The lights are on
Luigi’s latest ghost-hunting misadventure made for a fantastic 3DS game. The endearing and colorful portable game sparked many conversations in the Game Informer office, and led to several questions. We turned to Nintendo and developer Next Level Games, which worked jointly on Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon, for answers.
Speaking for Nintendo are Yoshihito Ikebata and Ryuichi Nakada, supervisors for Dark Moon. Next Level Games’ Bryce Holiday, game director, and Chad York, audio director, spoke on behalf of their team.
Why did you decide to abandon a single mansion in exchange for several different mansions? Nakada: It's because we wanted to have players experience using the Poltergust 5000 in a variety of different environments. This certainly would have been possible within a single mansion, but another intention we had was to have people play the game in distinct portions at a time. Therefore, we decided the current structure would be best in terms of achieving this goal.
What is the recording direction given to Charles Martinet, the voice of Mario and Luigi? Does he just ad-lib or is he directed?York: There is some ad-lib that happens, but generally we have to direct Charles in the recording sessions. The main reason being is he usually hasn’t played the game or knows the context of the scenes/animations. Depending on the scene, we have a variety of reference materials like scripts/art/storyboards/animations for him to watch on a video monitor. Sometimes he is acting to a finished animation scene. Other times we just give him verbal descriptions of the scenario and the scripts.
Some players forget to use the Dark Light on invisible objects. Was this a difficult mechanic to develop?Holliday: The original concept was having a real world and an alternate world. In other words, it began with the idea of something like a spirit world existing in the same room. For example, there are common areas between the worlds of light and darkness in Metroid Prime 2: Echoes and The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past.
Ikebata: Certainly, even when the staff was playing the game in development, they would sometimes forget about the Dark Light. We ended up placing things in the game that would serve as hints for important areas to keep that from happening as much as possible.
Several quests involve side-tracking the main quest to chase Polterpup or save Toad. What made you decide to include these backtracking-focused quests?Nakada: The goal of that was to use the same mansions to provide different experiences to the player. To us, we see chasing Polterpup or saving Toad as a main quest as well. I believe that inserting these changes of pace helps add depth to the overall package and make every quest a fresh experience to play.
There is an old ghost-hunting Mickey Mouse cartoon. Did the team draw any inspiration from that?Holliday: Most of us have seen that old classic so it probably is knocking around in our subconscious somewhere.
How did the team come up for the idea of the Strobulb, which allows players to charge up flashlight bursts?Ikebata: In the previous game, you could stun ghosts just by shining your light on them. For this game, though, we thought about how we could add a bit more oomph to the ghost-catching process. The idea of surprising ghosts with a stronger burst of light came up pretty naturally and felt really great once we implemented and tested it out.
Why doesn’t the game support the 3DS Circle Pad Pro?Holliday: The circle pad pro became available pretty late in the development of the gameplay mechanic we had been developing. The second stick of the Circle Pad Pro just didn’t work with the fishing mechanic that we had created and we felt it didn’t add much to the experience.
What’s up with Luigi and Daisy? Neither Luigi’s Mansion games make an obvious mention of his love interest.Nakada: Well, who knows? Maybe Daisy needs to get kidnapped first, huh? For this, at least, there's not much we can say.
Why does Luigi use an original DS as a communication device instead of a horror-themed Game Boy Advance variant?Ikebata: E. Gadd has a tendency to use slightly out-of-date equipment, but any horror-themed Game Boy Advance would be at least five or six years old at this point. Since it's been about 12 years since the first game, I think that E. Gadd would be more interested in the original-design DS by this point.
What new enemy ended up being the team’s favorite?Holliday: I think the Polterpup ended up being Next Level Games’ favorite.
Nakada: That's the sentiment at Nintendo, too, I think. While I can't go into specifics, we liked him enough that we wound up giving him an expanded role in the game towards the end of development.
Watch us play through the entirety of the original GameCube Luigi's Mansion on Super Replay.