so negligent and lacking in their ability to cater to its own fanbase. The fact that we are even having this discussion, of Nintendo "censoring" it's own developers, is completely insane. When you have an imaginary world and a blank slate for a character such as the toads, I can't imagine a more arbitrary thing than to place limitation on the amount of expression they can have. Whatever these ancient fossils purport to be in the industry, I say dispel them to the four winds. Creativity is King here and these people are the vanguard of their own destruction.
@Fulgor_Astral I meant having the toads be unique design-wise.
@Ralizah maybe exactly because the restrictions.
Nintendo is running this series into the ground with the dumb restrictions...
I think it's time for Nintendo to pickup the shotgun and take the old horse out the back.
@Averagewriter I wonder what other franchises could possibly follow suit. Zelda would be pretty divisive depending on the game and that's being conservative
Origami King has been fantastic, these restrictions aren't. If they combined the writing they're pushed to do now with the creativity in design that they had back then, Paper Mario would be a lot better. Even with restrictions, at least with Origami King, I'm enjoying the game more than current mainline Mario.
Well then if it cant change and wont be allowed to evolve then I'm writing it off as been there done that.
I'm sure Miyamoto is the reason why so many games are shelved at the moment. It's OK not to release a new version of each license every year. But to hold out on new games for so long (F-Zero, Pikmin, Metroid) is borderline psychotic.
And you all rewarded these backward, anti-creative restrictions by buying these games and giving them 8/10 review scores.
Mindless sheep, the lot of you!
@FlashBoomerang Nah. My one issue with it is the lack of original characters, the use and creation of which didn't seem to restricted until Sticker Star. This game would be better with actual characters instead of 40 different colors of toads.
But they don't say WHY this restriction. And starting in Paper Mario Sticker Star. Is it a complaint? It reads like it. And some criticism towards Miyamoto. A little strange piece of news.
I get their frustration, although it boggles my mind why they can't use npcs from kingdoms other than the mushroom kingdom. Characters like those of the Beanbean kingdom come to mind. Mario's stories have built up quite a catalog. I will say though that preventing new character creation does very much limit the intrigue and "fresh" nature of new games...there's only so many ways you can make a toad interesting.
It seems like they took basic guidance and turned it into an unnecessarily strict rule. So Miyamoto said, "As much as possible, complete it with only characters from the Super Mario world." Claiming this is the basis for all Toads looking identical seems to reading more into the statement than is actually there.
I agree that these are bs restrictions. But I think its a miracle that within those restrictions they can still create such good games. Imagine what they could do without those bs restrictions!
@Entrr_username Because they would have to come with more names... it becomes a smurf village that way. Which IMO not a bad thing. They could've sold even more Toad figures if they went along. Well their loss. bye bye bigger money. Don't tell N otherwise they might do something about it. They earned already more than enough worldwide
I see a lot of people here speculating that this restriction reduces creativity, and they claim it's the reason this series hasn't been good since y installment x years ago.
While I don't agree with Miyamoto I'm not sure these particular criticisms hold water. Any Mario fan past a certain vintage already recognizes Toad as an archetypal character anyway, and from what I've seen this team has actually shown a lot of creativity by giving individual Toads more personality to differentiate them.
I thought the real problem is how Nintendo is so ridiculously protective of their IP and how they seemingly don't want it being diluted/changed in the minds of their fans - so much so that Miyamoto apparently didn't want this RPG to have an actual story? Lol I can't even wrap my head around that. Maybe it's to do with an established Mario canon that Miyamoto doesn't want to mess with?
But then again we've seen Nintendo being very liberal in other instances, eg allowing Cadence of Hyrule to have such an interesting (and totally unexpected!) take on the Zelda franchise. So I dunno, maybe there is a method to the madness.
No need for new characters to be creative. How bout, Paper Mario- Chainchomp and Thwomp Get Revenge. And play as those two. Maybe fun to slaughter some toads.
Or Angry Sun and Pokey,(the cactus guy in SM3) in paper underwater world.
Or each level play as a different sub character. Mario cant make it this time or something.
None of this will stop me from continuing to use these Toad characters in my erotic fan-fiction
It's a shame, really, I wonder what's the reasoning. But if Nintendo is fine with new characters, the designer should use a lot more of them. I loved how diverse Toads could be, almost like Smurfs, it gave them a bit more depth and probability as a race, but now I'm tired of only color variations.
@nessisonett Let's face it: Miyamoto is out of touch with current gaming, and has been for quite a few years. Nintendo has had this problem in the past too, with Nintendo losing out the console war in the GameCube-era, due to Hiroshi Yamauchi making some otherworldly decisions.
I think these kind of articles are pretty hard to read, that a company like Nintendo forces game developers to not be able to make the game they want. Leadership at Nintendo is just as worse at Activision or EA, it seems.
looks like we're reaching another new super mario bros phase
Such a shame. Paper Mario could be so much more but Nintendo has absolutely dropped the ball here.
@LUIGITORNADO it makes sense - they want boring brand unity as they become a massive multimedia company
@Wolfgabe who do we blame then? Intern japanese-Chad, who just serves japanese coffee to poor old miyamoto?
It's obviously Miyamoto
If you look at the Mario and Luigi "Remasters" on the 3DS they got rid of all the interesting Toads changing them to generics. It was a travesty, and one of the reasons I didnt buy it.
Maybe there are doing this because of brand recognition. The Toads are one of the most used characters from Nintendo. Technically they might be even the most used ones. I think they had more appearances in games than Mario himself. They appear in every Mario-related game and even have their own game in the form of Captain Toad.
Miyamoto must've gone senile. This really makes no sense at all.
Perhaps we shouldn't expect the new Zelda to have a complex story, either. There's probably just the defeat resurrected Ganon- thing going on again (looking at the trailer it really seems to be so -.-) I hope I'm wrong on this one, though. If there's no story, there's no emotional investment.
But there's Toadette in Captain Toad Treasure Tracker. I don't get it
¯ _ (ツ) _ /¯
@Kidfried Mario and Zelda both shook up their respective series pretty heavily with their latest mainline entries, so I think the idea that this sort of creativity-strangling is a company-wide issue is... off. Odyssey in particular seemed to throw all aesthetic caution to the wind, introducing countless new characters and species with little regard for their whether they’d ‘fit in’ with the series, or even with each other.
Which is why it’s so weird that these sort of aesthetic/design restrictions are being placed on the Paper Mario series specifically. Maybe it’s precisely because it’s developed by Intelligent Systems, and not Nintendo EPD (or similar) that they feel the need to reign them in somewhat. I really don’t know...
@KillerBOB Given that the only change to the character design you can make is colour, the title basically writes itself.
50 Shades of Toad
The original interview where Miyamoto mentioned that for Sticker Star always sounded more like a suggestion... though he might've made it sound nicer for the interview, or maybe because of his position the team felt it was a "suggestion" they couldn't ignore regardless of whether that was the case. But that was then; it seems like if anything Miyamoto's since stepped back from Mario even more.
Is it really still a hard and fast rule - perhapd enforced by somebody else? - or is Tanabe just making up a restriction that isn't really in place?
OK's done a pretty good job skirting around this - and Bob-omb wouldn't have worked any other way, screw everybody who hated him on sight - but the next one definitely needs more not-Toads. Maybe then they'd be forced to do more to distinguish between them.
So, they're not allowed to 'visually present individual characteristics in toads' but are allowed to give them outfits? I guess that's something but still, does this mean Toadsworth has been retired as a character?
@KillerBOB Lol this is the same guy who called Kobe a r*pist
[I'm kidding, way past that at this point]
restrictions Doesn’t have to be a bad thing.
I loved this game and with the restrictions they had, they made a darn good original game!
Just really stupid and unnecessary. The writing is great but why limit character design? And why does this mean they can't give us unique looking companions? I really loved Colour Splash on Wii U, but I don't remember a single character from it. I only ever completed Thousand Year Door once over 15 years ago, I still remember Goombella, Koops and Vivian. That should tell them everything.
Coincidentally, the newer end of the Paper Mario series, with help from the same end of the Mario & Luigi series, is what made me hate Toads.
The Mario RPG games have been going downhill for a long time, but this is such a baffling thing. What is the reason for this? What benefit is there?
A bizarre limitation, considering how they still push a character like Toadette.
Though even if they want to make sure the design stays recognizable, and wanted to focus more on the writing, it'd be nice if they were able to create more entirely new characters, and abstain from having one hundred of the same Toad on screen at once. :-/
On one side, I can understand the constraints because Nintendo wants to push all the characters they have already created and they want to push them in a standardised way. On the other side, this is just crazy...
@TheFox Yeah I would imagine they probably built some sort of internal Paper Mario Brand Bible out of it with loads of guidelines, much like big studios do with cartoon characters and how they are to be conveyed, for example they can't have a certain expression, they can't wear clothes not tied to their look. They do this sort of thing all the time with corporate identities and logos. They're like a pair of handcuffs put on you before you even start.
It was shamefully obvious while playing that something has gone wrong in Nintendo's royalties department. Either that or I should be writing concepts instead of these hacks? Nah, it's the weird royalties. Yuck, Nintendo.
The thing I think is a bit weird about this is Paper Mario is (I think) the only current Mario franchise keeping the old 2D designs alive. Everything else like the 3D Marios, New, Kart, Tennis, Golf, Smash, etc uses the "modern" 3D CGI rendered look that started with Mario 64's box art.
The Paper Mario games are the only ones still sticking to the hand drawn Mario designs that had primacy from Donkey Kong through to Super Mario World. Technically everything in the Paper Mario games is off-model because none of it matches the current CGI render style!
Maybe Miyamoto is more protective because it's his designs they would be changing? Whatever the reason, I think Nintendo needs to pay more attention to what the fans are asking for, imagine how much better this game would likely have reviewed and sold if the developers weren't being held back.
Pretty lame stuff. That said, it really doesn’t hurt the game. There’s so variety in everything else that it’s hard to fixate on that detail
This is pathetic, all to do with being politically correct. It is the society and times we live in.
"Characteristics, such as age, gender etc". It's the gender one that would upset most apple carts. With over, supposedly, 100 to represent, that would be a lot of Toads.
But it's just as pathetic to want this stuff, it won't improve what is only an average Nintendo game. It's this stuff that ruined Fire Emblem.
Just assume that the Toads are all 👽 and look the same.
@KillerBOB you are doing the lords work. Might I suggest a Romeo and Juliet set in the Mario universe? It could be an epic love story of a toad and a goomba who fall in love despite their families objections!
Does it even need a story... that is a very out of touch statement.
@Fulgor_Astral Retire over game decisions you don’t like? Wow.
Seems like this has become an issue as miyamoto has taken a more guidance role. As he's no longer developing any big games he's able to look at them all, including these dogs games he used to not be wall that involved in. He's making decisions for games he's never made. He's not a fan of story or RPG which makes sense as to why this series had gone downhill. I hate to say it but it's time for him to go. Either that or just give him a game project for him to work solo on and then just keep rejecting it.
Actually goes against Nintendo's underlying roots as using your imagination, preventing the Devs from instilling new characters with visual personality is absurd. More so in a role playing game. It's a bad call.
Breath of the Wild... Mario Kart 8... Super Mario Odyssey... but yes, internet commenters, tell us more about how now is the time for Miyamoto to retire because of some rules about character design in Paper Mario. Rules that, if in fact completely correct with no nuance lost in translation, are a driving factor in how great the writing for this series has been.
Much of the wording sounds like its a console resources constraint, but I'm assuming its game concept & art direction guideline.
Quick! Make a role-playing game with no story, where your character gets no EXP points after battles or party members to join him with a system reliant on turn-based combat. Also no funny mustaches or hats on any characters who can only come from one "world". Go! It sounds like a gofundme challenge more than a Nintendo game
I feel like Miyamato should only really be used as a spokesperson and consultant at this point, focussing on external projects like the Mario movie and theme park. The next Pikmin game too, obviously.
I tend to hear things about him that make his eccentricities seem like a hindrance these days. Let the developers do their thing. Consult and share ideas, sure, but don't be prohibitive and guarded when it comes to creativity. What would the gaming landscape look like now if he wasn't afforded certain creative freedoms that he is denying others?
I haven't really taken his ideas seriously since the Wii Music debacle to be honest, as much as I love the guy.
@Entrr_username retire because he is out of touch and is damaging the brand.
Logic might be different for some, but I'm glad that I'm not the only one here thinking he should go.
Good, i prefer this direction. I can see a bunch of people from this crystal generation making a fuzz about any toad they think doesnt comply with todays standars.
@Dino_Damage my opnion is: they've been better before, when old man Miyamoto didnt butt his way in to stop developers from using their creativity
@Wolf_Link hahaha troll. Nobody with taste or common sense would prefer 100 colored toads over a Vivian xD some nintendo fanboys are really weird
Not only is this a stupid restriction, it's not even consistent. Luigi's Mansion has plenty of characters unique to that series. Why can't Paper Mario?
Bugger it, these ridiculous design restrictions essentially rule out HD remakes of Paper Mario 64 or Paper Mario TTYD...
Absolutely bonkers and this should not ever be a restriction they put up. Maybe got one game as an experimentation for new recruits in their dev team to test their skill when having certain restrictions but other than that, this is just ridiculous and ruining the franchise for me.
I hope Origami King fails to meet their expectations sales-wise big time so that they get their heads out of their behinds and stop being so bloody restrictive. Or better yet, I hope they port TTYD to the Switch and that this one outsells Origami King by a huge amount to show what fans really want.
Absolutely absurd, I can't even......
@Ralizah In mario games, all enemies looks the same. The thinking behine follow this. To look inside the world of Mario.
It makes sense for a decades old series to start to impose some rules on what is and what isn't allowed in the universe. Add too many "creative" characters and new designs and over time you could have a bit of a mess on your hands.
But part of me also feels like this is a subtle sign of a stifling and unhealthy development environment at Nintendo where a few old hands hold all the power and lower-level minds and ideas are suppressed. Nintendo used to be known for doing new exciting things with their games and single handedly pulling the entire industry deeper into the future... Now it seems like they're more focused on preserving a decaying image of who they once were
They have no faith in the series being good so they don't want to create a bunch of memes with ridiculous characters. Nice to see them admitting they have gimped out the quality.
@Yodalovesu How would making original designs for a game about a creative look at the mario universe create a mess?
@WiltonRoots Good points there. I can imagine the list of rules Nintendo gave Ubisoft when they made Mario + Rabbids was pretty extensive. Despite some people thinking it was revolutionary for Mario Characters to have guns, if you look at the Mario Party games, it's not really out of line. Those games are already loaded with Looney Toons style violence such as cartoonish guns, shooting each other with cannons, giant hammers, etc. (And then there's all the explosives you throw at each other in Mario Kart). But I'm sure they didn't want Ubisoft getting crazy and giving Peach a rotary saw. It just seems like what they are describing in Paper Mario is absurdly restrictive compared to other Mario spin-off games.
upends tea table
Because TTYD and SPM started adding grimdark nonsense to Mario! And ya haven't stopped — there are still Game Overs written by edgy 12 year olds in Origami King! Yes, the first game could get overly saccharine at times, but that doesn't mean "go to the other extreme"!
End Tanabe's and Kudo's whining by giving Paper Mario to someone else to do. Sick of seeing whining nonsense like this. "Oh, boo hoo, we're getting punished because we made mistakes and mediocre games, please feel sorry for us!" UGH.
Give PM to a studio that'll take proper care of characters and balancing. But, of course, give them the needed room to add age and other characteristics to Mario characters just as PM1 did. Don't worry about things like Rawk Hawk or giant portal trees and all — Mario RPG's clearly aren't canon to the mainline, anyway.
Oh there's a certain furry blue YouTuber who will not appreciate this. Not at all.
@doctorhino over a period of many years, continuing to take a "creative look" at an established property would require a constant stream of new characters and possibly more and more creative and outlandish designs. It makes sense to impose SOME sort of rules
Read both my comments carefully before getting upset, though. I'm not trying to justify these exact restrictions (which seem absurdly strict), just saying that some sort of rules make sense at this point
@Yodalovesu yeah I wasn't so much upset at just wondering if you thought the canon material had to go both ways. There are tons of liberties taken in Mario Mainstays and weird characters that never show up again. What you described basically came to a head in Odyssey where you can literally be Mario Trex. If they are willing to go that far with their platformers just not seeing how it would cause any harm. It makes some sense but at the same time they are already breaking those rules.
Ninty need to expand their ip, not just stick to existing ones. People loved or at least appreciated Splatoon and ARMS for being new ninty franchises, which also brings in more potential revenue and growth opportunities (tho to be fair, creating new chars /worlds /stories is a much larger effort). They're being way too stringent to prevent it tho.
It's like the Dr Mario world app, it's sad that some of their 'new' chars are just literal color alts, like fire powerup peach or reduced to basic generic enemy types. Just 'try' to make new chars, even something simple like Paper Mario's goombella is workable (oh, it's a girl goomba w a hat and she's an explorer. And has a chatterbox personality which can come out in her text and abilities. Cool!) rather than no-effort 'new' Dr Mario app chars. C'mon ninty, you're all about family friendly creativity, don't start losing that in your game design
I'm curious if any other parents here have this little internal battle. Miyamoto is a visionary who shaped a large part of my childhood, and will forever have my respect. However, he has less of an impact on my own child, because as an adult I disagree with almost everything I hear from him. A number of promising games seem to suffer from strict guidelines or needless and half baked gimmicks, and the inevitable article is "Miyampto came to the office and said..." It impacts my purchases. Not that I boycott, but it does play a role in my prioritization. Haven't bought a Paper Mario game since he started waging a crusade against the idea of an RPG (when they literally sold the franchise on the back of Legend of the Seven Stars initially).
Not really sure I understand the statement that Mario is "just Toads". I've played pretty much every single Mario game and I can tell you, it's not just Toads.There's tons of characters they can bring back to use in the games. I get that they don't want to pull a Sega and end up making more characters than the games can support (or risk stealing Mario's spotlight), but restricting it to the point that you're forced to use Toads is pretty senseless. The games prior to Sticker Star weren't like that at all.
Just sounds like a lot of whining from a producer who has continued to fail to capture what made the first few Paper Mario games great. Definitely does not encourage me to try the game at all.
The origami characters are unique to The Origami King. The issue is that the traditional Mario characters (Toads, Koopas, etc) are just that - traditional.
Console resource restraint? You're saying the Switch is technologically unable to handle unique interpretations of Toads?
@OptometristLime maybe what we're seeing is a generational fight between the old guard and the new guard at Nintendo and the old guard decided to take the fight to the extreme? That's about the only thing that makes this absurdity make sense.
@westman98 So then there isn't really a problem? Just use unique characters instead of endless identical Toads?
Truly bizarre that Miyamato and Iwata before him generally make good decisions... but then occasionally say/do very strange stifling things.
I think people skim the text and come to their own conclusions. Miyamoto's limitation was placed on Sticker Star, quite some years ago. The current restrictions do seem to extend from that, but it appears that it's a corporate level policy, and that Miyamoto's restriction may not have, even at the time, been him speaking as a game designer limiting the characters, but rather as the person in charge of IP and branding speaking on decided policy for the use of the designated IP and characters.
This actually puts Sticker Star in clearer context. It was not just Miyamoto saying "don't use new characters" but apparently that was an aspect of whatever limitations they're applying to the Mario IP at large. The characters are simply not to be altered or individualized in any context for any reason, including in first party Mario franchise games. Whatever IP and branding reason they have, this seems like it has something to do with a business decision or a copyright decision, not a game design decision.
We saw much of the same design restriction on Mario & Luigi as well.
But that merits a larger question: Why not permit adding entire new content specific to Paper Mario that gets to interface with the world of Mario? Although that might be a similar brand restriction. Outside Mario + Sonic, we don't see Mario cross over into much of anything else, Nintendo or not.
I think this policy hurts the ability of the Mario brand, but they seem to want very strict control over the representation of the characters. This is bigger than Paper Mario.
@TheFox I work in advertising, we've had similar scenarios where we've pitched, won, and then shortly afterwards the client will give us a huge brand book telling us what we can and can't do, rules about photography, positioning of logos, colour hierarchy, tone of voice and what not, and immediately we find we have very little freedom to give them anything interesting. We try pushing ideas where we break the rules and they always make us reel it back in. This sort of thing is not uncommon for people protecting their image. It's also why in my trade a lot of places employ people to be brand guardians.
@doctorhino yeah it does seem like a double standard, huh? That dark and realistic dragon boss from Odyssey seems like a good example as well. Or the fact that 3D World created an entirely brand new property by dressing up a Toad as an explorer and giving him a name
@Clammy Sonic has a bible: “only Tails and Eggman can be inventors.” and stuff like “Sonic can only lose temporarily, and he can’t be stressed or cry.” It’s not helping much.
It’s branding. They want to make sure you understand it’s a Mario game from afar (for instance by looking at a single screen of it). And they want the gameplay to follow Mario’s lead. It makes sense to me, but I could see how it could upset some people.
The Thousand Year Door did not feel like a Mario game game or a Mario universe; there was a huge disconnect there, and I think that’s why they started to go more towards platforming in Super Paper Mario. I think TTYD was not the direction they wanted the series headed, especially with the introduction of the Mario & Luigi series, in addition. It did get confusing branding wise to have 2 separate Mario RPG strands.
I would like to see Badges return though. You could still eschew EXP by making coins valuable towards Badge purchase.
@Goat_FromBOTW Sonic can't cry because he's been popping Percoset for 20 years to hide his inner sadness.
@Antraxx777 TTYD and Legend of the 7 Stars feel very "Mario". They follow Mario art style, character design, level aesthetics, etc. And a big thrill of those games was seeing mario & company outside their element and adventuring somewhere new.
Somewhere along the line someone, or a committee decided that the best way to protect the Mario IP was to define it rigidly as a colelction of VERY specific art assets rather than as an art style. I assume this had more to do with merchandising materials (and a sordid history of them in the past) than it did with internal game development, and wasn't originally intended to restrict the IP from expanding from internal development....but somewhere along the line some beedy eyed bureaucrats at NCL just started rigidly enforcing that the cash cow of Mario can not ever be altered or appended to in any way for fear of risking the golden goose.
It's branding, but it's branding in the way I'd expect a consumer products company to enforce branding, not an entertainment and media company. The wrong people for the job in high up positions (not Miyamoto) lead to this.
Miyamoto-San needs to go, him and Iwata-San (RIP) were a big hinder to Nintendo, one wkth software and the other with hardware. They are appreciatwd for their achievements and contributions but it is time for Miyamoto-San to leave Nintendo.
Those saying this stifles creativity: succeeding with rules and restrictions is the definition of creativity. Western AAA developers haven't tried anything new in 20 years. That's always left to Japanese and indie devs, who impose restrictions on themselves or have financial ones.
@Shworange it's not an out of touch statement. The half-statement you decided to quote would be if it were the whole quote.
A game needs exactly one thing: to be fun. That's it. Everything else is optional.
I love so much that Miyamoto-san has done, but Sticker Star literally was where the series got worse. Why would he put all these unnecessary restrictions to the Paper Mario Series?
It's sad really.
Imagine if we woke up tomorrow and found that Mario Kart is dialing back the racing and replacing it with mental arithmetic puzzles to accelerate on a rail.
Sure it would technically still feature racing but it wouldn't be the Mario Kart that we all know and love.
Nintendo have slowly allowed this to happen to Paper Mario.
Any reason given as to why? At the present time, they have said “we can’t do this anymore” but not given a reason for it.
Self-imposed limitations once again. At this point, Paper Mario represents everything that's currently wrong with Nintendo: a strict, stubborn vision and a lot of ego getting in the way of creativity, to the point it sounds like a big middle finger to fans.
They won't get my money in this one.
@Cia If you think about it that way, the Zelda series has always followed the same story: a young hero following the steps of an ancient heroic figure (or his past self/parallel dimension self etc) against an ancient incarnation of evil. BoTW wasn't exactly lush story-wise either, and all those cinematics with Zelda either riding a horse or crying — or riding a horse crying, dragged a bit without adding much consistency to the general lore.
Zelda series has had some more complex stories, such as the one in Majora's Mask (with all the mini-stories within) and Link's Awakening. I'm just worried that from now on in every upcoming game, it'll be as simple as it gets "Link vs. Ganon" story.
What I want to see in every new game I buy is Unexpected. This can materialize in the story, sidequests, or even dialogue. If the whole game is "we've seen all this before" material, it's not gonna be too interesting.
And the mediocrity will flow freely...
Maybe I don’t quite understand the article, but am I the only one who doesn’t think this is a big deal? And are there restrictions because they can’t create new characters, or because the higher ups don’t want them to? And if they don’t want them to; then why? Is it to protect their brand?
Considering how pretty much every major franchise Miyamoto has created uses silent protagonists, maybe he should admit he's afraid of or unable to tell a story. He should leave genres typically known for story to people who can or will write one.
Another thing the Mario games need: A more broad use of the expanded Mario Universe.
Games like Mario Kart and Mario Tennis, not only should be more creative with their use of playable characters, being allowed to use characters from the RPGs like Paper Mario and Mario & Luigi, but they should get more Donkey Kong characters, Yoshi characters and Wario characters, maybe even Rhythm Heaven characters, the Mario games overall need more references to lesser known games and the sub-series like Donkey Kong and Wario.
Something tells that Intelligent Systems, that not only do the Paper Mario series, but also the WarioWare series, want characters like Mona, Jimmy T., 9-Volt and Ashley as playable in games like Mario Kart and Mario Tennis, but Miyamoto never allows them to have that.
@Maxz @Kidfried "Mario and Zelda both shook up their respective series pretty heavily with their latest mainline entries, so I think the idea that this sort of creativity-strangling is a company-wide issue is... off."
It definitely is a company-wide issue. Even if they apply this restricting only to certain franchises or at certain moments, apparently there are situations in which higher-ups will decide against some minor creative freedom. So it's a Nintendo problem, even though it's not enormous or everywhere all the time.
Also interesting is that Ubisoft was allowed to adapt characters when they made Mario + Rabbids, so it's almost like it's an Intelligent Systems thing.
@Dizavid Story is definitely not his strength, and never was, and that's fine. He's a gameplay person. But it's a problem when he tries to force his ideas about games onto other developers.
Like when Yamauchi called JRPGs "depressing" and did hardly anything to get good JRPGS on the N64, or when Sony called 3D the future and prevented a lot of 2D games coming to PS1 in the early days.
@victordamazio I'd love to see more Wario characters mixed in the Paper Mario series. That 'd be so great...
Sounds like he's not happy.
@Bunkerneath That was likely more so due to recycling assets from Dream Team/Paper Jam to keep development costs down
Also a lot of this really can be chalked up to brand management and unification which makes sense when you consider how Nintendo in recent years has begun to really push towards elevating Mario to a multimedia franchise rather than just a video game series. In that regard it makes sense they would want to keep style consistent across all the Mario games and spin offs both to keep consumer confusion to a minimum as well as making things easier for the marketing team. Pretty much every major entertainment company does this in some fashion
@Yorumi I don't think it's really about Miyamoto and "the old guard." he was the chief rule breaker back in the day that lead to all that creativity and "misuse" (by modern guidelines) of characters. I'm getting the sense this is the necessary "design by committee" that a company who's company mission statement now states that it's an IP/brand holding company first and foremost, not a video game company, it's a company ruled by the branding rulebook and 30 layers of Legal before you can get any character approved.
If you REALLY take a look at what changed between the creative days and that Wii era, you'll see what really changed: A private company went public! THERE'S the difference! After Nintendo went public they seem to have built out the bureaucracy necessary for protecting the brands and IPs (a.k.a. the value!) by effectively enforcing they get frozen in time permanently so that nothing can ever risk their brand value.
People like to point fingers at Miayamoto. Yes, he famously resented that Rare got more love with DKC than his games because he didn't make it....but that's his passion and ego as a creator, not his inner bureaucrat that wants to hold everything in place forever. I strongly suspect that, unleashed, he'd be the one hitting us with the "WTF is this?" messed up version of Mario we really dream of.
As is, with Nintendo being a publicly traded brand/IP holding company, the playbook is going to resemble Disney/Marvel/Star Wars, not the Nintendo we used to know. I don't think that's about Miyamoto and the old guard. I think that's about Nintendo Co. Ltd. becoming NTDOY, and building out the bureaucracies and protections therefore required. That was Yamauchi himself that sold out....
Miyamoto needs to stay far away from the Paper Mario franchise, he clearly doesn't understand why people like the originals.
@Yorumi People keep bolting on the same complaints against Miyamoto, but we don't have full context. Until now we thought the Sticker Star issue was all him. But this very article shed light that he was likely simply the enforcer for corporate policy. Yes, he's not an RPG guy and doesn't love them (and yet he made Zelda 2 an RPG, and made BotW a pseudo-RPG....and everyone forgets he was the principal behind the initial designs of BotW and turning the series upside-down from the Aonuma time loop that just repeated what had done with ALttP and Ocarina over and over...)
I think he's the same guy he was in the 80's. I think his job expectations are not the same. Back then his job was "make games that will sell", and he did that by bringing out his crazy ideas. His job now is "enforce company policy, create no risk, manage the brands" I.E. I don't think he changed in his creativity. I think his job description became, basically, the job he never wanted back then....the enforcer....the salaryman who says yes to company policy.
The "gimmicks" weren't his...they were pushed on him by Iwata, who had them pushed on him by the investors, who wanted justification for failing hardware. "DO something to make these features look good" was the mission assigned to Miyamoto back then. So we got gimmicks. The gimmicks sucked because the hardware he was told to justify just sucked. It's clear from his interviews near the end of WiiU that he was never "into" that hardware to begin with, and knew it was a soft landing from the beginning of it.
And his own comments has him saying for the past 10 years he more or less wants to go indie...he wants to "work on smaller projects with a few people"....i.e. something he can go creative and not be restricted by "corporate policy." He's a creative trapped by obligation inside this stifling bureaucracy that says "no character may be individualized ever." This is the guy that took the company mascot, added a raccoon tail and made him fly... Even if he wrote the blueprint himself, he's clearly not the type that wants to STICK to that blueprint. But he's duty-bound. If he weren't "The Miyamoto" he'd have probably gone Igarashi/Kojima and started up an indie by now. But he's the face of Nintendo, so he's kind of stuck there, policy and all, form a sense of obligation.
I always get confused when Miyamoto himself becomes the scapegoat. This is the guy that starts finger tracing ideas in the air while bored at interviews and investor meetings. I've never had the sense that he's no longer the rule breaking creative he used to be. I just get the sense he's been forced to put on the tie and sit in the office and act like a grown up while enforcing committee policy, whether he wants to or not because that's what's expected of him by the overlords, and it's Japan, and he's polite. Plus he's had the theme parks to work on.... judging by the "level design" we've seen, he's been doing a great job on that. He's the final sign-off on every first party game, but I don't get the sense he's spending too much time on the game design management in the Switch era. He's just the enforcer.
Heck, the only games we really know of that he had some manner of direct involvement in from the begging are BotW (the legendary unicorn of the gaming industry for the past few years), and Rabbids.....the completely left field insane collab, not made by Nintendo, but they had to go through him and Tezuka for approvals at every step.
I think his creativity is just fine. The corporation is the problem. And neither he, nor we can do anything about that.
@Yorumi The Wii era was him at his creative best....even if the results weren't suited to our liking, and where meant largely for another audience, he took risks, he went nuts and had a blast with wacky ideas. Half of which didn't pan out. Oh well. But that's the creative "shoot for the moon even if you miss" kind of thinking that we're talking about missing from him. Not all of it was for US, but it was him letting lose on creativity.
WiiU on the other hand...that's where investors really ruled the day. They were on their back heel and stuck with hardware it's clear even he didn't believe in. Giant robot was a tech demo and a proof of concept for the hardware. It was never meant to be a real commercial game, at least as-is. It was also an idea "not meant for us" the traditional gamers. That was his "toy maker" hat on for that one, and it became Labo Robot. We do have to distinguish between "Miyamoto's not working on anything creative" and "Miyamoto's not working on something that interests me personally because it's for another audience."
Same for Guard. They were stand alone initiatives to attempt to demonstrate usefulness of the hardware that really didn't have much usefulness. Honestly they were pretty creative to find something the machine was unique for. Even if pointless.
Starfox0, remember that was a game being made for a DOA console. By that time all the money was going into NX. He was tasked with finding a way to make SF0 show off the WiiU's capabilities. That was a |DIRECT| order from Iwata, in response to DIRECT pressure from the investors. That's the "do SOMETHING!" project.
I'm not sure why everyone attaches SF0 to Miyamoto criticism at all. He didn't even make the game. He coordinated/managed it...but ultimately it was Platinum's game. He washed his hands of it and walked into the Zelda studio. He became the "marketing guy" for it at launch, but SOMEONE had to salvage the thing in an empty year.
Miyamoto ended up outsourcing the thing. He was that unengaged in it at that point he wasn't even working on it...just generally managing it after passing the trash to Platinum. Of course we now know he was also doing BotW at the time, very hands on still. Outsource the junky tech demo the investors want, that derailed whatever he was going to do for the game prior, spend more time on the game that would go on to be GoTY....sounds like smart business and a creative boon to me. I'm quite Certain SF0 was a result of "how do we get a promised game out the door for the absolute minimum expense possible, tell the investors "we tried" while otherwise abandoning the hardware and working with all hands on deck for a project that might actually be profitable?"
We also know he was working on Pikmin 4 at the time......which has vanished. Maybe that's our big holiday 2020 game.
I don't think SF0 was terrible...it was kinda fun. But it was very Platinum and not very Nintendo. Speaking of Miyamoto being a creative, I think he's been "Done" with Starfox since 1998. He only made more because they (and we) keep telling him to make more. It's clear he just doesn't care. Mostly I think he wants to make new IPs and isn't allowed, and hates the lack of creativity of "big team" projects. That's why he seems to love Pikmin. It's still the most unexplored territory they let him play with.
As for SF0 going the Splatoon route. Platinums game. They don't really do that kind of multiplayer.
The problem is defining what games are "his" and not in the past 10 years as his role became more supervisory. He's credited as supervisor for nearly everything, but a lot of those games that was more of a "Mario/Zelda brand management" position rather than any direct involvement. And some he's not listed as directly involved but we found out through interviews he really was. He gets blame for things that he had nothing to do with, and he also gets no credit for things he DID have much to do with.
Everyone credits Aonuma for BotW, yet Aonuma said Miyamoto was hands on involved in much of the early development.
Everybody credits Splatoon as great success from being "not Miyamoto", and yet he was the supervisor credited, and we know he's the reason they had the squids become squid kids at all....
Everybody blasts him for SF0, but it was Platinum's game. They should be blaming Kamiya.
Everyone credits Ubi for Rabbids, but Miyamoto we know was involved at a lot of junctures from the start.
We don't know his MP4 involvement at this time (and probably never will.)
Koizumi gets all the credit for Odyssey, but Miyamoto was talking early on about giving it more of the M64 feel and what makes the difference between the two "types" of 3D mario games.
What games are "his" and what ones "aren't" - and is that the wrong question versus "how significant are even minor suggestions of his in the successes that we don't even realize?"
I still think he's what's holding the glue together. Good and bad, that's just the nature of a creative. I think without him, Tezuka, etc, Nintendo becomes Activision very quickly, and the people really making the boneheaded decisions get all the power handed over.
@Yorumi The irony is, I'm pretty sure he wants that too...
Still don't understand why Miyamoto took all that made Paper Mario special or unique, and throw it away...
You know Super Paper Mario was ok, but they changed the saga in basically every way. If the formula you're using works really good, and it's relatively new in the saga, why to change it?
@RainbowGazelle He's been making games worse since the Wii generation. Every new IP that has been good has had nothing to do with him. Every 'Wii Music' piece of absolute garbage was Miyamoto. Every loved IP ruined through idiocy like removing XP and story from an RPG of all things (!!!!) has been him. I LOVE Miyamoto for his legacy but it is time to retire.
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