Preventing one of the biggest shortcomings of the second Luigi’s Mansion from making it into the third is a high priority, the game’s top producers from Nintendo told Kotaku during an E3 interview in Los Angeles last week.
Both Yoshihito Ikebata and his boss, Kensuke Tanabe, said that they’ve worked with Vancouver-based Next Level Games to fill the upcoming Switch sequel Luigi’s Mansion 3 with more distinct ghost bosses than there were in 2013 Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon.
“More than anything we really wanted to put those unique bosses in the second one and we couldn’t,” Ikebata said via a translator, “so that’s why we’ve put so many of them in the third one.”
“To be completely honest, when I was playing Dark Moon, I told Ikebata-san that if it were me, I would remake a lot of the bosses,” added Tanabe, who did not work on the 3DS game and had deferred oversight to Nintendo’s legendary designer Shigeru Miyamoto. “I really wanted a more exciting kind of boss battle when looking to create the new game. In creating this game, one of the first things I requested of NLG is to really bring the excitement when you’re fighting the boss battles.”
There was only one boss—an armored ghost knight on horseback—shown in the game’s playable demo, and another was shown in a live presentation, but such is the nature of E3 that we mostly discuss potential and intention.
Dark Moon was largely excellent, as it let players use Luigi to explore several mansions full of hidden treasures and color-coded ghosts, which the Mario brother could stun with a flashlight and then trap with a vacuum cleaner in a motion similar to a person reeling in a struggling fish.
Luigi’s Mansion 3 moves the action from mansions to a towering hotel, which Luigi can explore a floor at a time. He can move up and down the building’s floors, avoiding traps, tracking ghosts, searching for treasure, and figuring out how it all fits together. Floors have distinct themes. The main one in the E3 demo included castle walls and other medieval touches. Another shown in a live presentation was based on TV and movie production.
“We originally wanted to create was a gameplay system that really plays with the way the rooms are structured and laid out,” Tanabe said, in a point he elaborated on for Nintendo’s in-house News Channel, where he added, “With a hotel, it’s easy to envision how rooms are structured: they are lined up above, below, and beside each other. For instance, if you are in room 102, you would immediately know that room 202 was directly above you.” That, he said, might help a player track a drip of water on the ceiling of one room to the room above it.
The new Luigi’s Mansion has been in development for a while, with early design taking place on the Wii U and development starting in earnest following the completion of Next Level’s multiplayer-centric 2016 3DS game Metroid Prime Federation Force. At E3, Tanabe and Ikebata were heavily pushing two of Luigi’s new moves in the game: a vacuum-powered hop in the air called “burst” and “slam,” the ability to slap a vacuum-tethered ghost around the room and into other ghosts like snapping a wet towel. The slam move was working on the Wii U and seems to be core to making ghost-catching in the game more exciting and satisfying.
Ikebata highlighted the inclusion of Gooigi as a major component of the game. Introduced in last year’s 3DS remake of the original 2001 GameCube Luigi’s Mansion, Gooigi is a Luigi made of green goo who Switch players can generate and control to help solve puzzles. Gooigi can do many of Luigi’s moves and can access dangerous areas Luigi can’t (and can also be controlled by a second player). “With the addition of Gooigi in this game there’s a lot of things you can do with the puzzle solving and things like that,” Ikebata said. “There’s a lot of twists and surprises, so I hope you can see and enjoy that as well.”
Other things learned from our interview:
- The Luigi’s Mansion games are considered to all be one adventure on a timeline. Take that, Zelda!
- Multiplayer mode, which takes place on floors of a skyscraper and streamlines ideas from Dark Moon, can be played by one to eight players, locally or online, across four systems (at max, four people play as Luigis with four others as Gooigis).
- Luigi isn’t that scared. “I thought Luigi must be easily frightened,” Tanabe said when reflecting on his first impressions of Luigi in this series. “When I spoke to the folks who are in charge of the character [intellectual property] they said, ‘He’s not that terrified. He’s a little bit terrified.’”
- Unlike Dark Moon, LM3 is not mission-based. Players can explore the game world freely once they gain access to a given floor of the hotel.
And speaking of the hotel, here’s a fun exchange from the interview:
Totilo: Why isn’t it called Luigi’s Hotel?
Tanabe: Because we want to say it’s the third edition.
Totilo: But there’s no mansion in the game, right? Or maybe there is and you don’t want to tell.
Tanabe: Even in the future if the setting changes we’re still going to continue to call it Luigi’s Mansion.
Totilo: Wasn’t there actually a game called Hotel Mario? Why am I thinking of that? What was that?
Tanabe: We do not know. We do know, like, “Marriott.”
Totilo: No, Rich [one of the PR guys in the room] knows. Rich is laughing. He knows that there’s a Hotel Mario. It might not have been a Nintendo-made game.
There was indeed a Hotel Mario. Released in the ’90s, it wasn’t made by Nintendo and isn’t considered to be very good. Luigi’s Mansion 3 is likely to be much, much better.